His Life

His Life

Professor Folayan Ojo was born the youngest of five sons and eighth of the eleven children that survived his father, the Late Chief Gabriel Olufarati Ojo, the Olokan of Ijero Ekiti. His mother was the Late Madam Felicia Ojimi Ojo (nee Adeoye), granddaughter of the Late Oba Aderuku Arojojoye I, who ruled as the Ajero of Ijero Ekiti (1916-1930).

He attended St Peter's  Catholic Primary School, Christ's Church Anglican Primary School, both in Ijero, as well as St Matthias Methodist Primary School, Orin Ekiti. His secondary education was at St John's Modern School, Usi where he became Catholic and adopted the name 'Emmanuel' as his baptismal name.

He taught primary school pupils for a few years, attending St Augustine's Grade III Teacher's Training College, Ikere Ekiti  for his first formal qualification.  Rising above very many challenges, he was  able to proceed to Canada where he had most of his university education. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Economics at Brandon College, University of Manitoba  and a Master’s degree in Economics at the University of Alberta through scholarships he obtained. He later completed his PhD degree at the University of Lagos. He won the African Students Foundation Fellowship, Brandon University Faculty Association Scholarship for “Academic Excellence” and the University of Alberta Fellowship in Canada. 

He commenced his employment at the University of Lagos in 1971, rising to the post of Professor in 1982. He served as the Acting Director, Human Resources Research Unit; He was the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Chairman of the Human Resources Development Board, UNILAG Ventures Management Board and Board of Studies, ASCON, Badagry.

He was appointed a Commissioner in the old Ondo State, 1988-1991 initially for Commerce and Industry, then his portfolio was later changed to Rural Development and Water Resources. There he served as a Director of some State and Odu'a companies and as Chairman of two companies. In this role, he was exposed to the practical aspects of personnel issues and thereby had the golden opportunity of marrying theory to practice in several areas of economic and management activities.

He was a Professor of Economics at the University of Swaziland from 2001 to 2010. While there, he served as Faculty Dean, member of the University Governing Council, Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor (Deputy VC) and Chairman of several Boards and Committees. He was Editor and Chairman, Editorial Board of UNISWA Journal for five years. He served as the pioneering Academic Coordinator of the World Trade Organisation/UNISWA Regional Trade Policy Course for English-speaking African countries. Overall, he had a varied and rich experience in administration within the university system and government.

Professor Ojo was published widely in reputable local and international journals. He was a co-editor of some books, sole editor of some and author of others including those published by the United Nations and Heineman. He served as a Consultant to local, corporate, governmental and international organisations such as the UN, UNECA, ILO, UNDP, UNCTAD, Ford Foundation and the Population Council of New York. He was widely travelled, having visited virtually all the countries in Africa and very many in other parts of the world conducting research, attending conferences, representing UNILAG and the Federal Government of Nigeria. His main areas of professional interest were human resource management and international economics. 

He belonged to several professional organisations, with a lifetime membership of the Nigerian Economic Society and membership of the Economic Association of Swaziland. He was a fellow of two professional institutions; The Certified Institute of Public Administrators of England & Wales and the Nigerian Institute of Management. He was a Justice of Peace (JP) and Chief Asiwaju of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Ijero-Ekiti.

To demonstrate his great passion for education, he set up the Folayan Ojo Educational Foundation (FOEF) for the award of scholarships to indigent and academically gifted students. His love for history and flair for writing assisted him in writing his life history in three voluminous editions: "Folayan Ojo My Autobiography", "Autobiography Volume Two: A Dream Fulfilled by Folayan Ojo" and "My Autobiography Volume 3: Manifestation of God's Grace by Folayan Ojo".

Prof. Ojo was married with four daughters and two sons. He has been blessed thus far with five grand daughters and a grandson. He instilled strong ethical values in his children and always emphasised the need to remain close as a family. He believed in honesty and integrity, showing gratitude for all he had been graced to achieve in his life. He always believed it was his duty to give back, as one to whom "much had been given".

He was a wonderful father-figure to several nieces, nephews, younger cousins and family members. He had a Family Connect Policy where he invested a lot of time and effort getting closer to both paternal and maternal members of his extended family.  

He held several positions of influence and was greatly respected among his many friends and colleagues. He left a good name and still enjoys the goodwill of those with whom he worked  at some point or another in different capacities.

He was deeply admired as a great mentor and role model; helping and touching the lives of many more in different ways. His hobbies were music, dancing and photography; being famously renowned for his moves on the dance floor (please see the videos in the gallery for evidence of this). For a very long time, he was partial to Coca cola, cake and ice-cream. He was such a huge fan of Manchester United, rarely missing a match.