ISHAQ OLANREWAJU OLOYEDE, QUINTESSENTIAL, STEREOTYPICAL PATRIOT, ICON AND ENIGMA BOWS OUT?
Ishaq Kunle Sanni
Willam Shakespeare the greatest literary legend of all times said on marble in his play ‘The Twelve Night ‘
SOME PEOPLE ARE BORN GREAT, SOME ACHIEVE GREATNESS, WHILE OTHERS HAVE GREATNESS THRUST UPON THEM
I am sufficiently close to one of the most incorruptible public servants of our time Professor Oloyede to know that he was not born great. His late father was not a rich man by any yardstick of measurement. He was a pious Imam who enjoyed relative comfort before his death through the instrumentality of having a famous son who was good to his father.He didn’t have greatness thrust upon him. He actually achieved greatness by virtue of his untainted, and unwavering belief in Allah, hardwork and courage .
He became a household phenomenon when he bestrowed the academic circle of the university of Ilorin like a collosus. He created many firsts. The first alumnus of the University of Ilorin to become the vice chancellor.
The first graduate of Arabic and Islamic studies to head any university in the South of Nigeria. The first vice-chancellor of the university to take the university to the olympian height of being the best university in Nigeria for four years. The first vice-chancellor in Nigeria to ensure an unbroken and undisrupted academic calendar for five years. The first vice-chancellor of the university to be the chairman committee of vice chancellors and president African Committee of vice-chancellors .
Of course to achieve these feat you must have some ruthlessness in your veins and Oloyede has it. To go to this height you must be prepared to step on toes, Oloyede is courageous not only to step on toes but bulldoze and crush any impediment on his way to success. So while he became a doyen of people who appreciate honesty and transparency, he became the enemies of those who benefit from the cesspool of corruption and other unwholesome misdemeanors.
By heading the first university to adopt the use of CBT for post UME examination, those admission officers selling admission to the highest bidder were left in financial agony.
He became the nemesis of contractors because he was even inaccessible to them. At a timehe inscribed in front of his office ‘NO CONTRACTOR IS ALLOWED HERE as if contractors are lepards’ He ensured that due process were followed in the award of contracts no matter the pressure from the movers and shakers of the political spectrum. Woe betide the contractor who does a shoddy job or lackadaisical in the completion of the job on schedule. Since he has no deals with you and probably never met you before you should be prepared for a tongue lash. My site supervisor even if the job is progressing well would run into the Bush if Oloyede’s car approaches. He would say that Professor’s appetite for perfection is insatiable.
I can say without any fear of being contradicted that it is not only that Oloyede does not take bribe, he doesn’t take gifts from anybody doing business with the university of Ilorin or JAMB as the case may be. When his first daughter Lateefa a medical Doctor was to getting married, he caused to be pasted on the door of his office and the entrance of his house ‘Gifts from contractors are not acceptable ‘
As his best man when he was to marry his only wife, Raheema and the person who Midwifery my marriage with Rafiah first wife it would be the height of miserliness in our cultural setting not to give a financial helping hand towards the success of the marriage. So I was in his house my place of domicility whenever I am in Ilorin. I saw the notice barring gifts from contractors but I was not only a minor contractor in the University because attempts to bag a major contract was frustrated by Oloyede saying his officials would mischievously think I was fronting for him, but I am also part of his family. So I discountenanced the notice. Outside his house was a relatively old man who brought a big cow for Oloyede from Ilesa ibaruba and initially his security mistook him for a cow dealer who came at Oloyede’s instance to supply one of the cows to be slaughtered for the wedding. When Oloyede sighted the cow he querried his security men who had been warned not to receive any gifts on his behalf. When the security men realised their folly they told the old man to go away with his cow. When the old man saw me he pleaded I should persuade Oloyede to accept the cow adding that it was to appreciate Oloyede for his getting a big job in the University without bribing anybody. This to him was amazing and something out of this world
The man left when all attempts to get Oloyede’s attention proved abortive. Is this not an aberration and a miracle in our clime?
As I am writing I can say it anywhere that I have never taken bribe in my life but you may say that I have never been in big positions where my integrity would be put to test but I doubt if I can resist gifts if it would not lead to compromise of Allah’s injunction on probity.
I remember that the period of our kitchen cabinetship of the legendary philantropist Alh Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao. Some of those close to him used to exploit the situation by receiving part of the donations from the beneficiaries of his generosity. Alhamdulilah I never did even if the beneficiary offered me as they normally want to do. I only remember the father of a boy who had admission to study abroad and his impoverished parents cannot afford it. Alh Arisekola bankrolled the whole scholarship in one fell swoop. The father now brought a pick up van filled with yams to Alh Arisekola but when he was informed by the security personnel in his house that an old man came with yam as a form of appreciation he refused the yams because he could not recollect the incident. How can he when his every day pasttime was putting smiles on the faces of those who came with him with sadness and melancholy. The boy with his father now came to my house with the yams while I was out of the country. When I was informed I told my family to share it among the people in our neighbourhood. Honestly even if I was around I would have pity on the man who brought the yams all the way from Kishi a journey of over five hours
Oloyede knew the man who brought the cow came from a long distance yet would have nothing to do with his cow. That is being incorruptible to a fault
Enough of the digression and forgive me for exhibiting some form of self adulation and encomiums.
Oloyede rejected my gift just because I happened to be a contractor in the University despite a friendship that lasted over 40 years
When he was appointed as Registrar of JAMB those who were conscious of the corruption ridden environment of JAMB were thinking how any homosapien can navigate the stinking pool of this examination institution where the man who vacated the place was swimming in opulence building mansions all over the world and acquiring state of the art cars.?
Some of us even advised our friend to compile all the sickening financial atrocities of Professor Dibu Ojerinde and submit it to EFCC. You would think Oloyede was in for a compromise when he said for three reasons he would not seek the downfall of Ojerinde
One he is a Yoruba man like him
Two he is an academic like him
Thirdly he is an elderly person who should be given a soft landing no matter the humongous nature of his atrocities.
It didn’t occur to us that Oloyede wanted his own integrity to expose his elder brother. After a year in office he made an unprecedented profit of a whopping eight billion naira whereas the man who was there for over over eight years made only 200 million naira. So the public and government wondered whether Oloyede was minting money. Everybody was flabbergasted.
Then came the nattering nabobs of negativity who have been looking for a way to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it. They argued that Oloyede was making profit at the inglorious expense of poor striking parents. But they did not find anything horrendous in a man who charged the same fees and remitted next to nothing to government coffers.When the ochestrated and coordinated attack was becoming alarming from understandable quarters Oloyede reduced the price of jamb registration yet still aggregated to government over five billion naira the next year. The EFCC had no choice but to invite his predecessor for questioning as it was unequivocally clear that a lot of financial malfeasance happend during his tenure as JAMB Registrar. Up till now he is under probe by the EFCC.
It is not only the issue of corruption that Oloyede battled in JAMB but the hydraheaded ugly issue of the integrity of the examination which everybody is aware was corrupt ridden. So he changed all the system of conducting the examination with the use of CBT and fool proof technology. Before it takes months to release JAMB result . Now it takes hours.Today several government agencies that believe in probity , uprightness, and transparency contracts the examination of their prospective employees to JAMB.
All these however is taken a toll on the energy and health of the ubiquitous perfectionist Registrar.
So when news were gaining currency that he has said he is not interested in a second term and some people said I should convince him to the contrary I retorted should I ask him to commit suicide?
Never in my living memory can I remember people bordering me about whether somebody should seek a second term in office or not. They think I should know and they don’t seem to believe me when I say I dont.Yes I am close to him and we interface on a regular basis but there are certain things you don’t discuss with Oloyede. He doesn’t see public office from the perspective of many. So if you ask him he may say AND SO WHAT? WHT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT THAT?
Majority of those inquisitive about his second term are patriotic individuals and well wishers.
For those rumor mongers saying he is not interested , what of if the president invites him and say for the sake of God and Nigeria I want you to sacrifice everything and return back to that office would Oloyede have the demeanour to say NO to Mr President.? I remember a Minister friend who after the first term went to the President that he should excuse him for a second term that he needs some rest. The president reportedly told him ‘ Who told you I will nominate you for a second term? He was nominated and still enjoying the perquisites of office reluctantly till today.
One thing is conspicuously unassailable
Oloyede has set a bench mark in JAMB. He has left a fantastic legacy that cannot be rubbished in the history of this country.If anybody becomes a registrar in JAMB in future and at the end of an examination comes out with a profit of two billion naira, Nigerians will ask him where he has hidden the balance .
BAO KU ISE O TAN
An adage says A golden fish has no hiding place
Whether Oloyede returns to JAMB or not he is still a material that any government would find useful to sanitise any corrupt parastatal. May Allah endow him with good health and long life.
It was his tenure elongation at JAMB that brought insinuations on how he managed to cope with his position as Secretary General of Supreme Council For Islamic Affairs and the government position as JAMB Registrar
Ironically the brother who came out with the poser is an unrepentant admirer of Professor Oloyede.
Maybe when his love for Oloyede clashes with that of Islam he goes headlong with the latter which is how it should be.
I know his opinion stems from his obscurity from the Affairs of the apex Islamic organisation.
Before Oloyede came on board the organisation was to a large extent in comatose. Oloyede did a yeoman’s job in resuscitating and energising it with the cooperation of the Sultan because he had to step on big toes. I can write a whole book on that and it is a story for another day.
Now there is an analogy that would be apt since football is becoming another religion
A half fit Messi is more precious to the coach than three other fit players on the field .. Even if he is wounded like what happened during the Copa American Cup the coach preferred to retain him and he not only scored the highest goals in the competition, he motivated the Argentina team to Victory.
Yes Oloyede was very busy but he manages to go to the National Mosque once a week to attend to his work as Secretary General
He has an Administrative Secretary who is doing a full time job
As to his incapacitation to confront either the Government or some other government agencies if their actions or inactions are in conflict with Islam ask Professor Akintola of MURIC or leadership of NACOMYO how Professor Oloyede had influenced some of their dynamic activities. I don’t want to say more than that. Are you aware Barrister that since Oloyede got into that position he has not collected a dime for anything. He spends his resources on travels which is no joke at all. I know you are just flying a kite not that you want Oloyede to vacate the seat for you because your inability to communicate in Arabic which is one of the prerequisites disqualify you and me from any ambition.
The Sultan a precious gift to the Ummah had equally managed his position excellently in this regard.
If the Sultan had been a hot head like Kunle Sanni and Oloyede is not endowed with diplomatic sagacity, the provocative insinuations from a section of christendom would have christalised into a religious inferno in this country.
I have written this as a friend of Oloyede without his knowledge It is incontestable that ironically I am also one of his greatest constructive critics. Like every mortal he is not infallible, perfect nor impeccable. He has his negative sides like impatience with everybody. His alter ego and best friend my Aburo Yusuf Ali (SAN) would confirm to you that Ishaq is very irascible. He was a student of Baba Noibi but didn’t imbibe Professor Noibi’s amazing and incredible patience .However he and Yusuf have a very good quality of not being arrogant , egocentric or snobbish especially when in the midst of our contemporaries in MSSN notwithstanding their position of eminence in the society . When we are having social gatherings or meeting of Nucleus which was meant to keep our friendship alive you will see us exchanging banters, and jokes . No evidence of class distinction. .The money bags don’t exhibit any behavioural pattern of superiority above those of us struggling to battle impoverishment. A former vice chancellor of the university of Ilorin confessed to his envious of our wonderful spirit of brotherhood that he lamented that one of his life regrets was not joining MSSN during his university
days at ABU.
On the issue of being an enigma Prof Oloyede’s attitude in the office is completely at variance with his behaviour out of the office. In the office he wears a stern look and you will think he is in the battle front. An example will suffice
A son of Alh Arisekola met him in the office for a favour at my instance and vowed never to go and see him again. He said after welcoming him warmly and saying pleasant things about his late father the rest was aggression, querying his professional competence. I told him, that is his style and he meant no harm. The next day I went with the brother to go for dinner in Oloyede’s small house in Abuja. Arisekola’s son thought it was another person as he was joking with us . How are you Oko eleha and I said I am OK oko Ajata and he served us food himself telling the young man he was impressed of the way he answered the questions he had put across to him the previous day. That is Oloyede for you an enigma of some sort. There is just one of his type in the world, he has no duplicate as far as I am concerned .
I wrote this because like judges Oloyede cannot preside in his own case. He must be aware of the controversy surrounding his personality to which to him maintaining a golden taciturnity is the ideal.
To his antagonists let me say as he usually says DONT SPOIL HIS BAD NAME
To his admirers and they are legion you will soonest find something to celebrate about your hero in sha Allah and we shall wash it.
May Allah give us many of his likes to perfume, deodorise and sanitise our stinking polity where the honest are presumed stupid