Chief (Mrs.) Iyalode Alaba Lawson has reminiscenced on how she started the Lawson Schools, disclosing that she took off with only three pupils.
The respectable Yoruba woman of valour and substance made the disclosure during a monitored radio programme in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital recently.
The Iyalode of Egbaland and Yorubaland listed the pioneer pupils to include Toyin Ariyibi, Remi Ilo and another pupils she could not immediately remember during the programme.
She admitted that there were other three privately owned schools in Abeokuta before she founded her first school.
The schools included Children House School, Ibara, St. Benedict School and Honly Trinity School.
Aside daily schooling, the educationist said she also volunteered to provide facilities to accommodate the pupils through the weekend when their parents would come for their collections.
The little educational mustard seed that Lawson planted decades back has germinated and grown into the Lawson's Group of Schools.
The schools consist of Lawson’s International Private School, 1977 Lawson’s Continuing Education Centre in 1992, Alaba Lawson Royal College Abeokuta, 1995, a secondary school and Alaba Lawson School of Advanced Studies establushed in 2003.
"We thank Jehovah for taking us this far since over four decades ago that we have been contributing to the growth and development of education, not only in Ogun State, but indeed Nigeria".
The pioneer female National President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) described as unforgetable the day she narrowly escaped being assasinated at her Abeokuta residence.
"I thank Jehovah for sparing my life. Even though I was close to God, the unfortunate incident made closer to God"
Iyalode Lawson was born on the 18th of January 1951 to Papa and Mrs. Emmanuel Abiona Jiboku in Abeokuta. Her late father Pa. Emmanuel Abiona Jiboku was a technician with then E.C.N. [now PHCN where he served diligently for 39 years.
He was known by the nickname "Jiboku Tanna-Tanna" which means “Jiboku the harbinger of light”.
Iyalode's mother, Ruth Jiboku, the daughter of the famous Aderupoko Coker of Itesi-Ake, Abeokuta was a renowned merchant in her days.
Lawson, as a pupil had her primary education at St. James’s African Primary School, Idi-Ape, Abeokuta, between 1957 and 1962.
Later, she proceeded to the Abeokuta Girls’ Grammar School, where she obtained the West African School Certificate.
Lawson started her teaching career in 1969 and later left for St. Nicholas Montessori Teachers’ Training College at Prince’s Gate England in 1973 for further studies
During her stay in England, she taught in quite a number of well-known Nursery Schools, including the famous Queen’s Gate Montessori Nursery School and Mill Hill Nursery and Junior School.
While there, she obtained a 1st Class Diploma in Education with distinction, becoming the first African student to be so rated at the institution.
She later returned to Nigeria, during which Lawson taught for only one year and later established her own school which today has blossomed.