Again, Parents Protest, Beg Sanwo -Olu Not To Relocate Odogunyan Community Junior School To Another Community

Kunle Adelabu

-Our children will start boycotting classes from Monday if our request not granted – Parents

-Govt has stopped the relocation – Ministry of Education

Parents of students in Odogunyan Community Junior Grammar School, Odogunyan, Ikorodu, have, again, pleaded with the Governor of Lagos State, to retain the school within the Odogunyan mmunity and also return their children ftom where they have been dispersed to, since about three years.

While appealing to the government to consider the economic hardship on the parents, the stress that the young children are going through and accidents that have occurred while the children were going far distance to attend school, the parents also threatened to ordered their children to stop going to other schools that they have been dispersed to, starting from Monday.

The aggrieved parents resolved at these at their enlarged meeting during the week which was held within the school premises. Over 300 parents attended the meeting with the leadership of the Parents’ Forum, Ikorodu Division.

Students of JSS 3 of the school, have been receiving lessons at the Ikorodu High School, Apeka, Ikorodu, while JSS 2 students were relocated to Ahmaddiyah Primary School, Odogunyan, and the JSS 1 students taken to the Odogunyan Community Senior Grammar School, Odogunyan, since a state of emergency was declared in the school due to the threatening nature of some buildings.

The recent protests by the parents started when it was allegedly discovered that government was planning to permanently retain the students of Odogunyan Community Junior Grammar School, at the Ikorodu High School, Apeka.

It was also gathered that the contract for the construction of a new block of classrooms to accommodate the students at the Ikorodu High School, had already been awarded.

Meanwhile, the Head, Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Mr Ganiyu Lawal, speaking with our reporter yesterday, said that the decision to relocate the school from Odogunyan, has been reversed.

Mr Jenrade Mokolade, Ikorodu Divisional Chairman, Parents’ Forum, speaking at the meeting, said that they had gathered to appeal to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to reconsider the decision to permanently relocate students of the Odogunyan Community Junior Grammar School, to the Ikorodu High School, because, according to him, it is a community school and that such decision would deny the original host (Odongunyan) access to education.

“When we say that we want our junior school, back in this community, what we are saying is that it must be by the senior school that is still within the community, we cannot fathom the reason for retaining the senior school and the primary school beside it and decided to move the junior school to another community”, he said.

“If there is flood as we are all aware, there should be way to solve that, because people have been building on swampy areas and there are ways of ensuring that.

“You cannot say that you are giving us free education and at the same time, move away our school. If you say that you want to satisfy this community and you are taking away its infrastructures from them to another community, that would not be acceptable enough. This is the only school serving this community.

“We are not questioning the government over whoever they award the contract to, but what we are clamouring for is that we want the best building for our students in this community, in order to enjoy the free education that they are promising us”, he said.

The parents’ forum leader, who said that the school, which is the only secondary school serving Odogunyan and many other communities, is not enough, charged the Governor to consider the economic hardship on the parents, concerning the cost of sending their children to school far from the community, on daily basis, if the decision is not reversed.

“If they are saying that this compound (Odogunyan Community Junior Grammar School) is not appropriate for building, let them construct classrooms in the senior school. This single school is not even enough to accommodate our children, but we are appreciating them”, Mr Jenrade said.

“And, considering the economic hardship in the country, how do you want parents to continue to deal with that”, he asked rhetorically.

Executives of the parents’ forum and parents of students of Odogunyan Community Junior Grammar School at the meeting.

“At the moment, we don’t know their (government) plans, but we are aware that they are no longer going ahead with the building that they planned (to build for our children at the Ikorodu High School, Apeka) for our children.

“What we want in Odogunyan is that this community must have its secondary school (junior) back. Our community school should not be taken to another community, because Apeka is another community and you don’t expect people here to take their children to far distance to educate them”.

He said that the decision to relocate the school from Odoguntan to another community, is a disservice to the community and denial of access to education.

Mr Jenrade, who said that he knows that the Governor is not aware about the decision, also added that, he is sure that the decision would be reversed once Governor Sanwo – Olu is fully aware of the parents’ concern.

“And, if they take it away from here, it is a total disservice to this community and to us as electorates that are voting for the party in government. So, we deserve free education and we are imploring them not to turn the free education to another thing”, he said.

“We cannot be living here (Odogunyan) and ask our children to go to school in Apeka. That means that the education is no longer free. We are pleading with them to reconsider the decision, more so, that we are the ones that elected them. They are to serve us, and we want them to do that diligently.

Cross section of parents at the meeting

“One thing that I know about our Governor, Mr Sanwo – Olu, is that he has listening ears. He always redresses whenever things are not being properly done, and we know that he will do the needful in this instance.

“This is being delayed because we have not been able to get across to the Governor directly. Those that decided to build the school for our children elsewhere, are doing that on their own, and we can see that he has ordered them to discontinue it. We are using this medium to speak directly to Mr Governor on the need for our school to be retained in Odogunyan”, he said.

He reiterated reasons for parents’ protest against the decision, while also stating that they have resolved that their children should boycott classrooms starting from Monday, September 18, 2023, if the government refused to return the school to Odogunyan community.

The Divisional Chairman of the Parents’ Forum also pleaded with the government to ensure that the school is rebuilt in Odogunyan, in good time, while stating that the forum is assured that the government would retain the school in Odogunyan.

“This school must be returned to serve this community, because parents that are lamenting the economic hardship, cannot afford to send their children to school in another community. A parent living at Fakale will have to spend N1500 to send a single child to school, what about those with three?”, he asked rhetorically.

“Even those living in Odo – Nla, Oje Ijebu, Agodangbon and other communities, are still lamenting sending their children to Odogunyan, and now they want them to send their children to far distance.

Mrs Ajayi Jemilat

“We have recorded lots of accidents in the course of sending our children to school in far distance, and we don’t want to experience that again. That’s why we are pleading that our school should be returned to Odogunyan. This is when we will know that we have not labour in vain in voting for the APC.

“If this is not done, parents have resolved that we would ask our children to stay back at home by Monday, if there is no communication that they have returned our school to Odogunyan. Our children, from JSS One to Three, would be asked to sit back at home.

“But we have assurance that the government would return our school to our community, and we are assured that our Governor, Mr Sanwo – Olu, has been hearing about us based on the reports in the news medium, and we are also pleading that the reconstruction of the school in Odogunyan, should not exceed 5 to 6 months to be completed.

“It can even be faster than that. We also want them to make it an habitable environment for our children”, Mr Jenrade pleaded.

One of the parents at the meeting, Alhaji Sulaimon Arije, who spoke with THE IMPACT, also pleaded with the Governor to look into the complaints by the parents who said that they are suffering with their students going to far distance to learn, since they were dispersed to other schools, due to the bad state of buildings at the Odogunyan Community Grammar School.

“We are here to plead with our amiable Governor, to return our school to Odogunyan. We want to see action within one week. There is nothing wrong with this place for a school. If they cannot build it here, they can still accommodate the school within the senior secondary school where we have large expanse of land”, he said.

One of the distressed buildings.

“We are suffering too much, and our children are dying because they want to have good education.

“We voted massively for the party. They have lots of votes during the last elections in Odogunyan. They should not let us suffer because we want our children to go to school. We are begging the government to look into our pains.

“The government should come here and build the school for us. They should come here on Monday, to hear from us about how our children are suffering. This government is ours and that is why we are here today to beg the Governor, because we know that he is a listening father and a merciful Governor.

“He too had been a student and a youth before. If he has had an accident with his leg damaged, how would he have become the Governor? So, before we continue to lose our children, we are begging the Governor to listen to our plea”, Alhaji Arije said.

Hon. (Mrs) Lydia Ayo Agoro, former Supervisory Councilor, Special Duties & Market Affairs, Ikorodu North LCDA, also speaking, said that parents and the entire community are pleading with the Governor, on behalf of the hundreds of students in the school, to rebuild the school at Odogunyan Community Grammar School.

“We are here to beg our Governor that our children in Odogunyan Junior Grammar School are really suffering. We were here last year to solicit on behalf of our children, for infrastructures, and I was surprised to still see Jakande blocks as classrooms in this age and civilization in Lagos State “, she said.

“Since then, we have been writing to the Commissioner for Education and LSUBEB to come to our aid.

“It has been real sufferings going to and returning from the Ikorodu High School where the children have been posted to, and many parents cannot afford the cost of transport, and now that the subsidy is no more, it has been very difficult.

“We are using this opportunity to seek the interventions of the Governor and the Commissioner. We want them to come to our aid. We have lost many students to accidents, while some sustained severe injuries caused by fatal accidents, while going or coming back from school they were posted to . Please, our able Governor, we are begging you to come to our aid”, she pleaded.

The Financial Secretary of the Parents’ Forum, Odogunyan Community Grammar School, Mrs Ajayi Jemilat whose two children were involved in a very serious accident some months back on their way to school, said that parents have been coming together to sustain the school, because it is a community school.

While stating that the school is not even enough for the community, Mrs Ajayi also requested that government should provide more schools in Odogunyan community, to cater for the large number of residents in the area.

“About four months ago, two of my children – Ajayi Zainab and Ajayi Ramatullahi, had very serious accidents on their way to the school. We had to take them to the Orthopedic Hospital at Gbobi. We than God that they are now walking”, she said.

“I have been in this school for the past six years, and one of my children just concluded his SSCE. The other two are now in SSS 1 and JSS I, so, I have been involved in virtually everything that has happened in this school. There were times that we had to come to this school, to rescue students from the flood.

“This is a community school, so, it is not possible for a government to remove such to another community. This is a school that is not even enough to serve the populace. This is a school that we have up to 150 students in a class. We have been the one that would come together as parents to donate our little pennies to repair the roof, cut grasses and get more hands to work for the school. We have done a lot for this school.

“We lost a former Principal of the school to stress, because he always complained of BP due to the stress in the school. At the end, the man died after a short illness. We have witnessed a lot of tragedy, and now the government is saying that they want to remove the school and take it to the Ikorodu High School, whereas, it has not even serve the populace here.

“We have many communities like Ogijo, Ita – Oluwo, Igode, Fakale, Igbosoro, Odo – Nla and Imuti among others, that the school is serving. We need government to help us establish more schools in this areas, and not to take the only one that we have”, she said.

Other parents that spoke at the meeting also pleaded with Gov. Sanwo – Olu to ensure that the school is retained within the Odogunyan Community.

Mr Ganiyu Lawal, Head, Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, speaking with THE IMPACT, said that relocation of the Odogunyan Community Junior Grammar School, to the Ikorodu High School, Apeka, Ikorodu, has been stopped and that the school will either be rebuilt at the Odogunyan Junior School’s premises, or at the senior school’s compound.

“The position now is that the relocation has been stopped. They are going back to Odogunyan”, he said.

“It’s either that the school is rebuilt inside the Odogunyan Junior Community Grammar School, or at the Odogunyan Senior Grammar School where there is still large expanse of land.

“I can confirm to you that the relocation has been stopped, and the school will be retained at Odogunyan. The old structures within the junior school would be demolished and new ones built for them at Odogunyan. But the main issue is that, the relocation has been stopped”, Mr Ganiyu re-emphasised.

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