History Of ICOBA
In the early part of 1936, some past and old students got together and talked about having an “Old Boys Association” as most notable schools had. At a meeting held in one of the classrooms of C.M.S. Grammar School, Odunlami Street, Lagos, the very first Old Boys Association was inaugurated in the latter half of 1936 with Mr. George C Nzegwu O. I. 1932 as the Chairman and Mr. Michael N. Q. Sagoe O.I. 1935 as the Secretary. Many meetings were held mostly in Lagos.
Mr. George Nzegwu was one of those involved in the construction of the Aba Aerodrome as Assistant Aerodrome Engineer. He later qualified in Medicine at Edinburgh University. Others present at the inaugural meeting were, T. O. Elias O.I. 1934, (Later Chief Justice of Nigeria), Melville Roberts O.I. 1935 (Later Deputy Inspector General of Police), G. B. A. Coker O.I. 1935, (Later Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria), and his brother F. C. O. Coker O.I. 1936, (Later Lagos City Treasurer, and Commissioner for Finance), O. R. I. George O.I. 1935, (Later a High Court Judge), M. N. Q. Sagoe O.I. 1935, (Later Federal Administrator General & Public Trustee of Nigeria) and O. A. O. George O.I. 1934 (Later City Engineer Mainland).
1936 – 1978
Shortly after these meetings, most of the conveners had to travel to various parts of the world for further studies and subsequently, Chief F. A. M. Ashaye O.I. 1935 was elected as the 1st President of ICOBA. We know he was the President for so many years, but records are hard to find because of the 2nd World War (1939 – 1945). Igbobi College premises was occupied in that period by the Colonial Army. The 2nd President of the association, Dr. Teslim Elias O.I. 1934 who later became the Chief Justice of Nigeria, revived ICOBA in the 1960s.
Under his leadership, ICOBA became highly organized and started on its way to the enviable heights now attained. It was during his tenure that the original school hall got burnt and the idea to rebuild it was planted in the minds of Old Igbobians. His tenure saw a massive resurgence in ICOBA and its activities.
Fund raising activities were organized which involved Old Igbobians, friends and Corporate bodies. The new Assembly Hall, named the Revd. Allen Angus Memorial Hall was declared open on April 2nd, 1970. A modern edifice of which there is no comparable structure in any legacy secondary school in Lagos.
His tenure came to an end when he was appointed a Judge of the World Court at The Hague, in the Netherlands.
1978 – 1989
The mantle of leadership then fell on our 3rd President in 1978, Prof. Adeboye Babalola, O.I. 1943 who had Igbobi College dyed into his blood as a former Head Boy, Teacher and first Nigerian Principal.
The first Endowment Fund for Igbobi College was held in 1978 and the following were Trustees of the Fund: Chief Chris Ogunbanjo O.I. 1941, Chairman; Professor Adeboye Babalola O.I. 1943, ICOBA President, Member; Rev. Ope Olu Oni O.I. 1957, Secretary.
The highlight of the Fund Raising was the highest single donation of Mr. ‘Lolu Foresythe O.I. 1954 of the sum N25,000 (Twenty-Five Thousand Naira Only) when the foreign exchange rate of the Naira was GBP 0.875 & US$1.5 respectively!
It was during his tenure that the seed to build the ICOBA House as an Administrative Block was planted and due to the renewed interest in ICOBA, fund raising activities were held regularly and within a short period, the foundation for the building was laid.
For the record, the original plan for the building was designed by Arc. S.O. Oluwole O.I. 1954 and Engr. Titus Olagoke Bamgbopa O.I. 1952, a Structural Engineer, the production of the Drawings Perimeter, Mapping of Igbobi College Premises was done by Mr. Moshood Akanbi O.I. 1956 and supervised first by Arc. Dokun Adeyemi O.I. 1946, (both Arc. S. O. Oluwole and Arc. Dokun Adeyemi were unfortunately translated during the construction of the building).
Thereafter, Arc. Oso Somide O.I. 6769 took over the supervision of the building activities that was designed as a 3-Storey building and not what we have standing today.
President Babalola encouraged the founding of other ICOBA Branches within Nigeria. Kaduna Branch came into being in 1985, during his tenure.
Meanwhile, Ibadan and Abeokuta Branches that had earlier been in existence held regular programmes and activities aimed at unifying ICOBA’s response to Igbobi College challenges of the era.
Then came the Governor Jakande Administration in 1979, and the dark clouds of an unfathomable Government Policy fell on our dear Alma Mater and put a stop to not only the developmental efforts of a resurgent ICOBA but to all that we hold dear about our college.
The ICOBA House development was halted at the foundation level and a demoralized ICOBA was virtually moribund. Though the Council continued to meet and looked for ways to engage the government of the day but all entreaties were rebuffed. Throughout the dark days, the Council continued to celebrate the Founders Day with the Holy Communion Service.
1989 – 1996
Dr. E. O. Smith O.I. 1942 became the 4th President of ICOBA in 1989. President Smith consolidated on the successes of his predecessor, Professor Babalola, by travelling to England to encourage Old Igbobians in the Diaspora to relate to the ICOBA National Executive Council in Lagos.
It was during this period that the Founders Day celebrations incorporated the Luncheon and the ICOBA Merit Award was inaugurated in 1990, a tradition which marked its 30th anniversary in 2020. Efforts were also made to continue with the development of the ICOBA House.
The annual ICOBA dinners or lunches were held in either the Federal Palace Hotel or Eko Le Meridien Hotel in years 1979 to 1981. The 1982 Golden Jubilee Events held on the premises of the College.
Between 1978 and 2000, successive ICOBA Presidents sought successfully, the approval of both civilian and military Governors for maintaining Principals, who would preserve the Traditions of Igbobi College jealously. Many non-Igbobians helped to achieve the ICOBA goal.
Resistance to Government officials with overzealous actions at Igbobi College was always in the form of appeals to their superiors who usually called such Officers to order.
The owner Churches engaged the Lagos State Civilian and Military Administrations out of public view whilst ICOBA joined the Association of Private School Owners who agitated publicly for the return of their respective schools throughout the period of Government possession.
Notable Igbobians, too many to mention joined in this crusade but special mention must go to the 7072 Set who fought tooth and nail to achieve this objective. It must be mentioned that ICOBA never relented in its efforts to interact and engage with current students at the College even during the government intervention.
Old Igbobians continued to donate prizes for the best performing students, attended the Inter House Sports events, appeared as guest preachers in the college chapel and generally got involved as mentors to the students.
1996 – 2003
Hon. Justice Duro Adebiyi O.I. 1943 was elected the 5th President of ICOBA in 1996 when the college had been totally transformed into a typical government school with a massive student population of about 4,000. All forms of semblance to the original college had been completely erased. Still, the Old Igbobians never lost faith and did not relent in their struggle to have the college returned to its original owners.
Following the return to civil democratic rule in 1999 and the willingness of the government of the day to revisit the obnoxious policy, a decision was made in 2001 to return the college to its rightful owners. Though the college was now a shadow of itself both in its infrastructure and its administration coupled with the over-populated roll and the fact that, no tuition was to be collected from students who were in place at the time of the handover.
It was ICOBA who should have signed the release papers on behalf of the owners and got the College back from government. ICOBA, however, being no USURPER, handed the College back to the representatives of the original owners of the College and was commended for its relentless effort in achieving the goal. Old Igbobians, of course remain veritable Mutual Inheritors and a committed Stakeholder.
The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion as well as the Methodist Church Nigeria, representatives of the Original Owners of Igbobi College, offered a seat on the Board of Governors to ICOBA in 2001 for their sustained pressure on successive Lagos State Administrations.
The tenure of Justice Adebiyi can best be described as the beginning of the renaissance period when Igbobi College started its march to a new beginning, a journey on which we are.
The boarding house was formally and immediately restored for new intakes and the recruitment of new teachers and staff was embarked upon. It was indeed a daunting task, but Old Igbobians from various walks of life did step up to the plate.
Principal M. A. O. Ojutiku O.I. 6769 held headship for 13 years whilst the Government had nothing to do with the Boarding House. The Parents Teacher Association (PTA) was permitted to run the scheme unhindered by the State Government. At the handover of Igbobi College to representatives of the Original Owners, the PTA, through the Principal M. A. O Ojutiku, handed the sum of N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira Only) over to the Board of Governors of the College.
2003 – 2007
In 2003, the Old Igbobians of the late 60s, 70s and 80s collectively decided to overturn the status quo at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of September 2003, as their way to join the ICOBA effort to revitalize and rehabilitate the College.
This action was indeed a Palace Coup but was unanimously embraced at the ICOBA Annual General Meeting of September 2003, when the 6th President, Mr. Babatunde Wahab Dabiri O.I. 6971 was elected along with other officers consisting of Old Igbobians from the 50s and 60s.
Also elected, (either as an afterthought or a consolation consideration by those who hatched the coup), was our first Board of Trustees comprising, Justice Duro Adebiyi (Chairman) O.I. 1943, Prof. Ayo Banjo O.I. 1951 and Mr. Maxwell Olubode Thorpe O.I. 6365 in conformity with provisions put out by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The new ICOBA National Executive Council brought in a lot of interest from diverse sets and the quest to rescue the college gained a lot of momentum from younger sets.
During this period, quite a number of moribund sets were revitalized, new branches were established namely: ICOBANA, ICOBA EUROPE and ICOBA Abuja. ICOBA Lagos was gradually deactivated because of lack of interest as most sets were already based in Lagos. Abuja Branch replaced Kaduna Branch.
Technology played a major and positive role in enabling communication and cross-linking of various ICOBA Branches and Sets to associate and contribute to re-establishing the Days of Glory of our College.
While the college was still struggling with the bloated population, focus was firmly placed on the rehabilitation of degraded infrastructure and buildings. Early beneficiaries were, Angus Hall, College Chapel, Science Laboratories and ICOBA House, the ground floor of which was completed within 4 months in time for the Founders Day Anniversary of February 2004. During this period, the Endowment Fund for the college was also relaunched.
Mention must be made of the development and recompilation of the ICOBA Master Plan during this period. A document which today guides the infrastructural and academic developments of the college. Due to the adoption of the reviewed ICOBA 1984 Constitution, the tenure of the 6th President came to an end in September 2007.
2007 – 2011
The 7th President, Mr. Lanre Keleko O.I. 6870 was elected in September 2007 and he continued with the infrastructural development and the consolidation of the newly expanded ICOBA. Most remarkably, he spearheaded the presentation of the ICOBA Master Plan to the owners of the College and with the intervention of notable Old Igbobians.
The Supervising Bishops of the day accepted the plan and resolved to work with ICOBA to give more representation on the Board of Governors of the College and give us more input in the appointment of Principal Officers of the college to positively affect the academic performance of the students and to bring back the Traditions and Values of the college. Special mention must be made of the 7779 Set who arranged these meetings.
During this period, the Annual Christmas Dinner, which was an arrangement between a few sets, was taken over by ICOBA to encompass all sets and used as a fundraiser for our activities.
The 1st Annual Christmas Dinner was held on December 16, 2010 at the prestigious Lagos City Hall and it recorded outstanding success not only for its primary objective, but also for providing a platform for Old Igbobians to meet informally and exchange banters across all generations. It has become an event eagerly looked forward to by all Igbobians both within and outside the country.
2011 – 2015
In September 2011, the 8th President, Engr. Tunde Omololu Mufutau Ipaye O.I. 7375 (a.k.a. Murphy) was elected and over the next four years the infrastructural redevelopment of the college continued. The massive response from Old Igbobians of all sets and generations saw to that and the willingness to upgrade the College facilities virtually turned into a pleasant competitive race.
The top floor of the ICOBA House was embarked upon and completed with a major donation of N7,000,000 (Seven Million Naira Only) by the 5th President, Justice Duro Adebiyi O.I. 1943 and from the funds raised from the Annual Christmas Dinner.
The ICOBA House is an endowment to Igbobi College, pledged in 1987 to the Lagos State Government administration of the day, as an administrative block for the College inclusive of a room for ICOBA, hence the nomenclature “ICOBA House”.
Worthy of mention here is the immense effort put into the massive recruitment of younger sets into the ICOBA family during this period. Many sets were assisted in their formation and encouraged to start meetings, a few of their members were encouraged to join the Council to learn about the inner workings of ICOBA while others attended the National Executive Council meetings as observers.
In addition, each set passing out of the college was initiated into ICOBA after the Valedictory Service and given the colours of ICOBA. This is planting a seed which will germinate and thereafter blossom into full-fledged ICOBA Sets in the next 10 to 15 years.
Special symposia were commenced for sets in the 1980s to 1990s decades who in fact voluntarily requested to be enlightened about the Igbobi College Traditions and the Core Values which all Igbobians embody. This is a notable project which continues till today.
2015 – 2019
Our 9th President, Mr. Foluso Phillips O.I. 6870 was elected in September 2015 and he also continued with the infrastructural development of the college which saw the eventual reconstruction of access roads and drainages in the college compound. Our gratitude goes to prominent Old Igbobians who assiduously worked hard to make this happen.
Another major stride is the eventual signing of a renewed Memorandum of Understanding between the owners of the College with ICOBA as a prominent witness to solidify the working arrangement between the 2 Churches with respect to the management of the college.
This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) also encompasses the Infrastructural Master Plan, Academic and Staff Development, Recruitment Plan and the Administration of the College. This is a milestone that we still need to build upon to ensure the continuous improvement in the academic performance of the students in the college.
Worthy of mention are the innovative soft projects introduced by ICOBA during this period. The National Executive Council encouraged the Board of Governors to establish the Educational Master Plan (E. Q. M.) initiated by ICOBA Europe and the funding of the seed money required for the supply of tablets to all the students of Igbobi College, initiated by ICOBA North America.
This is a milestone that ICOBA has continued to build upon to ensure the continuous improvements of the academic performances of the students of Igbobi College.
2019 – Present
In September 2019, we ushered in our 10th President, Mr. Olumuyiwa Kinoshi O.I. 7274 in a very peaceful and celebratory ceremony despite the hiccups experienced following the rancor, which was generated by a desire to carry out another palace coup, by some younger sets. This phenomenon was nothing but an indication of the heights of success that ICOBA as an organization has attained.
The Presidency of ICOBA is now a worthy accolade to adorn one’s profile in the Nigerian space. However, ICOBA Board of Trustees resolved the tricky situation by instituting a Caretaker Committee with terms of reference germaine only to the situation at hand. Normalcy prevailed and the result was the calming of nerves and the eventual recognition of these prerequisites in members aspiring to the Presidency:
Willingness to provide selfless service as evidenced by historical antecedents on the ICOBA Council, Experience in the inner workings of the Council and Interpersonal relationship with members across many and diverse sets.
This experience led to the total and comprehensive review of the 1984 ICOBA Constitution. A new Constitution was unanimously approved at the 2020 AGM which was held in the virtual space over Zoom due to the prevailing Coronavirus Pandemic. A new world of virtual meetings then opened up for ICOBA and attendance and participations at meetings have skyrocketed.
ICOBA is now a much stronger and cohesive association after this experience.
Despite the Coronavirus Pandemic, which descended on the world in March 2020, the ICOBA National Executive Council has continued with the developmental works in the College and worthy of mention is the commencement of the Landscape Gardens and Alumni Commemorative Wall Project, the fundraiser for the Sports Complex Project.
Essentially, a spirited preparation is being made for the 90th Anniversary Founders’ Day of Igbobi College that comes up in February 2022.
Our 10th Presidency marches on.
Maxwell Olubode Thorpe O.I. 6365
-Chairman, ICOBA Board of Trustees
Tunde O. M. Ipaye O.I. 7375
-Past President, ICOBA