Every education-valuing parent knows that it comes at a cost, and they are ever prepared to break themselves for it! 

At Dowen, parents of boarding students in their dormitory parted with 3 milliom naira per term, far above what many in my generation spent on the entire course of their education; from primary education to first degree, and the generation before mine paid no dime under the old Western Nigeria Compulsory education schemes of Obafemi Awolowo led Government! 

Lagos is taunted to be modeled after the Sage style of leadership, and those presiding over the affairs of the State now were beneficiaries of Lateef Jakande free qualitative education. We should ask the Legislative head of Lagos, our dear Mr Speaker, RT Hon Mudasiru Obasa, how much his parents spent at Saka Tinubu Memorial High School in five years to give him what is costing Parents at Dowen 54 million. Let’s turn to the head of the Judiciary, Justice Kareem Alogba, and remind him that his parents didn’t have to break a bank to get him the education which today privileged him to be the Chief Administrator of Justice to over 20 million people! 

If Sanwo-Olu owes Lagos anything, it is not “owo” (money) but safe health delivery, aggresive housing for all and particularly education, the quality he got for the price at which it was given! Should we not wonder why education is as expensive as it is today under leaders who paid next to nothing for it?

If the resources at the disposal of Lagos State Government today were available to the Government of Lateef Kayode Jakande, I am sure he would have offered Kano State 3.7 million street wandering children opportunity for free education, but, all our Lagos can see of those children in Kano today is what they can make out of their thumbs through political alliance with the dollar stuffing rogues who are busy working to increase the statistics of out of school children! 

Dowen incident is nothing less of a calamity. How can one justify spending so much to purchase death for one’s child?

Emotion has taken the better part of us since the news broke at Dowen, and the earlier we change route of this inevitable walk, the better for us! This is not a trip in dictate of emotion. 

 Yes! We have all agreed to walk, we therefore must set our course on reasoning to overcome the inevitable regret that acting out of emotion offers! 

Let’s set the tone for our agreements. We need to substitute emotion with reasoning, if an end must be found to the heartless monster that our absence as parents from the lives of our children is making of them! 

The higher the value of education we desire for our children, the more likely we are possibly not going to be available. The gap is driven so wide that many things are consumed in the process. Our time is gulped to earn more to pick the bill. Many marriages are scattered and much more are patching. At the receiving end of marital hostilities and failure are our children! 

We have tried to blame the 5 dormitory “killers” at Dowen for what we are responsible for. How do I mean? In one of the many revelations that Dowen has become, a viral video of a zoom meeting surfaced where a Guardian and Counseling Teacher was speaking, he said he left Dowen for another school because of lack of supervision of the students in the boarding house. We need to ask for his letter of resignation to see the reasons stated therein. How can a professional in such strong support field for growing healthy, mentally stable students bow out on flimsy excuse in such a manner? He should tell us what the offer from the other school was. This is no time for us to hide behind our little fingers. We all must come out clean on this!

He was of course interrupted by an emotion eaten up mother, who asked why it took 9 years for him to speak up! she spoke of her luck, her son went through same torture but survived it, but Sylvester was not as lucky. Really! Sylvester is the lucky one, all of us rather are the unlucky! We are mind-ridden by the trauma of his exit, which may last a life time for some! Our little Angel, Sylvester is resting with the Lord while a whole nation is unsettled at the situation! 

An untreated traumatised teenager is a Terrorists in the making! The consequences of what we have on our hands hasn’t dawn on us! Very unfortunate, but the murder in the domitory was a product of an untreated chain of terror unleashed on juniors by senior Students. This tradition is as old as the boarding system of education. Those senior Students didn’t invent what they meted. We must be gentle with them if we sincerely hope to end the evil circle! As students, we look forward to becoming senior students in hope of doing to junior students more than our seniors did to us, but unfortunately may not draw the line when we should! They should, because the action is coming from a trauma scar in the subconscious! This is simply what got out of hands at Dowen Domitory because checks and balances in the system are completely eroded! 

How many healthy looking but psychologically damaged children do we have on her hands? Sons like the one whose mother counted lucky to have gone through what killed another without a single session with a psychologist?  

Trauma treatment practice and surgeons are practically none existent in our smart city, yet we have a traumatising system that has brutalised millions of our citizens left untreated! 

Truth is ever bitter and hard to swallow, but I will howbeit serve it to us by relieving my days in the boarding house! I was admitted into Christ Apostolic Grammar School, Iperu Remo in 1979 as a day student because my father was then working at the Ministry of Social Development (Community Department) Shasha, Iperu Remo, Ogun State. Life at Shasha will distract us from the direction of this article, let’s leave it for another day! 

I was barely a year in the school when my father was transferred and I had to be changed to a boarding student! “Cultism”, as we apply it in Dowen’s case existed back then in those days. You are as free from harassments as who your school father was and the circle he belonged! 

My father handed me over to Senior Mukaila, a name in Islam meaning, “rain angel”. Wherever that angel is today I can’t tell, but, he sure saved me from many troubles but graduated me into many privileges too weird for a boy my age at that time. In no time, I was spotted out for unimaginable tantrums for which I was recommended for a transfer to the private hostel being run by our then Principal, Mr Shokoya who was living in Ilisan and had adjourning buildings to his house serving as dormitory for close monitoring of students from Apollo and other neighboring schools. Boarding facilities was very fashionable in Remo in those days, owing, I believe to the success story of Mayflower School Ikene, pioneered by late renowned educationist Dr Tai Solarin! 

Ration at the Principal’s hostel was better than what it was at the school, same for all dormitory services, though my parents of course were paying a little more! But neither their payment nor the skills of monitoring of our Principal will erase the foolish tendencies inherent in children! 

Prov. 22:15 (ISV)

A child’s heart has a tendency to do wrong, but the rod of discipline removes it far away from him! 

Parents who were in boarding schools as students in the 70s and 80s, should know what is called kite flying. Please, we need to break our pretences to face what we have on our hands with open conscience! 

I flew a kite during siesta that almost cut off the cap of another boy in the hostel, the longest tread in kite history, it took me 3 days to wire it and an hour thirty minutes for them to discover my hiding place! None of the students thought about cutting the rope to save the victim. They were much more interested in catching the “criminal”, by this time Oluwole, if I get the name right was already bleeding profusely. He could have died if help didn’t come on time! But help came when Pa Shokoya came. He cut the tread and asked where is Lanre? A boy from Liberia who was attending a neighbouring school but was in our Principal’s hostel! Lanre’s creativity in tantrums was second to none. His deep rooted foolishness during moment of rough play could end a life, but for close monitoring, nobody died while I shared a bed with him! With Lanre’s presence, a roll call was the option and yours truly was the only one not found! Obviously, the only boy missing must be the person pulling the kite string, though when it was cut I felt it from the pull but had no reason to be worried because I felt I will be untraceable! 

Kite, was never flown to kill but to savour the sight of an adolescent erection. But, I tied it too tight not considering size! Once erected, the tread then began to cut into my friend’s organ skin and the tendons! 

I will never forget the beatings I received for the offence, nor the word that preceded it and the session with the Principal that followed. But children at Dowen are too big to be beaten. The comment of an ex Teacher asking to remain anonymous, alleged he left because he was humiliated for punishing a boy who was inserting his finger into another boys anal. Will those of us who went through boarding schools deny the existence of same sex practices? 

I didn’t return back to the hostel after the holidays because my Aunt Mrs Stella Olubunmi Oyegbami offered me a safe haven in Lagos! 

Boarding house completely altered my life and thinking, and this will eventually tell on me. About a year after I left the hostel, I tried to connect back with my old school mate, I asked about Lanre and was told he committed a murder by mistake during one of those moments of rough play! 

Non-existence of Parents and Management interactive forum contributed to the aggravation of the debacle at Dowen Domitory! 

Home or in school, children are meant to be closely watched over! 

While we are still mourning one who principally was a victim of societal negligence, more than the senior Student in whom we have found an alibi of excuse for our failure as parents and the society, news broke on Saturday, 4th December 2021 from Badagry of EIGHT (8) children found dead in a Lexus SUV, parked in front of the owner’s house at Adelayo Street, Agunaje, along Badagry Express Way, still in our Lagos!

The eight were said to have mistakenly locked themselves in the abandoned car while playing, the vehicle reportedly has a child lock feature and could only be opened from outside! They were said to be between the ages of four and six. Who should be blamed for their death, the child who led them to the car for them all to get in and unable to get out or the society that can’t maintain a strict policy on abandoned vehicles? Should we blame the 8 who didn’t tell their parents where they were going or the parents who couldn’t dot over the heritage of God in their care?

As if we are yet to meet our target for the number of our children that must be sacrificed, on Monday the 7th of December, our children were slain like ritual animals, an unconfirmed source said 12 students in school uniform were ran over by a utility vehicle in Ogba on Tuesday the 7th day of December 2021 in Ojodu grammar school axis of Ifako Ijaiye local government council and Ojodu local development council area of Lagos state, an eye witness said the driver was allegedly trying to escape from VIS officials check at Ojodu and was reported to have run into some students at grammar school Ojodu. Our smart city is still been run like a jungle, where drivers are chased around in the name of inspection endangering lives of innocent pedestrians in the process. Who should be blamed for this; the students killed, the stupid driver or the hopeless leaders who know how things run in other clime but keep us stuck to the past because it guarantees illicit flow of funds to oil the corruption.

The reason Akinwunmi Ambode kicked them off the road must be visited! How much did Lagos lose in terms of revenue while they stayed off? Safety must be valued above revenue generation. Our walk for safety, security and justice for our children is inevitable. All nuisance, accident and death causing agencies of government should be off the road till a none life threatening means of inspection of vehicle is found.

Children, the Bible says are the Heritage of the Lord. An heritage speaks of the most priced possession! Not in terms of monetary worth but of attention. How much did we pay to have them? God is far more interested in the priority we give to them and the attention that accompany that!

He gave us children, but at home, we left them in care of nannies, maids, house boys, drivers and security to allow us hustle to build an empire they may never be able to manage let alone sustaining! 

Fathers and mothers from whom their DNA are drawn are better equipped to help them through challenging moments of growth but most of us may never be there when they need us! But having provided money, we are shamelessly putting the blame on hired hands to whom God didn’t give their charge! 

Not even Jesus, who knew no sin was free from the sneaking nature of adolescent at getting out of sight. At age 12, after the celebration at Jerusalem was over for his parents and it was time to go back to Nazareth, the fun was just beginning for young Jesus, to catch some more he sneaked out on his parents to get back to the temple! 

The parents walked back to where they felt they must have left him. We have long left our children behind through our different pursuits and hustling! It is time for us as parents to come together and take this all important walk back for the sake of saving our children who are the heritage of God!

Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi is an Apostle and a Strategic Communicator, majoring on Revival and Revolution. The BID as he is often called by fans is available for speaking engagements.