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 .

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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 .

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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.

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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.

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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 ‘

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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

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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.

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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

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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.?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.  

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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.

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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  

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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 .

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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.

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May Allah  give us many of his likes  to perfume,  deodorise and sanitise  our stinking polity where the honest are presumed  stupid

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