2013 NORTH AMERICA CHAPTER’S REUNION: BIFOBA PRESIDENT’S REMARKS of the Reunion
Fellow Old Boys,
The North America Chapter’s 2013 Homecoming/ Reunion has come and gone. I congratulate the Chapter’s Exco and members, especially the Gentlemen from Dallas Messrs Segun Oduntan and Sam Ogunyooye who were the main Hosts of this year’s Homecoming.
The Event, although fairly attended by Old boys in America was expected to be a much bigger event given the gains achieved from the Maryland event last year. That however was not so as the Homecoming recorded a fair share of hitches, part of which was non-attendance by Old Boys from other parts of the world, caused partly by the (now resolved) imbroglio on the status of the GUILD OF AWARDEES between the National Headquarters in Lagos and the Chapter. Same matter almost prevented my attendance and any Representation whatsoever from the National Headquarters at the Event. Let me place on record the maturity and resourcefulness of the recent outgone President of the Chapter (Mr Femi Morgan) over his handling of the “vexatious “ imbroglio which had the potential of damaging the very fabric of what all Old Boys world-over had achieved over the years in the formation of an Association of our dreams.
I eventually made it to the Homecoming (after authorization from the General House in Lagos) although under very tight and strenuous flight conditions given the very short time frame the decision to embark on the journey was taken. It was worth my while though as I was glad to be in the midst of my Colleagues and glad also that all of the misrepresentations that the Chapter’s members had were laid to rest with their fears allayed, while the National Headquarters’ position on how issues (of serious importance) concerning BIFOBA must be handled by the Chapter going forward were laid bare and some of same implemented immediately.
CHAPTER’S ELECTION OF OFFICERS
The Chapter’s Election of new officers to handle its affairs for the next 2 years which I oversaw in an “Observer” capacity went without any acrimony. I congratulate Mr Niyi Fagbamiye, the Chapter’s new President, the Vice President, Dr Olumide Aderoba and General Secretary,Mr Barry Adebowale, all new entrants to the Chapter’s Key offices. Certainly, the experience of Veterans like Messrs Alli Oseni, David Lowo etc will be needed to guide the new and youthful energy which the new entrants into the Chapter’s Exco is bound to bring to bear on the Chapter’s activities.
I thank most sincerely the immediate outgone President and General Secretary of the Chapter, Messrs Femi Morgan and Foluso Adeyemi respectively, for their contribution to the formation/ growth of the N.A Chapter and indeed the development of BIFOBA worldwide. Gentlemen, your contributions and participation in BIFOBA’s affairs are truly appreciated. We recognize that much as the vibrancy of the younger old boys are needed, the experience and wisdom of Senior members like yourselves are invaluable. We therefore plead that you do not distance yourselves from the new Exco and urge that you avail the new Team the benefits of your experience as may be required from time to time.
The Chapter’s recent election of some of our younger-generation Old Boys into the Chapter’s key Exco positions is a welcome development as same, aside of erasing the fears that BIFOBA Excos worldwide are being manned by a group of Old Boys of a particular Set and Generation, it will send good signals to the much younger generations that all Old boys have equal rights to aspire for any position in any BIFOBA gathering worldwide as has been demonstrated in Lagos by the award of the Multi-Purpose Hall Construction Contract to the Company of a much younger Old Boy, deemed to be most qualified in terms of experience, capability (both technical and financial) and resourcefulness in spite of Bids submitted by several other Senior Old boys.
I do hope that these demonstrations of equality and fairness will bring more of the younger generations of Old Boys to participate in and take over the running of BIFOBA affairs as their youthful vibrancy will be needed to give BIFOBA a new lease of life when Old Boys of my Generation retire from active BIFOBA life. I hope also and have received assurances from President Fagbamiye that concerted efforts will be made by his Administration to bring back and reconcile with the Chapter, the breakaway(1980 Set) faction one of whose members once occupied the position of Vice President of the Chapter at a point in time. Incidentally, the filling of the position of Vice President which has been left unoccupied for several years is one of the several Reforms requested by the National Headquarters in Lagos; such that in the absence of the Chapter’s President, the Vice President will anchor meetings and will moderate on the sensitivity of the information being disseminated on the Web to Old boys worldwide.
One other major Reform requested by Lagos which is receiving attention is the Quantum of power and Control by the N.A Chapter on the Association’s website which was considered overtly lopsided. I am glad that the matter is being handled positively in line with the recommendations from Lagos with a view to(1) giving equal rights in the management of the Website to all BIFOBA Chapters and (2) that control of the Association’s main Website be given to a select group of Administrators drawn from the National Headquarters and all Chapters(existing and future ones) while “Child Sites” with links to the main BIFOBA Website will be created for Lagos, N.A Chapter, the UK Chapter and other future Chapters as are formed, to handle their local internal BIFOBA affairs while postings into the main BIFOBA Website will be determined by the selected group of Administrators who must agree on a simple majority basis on the contents to be posted on the main BIFOBA Website.
These Reforms and several others as deemed appropriate are necessary and imperative at this stage of BIFOBA’s development if “rival” BIFOBA Websites and duplicity of purposes that will fragment our strong Association is not to be encouraged.
I wish to assure Mr Fagbamiye and his new Team of the National Headquarters’ support and will avail him and his Team all necessary cooperation to ensure a successful tenor while growing the Chapter from the enviable position he took same over.
My sincere appreciation on behalf of Old boys worldwide goes to our erstwhile Geography Teacher, Mr Gbayisomore who spent time with us during the Cook-out on Friday and was the Special Guest at the Dinner on Saturday evening. It is amazing how Mr Gbayisomore who at those times laced the buttocks of some of us with his cane can seat amongst and share a wonderful evening with us. It was all so interesting and enjoyable. It will be an unpardonable oversight if I fail to thank the family members of Old Boys who attended the Reunion, especially members’ Spouses, some of whom I have come to know over the past 2-3 years. BIFOBA recognizes and lays heavy emphasis on Family relations. It is therefore one of BIFOBA objectives to make our Events family oriented. As much as practicable, we would get our families involved in our Reunions so we can all share good times.
To Messrs Etefia and Elutilo, I thank you for your advices and do assure that they are well taken and will serve as a useful guide in my relationship and undertakings with the various Chapters in the course of my Global presidency.
Thank you all, Gentlemen of the N.A Chapter and I look forward to seeing you all in Tennesie at the 2014 Homecoming which Dr Aderoba as one of the Hosts has promised to be a fun-filled Event.
On a related matter, I shall be glad for as many Old Boys as can join me in London where Mr Theo Odunlami and his Colleagues in the UK Chapter will be playing hosts to us on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25thth August respectively. We shall be joining other Alumni of the UK Chapters of other Nigerian Schools in the now Annual “Nigerian Schools Sporting Event and Funfair” in London at which Event BIFOBA amongst other old Students Associations will be duly represented. If the fun we had at the Event last year is anything to go by, it promises to be an extremely enjoyable Event this year and I urge members worldwide to keep both days open and register their children to participate and represent BIFOBA in the Sporting Events on Saturday.
My presence at the Event last year caused quite a stir as the Alumni of the other schools couldn’t get over the fact that BIFOBA’s Global President flew in from Nigeria for the Event. Their position was that if BIFOBA’s President can attend the Event from Nigeria, their respective Associations’ Presidents from Nigeria must also fly into London to attend this year’s and subsequent years’ events henceforth. I therefore look forward to seeing and meeting with several Nigerian Schools’ Old students Associations Presidents (from Nigeria) at the Sporting Event on Saturday. It promises to be a fantastic event that Old Boys should not miss.
I have also been informed by President Odunlami that the Banquet slated for Sunday 25th evening will be no less interesting as the Saturday event as BIFOBA UK Chapter members and families will be sharing an Evening of fun where interactions and a Question and Answer session with the undersigned and other Old Boys worldwide in attendance will take place.
Thank you Gentlemen and I look forward to seeing you all in London come 24th and 25th of this month.