IGSOSA Honours Ayoola, Belgore
By Fabian Ozor, Senior Correspondent, Daily Independence, Lagos
It was a gathering of who is who in the country, especially in judicial circles of both retired and serving, as Ilesa Grammar School Old Students Association (IGSOSA) honoured two eminent Nigerians. The programme was a reception for two legal luminaries, current chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Justice Emmanuel Olayinka Ayoola, and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Salihu Affa-Belgore.
Prominent among those who attended the Saturday night reception are the two honorees with a cream of friends and associates mostly serving and retired justices of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Federal and state High Court judges.
Others include Justice Kayode Eso, Chief Sonny Odogwu, the Ide Ahaba, who is the current president of the old students; Deacon Gamaliel Onosode, Mr. Olu Olowokere, Kalu Idika Kalu, former Minister of Finance; Mr. Akintola Williams, Oba of Ijesaland, Dr. Adekunle Aeomolare; Pa J.O. Olatunbosun, and the Consular General of U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. E.L. Brown.
Also in attendance were former Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Wale Omole; current Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe, and others too numerous to mention.
In a welcome address, Chief Sonny Odogwu said the presence of distinguished Nigerians at the occasion was a testimony of great combination of the two men they were honouring.
According to him, Belgore and Ayoola had brought their intellect to the Nigerian judiciary, and expressed joy that old students of the school were occupying various top positions in the world.
Odogwu said their appointments were on merit due to sound academic and character education they got from the secondary school in those days, adding that the motto of the school is "Humility and Character." "We are proud that Justice Ayoola heads the ICPC, while Belgore heads the judiciary. These are two powerful positions in the heart of Nigeria and could change the social fabric of this country. The appointments into these exalted posts are a tribute to excellence as its own best reward, he said.
Justice Kayode Eso, who chaired the event, described the school as a great institution that has produced great Nigerians. He said the Chief Justice had said he would remove all obnoxious laws inhibiting people from airing their views and expressed hope that he achieves his goal.
Responding, the ICPC chairman said he felt taller when he saw the cream of Nigerians at the reception and the dignitaries Ilesa Grammar School had produced.
"During our school days we learnt to be self-reliant and to make something out of nothing," he said, and thanked the old students association for the reception.
Belgore in a short response traced the circumstances that led to his attending secondary education at Ilesa, having come from the northern part of Nigeria and the popular emirate family of Ilorin. He said he remained grateful to those who decided that he should go to Ilesa Grammar School, saying it was a good school.