The 3rd president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson is quoted as admitting as far back as 1792 (when he was Secretary of State) that: “Comparing them (black and white people) by their faculties of memory, reason, and imagination, it appears to me that in memory [the Negro] are equal to the whites; in reason much inferior, as I think one could scarcely be found capable of tracing and comprehending the investigations of Euclid; and that in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous.” However, it has been asserted that present-day and ancient achievements contradict Thomas Jefferson’s stereotype. In fact, web pages have been created to exhibit accomplishments of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora within the Mathematical Sciences.
The foregoing lends credence to the thoughts of a Nigerian expert in Mass Communications, late Prof. Alfred Opubor (2005) who argued that: “Africa has been the victim of other peoples’ information domination. ‘’Historically, Africa’s image in the world has been largely managed by non-African interests and institutions. ‘’Those who had the means to create powerful channels to disseminate information widely, had pre-empted the definition of what was good, what was right, what was important, and what was civilized. In general, even the achievements in science, in art and culture that were African in origin or inspiration, were often attributed to others, because their provenance was obscured in Africa’s inability to proclaim its stake. ‘’Through literature, visual arts, the mass media, and popular culture, the agenda of world discourse has been hijacked by other cultures and peoples for a long time’’
PROVENANCE: As purveyors of the sterling qualities within which the society could recreate itself, one of the most important requirements of development is to recognize the contributions of people who have attained memorable milestones in their journeys through Planet Earth. Nigeria has been blessed with a number of people with unusual Intelligence Quotients that mark them out as ‘’beyond the ordinary’’ in terms of their endowments. Obafemi Awolowo, Adegoke Adelabu, Chike Obi, and Ayodele Awojobi were some of the highly cerebral personalities that have emerged at different points of history. And by all measurable standards, Chief (Dr) Victor Omololu Olunloyo ranks amongst the class of geniuses who are abundantly endowed and gifted beyond the ordinary, in terms of intelligence, and is perhaps one of Nigeria’s modern-day Euclids. Euclid, cited above by Jefferson, sometimes called ‘’Euclid of Alexandria’’ to distinguish him from Euclid of Megara, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the “founder of geometry” or the “father of geometry”.
Apart from the contributions of these excellent personalities to national development, we are aware that inviting attention to their endowments and contributions is a veritable way of encouraging people coming behind to make it in life. We must necessarily document the deeds of great Nigerians. Victor Omololu Olunloyo was born in Ibadan on April 14, 1935. He hails from the famous Olunloyo family of Ibadan, the first family to imbibe western education from the missionaries, a century and a half ago in 1853. His late father Horatio Olunloyo was a Christian, while his late mother: Alhaja Bintu Tejumola Abebi Olunloyo was a Muslim. His father died in December 1948 at the age of 47, when Victor Olunloyo was 13 years old. His mother, an Owu indigene died in October 2013 at the age of 102 years. Olunloyo had a very special relationship with his mother.
AS A RASCAL — EARNED APPELLATION: ‘’MARK ANY THREE ANSWERS’’ — In the case of Omololu Olunloyo, he used to be very rascally such that he would answer more than the questions stipulated by his teachers and proceeded to ask his teachers to mark or assess the number of answers he/she so wished. Usually, teachers from the secondary schools to tertiary institutions give their students options in answering questions drawn for tests and examinations. It is a universal and standard practice for educators to give their students some latitude by directing their students to answer two questions from three; or three questions from four; or three questions from six – whichever one the teacher wishes to enforce. This gives students the choice and opportunity of flexibility and enough time and concessions. According to him, ‘’when Oyelese and Chike Obi taught us, and they gave us four questions to answer any three, I would answer all the questions and told the teacher to mark anyone he wished to mark. It earned Omololu the nickname: “Mark any Three.” That means I would do all four and then I ask the teacher to mark any three he liked. So, my name was “Mark any Three.” One of those stories or pranks played by Omololu Olunloyo bordered on that confidence and extreme intelligence.
EDUCATION – Just take a look at these very fascinating educational attainments and honours – B.Sc. (Gen. Engineering) (Civil/Mech); B.Sc. (1st Class Hons) Mech. Eng.; Ph.D. (App. Maths) D.Sc. (Honoris Causa) LCU, MNSE, COREN, FNIST, FPI, OON
•Engr. (Dr.) Victor Omololu Sowemimo Olunloyo had his primary education in Lagos (Holy Trinity, Ebute-Ero, 1939; Methodist School, Olowogbowo, 1940), Ibadan (St. Peters, Aremo, 1941 – 1946) and Gbongan (St. Paul’s School, 1947).
•A child prodigy, he took first place in examinations held for Standard IV and V pupils in all the schools in Ibadan Province in 1946 and 1947. He was an entrance scholar and the youngest boy in his class at the prestigious Government College, Ibadan. He came out with a Grade I School Certificate in December 1952.
•He also distinguished himself in sports, winning the school athletic and cricket colours, being the school’s opening bowler with a record haul of wickets.
•He entered the University College Ibadan in 1953, secured his A-levels privately in 1954 and went on to the University of St. Andrews, Scotland’s oldest University, now 600 years old, where he was from 1955 – 1961.
•His star shone there most brilliantly. He took a Civil/Mechanical General Engineering Degree in 1957,
•A first in First Class Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering in June 1958
•A Ph.D. in Mathematics in December 1960.
•He was the winner of five undergraduate class gold medals out of a possible six and the University Prize as well as the British Association for the Advancement of Science Prize. Shell appointed him for an oil job in Holland in 1957, which he declined.
•The Queen invited him to Buckingham Palace as a Distinguished Commonwealth Student.
•He taught at various times in Nigeria and Britain, particularly University of Ibadan and Ife. His academic publications are in the areas of Numerical Analysis, Number Theory and Engineering Field Theory.
•Victor Olunloyo was awarded a Ph.D. from St. Andrews University in 1961. His thesis was on ‘’The Numerical Determination of the Solutions of Eigenvalue Problems of the Sturm–Liouville Type’’.
•He published several other papers on number theory and applied mathematics.
•A Five-Times Gold Medalist out of a possible six (Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Mathematics); British Association (1939)
•Prize for the Advancement of Science, University Prizeman (1958), University of St. Andrews, Scotland.
•He is a(n) Public Administrator, Engineer, Mathematician, Polymath, a moving encyclopedia and a man of many parts. (GCI Website)
Olunloyo obtained his Doctorate degree in Mathematics at the age of 26 years in 1961. He was appointed the Commissioner for Economic Planning, Western region by the administration of Senator (Dr) Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi, who headed the emergency government of Western region that was put in place following the political disturbances of 1962. Victor Omololu was the youngest member of the cabinet and was asked to take charge of the Census exercise for the region. He was given a free hand and served from June till December 31, 1962. Olunloyo was appointed Commissioner for Economic Development for the Western Region in 1962 at the age of 27, in that cabinet and had responsibility for the 1962 Census. He disclosed in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune that the census part of it was the highlight because of statistics. The actual national population figures were something like 17 million in the South and the whole of the North, 14 million. Of the 17 million in the South, there were 9 million in the East, 8 million in the West and 14 in the whole of the North. It was more rational because as you go towards the desert, the density of population decreases. Even from the 1931 census, there were only 17 million. Anyway, all the secret papers of these activities, you can see them today somewhere. ‘’I had a mysterious link with Chief Awolowo. I gave them to Chief Awolowo because I thought that they concerned the Action Group more’’.
SERVICE BECKONED AGAIN – RECOMMENDED BY PERMANENT SECRETARIES
Soon, the military seized power in January 1966, an occurrence that paved way for Olunloyo’s appointment as a State Commissioner in the administration of Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo. His name was suggested for appointment by Permanent Secretaries who worked with him during the emergency regime. Olunloyo was shocked when his name was announced by the then military governor, Colonel Robert Adeyinka Adebayo. He was a product of the political division of the Action Group between Obafemi Awolowo and Ladoke Akintola. Twelve commissioners formed the cabinet, equally split between sympathizers of Awolowo and Akintola. Olunloyo, who was a member of the NCNC came into the cabinet as one of Akintola’s followers. Colonel Adeyinka Adebayo, the then military governor of Western State appointed Olunloyo and assigned him positions including Commissioner for Community Development, Education (twice), Special Duties, and Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
AS LOVER OF LOGIC, REASONING & DISCOURSE: Omololu Olunloyo displays exceptional intellectual ability, creative productivity, and universality in variety, or uniqueness. David Joseph Bohm, an American scientist, described as one of the significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century and who contributed unorthodox ideas to quantum theory, neuropsychology and the philosophy of mind conducted a study on geniuses. .Bohm discovered that: ‘’geniuses were able to think different thoughts because they could tolerate ambivalence between opposites or two incompatible subjects. … The suspension of thought allows an intelligence beyond thought to act and create a new form.’’ He loves intellectual discourse and is ever ready to engage you, no matter your age and standing in the society in discourse to convince you to adopt his standpoint.
This writer had a few encounters with him and discovered a few facts. One, Olunloyo’s power of recall is very sharp, reeling out from memory occurrences of several decades back. In an interview with the Nigerian Tribune in 2019, he still remembered how his mother, described as his ‘’Chief Security Officer’’ accompanied him to some official functions outside Ibadan. Omololu Olunloyo revealed in the interview that: ‘’She (his mother) was very inquisitive’’ I just used her to scare people away.’’ Look at this book for instance, “The Part to Play” by Adelegan. ‘’When I had a problem which was getting intractable, she’ll step in. There’s one amazing episode as recorded in the book: (Reads from the book). “Olunloyo came to Ipetu-Ijesa accompanied by his mother to speak to my people, especially the representatives of the so-called Ibadan reactionaries.” You can see the rest in the book…So, why did you go to Ipetu with your mother? The problem was very difficult. So, I took her there as a scarecrow’’ The author of the book stated later that he never knew that Olunloyo knew much about his antecedents.
And Omololu Olunloyo was one of the notable personalities who honoured S.T. Adelegan with a generous tribute at his laying in state ceremony at the Oyo State House of Assembly, Ibadan, as part of his funeral ceremonies of the man who was Deputy Speaker, Western Region Legislature and educator for several decades. Olunloyo recalled another occasion when he requested Chief Bola Ige, who was in the same cabinet with him as Commissioner for Lands to accompany him to Osogbo to resolve a matter at Fakunle Comprehensive High School Osogbo as Commissioner for Education. Olunloyo said: teachers at Fakinle ‘’were scared to see the two of us… ‘’Two rascals in conductor dress’’ Another scare crow!
IN PARTISAN POLITICS AS GOVERNOR OF OYO STATE
In 1983, some irreconcilable political differences occurred that brought out Omololu Olunloyo as the candidate of the National Party of Nigeria, supported by the intelligentsia in Ibadan. Victor Olunloyo ran for governor of the old Oyo State on the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) platform, and defeated the incumbent, Bola Ige of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), assuming office in October, 1983. His term ended only three months later when General Muhammadu Buhari took power and dismissed the elected government on December 31, 1983. The mental depth is unfathomable, just as the power of recall is legendary.Olunloyo has revealed in media encounters that his emergence as governor was foretold. He stated that Ooni Okunade Sijuwade announced to politicians across political parties who converged on his palace three months before the election the result of the election. They left us, went to the shrine and brought out the result. We saw smoke coming out from the back of the shrine. Ooni came out and he said: ‘’Olunloyo would win, but the government would not last for a long time. He told Sun Newspapers, (Femi Adeoti) that Ooni Sijuwade said: ‘’He said he saw that Olunloyo was on a donkey, riding it. Bola Ige was trekking besides him. After some time, Olunloyo returned to his house, and Ige was taken away. And it happened exactly. For two years and eight months, Ige was taken away. After 10 days, I returned to my house. We were told this on May 13, 1983, that election took place on August 13, 1983. The obas and all contributed money. The Alaafin, the Ooni everybody contributed money and gave it to me’’.
EMERGENCE AS NPN CANDIDATE & GOVERNOR – ASKED OBASANJO FOR SUPPORT
In the 2009 interview cited above, Olunloyo revealed that: ‘’When I wanted to get that ticket, I consulted a number of people. One of the persons I consulted was the present Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odugade Odulana. He is a strategist and a tactician. Then the three Lais in Ibadan, Lai Durosaro, Lai Oyadina and Lai Olugbesan. I used my Owu ancestry and went to Olusegun Obasanjo to ask him about some strategies and tactics. Like the miser he is always, he said he had no money. I pulled out his drawer and found dollars, pound sterling etc in his Ota farm. I said “my brother, you said you have no money, but this is money.” He said “no, no. This one belongs to the chicken. (Owo Adie)’ He asked: “How can we get support from Kano?” I said “what concerns Kano with Oyo State politics?” He said: “Kano is linked with Ile-Ife. The king in Kano, and the king in Ife. There are also other connections.” Obasanjo then gave me some strategies and tactics which I applied.
The late Chief Adisa Akinloye (then National Chairman, NPN) was not willing to support me. I got him essentially through Alhaji Alao Arisekola (Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland). Chief Richard Akinjide was not very keen in supporting me. I found a very good friend of his who got him around and compelled him to support me. And that is Chief Kolapo Ishola (a former governor of Oyo State). Chief Lamidi Adedibu was backing Alhaji Kola Gbadamosi, A mighty strategy was laid out. Ibadan is a very noisy and complicated place. So, the major strategy was to reduce the number of candidates in Ibadan to one and encourage the multiplicity of candidates in other places. What could be called an “illegal primary” was held at the Greenspings Hotel, Old Ife Road, Ibadan. Ibadans were united in sending Bola Ige out of government because of an alleged vitriolic attack on some personalities
POITICIANS OF THAT ERA WERE NOT LAWLESS IN SEEKING ELECTIVE OFFICES: There were 30 constituencies in Ibadan/Ibarapa area. What you call Ibadanland now with 11 local governments as well as Ibarapa. We then got 626 people in these areas to Greensprings. We all agreed unanimously to reduce the number of candidates to one. There were 11 candidates. This would be disastrous if allowed to go on. Out of the 626 votes I came first with 286 votes. Gbadamosi came second with 134 votes. Then you had Chief Bayo Akande, the businessman who is the chairman of Splash FM Radio, Ibadan, now. Chief Theo Akinyele, former Secretary to the Government and Otun Bobajiro of Ibadan and the last but not the least, (Chief) Olufemi Olaifa. At that election, some people did not contest. The last person got 26 votes. So, I won that non-party shadow election. The good thing about that primary is that everybody abided by it unlike now. They all surrendered, and all of them came round to support me. They also gathered funds, knowing that I didn’t have money. But 90 percent of my funds were provided by Arisekola. He first gave me 25 brand new vehicles including jeeps and buses. Then I got through my good friend, Alhaji Olotu Abidoye. We are still good friends till today. He is a very reliable man. He is a member of the Sports Council. We grew up with the late (Alhaji) Lekan Salami, who was a very strong supporter. Alhaja Aminat Abiodun, the present Iyalode of Ibadan, was one of my strongest supporter.. She was the first person who compelled and financed me to do the election. She discouraged all my opponents from contesting against me.
DISCLOSED HOW HE RISKED LIVES OF JOURNALISTS ON AN OFFICIAL TRIP TO ILE-IFE
There are a few personal encounters worth reliving here. There was a particular official trip to Ile-Ife/Modakeke. His visit was to follow up with reconciliatory actions to quash the communal hostilities between the two Yoruba settlements. I followed Olunloyo as one of the reporters assigned by the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State and we took off from Agodi Government House. We were oblivious of all events that led to the decision to embark on the trip and how officials of the National Security Organization (now State Security Service) cautioned Olunloyo against going on the trip. Only a few people in government have the statutory right to access security reports. We, as media practitioners had our sources that were not as perfect as what security agencies had. We never knew about any potential danger. So, we drove to Ile-Ife and Modakeke and were warmly received by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade and Baale Ogunsua of Modakeke.
BACK IN THE GOVERNMENT HOUSE:
We drove back straight to the Agodi government house. Governor Olunloyo looked at a few of us who were with him and volunteered the information: ‘’Do you know that security reports available to me this morning said I shouldn’t go on that trip? But nothing has happened. ‘’I risked my life and yours and here we are back!’’ He is also a very jovial personality who, however, makes his points very seriously. We wanted to know why he wasn’t sleeping in the Government Hose, to which he stated that: ‘’Ile Baba mi Horatio dara ju ibi yi lo’’ – meaning: My father’s house is more beautiful than this building.
A few weeks later on 31st December 1983, we were seated at the Executive Council Chambers waiting for Governor Omololu Olunloyo to address the press at part of end of year activities. Suddenly, we saw him come out, guarded by officials of the National Security Organization (now State Security Service) who quickly spirited him away from that location because that agency is statutorily held accountable for the security of certain political office holders. As they led him away, Olunloyo managed to say: ’This type of thing (coup) wouldn’t have happened if everybody did his job well. We only knew about the coup after the governor had been taken into safety.
I AM NOT A ROBOT: A few weeks after his inauguration as governor of Oyo State, the National Party of Nigeria held a meeting of top party leaders at the Mapo Hall. When it was his turn to address the gathering that included the State party chairman, Chief Olaniyan Alawode (aka 007) Olunloyo looked at the party leaders eye balls to eye balls and said: ‘’Nobody can intimidate me because as Governor, I will be held accountable for all I do and my name is at stake’’ Some of the leaders felt uncomfortable; but Olunloyo had chosen an occasion and venue of the well attended meeting to pass his message across that he would never be a robot. Olunloyo also later did the unthinkable on Nigeria’s political terrain. He volunteered information that even indicted himself in order to help ascertain the truth and prevent recurrrence.
ALL POLITICAL PARTIES ARE GUILTY – I WAS A BENEFICIARY IF THE ELECTION WAS TRULY RIGGED
The military under the leadership of Buhari/Idiagbon regime set up an Inquiry to look into several issues. Olunloyo was never invited but protested: When the military government came, I went to Tunde) Idiagbon, and asked him. ‘Why did you take power from us? Because people were stealing money left, right and center, and we were the cleaners of the system.’ And they set up investigative panels. He was amazed that somebody could come up to him and say this. They set up a commission of enquiry to probe that election. Justice Babalakin, a retired justice of the Supreme Court was the chairman. Two days before their leaving, I wrote them. I said, ‘you ought to have summoned me. ‘’People have been shouting that the election was rigged. If it was rigged, I was a beneficiary of it. You have to hear my own side of the story.’ and went before the panel. ”I went to the enquiry. I said; ‘look, all these political parties, none of them is innocent. We all had our master plans. This is the master plan of the NPN.’ I tendered it. ‘We also stole the master plan of the UPN, this is it. There are two copies. One is in the government office. We want you to compel the military government to release it. This one we stole.’ We tendered it. ‘The NPP also had their master plan. These master plans have to be studied in order to beat rigging in the future.’ The UPN lawyer then came to me and said, ‘please, if you don’t attack Awolowo, we will not attack you.’ I said, ‘how can I attack Awolowo? All of you use his image; you have no name of your own. I won’t touch Awolowo, he is a sacred horse.’