Happy Birthday to the former Governor of Oyo State (October 1983 – December 1983) – Dr. Victor Omololu Sowemimo Olunloyo who turned 83 yesterday, April 14.
Apart from being an astute politician and public administrator of note in the annals of history, he is one of the best brains Africa has ever produced in Mathematics and Engineering. At teenage in 1948, he lost his Christian father (Horatio Olunloyo) to the cold hands of death, in spite of this, the young Omololu was determined under his mother (Alhaja Bintu Olunloyo) to apply himself to wide reading and good education at the Government College Ibadan to the point of a successful completion of his university degree with a First Class Honors at the prestigious University College, Ibadan (now University of Ibadan), he was spotted and given scholarship to go for his PhD at St Andrews University in Scotland under the government of the Western Region led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was interviewed and awarded scholarship by late Mrs. Tejumade Alakija (daughter of the late Ooni of Ife, Sir Adesoji Aderemi and first female Head of Service in Oyo State). Olunloyo later became the youngest Ph.D. holder in Oyo State at the age of 26 in two fields (Mathematics and Engineering) that he pursued simultaneously within the time frame of a one-year scholarship, a feat that is uncommon and absolutely ingenious. While on scholarship for Ph.D. in faraway Scotland alongside the erudite woman-Professor of History, Prof (Mrs) Bolanle Awe, they both broke and set new records in Mathematics and History to the point that Queen Elizabeth of England invited them to Buckingham Palace for personal recognition and presentation of an award. The Queen admitted that she never knew Africans could be that brilliant to the point of beating records set by Europeans. Interestingly, the record set by Olunloyo in Applied Mathematics as far back as 1961 has remained unbroken across the whole of Europe till today – 57 years after.
But for Olunloyo, being a lover of education, his kinsman Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi – The current Governor of Oyo State would have probably ended up as a primary school certificate tape rule wearing tailor somewhere in Molete or Ago Tailor in the ancient city of ibadan if not for Olunloyo who disagreed with his uncle – Isiaka Ajimobi’s father and took the young Isiaka to Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan for a secondary school education after which he travelled abroad in the 70s for a polytechnic education with the support of the late Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu.
As one that has enjoyed a good father-son relationship with you in the last 3 yrs, I choose to specially celebrate your rich legacy today and pray that the good Lord will bless you with great health and vitality to enjoy the remaining years of your life on this side of eternity.
Once again, Happy birthday and Congratulations to you my dear Baba and model of some sort.
© Seye Oyetade, Lagos, Nigeria – Matters of Heritage