Go To Desktop Site
Custom Search

Opinion: Nigeria's vertical man By Femi Abbas

Date: 2018-03-02


"There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done; there are thousands to prophesy failure; there are thousands to point out to you one by one the dangers that wait to assail you; But just buckle in (courageously) with a bit of grin; just take off your coat and go to it; just start to sing as you tackle the thing that cannot be done and you will do it".


If certain factors of life serve as an impetus for a man of a modest background to become a distinct national icon through service to humanity, perhaps the above quoted poem should be one of such factors. The referred Icon is the current Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, CFR, FNAL who is now serving Nigeria unprecedentedly to the unimaginable disappointment of certain pessimists and greatest delight of true Nigerian patriots.

Witnessed Evidence

Last week Wednesday, some lecturers of the University of Ilorin whose Ph.D theses were supervised by Prof Oloyede came up with a marvelous idea in form of a jointly written book which was publicly presented at Yar'Adua Conference Centre in Abuja. The book is entitled 'Dynamics of Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences'. According to its writers, the book was in appreciation of Oloyede's mentoring of their intellectual wherewithal. The initiators of that idea are Prof Yahya Oyewole Imam, Dr. Rafiu Ibrahim Adebayo and Dr. Abubakr Imam Ali-Agan all of whom are lecturers at the University of Ilorin. The presented book was jointly written by the mentioned initiators and a number of other academic personnel from various universities across Nigeria.

Among the personalities that graced the impressive occasion were the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), His Eminence, Dr. Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, his Deputy for the South, Dr. S. O. Babalola, OFR and a galaxy of Nigerian Juggernauts including a retinue of academic gurus and top echelon of JAMB staff.

The Chairman of the occasion was a onetime Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Salihu M. Alfa Belgore GCON while the Chief Presenter was the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Dr. Wale Babalakin SAN, OFR and the Chief Host was the Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Prof. S.A. Abdulkareem. The book was prominently revealed by Prof. Abdul-Afiz Oladosu of the University of Ibadan who partnered with a Nigerian Frontline lawyer, Mallam Yusuf Olaolu Ali, SAN (The Master of Ceremony) in managing the podium for serenity.

Who is Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede?

The question above has been severally asked by many Nigerians especially those who are amazed by the unprecedented performance of Prof. Oloyede either as a Vice Chancellor of the University of Ilorin or as the current Registrar of JAMB. But the answer was provided in details at the occasion of the book presentation last week by Dr. Mahfouz A. Adedimeji, Reader in the English Department of the University of Ilorin who wrote and read the citation of the celebrated Icon under the Title, 'A Man of All Moments' as follows:

"The saying goes that a man of success achieves his goals but a man of significance changes his world. If there are people who understand the difference between the two, Prof Oloyede, Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), is at the forefront among them.

Prof Oloyede's ascension to prominence was not a matter of coincidence; it was rather a product a clear vision, a sense of mission propelled by the keen passion to excel. In other words, here is a man who has internalised five d's as the operational blueprint for making a difference. He is a man with a dream, who then develops a drive to achieve it. With single-minded determination, remarkable discipline, this three-in-one man (Okunrin meta) sets out to achieve his goal with dedication."

Gold and sweat

"To Prof. Oloyede, whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well and on time. This is why he is seen as a workaholic, a man who electrifies his surroundings with an inimitable sense of duty, a man of action and guts. As Dan Gable once said, "Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They are made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."

His services

"So, wherever Oloyede finds himself, whether in the classroom or podium as a lecturer, or at the National Political Reform Conference as a Co-Secretary, or as Chairman of the Committee of Directors of Academic Planning in Nigerian Universities, or the National Coordinator/ Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) or Secretary General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) under the transformational leadership of the royals’ royal, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa'ad Abubakar, CFR, mni, or in several other capacities he has functioned or still functions, he is renowned for being extra-ordinary and first class.

A talented scholar and cerebral intellectual, Oloyede is an academic genius and administrative guru, who dominates his world with well-reasoned arguments and visionary ideas. A shrewd judge of men and matters, this man who accepts no half measures smashes reputations and sets records with his sterling qualities and impeccable credentials. A man of unconquerable will and a restless questing spirit, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Fountain University, Osogbo, is the proverbial golden fish that has no hiding place. With a Spartan commitment to duty, easy and amiable mien, Oloyede has remained a raving phenomenon to friends and foes alike with his honesty, simplicity, humility, loyalty, generosity and single-minded belief in service to Allah and humanity."

Peacock of colours

"To tell a peacock a story of bright colours is to sing empty and discordant tunes to a care-free bird, yet the Qu’ran tells us, “And proclaim the Grace of your Lord" (Q. Ad-duha, 93:11) Though Oloyede does not see himself as special, this infectiously simple and rare Nigerian is a man of many firsts, a special gift of God to humanity, right from the classroom to the boardroom. Due to limited time, perhaps ten of his firsts would make a sampleviz: first First Class graduate of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin (1981); first Unilorin alumnus to bag a Ph.D. from his alma mater (1991), first alumnus President in the Governing Council of the University of Ilorin; first Unilorin graduant to become a Professor (1995); first academic Director of Academic Planning, Unilorin; first Unilorin product to ever become a Deputy Vice-Chancellor; and first Unilorin alumnus to become a Vice-Chancellor of a University in the world; first Secretary-General of the Association of West Africa Universities; first Nigerian to become President of the Association of African Universities and first JAMB Registrar to remit N7.8 billion to the Federal Government."

Birth and Background

"Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede was on October 10, 1954 ushered into the world through the family of Alhaji and late Madam Oloyede in Abeokuta, Ogun State. He started his formal education at Ta’limul Islam Ahmadiya Primary School in 1961 after which he proceeded to Progress Institute, Agege, where he bagged his 1st School Leaving Certificate with Distinction in 1969. He perfected his training as an Arabist at the famous Arabic Training Centre (Markaz) between 1973 and 1976. His insatiable quest for knowledge took him to the University of Ibadan, where he bagged a Certificate in Arabic and Islamic Studies while his passion for higher learning brought him to the University of Ilorin in 1978, where he graduated as Best Graduating Student in 1981. The University of Ilorin scrupulously engaged him as Assistant Lecturer in 1982 and he subsequently obtained his higher degrees in 1985 and 1991, rising through the ranks in th e process till he became a Professor in 1995."

Scholarship and training

A true scholar to the core, Oloyede is a keen advocate of training and in this respect, he leads by example as the prodigy is never ashamed of being a student. He obtained his Postgraduate Diploma in Education just in 2003 and became a Certified Teacher by Teachers' Registration Council of Nigeria in 2005. Between 1994 and 1995, he received Special Proficiency Training on Information and Communication Technology at the International Centre for Communication Art and capped his ICT proficiency with a Certificate in Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme- Tertiary (ADAPT) at the International Centre for Communication Studies and Digital Bridge Institute, Abuja, in 2007."

Awards and honours

This man of unimpeachable integrity has received several awards and honours in his dazzling and inspiring career and he is a member of many professional bodies. He is a recipient of the Arab League Prize for the Best Certificate Student in Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Ibadan; recipient of Merit Award by Islamic Mission of Africa, proprietors of Crescent University, Abeokuta; Fellow, Islamic Academy of Cambridge, United Kingdom; Fellow, Academy of Religion; Fellow, Society for Peace Studies and Practice; Fellow, Academy for Entrepreneurial Studies, Nigeria; Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Management; and Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Letters."


Prof. Oloyede has been a long-time member of the Nigerian Association of Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Studies, Professors World Peace Academy of Nigeria and the Nigerian Association for the Study and Teaching of Religion and the Natural Sciences. He is a Board Member of the African Centre for Religions and the Sciences and representative of Unilorin Local Societies Initiative at the Metanexus Institute of Science and Religion, Philadelphia, USA and several others. He has won the Federal Government Scholarship, University of Ilorin, Merit Scholarship and several national awards, including Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR)."

As Unilorin V.C.

"This distinguished gentleman had served the University of Ilorin, Kwara and Ogun States and indeed the Federal Republic of Nigeria in several capacities. His achievements are so many and etched on stone that recounting them will fill several pages. Yet, it would be unfair to the University of Ilorin and its alumni if it is not mentioned that when this illustrious graduate of the University was the Vice-Chancellor, the University was taken to such an Olympian height that Vice-Chancellors visited him regularly to understudy him. Within a period of five years, this great man of honour took the University of Ilorin from being an unranked University to one of the best 20 in Africa, according to international ranking agencies.

Not only did Oloyede take the University of Ilorin to its apogee, he also electrified the global university system with his sterling leadership qualities and high-octane administrative acumen. No other Nigerian Vice-Chancellor has achieved being Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC)/ Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU), President of the Association of African Universities (AAU), Board Member of both the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and International Association of Universities (IAU) within a tenure of five years, apart from being the initiator of the Association of West Africa Universities (AWAU) through the Ilorin Declaration."

Research Works

As a prolific author and astute academic, his hundreds of research works have appeared in scores of several national and international journals. Oloyede has written, co-written and co-edited books and papers published in many outlets in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, USA, among others. He has presented academic papers in conferences all over Nigeria and across the world.

Little wonder that awards and recognitions have been swarming him but the self-effacing Oloyede has been driving them away. Nevertheless, he was on Saturday, November 27, 2017 garlanded by the well-respected New Telegraph newspaper as the "Most Outstanding Public Servant of the Year". As the blind can see and the deaf can hear, Oloyede stands tall today as one of the greatest symbols of President Muhammadu Buhari's anti-corruption crusade. It was therefore not surprising that when the Presidency released a statement on December 30, 2017 to showcase the achievements of the Federal Government, JAMB’s name was conspicuous in it. Subsequently, when the Minister of Information and National Orientation made an intervention in response to a statement, JAMB under Oloyede still featured prominently as a major achievement of Mr. President."

Exemplary courage

Known for saying his mind without minding whose ox is gored, Oloyede is not unmindful of the fact that maggots would detest sanitary inspectors. In his frenetic pace for standard and excellence wherever the combination of hardwork and good luck puts him, he steps on toes with integrity. So, one would agree with The Punch in its editorial of January 8, 2018 that "a leadership with integrity is critical….It is a fact that the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Is-haq Oloyede, showed with the N7.8 billion his agency remitted, against 3 million annually remitted by his predecessors." Perhaps, part of his inspiration for being who he is lies in the words of Bill Cosby: "I don't know the secret of success but the secret of failure is trying to please everybody".

Physical and mental energy

"A no-nonsense man of super-abundant physical and mental energy, Oloyede loathes corruption so much that corruption too loathes him in kind. At a personal level, it was through him that I learnt that it is not a shame to be broke. Ten years ago, as Vice-Chancellor, he needed to send me on an errand and he told his son, now a medical Consultant, to withdraw money from his account. He was told there was no money there. He mentioned another account and he was informed the last money there had been withdrawn under his directive. We had to wait till his next salary was paid. I learnt to assure myself since then that being broke is normal, after all, the Vice-Chancellor was broke!"

Shrewdness and versatility "A versatile scholar, a shrewd manager of men and materials, Oloyede is a family man, happily married to the woman of his dreams, a supportive, devoted, caring and enduring Dr (Mrs) Raheemat Oloyede and the marriage is blessed with children, including a set of male twins, and an expanding clan of grandchildren! It is my singular honour to present to you the man of the moment, and indeed the man of all moments, a preeminent professor, astute administrator, exceptional scholar, academic mentor, redoubtable Registrar, dynamic Chief Executive, prolific writer, incorruptible leader, marvelous manager, inimitable consultant, wonderful Fellow, intellectual juggernaut, inter-religious activist, compulsive communicator and outstanding personality, okunrintakuntakun, Prof. Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, OFR, FNAL, FNIM, FIAC, FAR, fspsp, etc!"

We pray the Almighty Allah to keep the glory of Prof. Oloyede and other men and women of his like in Nigeria aglow forever that Nigeria will be great.


Recent Posts

Value Your Culture, Alaro Charges Ilorin Emirate Indigenes

Kwara Weightlifting Association restrategises to rekindle interest in sport

Minimum Wage: Kwara TUC, FG Disagree on New Committee Home Living Minimum Wage: Kwara TUC, FG Disagree on New Committee LIVINGNEWS STATE BY STATE Minimum Wage: Kwara TUC, FG Disagree on New Committee

5,000 defect from PDP, others, to APC in Kwara

Kwara herbalist stings South Korean posing as Baru, Adesina

Saraki’s political dynasty will bounce back in kwara, outgoing Speaker, Dr Ahmad Ali

Tribunal adjourns to allow INEC produce Kwara gov-elect's certificate

EFCC arrests Kwara lawmaker-elect for N26m property scam

Court issues warrant of arrest for Kwara commissioner

How 3 Kwara-owned media houses collapsed

Court jails two siblings for internet fraud in Kwara

Kwara APC Elders Forum Wants Lai Mohammed Retained as Minister

N20.3m money laundry deal: Court grants four Kwara Govt House staff bail

Most Popular


The Message from Kwara. By Olusegun Adeniyi

Kwara pays February salary

2019: Seni Saraki not interested in Kwara guber race - Bukola Saraki

Senate intervenes on plans to relocate Nigeria Police Public Relations School from kwara to Nasarawa

This is good omen for Kwara, lawmaker says of Abdulrazaq's action

FAAC: Kwara to Receive N3.2b as April Allocation as LGs Get N2.4b

EFCC arraigns four Kwara officials for alleged money laundering

The International Vocational, Technical and Entrepreneurship College (IVTEC) is recruiting into Academic and Non-academic Staff Vacancies

Scrambling for ministerial positions in Kwara

Offa robbery: Zamfara crisis prevents prosecution witness from coming to Ilorin

Two pilots escape death as IAC Trainee aircraft crashlands in Ilorin

Kwara Gov-Elect urged to emulate Ahmadu Bello, others