Shared by Cyril Obi on 11th January 2019

In Oyeleye Oyediran, I was very fortunate to find not just a teacher, but a father and a life-long mentor, who was equally devoted to his God, family, friends, the theory and practice of political science and mentoring of younger colleagues. He was a firm believer in applying his skills as a political scientist in engineering a democratic Nigeria and lent his craft to the cause of analyzing Nigeria’s struggles for democracy during military rule. He also critically examined the steps towards institutionalizing political reforms and democratic values and processes in the country. Prof. Oyediran was very optimistic about the prospects of democratic change in Nigeria and contributed intellectually to the realization of his dream. Although he was engaged in public affairs, he fiercely guarded his independence and the principles he stood for and did not accept any political appointment to public office. He was a quiet but effective academic colossus whose footprints are deeply etched in several continents as one of Africa’s greatest, but self-effacing public intellectuals. Though human, he gave a lot of himself and believed in truth, goodness, merit and democratic freedoms, and although time has taken him from us, he will remain a shining star whose lightening trail will blaze forever. 

May His Soul Rest in Peace

Shared by Debo Adepoju on 7th January 2019

I  have been blessed to know a great man like my big Grandad. He has been a menthor a man i look up to. I remember being young and going up to his office and he had this nice biscuit and i remember the trips to ibadan and all. He always had the best advice whenever i needed guidance growing up or making a big decision. Rest well Big Grandad i am going to miss you (Toba

A Great Legacy

Shared by Timi Ayotunde on 20th December 2018

I met Mr. Oyediran briefly once, but his son Oyelola and I are practically brothers, even sharing the same birthday. So, by proxy, Mr. Oyediran was also like a father to me.

Even though I only met him once, his legacy endures as a great educator, and someone who placed great stock in the well being of children, and making sure they recognized how much education was a priority.

The lives that he changed for the better lives on, and his Mark will endure from those children to their children. Rest in peace Sir.

Remembering Prof. Oyediran

Shared by Richard Joseph on 17th December 2018

Professor Oyediran was my colleague in the Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan. In addition to his academic duties, he played an important role in public and civic affairs, notably in the Africa Leadership Forum founded by former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo.

At a time when Nigeria’s public institutions were being eroded by prolonged military rule, he stood for probity, professional conduct, and constitutional governance. He will be remembered by his colleagues for his teaching and writing on public administration and local government. To the wider public, the project he co-led with Profs. Larry Diamond and Anthony Kirk-Greene that culminated in the edited volume, Transition without End (1997), was a testament to his deep commitment to democratic government.

Like other Nigerian scholars, Prof. Oyediran found it necessary to teach for a number of years abroad. However, he was able to return to Nigeria and spend his later years living under a form of government (despite its shortcomings) to which he had committed his life and work. He was a generous and supportive colleague. I remember his geniality, mirth, and refusal to subordinate principle to short-term material benefits. He will live on in the love and admiration of many, and in the struggle for effective and accountable public institutions.

Richard Joseph

Emeritus Professor

Northwestern University

Shared by Oladele Odebunmi on 15th December 2018

My hero, my Uncle my father has gone. He was my emblem to strife to excel academical as a child. In my school days my nickname was Prof, all books instead of writing my name I do write Prof's copy and even till date some of my secondary school mate still call me Prof.

After my polytechnic when I gained admission into the university I travelled down South because I did all my schooling in the northern part of the country. I paid him a visit in Ibadan, I looked at me and said Ladele be serious with what you are doing you might be the saviour of the family. He spoke prophetically that day and it was heavy in my heart.

Prof Oye Oyediran was a symbol of humility. Some years ago I visited him in Ibadan and he asked my to compose a text message for him on  phone. At the end of the text I wrote Prof Oyeleye Oyediran he no I should remove the Prof, that people call him Prof but he call himself Oyeleye Oyediran. That statement humble me that day.

An icon has gone . I pray that God will raise great men and women again in our family that the next generation to see things to emulate from them.

Good night.

Goodbye to a wonderful colleague and great Nigerian

Shared by Larry Diamond on 14th December 2018

I am so saddened to learn of the passing of Oye Oyediran, who was much beloved and greatly respected and admired by political scientists and other academics and practitioners who knew him and worked with him, in Nigeria or abroad.  Oye was an outstanding political scientist who was fascinated with the challenges of public administration, governance, and democratic development in a country that was constantly challenged by its search for honest and accountable government.  He was not only a scholar but a public intellectual and advocate, who was called on by Nigerian governments to advise on constitutional reform and democratic development. Oye was not unwilling to advise those in power, but always he demanded  of himself and others the highest ethical standards.  He refused to be seduced by the powerful, and in private, he expressed bitter disappointment with his fellow scholars who yielded to these temptations and compromised their souls in the process (while gaining wealth).  He was passionate and uncompromising in his devotion to truth, transparency, and integrity. The rampant corruption that infected not only politics but everyday relations of commerce and administration offended and even disgusted him. 

I shared his moral outrage and intellectual conviction that Nigeria had to overcome the curse of endemic corruption.  But I did not always have the stamina he did to withstand the difficulties of everyday life in Nigeria without occasionally giving in to the petty ways that people sought to take advantage of a situation.  I remember vividly a morning when he picked me up at my hotel on Victoria Island in Lagos to take me to a conference or meeting we had.  It was my habit when visiting Nigeria to pick up half a dozen or more newspapers in the morning to get different perspectives on what was happening.  I hadn't had the time to look for newspapers yet that morning and so when we got to an intersection where a young man was selling an assortment of different newspapers I asked Oye to stop the car and I rolled down the passenger window.  Then I asked the young man  to give me one copy of each of the different newspapers he had.  I think there were seven or eight.  I asked the paperboy how much it was, and he overcharged me by something like 50 percent.   I wanted the newspapers so I just took out my wallet and started to pay him, but Oye--who had been counting the newspapers and closely scrutinizing the young man--grabbed my arm and stopped me, while he gave the young man a tongue-lashing in Yoruba.  I said to Oye in essence, it was okay, the kid was no doubt poor, and I really wanted the newspapers, but Oye turned to me indignantly and remarked, "That's not the point.  When you give in like this it only encourages them."  That was the only time he got even the slightest bit cross with me.  He just couldn't stand anyone getting away with a corrupt act.  He got the satisfaction of giving the young man a lesson.  I never got my newspapers that day, but I got instead a more precious and far more memorable gift from Oye.

Oye and I became good friends when he spent a year at the Hoover Institution in the late 1980s as a visiting scholar.  He impressed everyone he came to know at Stanford with his depth of knowledge about Nigeria, and his unfailing courtesy, openness, good humour and humanity.  He was just a wonderful person.  This was a period when the Nigerian military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida, was signaling his intention--which proved to be devious and insincere--to transfer power back to civilian, elected rule.  Oye and I developed a plan to launch a comprehensive analytic study of the transition, joining forces with the great British historian and analyst of Nigerian affairs, Tony Kirk-Greene.  The result was two superb academic conferences, one at the Hoover Institution in August 1990 and another at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos in January 1991.  These represented two of the largest and most distinguished transcontinental gatherings of experts on Nigerian politics and development that took place at any time during this period (or perhaps since).  But the project--covering everything from the institutions of the military-led transition (including the famous "Political Bureau" that Oye himself wrote about) to the reconstitution of parties and elections, to governance, structural adjustment, and civil society--kept being delayed by the political realities on the ground in Nigeria, namely, the military's cynical manipulation and distortion of the process.  We had hoped to end the book (Transition Without End: Nigerian Politics and Civil Society under Babangida) with the return of Nigeria to democracy, but alas, when we finally brought it to publication in 1997, it was with the most brutal tyrant in Nigeria history, Sani Abacha, consolidating his personal dictatorship.  Oye hoped the book would educate Nigerians about an important and painful period in their political history--and the imperative of avoiding any return to military rule in the future.  I hope future generations of Nigerians will continue to study it.

Most of all, I hope Oye's family and friends will not only treasure his memory but also take pride in what he accomplished and stood for.  He was, from beginning to end, a man of deep faith and principle, a man who would not compromise his principles, and a man who loved his country, for all its faults, and believed it could do better.  May his memory be blessed.

Shared by Tunji Agbejimi on 14th December 2018

May daddy's soul rest in peace...Amen.  Was hoping to see you one more time during the Xmas period.....but only God know's best.  

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