In his bid to improve the lives of his subjects, the monach of Oke-Ila, Osun State, Oba Adedokun Abolarin has established a college known as Abolarin College, where over 50 students are already studying and acquiring creative knowledge free of charge with three square meals daily.
The unique feature of the college is that it is only designed for the children of the poor people in the society and has vowed not to bring in the children of the wealthy people because he observed that the children of the rich would destroy the legacy in all ramifications.
Another interesting aspect of the college is that the monarch did not limit the intake to his community, but extended it to every Nigerian that from a poor home within and outside the country. The traditional ruler pointed out that youths are the leaders of tomorrow and they have their own lives to live and they can contribute to the socio, economic, political and religious development of their respective communities if they are educated at the right time. The students are also taught handcraft daily, which has made them creative; this is done in collaboration with the Centre for Transformation and Empowerment Initiative, headed by Mrs. Lola Wey, the Executive Director.
Considering that leadership positions are being used by privileged persons to live in affluence without recourse to the downtrodden, the only source of worry to the monarch is how to raise indigent children and make them responsible citizens and future leaders.
Abolarin, who believes the throne is a missionary work meant to touch the lives of the subjects, said the best way to sustain such legacy is to secure a better tomorrow for the upcoming youths through education which he described as light and a potential machinery for development.
While commenting on the pedigree of the school, Abolarin said: “The Abolarin College is the beginning of a life time legacy that would no doubt raise the consciousness of the children of this generation to the quality standard of education that we enjoyed in our time. I hope they will take advantage of this legacy optimally for a better tomorrow.”
When the Osun State deputy governor, Mrs Grace Titilayo-Tomori visited the school, she remarked: “I am highly impressed with this great school established by our erudite Kabiyesi, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, the Orangun of Oke-Ila. The students are all from poor homes but he has transformed their lives with the provision of this high school which beats the standard of any private schools in Nigeria.
“The students are happy and looking healthy and attentive. I wish many rich and comfortable Nigerians could emulate our kabiyesi by replicating this type of school all over our states and country. On behalf of the governor, and all of us in the state I say a big thank you, kabiyesi.”
Oba Abolarin while stressing that the school is opened to all irrespective of religion or tribe, he said; “It is not about being a Christian or Muslim. It is not about nepotism, neither is it restricted to Yoruba children nor children from my home town. It is about any less privileged child around who is willing to be educated. That is why the only criteria for admission is poverty,” he said. On how admission is conducted, Abolarin said qualified education consultants go to public schools in the state to sample indigent students after which they would conduct two rounds of selection examinations for them and do the final selection for admission. “It is those that do well in the exams that are admitted into the college.
“We are hoping that the rural poor children from other parts of the federation would be given the opportunity when the school begins to expand. In fact, that has already begun because we already have a student from Abraka in Delta State.”
With a view to carving a niche for the students in the area of employment, he also disclosed that skills acquisition and vocational studies are parts of the school’s curriculum, adding that very soon, the students would be taught vocations such as bead making, cake baking, hat making, dry cleaning, photography, fashion designing, among others to bridge the gap in the area of employment.
He said the students are also being encouraged to show interest in agriculture. “We have a school farm where the students are being prepared foragriculture. Even, some of the foods they eat in the boarding house are procured from the school farm.”
On funding, the monarch said the good work would be noticed by kind-hearted Nigerians, corporate organisations, governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria and in the diaspora “with the hope that they would extend help to us to be able to sustain the legacy and even take it to the next level.
“We need help because what we are doing is in the interest of the generality of Nigerians. We are using the school to promote peace, grow communities, stop growth and emergence of future vagabonds, criminals and miscreants that could give problems to the country in future. “We are also trying to protect the rights of the children from the rural poor. For instance, teenage poor girls suffer a lot of oppression through rape and teenage pregnancy. Government alone cannot address the case. That is why, as an ambassador of the rural poor, I decided to actualise this dream.
“We all need to use our privileges to salvage this country from decadence and bring the rural poor to a pedestal where they won’t be forced to envy our privileges and antagonise us as kidnappers, robbers as Boko Haram are doing today.”
The monarch continued: “The Abodurin College is trying to protect the children of the rich from being consumed by the anger of the children of the poor.” He said he is fulfilled and happy with what he is doing, which he described as a passion.