THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: FELICIA ADEYOYIN
I pledge to Nigeria my country.
To be faithful, loyal and honest.
To serve Nigeria with all my strength.
To defend her unity, and uphold her honour and glory.
So help me God.
The above words have been repeated several times by you and I. It is etched so deeply in our memory that we will not forget no matter how far we japa to. Made up of only six lines, the Nigerian National Pledge is the most repeated oath and prayer said by Nigerians. We pledge faithfulness, loyalty, honesty and service to our fatherland. I am of the opinion that if all our leaders and citizens alike took this oath seriously, we would be in a much better state. These beautiful words were written by the late Professor Felicia Adebola Adeyoyin.
Professor Felicia Adebola Adeyoyin (1938-2021) was a wife, mother, deaconess, author, professor and educationist of esteemed value. She was born on 6th November, 1938 in Ogbomoso, Oyo state. She was royalty, a princess from the Iji Latubi ruling house of Shaki, Oyo State. She attended the Baptist Girls’ College (BGC), Idi Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State, from 1953 and graduated in 1957 from its teacher programme. She worked at the school as a teacher and house mistress from 1958 to 1961. She got married in 1965 to Solomon Adedeji Adeyoyin who had attended the Baptist Boys’ High School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Ogun State, a brother school to BGC.
In 1968, Professor Felicia Adeyoyin received her Bachelor’s Degree with honors in Geography from Birkbeck, University of London in 1968. She proceeded to earn a Diploma of Education from the same university in 1976. She got her Master of Arts in Social Studies Education (M.A) from Columbia University in New York in 1977 and then came back to Nigeria to earn a PhD in Education from the University of Lagos in 1981. She worked as a Lecturer and Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos from 1978 to 1994 and became a consultant for the United Nations in 1994, serving as the United Nations Regional Advisor on Education until 2008.
Professor Felicia Adeyoyin wrote what is now the National Pledge in 1976 and it was published in the July 15 edition of the Daily Times in an article titled “Loyalty to the Nation, Pledge”. The then Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo read it, modified it and adopted it as the Nigerian National Pledge on 6th September, 1976, during the launching of the Universal Free Primary Education (UPE). The Head of State decreed that it should be recited daily by schoolchildren during the Morning Assembly.
Professor Felicia Adebola Adeyoyin was an author who published several books including her PhD thesis titled “The Dynamics of Teaching Social Studies at the Grade Two Teachers College Level in Lagos State” (1981); “Social Science: A book on methodology” (1982); “Population Education” (1988) and Citizenship Education for Junior Secondary School Books I, II and III. She was also a Deaconess of Yaba Baptist Church, Yaba, Lagos State.
Professor Adeyoyin was given the national award, the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 2005 for her service to Nigeria.
Professor Felicia Adebola Adeyoyin passed away recently at the age of 82, on 1st May, 2021 after a brief illness. She however left her imprint on the history of Nigeria and she will be remembered as we constantly recite the Nigerian Pledge. So help us God.