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Friday, December 12, 2014

#HNNOPINION: Who is the #NelsonMandela of #Nigeria? My FATHER Victor Omololu Olunloyo FOUGHT Discrimination for all #HNNEducation

Omololu-Olunloyo Family 1971 (Kemi, Dad, Yemi, Mom, Shola)
Little does anyone know about this world class famous Mathematician, Engineer and retired Politician Victor Omololu Olunloyo and how he became Nigeria's Mandela in my own opinion. Some of today's youth don't have a clue as they were not even born. One simple attribute of Nigerian youth is that they are extremely bad with current affairs history and many I interviewed between the ages of 13 and 16 today told me they had no idea who Mandela was.

Victor Omololu Olunloyo 78th Birthday 2013
My father is Nigeria's Mandela. YES! He is. When I was 7 above, my father was the Commissioner for Education in the Western State of Nigeria. A position he held twice. We had just been handed independence in 1960, this 27-year old young man was first the Commissioner for Economic Planning controlling money and projects in the Western region which is now 8 states. Try giving that appointment to someone that age these days and throw in eight states, most may not be able to handle ONE state.

Later while he was a lecturer at University of Ibadan, he took the appointment at Education from Gen Adeyinka Adebayo's military government. A Ph.D in Mathematics and Bsc in Civil Engineering graduate of St Andrews College Scotland, popularly known for famous grads including Prince William and Kate Middleton among others.

My dad and Mrs Kuti in one of his fierce meetings.
My father changed Education in Nigeria and fought for YOUR rights. He appointed Mrs Funlayo Anikulapo-Kuti pictured of blessed memory as the head of his Educational Advisory Board. This article will be published in newspapers across Nigeria.

My sister Olufunke Olunloyo sworn in as Special Adviser on Education
Today my younger sister Olufunke Olunloyo (not pictured or born in the picture) is the Special Adviser on education to the Oyo State Governor. Education used to be FREE here. Every child, he believed should get the same education.

Cut to the chase, it was not until the Americans arrived in Nigeria that sprung my dad into Nigeria's Madiba. Nigeria was a British territory, they built the University of Ibadan, the first tertiary institution in Nigeria. I lived on that campus half of my childhood. That campus also had the International school popularly known as ISI, a secondary school for the so called "Ajebutters" the elite kids and the foreigners children packed with white teachers in my days.

My father can never attain all the accolades Mandela received or work he did but for those who remember, dad is an unsung hero and rarely talks about it. The Americans arrived and began to build their own schools just like the British, bringing what we call American International schools. The Americans opened a school meant for American kids only and no other foreigners OR NIGERIANS!

The eminent citizens of Oshogbo loved the school and the curriculum and they wanted to send their kids too. They reported the school to my father the commissioner for those kind of racial discrimination practices. My dad asked them how they recruited their students? They said they picked students from their different American families and train them well to go back and enter American Universities back home. The British allowed Nigerians and foreign kids in theirs and most graduates went to British universities too and others stayed here.

The school was Newton Memorial Grammar school, Oshogbo and operated in 1969-71. My father gave Newton an option. To accept everyone meaning Nigerian kids or foreign kids living in Nigeria including naturalized Nigerians (Lebanese etc) and he stated he too wanted to see Nigerians all over the world in different universities one day. That day he spoke about is TODAY, so if you had the opportunity to school abroad, thank my dad on his page The other option was to close the school

Newton school took the other option. They SHUT the school down and the Americans LEFT Oshogbo! I want the US Embassy in Nigeria to read this. It is a lesson for us all.

My father also converted the International School Ibadan (ISI) as they were discriminating against black Nigerian teachers. Most teachers there were white British or American. ISI was also breaking the law secretly by giving members of University of Ibadan staff automatic scholarships without an entrance exam so he warned them. At one point ISI will not even admit Nigerian students and they made the tuition 500 GBP which was a lot at the time. Chapter 34 laws of Education of Western Nigeria forbids that and my father LOWERED the tuition to 150GBP because he claimed it was a deterrent to admit Nigerians.

My father was the Western State of Nigeria Commissioner of Education  from Dec 1967 to January 10th 1970 and his second term January 1970-March 31st 1970. The second term lasted 3 months! Why? Because General Yakubu Gowon terminated General Adeyinka Adebayo's government and replaced him with Gen Oluwole Rotimi. Rotimi  dissolved the cabinet. Even prevented us from living in the house the government gave us. We had to leave office and leave, PERIOD. that is our family portrait at the time. As you can see I am always daddy's girl and wasn't too happy a lot at that time. It was rough for my mom too.

In 1971, my sister Yemi, the oldest in the picture wrote Gen Rotimi begging him to let us have our house. We were not allowed. An 8 year old wrote the Governor. Looking back, she is 50-years-old now and in the irony of life General Oluwole Rotimi was also REMOVED as the Nigerian Ambassador to the US by President YarÁdua for some insubordination drama when he made the Biafra comment. These fools who claim they killed every Igbo in that war.

Today my father is the grandfather to 6 Americans and 6 British children. He has only visited the US once. Summer 1984 to a Mathematics Conference shortly after his Governorship ended during the coup. He fought for our rights as BLACKS in OUR own country to get what the AMERICANS now call Equal Opportunity after the long Martin Luther King civil rights struggle.

ASUU strike questions November 2013 at my sister's swearing
On ASUU, he stated that the "the students have been forgotten and it is really sad"  and also sympathized with Iyayi's family. ASUU is the Nigerian University lecturer's union that went on strike for the last 6 months with no University education in Nigeria leaving college students in the cold. The former President Prof Iyayi traveled to the negotiation meetings and he ended up in a huge crash with a Governor's motorcade and DIED! Google ASUU strike.

Shout out to my American friends and family. The Americans are our friends and even family now!! I got all 3 of my degrees there. My father let me go to the US after I secretly applied to schools there when we left the UK. He did not know. He said that to the Americans in Oshogbo. To let every Nigerian have the opportunity to attend schools in YOUR own country too one day. Check out the flag my kids made as teens. Gone viral now.

Naijamerican flag

Thank You Dad!! God Bless You and God Bless Nigeria. You are our Mandela! 

Dr Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo is a US trained International Journalist, Clinical Pharmacist/Medical Reporter, PR and Social Media Specialist. On Twitter @HNNAfrica  

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