An Honour Well Deserved to a Rare Nigerian


Fabian Benjamin

On Saturday November 25, 2017, the Registrar/Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede was bestowed with the ‘Most Outstanding Public Servant of the Year Award’, in recognition of his outstanding contributions towards efficient service delivery in the education sub-sector by The New Telegraph.

Oloyede’s decision to accept this award came as a surprise to many people who knew him closely, as he does not believe in unnecessary praise singing and that one’s works should be speaking for themselves. However, one suspects that he must have been swave by the quality and uprightness of the New Telegraph Newspaper.

Ever since Oloyede took over the mantle of leadership at JAMB in August 2016, the board has always been in the media for the right reasons, it has been from one success story to the other. He has sustained the acclaimed efficiency and service delivery, which made some people see the board as the most efficient public organisation in Nigeria in the recent past.

In line with the federal government’s policy of zero tolerance for corruption and diversifying the nation’s economy, the board under Oloyede has blazed several trails. Recently, the board which hitherto was seen as a non-revenue generating agency that depends on federal government subvention for its sustenance, remitted a whopping 5.2 billion to the coffers of the federation, with a promise that another 3 billion will follow before the end of the year, bringing the total to 8 billion. He is on top of so many transformations in the board with the recent being the overhaul of the 2018 registration process where a candidate will need not go through the tedious process of last year’s profile creation, but simply send a text containing his/her surname first name and middle name where applicable with his/her phone to a code to be disclosed in an advert to be realised soon and his profile is created. These are unprecedented in the history of public service in Nigeria and JAMB in particular. This feats were only achieved due to the integrity, credibility, accountability and transparency of Oloyede. This determination to make a difference, produce results in governance by Oloyede is worthy of emulation.

Little wonder then that The New Telegraph, a highly reputable media, known for its forthright, insightful, investigative journalistic style and truthful editorials and articles chose this true and patriotic Nigerian for this well-deserved award.
Prof. Ishaq Oloyede has demonstrated to the whole world that men of integrity and unalloyed patriotism still abound in Nigeria, he has demonstrated that one could serve in the public service with the sole aim of service and taking his organisation to the next pedestal.

In the recent times, the Nigerian youth has been in quandary as to who to follow as a shining example and role model, in words and deed, Oloyede has silently, without being garrulous, stepped into this role for the Nigerian youth of today to emulate. This explains why his achievements should be celebrated for generations to see for possible adoption and peer review by even sister organisations or governments.
It was as if Alan Patton had Oloyode in mind when he penned these immortal words long ago:
Going far beyond the call of duty
Doing more than others expect
This is what excellence is all about
And it comes by striving,
Maintaining the highest standards,
Looking after the smallest details
And going that extra mile.
Excellence means doing your best
In everything, in every way.

I cannot agree more, Oloyede has surpassed the expectations of all, maintained the highest standards, looked after the smallest details and gone that extra mile. Indeed, he has done his very best in everything, in every way. Little wonder many organisations are head over heels to recognise him. He is the flagship of a generation more prudent credible, accountable and transparent.

Oloyede and his feat in JAMB is a paradigm shift from what was obtainable in the public service in the past. This is taking heed to the advice of John F Kennedy that one should be thinking of what to do for his country and not what his country will do for him. He shows that there is still hope in the Nigerian project and there are still some patriotic, selfless and altruistic individuals, ready to give in their very best, even to the point of personal discomfort till we get to our promised land.

Will it be wrong at this moment of our national transition to economic and political recovery to begin to assemble the likes of Oloyede to be on most international conventions where Nigerian products and image will be discussed.

This award is timely and welcome by the entire staff of the board as a reward for the tirely nights working to satisfy the candidates.
As the registrar add another feather to his already crowded caps, it’s our desire that he does not rest on his oars as there are many other victories to be won. He should take heed to the words of Horace Mann where he said: “Be afraid to die until you have won some more victory for mankind.” The strife is not done, the battle is not over, there are more victories to be won for our fatherland. My charge to you is encapsulated in the words of Rudyard Kirplings where he said: “Let us therefore be up and doing, with a heart for any fate, still pursuing, still achieving, learn to labour and to wait.” Accept our congratulations.

Benjamin is the Head of Information, JAMB