Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who said that the Baptist Boys High School (BBHS), Abeokuta made him who he has become by positioning him in good stead, noted that the secondary school would have had two old boys as ex-presidents, “if not for Nigeria’s bad belle” that truncated the victory of the acclaimed winner, of 12 June 1993 presidential election, the late Chief Moshood Kasimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola.
Apart from him, Obasanjo stated that the school shaped others such as the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo; Abiola; and a former judge of the International Court of Justice, Justice Bola Ajibola, among others.
Obasanjo said this on Wednesday in Abeokuta while delivering a lecture, “Eyin Ni Iwe Wa: You Are Our Epistle”, at the centenary celebrations of the school. The event was organised by the BBHS Old Boys Association.
Apart from education, the 100-year-old school, according to Obasanjo, has instilled godly virtue in all of its products at various times.
“Without BBHS, I would not be who I am”, Obasanjo said.
He said that BBHS would have had Abiola as another former president, but ‘bad belle’ prevented him from becoming president.
‘Bad belle’ is an expression from pidgin, commonly used in Nigerian English. In the metaphorical sense, it stands for envy or jealousy.
Abiola won the 1993 presidential election but the then-military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida annulled the election before the politician was formally declared the winner.
In 1994, Abiola was arrested and detained on charges of treason after declaring himself President based on the outcome of the election.
Abiola died in detention on 7 July 1998.
Obasanjo said: “Today, there are distinguished old boys in all walks of life, that is the private sector, academia, the military and paramilitary, civil society, traditional rulership, etc. Such is the present President of the Old Boys Association of BBHS, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku.
“If not for Nigerian bad belle, MKO. Abiola would have been President, and with me as President, we would have needed one more old student of BBHS to be President for us to permanently locate it in BBHS after three times. And that is a challenge for the up-and-coming generations of old boys.
“What all these great products of BBHS have in common is godly virtue inculcated in them by the school. That was education plus.
“We carry it everywhere we go as an epistle written by BBHS to our families, our communities, our states, our country, our continent of Africa, and indeed our world.
“In conclusion, the class of 1979–84 had beautifully constructed the gate and road into the school. They also granted me the pleasure of making a financial contribution to that laudable effort. They had offered to name the road after me, for which I thanked them, but I had craved their indulgence, to which they have agreed to name the road after E. L. Akisanya, and the road becomes E. L. Akisanya Road and the gate E. L. Akisanya Gate”.