Pa Afolabi Olaniran: Celebrating an icon, a pride of Ogbomoso, on his birth anniversary
Today, Saturday, November 4, 2023, marks another birth anniversary of Pa Afolabi Olaniran, and as I always feel proud about his accomplishments I am motivated to put this piece in celebration of his life. An icon, Pa Olaniran is no doubt a pride of this Princely City of Ogbomoso, Oyo state, gauging from the perspectives of his life and the station he has reached.
“We are what we do. By it shall we be known and remembered in all eternity. In a world riddled with corruption and corrupt practices, in which the majority at a drop of a hat forsakes their religious tenets to wangle illicit wealth, if there is a man that stands up to such heist, such deserves accolades,” I once put this down in an article I wrote about him detailing his incorruptibility while at the National Business and Technical Education Board (NABTEB), where he worked and rose to the position of Director, Research and Quality Assurance, before retiring in November 2015.
At NABTEB his sterling qualities endeared him to his superiors and subordinates alike, especially those who held in abhorrence the atrocious examination practices. At NABTEB, he spent 25 meritorious years. He was a man who had zero tolerance for corruption and examination malpractices. Pa Olaniran is unassuming, neither ostentatious nor flamboyant. He believes the status he reached in life is all down to the grace of God. This is because he rose by grace and dint of hardwork having come out of a background entrapped in narrow opportunities. Like most people of his generation he came out of a peasant family – Age compound, Ijeru-Oja, Ogbomoso, with no opportunities for educational pursuit but by unwavering determination he shredded himself off a life devoted to peasant farming, laboring and such laborious enterprises and re-directed his path to education, which propelled him forward and brought out the best in him.
His attending school is attributable to one of his uncles, his father’s younger brother, by name, Adigun, a carpenter by profession. The young Afolabi was at their village, Eleesun, engaged in farm work when this uncle came around to take him to enroll him at Saja Baptist Primary School, Ogbomoso. His hand on the plough of education he did not rest on his oars, as from there, he proceeded to the Baptist College, Iwo (now in Osun state), where he won a scholarship to enable him complete his studies with ease. He persisted and despite financial constraints he was able to proceed to the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU), finishing with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. He thereafter joined the services of the Federal Government in 1982 and was posted to Suleja at the Federal School of Arts and Science, where he swiftly emerged Head of Department of Economics. In 1995 meanwhile, he redeployed to NABTEB as Principal Test Administration Officer.
Pa Olaniran is a Honourary Fellow of the Institute of Certified Economists of Nigeria, FCE, (now Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria). The honour – FCE – is the highest honour by that Institute. He was also a member of Association of Education Researchers and Evaluation in Nigeria (ASSEREN) and is a member of several other international associations. While in service, he served as chairman, NABTEB Junior Staff Appointment, Promotion and Disciplinary Committee, for many years. In addition, he bagged the Certificate of Merit at the induction of senior officers by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) in conjunctions with the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) in 1985.
After retirement, he’s conferred with the Award of Justice of the Peace by the Oyo State government. He is a registered member of Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN). As a community leader and patriotic son of Ogbomoso, he belongs to many prominent societies. And in recognition of his sterling qualities and impeccable record at NABTEB, the federal government recently appointed him as the Chairman, Governing Board of the Federal Government College, Ogbomoso.
He is passionate about his hometown and has been making significant contributions to its growth and development in his own way. He is an active member of Ogbomoso Development Association (ODA), a member of the Ogbomoso Community Foundation (OCF) and belongs to several other societies. Armed with an uncommon, incisive and analytical mind, from a background of years of speaking at conferences, nationally and internationally, he writes with relish, always giving his opinions on issues of national and local importance.
He is an asset. This was obviously recognized recently when he led the management of the Federal Government College, Ogbomoso, to pay congratulatory visit to the Soun of Ogbomosoland, His Imperial Majesty Oba Ghandi Afolabi Olaoye Orumogege III and the Kabiyesi had to summon him privately for discussion. His intelligent, frank and wisdom-laden contributions during the visit must have touched and convinced the monarch, who has a knack for bringing talents within his sphere.
Married, with beautiful, equally successful children, he has made huge impact in his generation, and one can only wish him a happy birthday, long life and prosperity. Hearty cheers sir!