In response to a post I had earlier published – Is King’s College, Lagos Still the Great, Good Old School? – the School Captain (SC) of the 2016/2017 set, TomaBari Kumbe, deemed it fit to do an interesting write up. Finally from a distance is a lens to see through. This will definitely give us an insight on the true situation of things in the good, old school. He said:
Each time I sing the third stanza of our School Song and encounter the line which rather audaciously reads, “Pointing to our honour which untarnished stands, Bright as when we took it from our founders’ hands”, I am compelled to think again to ensure I really know what I’m singing – that it is a verity and not mere fallacy.
I would literally ask myself, “Are you really sure it still stands untarnished or it has been blemished”. Well, I have every reason to ask. A million reasons in fact.
The King’s Spirit, with lyrics by Dr. F.G. Layton and music by Dr. John W. Ivimey is the school anthem (or school song as it is mostly called) of King’s College, Lagos. I heard it for the first time during my orientation as a new student, then, at the annex campus and immediately took delight in its harmonious progression. Right there, I adjudged it to be the handiwork of a maestro – a captivating and intelligent masterpiece, to say the least; but beyond its wonderful arrangement, one thing that got me stunned was its lyrics.
Carried away by the symphonic feel of the song, I hardly paid close attention to what was being sung initially. However, when I eventually saw the lyrics, I was all the more curious. After reading it through to myself, I sincerely could not wait to experience school life and explore all the possibilities King’s College would afford me.
It is obvious to anyone who comes across our school song, that it is very rich in content. In fact, for the pusillanimous student, it should be his compass as he sails on the troubled seas of life in King’s College.
Nonetheless, I take particular interest in the last stanza. I earlier made mention of the doubt that fills my being any time I sing that our honour still stands untarnished. This is because, in my opinion really, whether we choose to reckon with it or not, the fact remains that, today, we are not where we used to be.
Those outstanding feats that were noised across the whole nation which made parents consider the admission of their sons into King’s College something to kill for; those unique values of truth, honesty, obedience, integrity, patriotism and even chivalry that characterized Kingsmen, the discipline, poise, carriage and dignity that typified us, those rare displays of excellence whether in the class or on a cricket pitch, the resilient and relentless yet polite spirit that drove us – all these only made our honour shine brighter in candelas exceeding that recordable by a photometer and also went a long way in trumpeting forth our fame in decibels deafening enough to be heard a million miles away.
Yet sadly, over the years, the dignity and nobility of ‘the good old school’ has seemed to wane and has in reality, been smudged by the very people for which she was established.
Indeed like Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us”. Frankly, we have not lived up to the expectations of those who have gone before us. So what do we have today? A sorry sight in which “fapping” (stealing) is esteemed over “cracking” (academic excellence), truancy is preferred over fluency and stealing over tilling. Well, for those who try not to follow this sad trend, there is still adequate room for improvement.
We should not make a case for change in times, as that in itself is advantageous if examined carefully. We may argue that Nigerian parents still consider admission into our school as something to kill for but we can’t fool ourselves; there has been a decline.
However, this is no blame game session at all because we must admit that we are all culprits if we are to make any headway. I hope we will choose to see our wrongs and work together towards achieving our common goal of a more glorious, celebrated, wonderful, exceptional and outstanding college by simply doing things right, bearing in mind that King’s College is not a building. It is more correctly described as an unbreakable union of brothers with a common debt. So, if we do not define our goals and have a well-defined mental picture of what we hope to be, and how we hope to achieve what we want to be, then we are of all schools most miserable. That should not be us. Rather, in all we set our minds to do, our actions should be aligned with passing on an honour, devoid of any blemish or flaw so that anywhere, anytime, any day, we would be able to point boldly to it and confidently boast, in the present and to generations unborn, that it still agelessly stands untarnished.
School Captain, 2016/2017 Set,
King’s College, Lagos.