Wow! Saturday, April 30, 2016 had come and gone but the memories of the day would remain indelible in the hearts of all Old Boys of Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos, their friends, spouses and well wishers who attended the Annual Home Coming Event of the Old Boys, which was held on the said date in BIFOBA built school Auditorium.
The event commenced at about 4.00 pm Nigeria time. It was an evening of great excitement and splendor as Old Boys, with their spouses, gorgeously dressed, gathered to celebrate the Annual Home Coming, which was ably tagged “A new song”
The Chairman of the event was His Excellency Chief (Senator) Segun Bamigbetan Baju (former Nigeria Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba), who in his opening remarks, commended the leadership of BIFOBA and the entire members of the Association for their unmatched commitment to the development and advancement of their Alma Mater and, also, congratulated the new Global President, Barrister Kingsley Essien, on his inauguration, while urging him to improve upon the previous administration’s achievements.
Other dignitaries who attended the event amongst several others were Most Reverend Luke O. Odubanjo, the Archbishop of Lagos Methodist Church of Nigeria, who led a delegation of over ten priests of the Methodist Church to the event.
The Archbishop - in his brief address on behalf of the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. S.C.K Uche JP, and the entire members of the Methodist Church of Nigeria - Archdiocese of Lagos - congratulated all the Old Boys and prayed that the 2016 Home Coming will not be the last for all the Old Boys in the land of the living.
The Revered Archbishop also appreciated the leaders of BIFOBA who, according to him, honoured God when they attended a meeting summoned by him with the Church leaders on his assumption of office on the 8th of March 2016. He assured BIFOBA that Methodist Church, under the leadership of His Eminence, Dr. S.C.K Uche, will not relent on her efforts in repositioning the school, since there is a strong synergy between the Church and the Old Boys Association. In conclusion, the Archbishop made the following commitments on behalf of the Methodist Church Nigeria. (a) A Minister will be posted to Birch Freeman High School by October this year as a full time chaplain to facilitate the spiritual development of the students. (b) The Church would facilitate a meeting with the Executive Governor of Lagos State to resolve the issue of giving back to Methodist mission the management of the school.
The outgoing Global President, Mr. Feyi Dinyo, in his farewell speech, highlighted the BIFOBA’s achievements during his tenure as Global President. He particularly thanked all the members of his executive for their commitments and doggedness in ensuring that the ideals of BIFOBA were upheld. He promised to cherish their support for as long as he lives. He also appreciated members of the Guild of Awardees, Body of Past Presidents and the entire BIFOBA worldwide for their support.
Highlight of the event was the inauguration of the new Global President and members of his executive. The inauguration was ably conducted by Mr. Oluwemimo Ogunde, SAN. And, thereafter, in a colourful ceremony, members of the Body of Past Presidents, led by Mr. Francis Van – Lare, escorted the outgoing Global President from the high table to the podium to perform the rites of handover to Barrister Kingsley Essien. They pledged their support to the new executive and, in one voice, supported the handover by Mr. Feyi Dinyo to Barr. Kingsley Essien.
While Barr. Kingsley Essien took his oath of office and was being decorated with the insignia of the office of the Global President, the photograph of Mr. Feyi Dinyo on the wall was being stylishly replaced with that of Barr. Kingsley Essien. Immediately after assuming office, president Kingsley Essien performed his first duty of ringing the bell, while Old Boys stood to receive instructions from him to be seated. Barr. Kingsley Essien’s acceptance speech highlighted his determination to further advance the ideals of the Association. Members of his Association of Lions Clubs International were well represented to lend their support to the new BIFOBA Global President.
The Birch Freeman High School twenty-man Choir and Orchestra entertained and inspired the guests with the rendition of the Classic “ E Korin Ayo” song. This Song further reiterated the theme of the Home Coming ‘‘A New Song.’’ The N 3.2 Million musical instruments donated by the North America Chapter added colour to the event.
Members of the 1976 Set, dressed in their white traditional attire and green Aso Oke mufflers, marched out in a colourful parade for their thanksgiving presentation to celebrate 40 years of graduation from Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos. The set Chairman Mr. Tim Faminigba ended his thanksgiving speech by presenting to the school the Set’s gift of a "Multipurpose Sport Pavilion" comprising of a Volley Ball, Lawn Tennis, and Basket Ball Courts. Immediately after the speech, old boys of 1976 set, members of the high table, and other guests were accompanied by a musical band to the pavilion for the commissioning of the courts.
The programme rose to a crescendo with the conferment and subsequent admittance of Engr. Boniface Ehirim as a member of the Guild of Awardees. Engr. Ehirim was conferred with this honour based on his commitment to the ideals of BIFOBA and Birch Freeman High School. Engr. Ehirim served as the 2nd President of BIFOBA. It was a colourful ceremony as members of the Guild welcomed him to the Group. After the admittance ceremony, members of the Guild then proceeded to the front porch of the auditorium where the chairman of the event His Excellency Chief (Senator) Segun Bamigbetan Baju unveiled the BIFOBA’s honours roll engraved in marble, such that the names of the Guild Members are immortalized, which would serve as a motivation for other aspiring Old Boys to be members.
The well-attended event ended at about 8.00pm.
It was indeed a glorious outing and members look forward to future Home Comings.
Olise – Emeka Nwachukwu
National Publicity Secretary