By Kelvin Osa Okunbor
The ashes of Chief Guy Gargiulo (GG), principal emeritus of Ajuwa Grammar School (AGS), Okeagbe in Akoko North-West Local Government Area of Ondo State, arrived in Lagos yesterday from the United Kingdom (UK).
The pack containing the ashes, was received by members of the Ajuwa Old Students’ Association (AOSA), led by its President Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade.
The old students gathered at the arrival section of the airport. Many of them wearing Tee shirts with inscriptions eulogising their former principal, who died in the UK on December 2, last year. He was 87.
His body was creamated on January 2 in Hove, UK.
It was Gargiulo’s wish that he be cremated after his death and his ashes buried at the school where he was principal between 1963 and 1978.
While awaiting the arrival of the aircraft, the old students took time to celebrate the life and times of their former principal.
Amid drumming and dancing, some of the inscriptions on the green T-Shirts include: ”Celebration of an icon Chief (Dr.) Guy Gargiulo 1932 – 2019 , our sage, father and principal emeritus“, “ The hero’s journey”.
They took time to relive their experience at the college and the role played by GG as their mentor and moulder.
Rear Admiral Alade (rtd), described his five-year stay in the school under the tutelage of GG as memorable.
He said the old students were very excited that GG’s wish to be buried in the school after cremation was coming to pass.
The burial is scheduled for February 22, in his house on the school premises in Okeagbe.
Rear Admiral Alade said: “He was a good man. Leaving the school in 1978, I remember his high sense of discipline.
“Our moments with him remain eternal. It is a great honour for us, his old students that the ashes are returned to us for burial. We could not have asked for anything greater.”
Rear Admiral Alade is a former commandant of the National War College.
The Vice President, South, AOSA, Mrs. Florence Justus-Oni, said they were happy to celebrate the life of their principal emeritus.
She said they arranged the airport reception to receive the ashes of their former principal as a way of paying back in their humble way the contributions of the former principal in their lives .
“GG, as we fondly called him, brought education to our community. He was a good man, he brought discipline to the school. He mentored us on the gains of discipline.”
The ashes were accompanied on British Airways by two former students – Mike Fatogun and Kehinde Momodu, who are based in the UK.
Chief Gargiulo, an Anglo-Italian, arrived in Nigeria on January 5, 1960. He worked briefly at Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos before moving to Okeagbe.
He lived for 52 years in Nigeria and neither got married nor gave birth to any biological child. He devoted his life to humanity service and education.
Born on August 13, 1932 in Port Vale, UK, to an Italian father and a British mother, GG attended the University of Cambridge, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Natural Science, Physics/Geology, after which he obtained his Masters of Arts (M.A) in the same discipline.