Abolarin College in Oke-Ila Orangun in OsunState was established by the Orangun Abolarin Aroyinkeye Foundation (OAAF), a charity foundation set up by a Yoruba monarch, Oba Adedokun Abolarin. The school was set up to fight poverty through education and strictly for indigent students of Nigeria‘Ninu ikoko dudu, ni eko funfun tin jade’
Tucked in the hills of Oke Ila Orangun, Osun State southwest Nigeria, a silent revolution is happening. Oke-Ila is a town of between 8000 – 10,000 people, mostly agrarian. This Yoruba town is home to what is blossoming into a citadel of excellence.
Hundreds of students in number and growing, those who the Nigerian State has failed, abandoned and forgotten are gradually becoming the headstones in the corner. Away from the motor parks and streets where they previously hawked pepper, sachet water, fruits etc. and from the farms where the young minds toiled under the hot sun weeding, planting and making mounds. Orphans, hawkers, child labourers, delinquents, sons of farmers, petty traders, and the homeless sit side by side in averagely equipped classrooms of Abolarin College in their neat uniforms and clean environment listening, and learning. Abolarin College was founded by the Oba Adedokun Omoniyi Abolarin, the Oragun of Oke-Ila, State of Osun. All the students are boarders and both tuition and accommodation are totally free. Not a dime is paid for anything by the wards or their parents.Oba Adedokun Abolarin is the enigmatic change agent driving this much needed social intervention. A highly respected academic, Oba Abolarin holds three degrees from a reputable Nigerian tertiary institution – a law degree, a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in International Relations, all from Obafemi Awolowo University.
Prior to his installation as the Orangun Oke–Ila in 2006, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, was a Professional Lawyer licensed to practice law in the Supreme Court of Nigeria, a principal partner of Dokun Abolarin & Co; a law firm based in Abuja. He once worked at Tell Publications, Pacific Holdings, Peachtree Communications Ltd, Sportsmark International among other international firms as Executive secretary.The focus of Abolarin College (full boarding) is offering free and qualitative education to poor and indigent students. Set in the picturesque settings of the lush green hills and valleys of OKE-ILA, these young spirited minds, economically disenfranchised and socially disadvantages, are being given a new lease of life, opportunities and at the barest minimum a predictable pathway to an empowered future.The students before joining the school were in dire need of real care and guidance. Most of these kids have been abandoned by the system and, in most cases, by their families, making the school the only place of hope to escape the turmoil and hardship they have had to endure.
The Kabiyesi is more than the owner of the school to them. Apart from teaching the students Government and History, he offers, mentorship, counselling, leadership, fatherhood and more than anything else, friendship. A few minutes with the students and one cannot help but see in them the Omoluabi values that is gradually being entrenched into their DNA.The school places emphasis on the values of hard work, goal setting, self-reliance, honesty, team work, self-confidence, physical and spiritual growth, and academic excellence.
An oasis in the desert, Abolarin College is specifically tailored to offer indigent students quality education and offers a template on how education can be used as a ticket out of poverty.Transformational Leaders Group is currently planning to work with Abolarin College to unlock the space for value. We are willing to work with the private sector in identified areas of mutual possibilities, work together to mitigate the hurdles that they face, and to optimally harness the opportunities within both Nigeria and abroad.We have predicated our case for critical support on the necessity for the Abolarin College to flourish as a center of excellence.
The sustainability of the Abolarin College must be seen as a cumulative process, with everyone playing his or her role. It is beyond what Government alone can do and the future of the College cannot be left to chance or providence. The time for collective and determined action has never been so urgent.Now is the time for every concerned stakeholder from within Nigeria and the Diaspora to join forces to support the Abolarin College. The college signposts a future filled with possibilities in building Western Nigeria of our dream.
Creating a community of interests around Abolarin College within the local and global environment is important to the success of the hard working and conscientious learners and their tutors. Abolarin College may well do with more resources, strategic collaborators and partners. Educating young minds out of poverty requires generous public spirit, philanthropic commitments, enough of which can be accessed even within our local environment.Kabiyesi, Oba Abolarin may have sparked the fire, it behoves on the rest of us to keep the flame burning.
Babcock University, Chief Wale Babalakin, First Bank PLC are some of those who have been generous to the Abolarin College in terms of support. Support has come in many forms such as hostel blocks, uniforms, books, laboratory equipments etc.On behalf of Abolarin College, we don Oliver Twist’s hat and ask for more. More books, more uniforms, more laboratory equipment, more everything. We make a special case for ICT and internet equipment.Transformational Leaders Group salutes Kabiyesi Oba Adedokun Abolarin for helping redirect the energy of these young boys and girls towards positive values, productive activities, and guiding them into a future filled with hope and aspirations, where they look forward to grabbing every opportunity thrown at them, and realizing their full potential as human beings.