A retired lecturer, simply identified as Onamade, in an interview granted to The Punch, has revealed how, despite his lack of secondary education, worked his way up to become a tertiary institution lecturer.
He taught in higher institutions and reportedly served as Head of Department in Unilag.
Onamade, born at Ipara Remo in Ogun state on June 21, 1938, said his father, Alfred Onamade, was a farmer and palm-wine tapper while her mother, Esther Onamade, sold ‘ogi’ (pap).
According to him, growing up was not easy. He started primary education in 1944 at Wesley School, Ipara Remo.
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He didn’t attend secondary school. After finishing primary education in December 1952 at United School, Onamade spent a week at the Methodist Young Teachers’ Course in Sagamu and was supposed to be employed as a teacher after passing the course.
However, due to his little stature, he wasn’t offered a teaching job after passing the course. His small stature also worked against him in Ibadan as he could not get a sales representative job, which was very common then.
Onamade resorted to working as a newspaper vendor. He eventually secured a teaching job on January 1, 1955, at Methodist School, Ileogbo. He reportedly started teaching the year Obafemi Awolowo introduced free education in the western region.
In 1959, he later furthered his education at the Local Authority Teacher’s Grade 3 Training College in Iwo.
After the training, he was posted to the Local Authority Primary School, Ogun–Ajo Iwo, as the headmaster and was later transferred to LA School, Idiroko, Iwo, in 1961.
He was later admitted to the Joint Provincial Teachers’ Grade 11 College (IJABCOL) in Sagamu for a two-year course which he completed in 1963. He then worked at different schools including the Local Authority Modern School, Ogere Remo, and L. A. Modern School, Ode Remo.
After getting “tired of being a local champion” Onamade relocated to Lagos and became a class teacher at Methodist School in Olowogbowo, Lagos Island.
Due to his desire to have a university degree, he enrolled in evening classes introduced by the Lagos state government where students were tutored for GCE Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations.
He eventually took the GCE Advanced Level examinations and passed two papers – Yoruba and Economics.
He was already aged when he gained admission to study Yoruba/Pre-Primary and Primary Education at the University of Ibadan in 1976. He completed the programme in 1979.
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After leaving UI, he was posted to the Advanced Teachers’ College in Surulere, now Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, for the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.
After NYSC, the Lagos state government posted him to Methodist Girls High School in Yaba. After spending about two months there, he was recalled to lecture at Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education.
After completing his 35 years in service (1955 – 1989), he retired in December 1989 while he was still doing a Masters programme (in Curriculum Studies) at the University of Lagos. Upon completion of the degree in 1990, he was given a contract appointment by the institution’s authorities.
In 2001, Onamade left the university after 12 years of contract appointment and retired as the Head of the Department of Yoruba.
The retired lecturer said he felt pained that he didn’t attend secondary school.
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