Queen’s College

Queen’s College

December 30
08:58 2020

Queen’s College, Yaba, Lagos is an all girl’s school steeped in history. Right from the onset, it’s mission has been to be an elite school for the best and brightest girls in Nigeria and to give it credit, it did not only achieve it but it has remained faithful to this, ninety three years later.

Regarded as one of the best schools in Nigeria, competing favourably with newer, smaller missionary and Private schools, it has consistently produced some of the best West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results in the country. Since 1985 it has produced the very best WASSCE results nationwide, seven times.

Queen’s College, with it’s school motto, “Pass On The Torch” was founded on October 10, 1927 and was the first Federal Government owned girl school in Nigeria. It began with just 20 girls but has since grown to have an enrollment of over 4000 pupils. What stands Queen’s College out is how it has been able to retain it’s standards over the years, while most of it’s fellow first generation schools are only living on past glory.

Queen’s College came into existence because a group of well educated women came together to push for the establishment of a girl school by Government, in the ilk of the qualitative secondary schools, already in existence for boys. The lady’s group was called the New Era Ladies Club. These very determined women didn’t stop at merely clamouring but went ahead to put their money where mouth was, by raising funds. Their persistence in both words and action eventually paid off when the colonial administration acquiesced to their request. Their cause was of course helped immeasurably by the involvement of their chief patron, Lady Clifford, who just happened to be the wife of the colonial Governor of Lagos. Lady Oyinkan Abayomi was a leading member of the group. So that was how the Government Secondary School for Girls, which was the college’s original name, was established.

The school of just 20 pupils was established with a Principal and eight part time teachers. When by providence, Sylvia Leith-Ross, became the Lady Superintendent of Education two years earlier in 1925, she used her position to push things through and get the approval for it to become a girl’s boarding school. This was unheard of in Nigeria back in those days, making Queen’s College, the first.

The first Principal was Miss Faith Wordsworth, from 1927 to 1930, who with the eight part time pioneer teachers, including the only Nigerian amongst them, Lady Abayomi, layed the foundation for excellence for which is still known. Amongst the pioneer pupils were such names as Florence Williams, Ebunola Ajagbe and Oluyemi Alakija. With it’s goal of providing a more rounded education, it made sport a regular activity for the girls from the beginning, focusing on three main sports; hockey, netball and tennis.

That small school is now the biggest girls school in Nigeria administered by a Principal and assisted by five Vice Principals. Being  predominantly a boarding school, the boarding facilities currently house 3000 girls while has about 400 members of staff. Even with it’s unusually large population, QC as it’s fondly called, has been able to sustain it’s policy of only taking the best, which is why it’s still flying very high academically. It’s therefore no wonder that QC, has over the years churned out graduates who have gone on distinguish themselves in society and some were trailblazers. To name just a few of these are; Mrs Margaret Young, the first Nigerian editor; Dr Elizabeth A. Awoliyi who became the first Nigerian female Doctor to practice in Nigeria; Justice Omo-Ebob, the first Nigerian female Judge; Mrs F.A Ighodalo, the first Nigerian female Permanent Secretary and Professor Adetoun Ogunsheye, the first female Professor.

The highly revered first Nigerian Principal of the college, Mrs Efunjoke Coker passed away on December 23, 2019 at the grand old age of 95. An alumna of the Queen’s College herself, she went on to attend the National University in Dublin (aka University College Dublin), Ireland. There she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and English before obtaining a Master’s Degree in English. In 1979, the Federal Government conferred on her the National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) for her tremendous contribution to the development of education in Nigeria.

Queens College, by weathering heavy storms that sent many of its early contemporaries close to oblivion, is truly a Lagos Legend which continues to feed the Nigerian society with outstanding individuals, both in academic ability, competence and as upright role models. Amongst it’s distinguished alumni are the following:

Grace Alele-Williams – first Nigerian Female Vice Chancellor

Lateefat Okunnu – former Deputy Governor of Lagos State

Josephine Anenih – former Federal Government Minister

Oluwafunmilayo Olajumoke Atilade – former Chief Judge of Lagos State

Olaoluwa Abagun – Nigerian Lawyer and Human Rights Activist

Suzanne Iroche – Banker

Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello – former Commissioner in Ogun State

Damilola Adegbite – Nollywood Actress

Ariyike Akinbobola – Television Presenter

Kemi Lala Akindoju – Nollywood Actress

Bella Disu – Vice Chairman of Globacom

Omowunmi Akinnifesi – Businesswoman and an Environmental Ambassador

Sefi Atta – Auhor

Temi Balogun – Media Personality

Tosyn Bucknor – Media Personality

Fifi Ejindu – Architect and Businesswoman

Adesua Etomi – Actress

Tonye Garrick – Musical Artist

Lara George – Musical Artist

Oreoluwa Lesi – Social Entrepreneur

Gbemi Olateru Olagbegi – Radio Personality

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December 2020