OPINION: Tribute to the iconic Legend, Prof Mosobalaje Olaloye Oyawoye . By Maruf Olalekan AJENIFUJA
The state of legend of an incredibly powerful Crown Prince (Aremo) of Offa, the grandson of Olofa of Offa, Oba Atoloye Adegboye, the Alade meta (a prince of Offa, Ila Orangun and Ikirun), the father of Geology in Africa, Commander of the Order of Niger (CON) and one of the best brains on the planet earth is not a bolt from the blue.
The road to stardom for the cerebral heavyweight with a world-class mind had a humble beginning as a Geological Survey Assistant at Geological Survey of Nigeria, Kaduna in 1950 after completing his secondary education from a combination of Offa Grammar School (OGS) and Ibadan Grammar School (IGS) in 1949 with an outstanding result in the Cambridge School Certificate.
The meteoric rise of our highly revered Prof Oyawoye (FAS, FNMGS, FNAPE, FGSA, OON, CON, DSc. Hon (Unibadan), DSc. Hon. (Durham) was consolidated with his admission into Washington State University, USA, in 1952 where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology in 1955 and his postgraduate admission into the University of Durbam in United Kingdom in 1956 where he was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Geology in 1959.
As you cannot seek a good knowledge and sink, his new level of Education, Experience and Exposure opened a new career trajectory at the Premier University, University of Ibadan, from 1960 to 1977 where he wrote his name in the annals of history as he became the only oasis in the desert, the first Professor of Geology in Africa in 1966 at the age of 39 years.
Describing Baba Oyawoye as our own Isaac Newton is not tales by moonlight. His global footprints in his professional habitat have transformed Africa with incredibly record breaking feats. The Geological Society of Africa (GSA) where he emerged as the founding President and first Fellow of the Society, was a child of his brain. The first lecturer of Geology in Africa and former Head of Department of Geology, Unibadan, Nigeria, became a trailblazer in many citadels of learning as he illuminated African countries with electrifying sensations. It was a perfect case of a round peg in a round hole when he was appointed as a Roving Visiting Professor at the University of Zambia for 3 years and External examiner in many other African Universities including Universities of Ghana, Kenya and Sudan.
The Honorary Citizen of Lubbock, Texas, USA and winner of many national and international honours and awards, has successfully chaired many Boards at state, national and international levels including Boards of) Federal Capital Development Authority, 1976 - 1980; West African Examination Council (WAEC), 1985 - 1988; Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (NNPC), 1989 - 1993; Federal College of Education, Yola, 1989 - 1993; Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, 1995 - 2005; Kwara State Agricultural Development Corporation; Kwara State College of Technology, 1968 - 1975; Kwara State Transition Committee (1992).
In terms of physical and spiritual sciences, Prof Oyawoye is a perfect definition of two sides of a coin. The Baba Adini of Kwara state, whose giant strides are not only in the terrestrial sphere but also in the celestial realm, have contributed greatly to the growth of religious values and virtues in the world. The expansion of Central Mosque, Offa, was not only a child of his brain but also a product of his mobilization of human and material resources. His huge sacrifices as the Chairman, Jamat Nasril Islam (JNI), Balogun Imale (Leader of Muslims) of Offa and many more contributed immensely to his emergence as the Baba Adini of Kwara State turbanned by the Emir of Ilorin, HRH Alhaji (Dr.) Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, CFR, on 14th April, 2017.
As Baba Oyawoye moves magnificent mountains globally, he also acts incredibly wonderful locally and became a unique hero at home as the only Offa man in history to have held both the position of the National General Secretary of the Offa Descendants' Union (ODU), being the overall umbrella body of Offa Indigenes both at home and in the diaspora, from 1966 - 1972 and ODU National President from 1992 - 1996. The emergence of Offa town as an academic hub and its metropolitan status is not without his strategic network and his majestic net worth.
The nonagenarian never feels tired of serving Offa community with his influence and affluence. Baba is presently building another historical Silicon Valley as the Chairman, Board of Trustees, DOIT-Fund with a twin strategic community goals: creation of ICT Hub and Offa Smart City. His tract record of impeccable contributions to the growth and development of Offa town is second to none.
Baba Oyawoye, an outstanding member of Offa Council of Elders, is a destiny support system whose huge donation from his foundation is a great motivation for generations. The Monmodu Jamiu Mosobalaje Oyawoye Foundation does not only put smiles of many faces but also teaches us about generosity, community intervention, long time solutions, creating opportunities as priorities for humanity and many more.
Due to his deep knowledge and vast exposure in human endeavours, Baba Oyawoye believes strongly in fidelity to due diligence or playing by the books which many people perceive as being very principled, meticulous and perhaps not easy to understand but facts and figures have shown that he is a very simple and straightforward person that will never say YES whenever he means to say NO.
Baba Oyawoye, despite his huge external duties and responsibilities, is a wonderful and committed family man, successfully married with two wives and blessed with 10 noble children and many lovely grandchildren.
Very distinguished leaders and elders, ladies and gentlemen, let's celebrate our trailblazers, a special breed of homosapien, an iconic legend as he turns 94 years today 12th August 2021.
Maruf Olalekan AJENIFUJA
Offa Descendants' Union, Offa.