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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Mired in controversy over move to rename Eyinni Grammar School after Jonathan Odebiyi

Weeks after the Old boys of Government College Ibadan successfully got the government approval to take over the schools for 25 years, some Old students of the Eyinni Grammar School, Orita-Challenge, Ibadan seems to be recording success in their wish to rename the School to Jonathan Odebiyi High School.

This can be implied in a letter from the Oyo state Ministry of education, addressed to the Chairman, School governing board of Eyinni Grammar School and titled “RE: APPEAL FOR COMPASSION.”

It reads;

“I am directed to refer to the above subject reading the request for the re-naming of Eyinni High School as Jonathan Odebiyi High School in honour of the founder of the School, late Chief Jonathan Odebiyi, and request the SGB to deliberate on the matter and make inputs known to this Ministry regarding its desirability as soon as possible.”

“Thank you”

“C.0. Bolaji (Mrs)”

For: Honourable Commissioner

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Just like the case of Government College Ibadan, the move to rename the school had been graced with several controversies. This controversy is still been discussed by old students as at press time. 

Concerns have been raised as to several implications of changing school name as raised in the case of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH). 

Jonathan Odebiyi in 1966 founded Eyinni High School in Ibadan. He ran the school successfully until the military take-over of private schools in 1975/76

Kunle kalejaiye's Involvement

In 2015, Chief Kunle Kalejaiye SAN lead the call for the renaming of the school to Jonathan Odebiyi High School. 

The Senior advocate made the remark at the Grand Reunion program of the Old students and stated that Late Chief Jonathan Odebiyi, the founder of the school,  was the principal from 17th January 1969 and contributed immensely to the development of the school.

“Chief Odebiyi believes that every citizen must not only pass through a school system but also must be tailored to be productive, skillful, patriotic, politically aware and courageous. When I was here Chief Odebiyi handled the Monday morning assembly in his academic robes. The Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone’s academic gown with its hairy hood was fixed in my mind. He spent less than 90 days here to put up the laboratory building, the technical workshop, a well equipped library and a school farm. Chief Odebiyi wore the school uniform and ate from the same pot as the students.”

He concluded back then, “I am using this occasion to appeal to the state government to change the name of this school from Eyinni to Jonathan Odebiyi High School.

It would be recalled that Kunle Kalejaiye is one of the Lawyers of the Governor of Oyo State, His excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde as indicated in many correspondences sighted by INTEL REGION in the past, this is believed to be the igniting factor of the speedy granting the 2015 wish of Chief Kunle Kalejaiye and his colleagues. 

Who is Jonathan Ogunbiyi?

Chief Jonathan Akinremi Odebiyi, nationalist, politician, educationist and leader of men. He was born in Ipaja in what is now Lagos State to Daniel Ajibode Odebiyi (Olowo Igbo) and Abigail Solabomi Odebiyi (nee Orebiyi) both natives of Iboro in what would later become Yewa North, Ogun State on the 11th of March 1923.

Chief Jonathan, between 1928 and 1936 was a pupil at Saint Andrew’s Primary School, Ipaja and from 1937 to 1941, a student of the prestigious CMS Grammar School, Lagos. In July 1944, he further pursue a Bachelor of Arts Degree Course at the University of Durham, at Fourah Bay College in Freetown, Sierra Leone. 

At the age of 33 years in 1957, Chief Odebiyi was appointed Minister of Education, Western Region and a year later became the Minister of Finance. In 1959 he added to this responsibility the role of the Leader of the Western House of Assembly.

 Chief J.A.O. Odebiyi contested for various elective posts six times and won in 1951, 1956, 1960, 1965, 1979, and 1983; arguably (if not the only Nigerain) one of the very few Nigerian politicians to have achieved this feat; thus becoming one of Nigeria’s longest-serving legislators of all time.

He was from 1953-2000, a member of synod of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Iboro; St Andrew’s Church, Ipaja, Lagos and St Paul’s Church, KajolaIboro, Ogun State. As member of the Diocesan Board, Lagos, and also later Egba-Egbado, he worked tirelessly with others for the establishment of Yewa Diocese (Anglican Communion), with its Cathedral and Headquarters at Christ Church, Ilaro.

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