The administration of Dr. John Momoh OON, NPOM. has never prided itself as the one that has singlehandedly brought this great Alumni Association to its present glory, instead, it has consistently noted with humility, the foundational works that past administrations have had to put in in order to maintain its position as one of Africa’s leading Alumni associations while forging ahead to place it amongst world’s best.
A course we have not rested on oars to pursue vigorously.
It was in that spirit that we dug into our archives following Dr. Momoh’s agenda and searched for where we could contact our past leaders especially the Past Presidents in order to visit, appreciate them, and glean from their fountain of knowledge.
The quest paid off as we found the 5th National President of the University of Lagos Alumni Association (1982-84), under whose administration our alma mater received the biggest cheque ever as at then – a fire that ignited wonder and has not stopped till date.
It was a funfilled visit as he took the delegation down memory lane while also eagerly listening to how far we have gone with the course.
The Alumni delegation was led by the National Vice President 2, Hon. Bala Abdul, which also included the National Publicity Secretary, Mrs. Regina Chris-Ogbodo, Alumni Executive Secretary, Mrs. Yetunde Abatan, Alumni Relations Manager, Mr. Seun Badejo and Alumni Digital Media Officer, Jeremiah Olatinwo.
A bit about Mr. Gbolahan Karounwi Olufon, who insisted that titles were not his thing.
He was the 5th President of the UNILAG Alumni Association between 1982 and 1984.
After graduating with Law class of 1970 and working for a number of organisations, he became the first Company Secretary of CHASE Merchant Bank Limited, Nigeria’s first merchant bank, and rose to become the General Manager (Legal) of the bank.
Mr. Olufon who was so delighted to receive the delegation was full of praises and pride about our Alma mater. He relived his moments in UNILAG and the “outside world”. He spoke about his glowing career at various organisations including the Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Textile Mills, and Chase Merchant Bank.
Mr. Olufon revealed his role in the thwarting of the sale and winding up of the Nigeria Textile Mills, saving over 6,000 workers from becoming unemployed.
Although he is aged, as he celebrated his 76th birthday in July, he apparently hasn’t lost his wittiness and jovial nature. The entire visit was filled with laughter from his very great sense of humour. He asked each member of the delegation to introduce themselves and state specifically what they are doing and how they are contributing to the growth of the Association and by extension the University of Lagos.
To affirm that his heart is still with the association, upon welcoming the team to his living room, a copy of a 1983 edition of Unilag Graduate, a publication of the UNILAG Alumni Association was handed over to the leader of the delegation.
The publication was filled with stories and pictures of the activities of the association including the donation of a whopping sum of N.1m (One Hundred Thousand Naira) which left the then Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Akin Adesola in a daze.
“I am staggered”, Prof. Adesola had said as he read out the amount on the cheque he held.
It was the first time in the history of the university for such a huge donation to be made by the association.
The 76-year old ex-bank executive-turned-real estate mogul also spoke glowingly of the National President (Worldwide), Dr. John Momoh, OON, NPOM. He noted that as a senior citizen, he only watches TV every day and has just two favourite stations – CNN and Channels TV. He added that he is proud that Channels, a world-class media conglomerate is the brainchild of a UNILAG Alumnus.
As it is the custom of the association when such visits are made, Mr. Olufon was decorated with the Alumni badge by the National Publicity Secretary Mrs Chris-Ogbodo and also presented with the Constitution of the Association by the National Vice President 2, Mr Bala Abdul.
After the refreshments, the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni award, did not let his cousin Mrs. Henshaw who was present during visit, to go without a “jab” as he boasted to her – an alumna of OAU, Ife (and also a lawyer), that a UNILAG graduate will trump an IFE product any day of the week.
A verbal invitation, to be followed by a formal one, was extended to the Past President to our upcoming annual general meeting. He gladly accepted praying that he’d be fit on that day a prayer which all members of the delegation chorused an ‘Amen’ to.
These visits will be extended to as many of our past leaders as we can contact as it remains one of the avenues Mr President Dr John Momoh OON, NPOM, intends to use to galvanize the association.
Greatest Akokites !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Nat. Pub. Sec.