While the storm arising from the planned demolition of Fakunle High School in Oshogbo to make room for the setting up of a Shop Rite Mall has yet not settled, a policy of school reclassification by the Aregbesola administration may be instigating another crisis in Osun State.
In the scheme of school reclassifications announced by the Osun State Government, there are now three schools: the elementary, middle school and high schools.
The purported reclassification formula however, despite informing the demolition of a high school, introduces the merger of most of schools in the State.
Some of the merged schools are faith-based, and their proprietors have publicly declared their disagreement with the merger plan.
One of the Christian denominated Schools, Baptist High School, recently shut its gates against the new students distributed to them upon resumption as a way of expressing its indignation. The closure was followed by a mild protest with banners and placards, which bore messages of disapproval of the merger policy.
Some of the Christian-denominated schools were basically for same-gender students, but the schools’ say of the merger policy displaces the sanctity of their moral preserves.
In addition to the resistance of the schools to the idea, the Osun State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on October 7 wrote to the State Government that it totally rejects the plan.
In a letter to Governor Rauf Aregbesola, CAN stressed that the foundation of the Christian faith is threatened by the policy and that its members in the State would not compromise on resisting it.
The correspondence, signed by the Osun State Chairman of CAN, Rev Elisha O. Ogundiya, demanded an immediate stop to the implementation of the merger policy, a reversal of the mixture of both genders in the same-sex schools, and the return of all mission schools to their founders.
The Association gave seven-day ultimatum to the Governor to work on their demands, following which they threatened other actions.
SaharaReporters learned that Fakunle High School, which is to give way for a Shop Rite Mall, although not operated as a Christians-only school, was founded by a Christian missionary, Reverend Pa. Ade Fakunle in 1956, before it was taken over by the Osun State Government in 1975.
The demand by the Osun State CAN that the government return missionary schools to their founders may be informed by the demolition of Fakunle High School, a trend some members who spoke with Saharareporters allege to be imminent for the schools being merged.
“We suspect the merger will neutralize the missionary essence of our schools and the Government will subsequently demolish them. We won’t allow this at all,” said a member of the Baptist Conference in Osun State.
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters has also gathered that alumni of the Fakunle High School have hatched a plan to host a massive protest against the planned demolition of the school in Oshogbo, and that proprietors of the merged faith-based schools as well as the State Chapter of CAN may be buying into their demonstration upon the expiration of their ultimatum to the governor.