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...we are the light of the world!





Once again, my dear school mates, I am exceedingly glad to welcome you to the 2024 Annual Convention with the theme: Strengthening the Ties, Nurturing an unbroken Bond of Unity as BAA Grows Stronger. What a beautiful theme! God has been very merciful to us as an Association. Although we have grown in size, that is our numbers have increased, our unity in Christ Jesus has not waned. We have remained very united and completely rooted and bonded in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! People keep asking me why we, Bristow products, love and care for each other so much. I tell them that we were taught Christian virtues at Bristow Secondary School. At school, we were like a family no senior bullied a junior student. Our seniors made friends with us and in return, we served them with love and the school has maintained that system. So my friends, there lies our strength, Satan, our enemy does not like such peaceful co-existence, so he continues to fight us, but our faith in God, especially through the efforts of our leaders have seen us through.

Our members, have also been very vigilant. Any behaviour that is anti-Bristow is promptly reported and dealt with through our disciplinary system. For this my dear friends, I remain very grateful to you. Although a lot of unfortunate things have befallen us, I believe that this year’s convention will be one of the best in recent times. Therefore, please relax and enjoy the great re-union that our God has afforded us.

*C. Commendation*

I wish to take this special time to commend our National President and his indefatigable EXCO for making this event possible. Recall that immediately after the swearing-in of this EXCO, the President, Dr. Msugh Gbillah, took ill. He had a mild stroke but to ensure that the business of running the Association did not stagnate, he gave his Vice power to continue with the leadership of the association. All the members of BAA prayed to God Almighty to heal him, and our God in His wonderful mercy heard our prayers and granted him tremendous relief. As soon as relief came his way, he thought about the project at Bristow that needed attention. He decided to continue with the BAA multipurpose Hall initiated by the Manz Denga Administration.

The project was redesigned with a model together with all Architectural and Structural Engineering works. All these were presented to the Board for approval. The Board looked at it and were very happy. They gladly approved it and gave them the go ahead to present the drawings and model to Government for approval for onward construction. The estimated amount for constructing this multipurpose hall is Five Hundred Million (N500,000,000) Naira only. The next hurdle was to source funds to make this tall dream a reality. EXCO again met and decided to call on the father of Benue, a good nurtured and highly talented past Governor, Senator, Minister and now Secretary to the Government of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Senator Dr. George Akume (SGF) to assist us toward the realization of this tall dream. EXCO further decided to honour him for his wonderful deeds in Benue and indeed the whole nation by conferring on him the award of Grand Patron of Bristow Alumni Association, which is the highest honour that our Association can offer an individual. He is also to lay the foundation stone of the project. The SGF was then contacted. In his usual magnanimity, the SGF, Senator Dr. George Akume accepted the award and promised to attend the Convention, lay the foundation stone and also ensure that the project is successfully carried out. Since I know the Senator, he has never failed on his promises. I strongly believe that what he has stated today, he will surely complete, God willing.

For this singular effort made by the President and his EXCO, the Board appreciates them and are encouraging them to keep up the good job. They are encouraged to be very transparent in the discharge of this great task. As no one knows tomorrow, the performance of this job, may determine their future higher positions in life.

*D. Visit to Abuja branch and observation on their conducts of their monthly meetings.*

My first observation was their attendance at meetings, the conduct of the meetings and the reaction by members. I was greatly impressed with what I saw and witnessed. I also noted that the branch had two Board members, Senator Barnabas Gamade and Mrs. Priscilla M-ember Ikparen, including past President Emmanuel Gemade. I immediately started thinking that it was the strong presence of these illustrious personalities that the Branch is so strong. The attendance was like a mini-convention.

Discussions were based on offering assistance to unemployed indigent members. These unemployed professionals were offered mentorship by their senior colleagues.

I commend the Branch for their spirit of UBUNTU! An East African way of showing Espirit de Corps.

God willing, my next visit will be to Jalingo Branch then Lagos Branch and other home branches, like gboko and Katsina-Ala.

My message where ever I go, is hinged on the wishes of our founding father, William Muckle Bristow (W.M. Bristow) based on the speech he presented to the two pioneer sets of 1964 and 1965 at Lupure in which he admonished all of us to be (1) The light of the world and (2) to practice Espirit de corps

*E. Our Realtionship with NKST Synod*

Our mother Church, the NKST is the Proprietor of our Alma Mater. Therefore all of us graduates of the school have a lot of respect for the church. Indeed we consider our relationship with NKST as that of father and son (children). The NKST is the father of our Association in whom we are very proud and pleased.

The Board of Trustees of BAA have over the years maintained a very cordial relationship with the church. Many members of BAA are NKST Pastors, Elders and Deacons, for example, I served as an Elder in NKST Church in Keffi (1972), Katsina-Ala (1984/1985), Makurdi (Servant time) including others like Rev. Dr. Terpase Mkena who served NKST as General Secretary and many others that are still serving which time will not permit me to mention.

*F. Relationship with the school*

This reminds me of what the late Atese Mrs. Geraldine Vandenburg used to tell us while we were at Bristow that we should take what we can get from the school, in terms of Education and remember to give back to the institution when we are in a position to do so. Our sets have been very magnanimous in bringing good projects to the school. Our principal will attest to that.

*G. Our show of love to the students of Bristow*

Apart from doing good projects for the development of the school, whenever our sets want to give back to the school, they try to dine together with the students. We also make sure that they eat together with us on our convention days, this gesture, apart from showing love and concern to them is to teach them to extend the same gesture to the students of their time, when they graduate.

*H. BAA and Politics*

Our Association is completely apolitical. However, members are allowed to practice their franchise. They can vote and be voted for in any elective position in Nigeria from Local Government Councilor to the position of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Politics is good when played positively but partisan politics has its own disadvantages which this Association abhors. Please avoid involving our Association in partisan politics by all means.

Our constitution has spelt out clearly, the organs of this Association. However, the Board has noticed that some members are creating factions in our dear Association, one of such unhealthy faction springing out is the collectives.

The Board studied the emergence and performance of this emerging thorn in our flesh, and unanimously banned it completely. There shall no longer be any meeting of the collectives and no report of such shall be made on any of our media handlers.

*K. Awards*

EXCO sent names of our illustrious members and that of members of the public who have impacted positively on our school and on our Association as nominees for various awards. The Board looked at their credentials and approved them for the recommended award.

We encourage our members and those of the general public to work together with us for the upliftment of the name of our great institution to the glory of God.

*L. Conclusion*

On behalf of BAA Board of Trustee, I thank you for listening to my address and pray that our God will touch you to participate actively in all the activities of this ground breaking convention.

God Bless you

_Let’s go Bristow!_

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