By Job Osazuwa
The people of Ekiti State have every reason to continue to celebrate Chief Olusola Bayode even in death. The man, as an ardent educator, impacted many lives and he did so without expecting any reward from any man.
Though he retired many years ago and died on January 24 2021, his name still rings a bell within and outside the academic world. As gathered, he was a disciplinarian, but he corrected all students with love. He was revered by all students and dearly loved by all members of the communities where he lived and worked.
He lived by example and won the hearts of many people who came across his way. He was brilliant, intelligent and industrious yet humble to a fault. He was described as an excellent school administrator who achieved many firsts in his career with an uncanny eye for finesse.
To sustain his legacies, his family members, friends and associates will today gather in Ekiti State to launch a foundation called Olusola Bayode Foundation (OBF).
The foundation, among others, seeks to encourage people to leave footprints of excellence in acts of service. Through partnerships, it would set new standards and reward excellence in academics and school administration. It also hopes to give a voice to embedding best practices and inspire others to serve.
The keynote speakers would be doing justice to the topic: “Effective School Management for Sustainable Development: Lesson from the Life of Olusola Bayode,” where they are expected to dissect the role of every stakeholder in improving the quality of teaching and learning in all levels of education.
Explaining the reasons for launching the foundation, the organising committee has said that the teacher lived a life of service that shouldn’t be forgotten in a hurry. It added that he made his mark in every area he ventured into and identified with the often overlooked people and took particular interest in catering to the needs of indigent widows.
“This foundation will be a lasting memorial of a man who dedicated his life to serving others. In his own words: “My life has been one of grace; and I have learnt that my life is a success when and where it has made others succeed in life,” the committee disclosed.
In retirement, Bayode was content that he had achieved his life purpose and given his all to the service of humanity.
In his autobiography, “The Preacher’s Son”, he wrote “I thank God in retrospect. I can look back with great humility of mind the scores, the hundreds, and the thousands that my life has touched. I am proud to say that I was a teacher, just as still, I am a teacher. If I am to come back to this world, I will still be a teacher if only for the joy of assisting young minds to grow into mature adults, thus making such lives a success. I have learnt that my life is a success when and where it has made others to succeed in life.”
He was admitted into Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti and obtained his West African School Certificate in December 1957. Bayode attended the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan from 1959 to 1961. He then proceeded to the University College, Ibadan from where he graduated in 1964 with a Bachelor of Arts honours degree in Geography. He obtained a post-graduate diploma in education (P.G.D.E.) from the University of Ibadan in 1965 and a certificate in Educational Management and Administration from Moray House College of Education, Edinburgh, Scotland in June 1980.
Bayode taught at Amoye Grammar School, Ikere Ekiti from 1964 to 1972, serving as a House Master and as Vice-Principal of the school. In 1972, he resumed as pioneer principal of Aisegba Community Grammar School, Aisegba Ekiti. In 1984, he became principal, Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti where he served for ten years until his retirement in December 1994.
He was a member of the governing council, Ondo State College of Education, Ikere Ekiti (1984-1987); member, Ikere Local Government Education Authority (1989-1990); member, Ondo State committee of WAEC from 1987 to 1993; member of the Nigerian National Committee of WAEC (1990-1993); member of the West African Examinations Council representing Nigeria (1991-1993); member, WAEC International Examinations Committee, representing Nigerian secondary schools (1991-1993); member, Ondo State Library Board (1991-1992).
As a transparent and meticulous public servant, Bayode served the nation as a member of the 1991 governorship and Legislative Assembly elections tribunal for Niger and Ondo States and the 1992 National Assembly election tribunal for Kogi and Kwara states. He also served as President, All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), Ondo State.
He was a recipient of many honours and awards, which included ‘Principal of the Year Award’ by the old Ondo State as Principal of School with the best GCE 0/L exams in the state (1980), among others.