OYEBODE OYEDIRAN: IGBOBI COLLEGE MASTER
BY AKINLOLU AJE
At a time when most Nigerians were dropping their baptismal names and acquiring foreign ones, Mr. Oyebode Oyediran, retired tutor of Igbobi College, Lagos, dropped the precious name of “Timothy”.
His students could not have called him ‘Timothy’ or ‘Oyediran’ without a prefix. So, when they referred to him behind his back by the fond name of “Baba-Oye-e”, it stuck.
As a result, when his past students drive past his car, they would shout ‘Baba Oye-e’ and he would laugh silently and know the caller was once his pupil.
He mussed about that metropolitan city, Lagos, and reflected that, in the first instance, he did not opt for, nor scheme to be transferred to Lagos, after his teacher training college days in Ibadan.
On leaving Wesley College, a teacher training institution in Ibadan in 1955, he was posted to Badagry where he taught for five years.
As a prized footballer in those days, his transfer to Badagry was influenced by one Mr. H. M. Whenu, his college mate who knew he was a footballer.
It was this man who asked that he be transferred to Badagry. He was. And ‘Baba Oye-e’ played for Badagry XI in the 1950s to the Governor’s Cup stage at Onikan (King George V Stadium) Lagos. Badagry did not win the cup at any time.
After five years in Badagry, he was to be transferred to Lagos. ‘Baba Oye-e’ resisted this because of the high cost of living, the ‘wahala’ in getting accommodation and the perennial transportation problem in that Federal territory of Lagos.
But then, he was not reckoning with his former Wesley College Principal, Rev. Roland Hughes who had become the Methodist Education Secretary for Western Nigeria. It was him who convinced Oyediran to go to Lagos, where he would have a fair deal.
In Lagos, he was welcomed by Mr. Babalola, a tutor at Igbobi College, Lagos then. The man not only welcomed him affably, he took him to his room in the College premises, and ensured his comfort. When Mr. Babalola left for his Ph. D. degree, Oyediran replaced him as the Yoruba language tutor.
He was housemaster for Freeman House. Other houses were Townsend, Paker, Principal, Oluwole and Aggrey.
Had he any interesting event to recall? Yes. How could a blind student break bounds? But he had this blind student who broke bounds (stowed away from the college dormitory, at night) and when he went to check his dormitory, the student was not in bed. Next morning, the student came tapping across the college pitch with his stick. He was suspended for a week. That was all.
Oyebode Oyediran was born at Age, in Igbo Elerin in the Lagelu Local Government area of Ibadan district on December 2, 1930.
The first day he was taken to school, it was to Age Methodist Primary School. That day, he cried but got used to it after that day.
After reading Standard One at Age Methodist, he transferred to Ibadan in 1943 to complete his primary education at the Elekuro Methodist school where he read the formal standard six in 1947.
He was a pupil-teacher for three years at Akinpade village, somewhere after Ikereku at Akinyele Local Government area (former Governor Kolapo Ishola of Oyo State’s village on the way to Akanran.)
In his primary school days, he was a footballer. And when he went to Wesley College in 1952, he was in the team which played Government College, Ibadan; St Andrew’s College, Oyo; Baptist College, Iwo; Government Teacher Training College, Oke Ado, Ibadan and St. Luke’s College also in Ibadan.
Oyediran spent some twenty years teaching at Igbobi College, Lagos. His contemporaries there were Dr. Babalola; Dr. Sagay; Rev Akin. Adesola; J. O. Olatubosun; Rev Matabese; Mr. Walkley; S. O. Lawuyi; Mrs. T. M. Aluko (who taught French); Mrs. Olu Odunsi, Pa T. E. Eshubiyi, Z. A. Faleye, T. A. Ojo, Rev Ajayi, Oyenuga and Rev Adenugba. Among these were the college Principals.
Life after retiring would have been boring but then, he had established the Bariga Coaching Centre, in Bariga, Somolu, to coach candidates for JAMB and Polytechnic institutions.
‘Baba Oye-e’ lives at 16, Obayan Street, Akoka, Bariga.
First published Saturday, December 25, 1993