Emmanuel Alayande College Of Education, Oyo Mourns 4th Governing Council Chairman, Olalekan Oyedeji; Bids Him Farewell

The 14th Governing Council Chairman, Prof. Matthew Odedokun, Council Members, College Management ably led by Dr. Rasak Adetunji Adefabi, JP, Academic and Non-Teaching Staff, Students and Members of the College Community commiserate with the widow, children and the extended Oyedeji families of Itabaale, Ibadan on the demise of Prof. ‘Lekan Oyedeji which sadly occured on 6 January, 2022. Prof. Oyedeji served as the 4th Council Chairman, St. Andrew’s College of Education, Oyo (now Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo) between 1999-2003 during his lifetime.

In a release personally signed by the Chairman, Governing Council, Prof. Matthew Odedokun, he recalled how the late Prof. ‘Lekan Oyedeji as 4th Council Chairman and his team moved the College to the present Erelu Campus. According to him, “his contributions to the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education, Oyo were legendary. It is on record that the College was moved to the present site during his stewardship as 4th Council Chairman. He shall be sorely missed and remembered for his positive contributions to the development of the College”, the renowned Economist submitted

Professor Samuel Olalekan Agboade Iyanda Oyedeji, was born 10 November, 1935 to late Pa Johnson and Madam Mopelola Oyedeji, of Tubosun Compound, in the now Ibadan North East Local Government of Oyo State. His father, late Pa Johnson Oyedeji, a farmer, having had early contact with missionaries would later abhor tribal facial markings on his children. It is on record that young Lekan was the last of his children to receive any facial markings from the ‘Oloola’, the traditionalist responsible for circumcising and face marking newly borns. His mother, Mopelola who was tall, elegant, business savvy and blunt had zero -tolerance for beating about the bush. This later explained why he was known to always go straight to the point, albeit in a gentle manner.

He attended the famous Olu-Iwa College (Now Adeola Odutola College) in Ijebu Ode, from 1953 to 1956, where he spent only four years, instead of six, to obtain his secondary school leaving certificate. He then proceeded to the Saint Andrews College, Oyo (Now Emmanuel Alayande College of Education) from 1957 to 1958. He was an Andrian, and a strong member of the SACOBA while alive. In 1959, he was appointed teacher at his Alma Mata, Olu-Iwa College from 1959 to 1961.

In pursuit of further knowledge, he gained admission into the University of Ibadan between 1961 and 1965, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History, as one of the best in his class. He served as the Student Union President of the University between 1963 and 1964. While serving in this capacity, he invited and hosted the Prime Minister, the late Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, who spent time interacting with the students over a two-day period.

He moved to New York in 1966, where he started work as a teacher at the United Nations International School. In 1967, he started his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree programme at the prestigious New York University (NYU), through a United Nations scholarship. He served as the National President of Nigerian Students Union in the America, before receiving his MBA degree in 1969. He continued teaching in the school until he started his Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1970. In between pursuing this, he lectured at the City University of New York (CUNY). In 1972, he received his Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration from New York University and continued lecturing at CUNY until 1973. Later in 1973, the renowned historian and then newly appointed Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, late Professor Ade Ajayi, visited New York, to encourage Nigerian academics to return to Nigeria to support him in achieving his vision for the University of Lagos. Driven by patriotism, Lekan packed up and returned to Nigeria. He would later say he had no regrets making that decision.

From 1974 through 1976, he was a Lecturer, in the Department of Adult Education, Faculty of Education, University of Lagos. He was Senior Lecturer from 1976 until 1984. He served twice as Head of Department: 1979-1981 and 1982-1985 respectively. He was Associate Professor between 1984 and 1987. He was appointed Professor in 1987 and became the Dean, Faculty of Education between 1987 and 1991. He also served as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the International School Lagos. In 1991, he delivered an exceptional inaugural lecture titled ‘Wisdom: The Ultimate Goal of Education’. The lecture exemplified how he navigated through life by constantly applying wisdom decision making. He thereafter proceeded on leave of absence to pursue other opportunities. He retired from the University of Lagos in 1995, while still on leave of absence.

He arrived in Ilorin, Kwara State, in 1991, to start his new job as the Adult Education Consultant to the Federal Government of Nigeria and European Economic Community (Now EU) Middle-Belt Programme. The job opportunity itself came at the instance of two of his former students, who headhunted and recommended him for the role. In 1993, he was appointed the Acting Programme Coordinator until 1996, when the programme was temporarily shut down due to the human rights abuses of the then military junta. During the period, he went back to his farm in Idi-Ayunre, where he spent time on his ranch and investing in other ventures. In 1997, he gave his life to Jesus Christ and was baptized to commemorate this new beginning. In 1998, he was appointed Programme Manager of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the European Union sponsored Middle-Belt Programme. In 1999, the then Governor of Oyo State, late Alhaji Lam Adesina listed three criteria, to guide him in appointing a Chairman of Council for the state-owned College of Education. He met all three and was appointed from 1999 to 2003. He served diligently in the position. Some of his achievements included the establishment of Ajayi Crowther University and moving the College of Education to its present location. He shuttled between Ilorin and Oyo whilst also keeping a tight schedule as the Programme Manager of an expansive international agency intervention. In 2006, he retired and settled on his expansive farm in Ibadan.

As a man disciplined in terms of healthy living, he began researching on gerontology: how to live a long fulfilling life, from 1994. He understood the importance of drinking water to maintain a healthy life. This birthed the Center for Ageing and Longevity, an initiative focused on nature, how certain plants could cure life threatening ailments and researched in-depth the numerous benefits of water. He published several books and gave many public lectures through his Center. He was invited back into full academia at the newly founded Lead City University (LCU) in Ibadan. He assisted in starting the Faculties of Arts and Education in the University. In 2011, he was appointed as the National Chairman Road Accident Victims Rescue Operation. He later served as the Dean of the Faculty of Education between 2010 and 2012 of the University. While in retirement, he continued with his research on longevity and several people testified to the efficacy of his remedies.

As a family man, he loved his family dearly. He was a nurturer who was never in a hurry, methodical and an example of how to do things properly. As an extended family man, he rallied his family and rendered assistance where required of him. As a Christian, he led by example. He was a lover of Christ, who preached the gospel in the simplest form. As a teacher, he was famously known as the Professor who dictated lecture notes from his head. He was popularly referred to as “Sigmund Freud’ because of his deep analysis of issues. And later ‘Prof Olomi’ due his compelling findings about the benefits of drinking water. He was a very passionate farmer and this passion spanned close to fifty years starting with the then Lekano Farms Ltd. Farming was one of his oldest endeavors aside academics he began with poultry. He also ventured into pig farming, cattle rearing and snail farming. He also reared exotic animals like grass cutters, guinea pigs to but mention a few. He was also involved with fish farming and was at a time one of the biggest producers of catfish in Ibadan.

On January 6, 2022, he quietly went to be with his maker. The nature of his passing typified the kind of life he lived: an outstanding yet simple life in which he never burdened other people. He left peacefully, survived by his Wife, Children, Grandchildren and Great-grandchildren. He is now resting at the bosom of his saviour, Jesus Christ.

May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

‘Wale Adeoye
Special Assistant on Media Matters to the Provost
23 February, 2022

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