Engr. Nat Oyelola

Engr. Nat Oyelola

Board of Trustees

After obtaining his Inter B.S.C. in 1954, Engr. Oyelola was obliged to go abroad to study since there was no higher institution in Nigeria at that time which offered a degree course in Engineering. He received a scholarship for the B.Sc Engineering (Mechanical and Electrical) course at Queen Mary College, University of London where he became the first African student to be elected to the Student Council.

At Queen Mary College, his performance on the dance floor was almost as impressive as his academics. He passed his gold medal exams for ballroom dancing and was congratulated for his supreme sense of rhythm!

During his student years, he formed deep and lasting friendships which transcended ethnic boundaries; amongst these close friends are Eng Eze, Nath Dike, Prof Henry Enahoro, Mr Victor Osula and Dr Ely Mama.

On graduation in 1957, he joined the engineering firm Metropolitan Vickers in Manchester for the statutory 2 year apprenticeship necessary to qualify for registration as a chartered engineer.

Together with the late Eng C.S.O. Akande and others, Engr. Oyelola discussed the need for a professional body to regulate engineering practice in Nigeria which led to the birth of the Nigerian Society of Engineers in which he played an active role, becoming a Vice-President.

Having spent 5 unbroken years in England, Engr. Oyelola lost no time in returning to Nigeria, eager to contribute his quota to his nation on the brink of Independence.

On returning to Nigeria in 1959 with his beloved wife, Patricia (nee Baylis), whom he had met at Queen Mary College London, he resumed duty with the Ministry of Works and Transport (formerly P.W.D) and was posted to Akure as the first Nigerian Area Engineer. Later, he was transferred to Ibadan, capital city of the then Western State. Thereafter with the creation of more states Engr. Oyelola was posted to his home state, Ogun, as Chief Mechanical Engineer.

He retired from the civil service in 1977 and joined the University of Ibadan as Deputy Director of Works, retiring finally from a long and unblemished career punctuated by many “firsts” in 1998.

One of his valuable talents was his ability to relate to people at all levels. On one occasion when there was labour unrest at the University of Ibadan, he was able to walk into the midst of angry workers and pour oil on troubled waters. His career was distinguished by his professional competence, his compassion for his staff at all levels, and above all, his unsullied integrity. Senior members of the University Administration valued his unbiased advice in many a difficult situation.

Having served the Anglican Church in various capacities requiring service and accountability, he was made a

trustee of All Saints’ Church, Jericho, Ibadan until his demise.

He was past president of the Nigerian Field Society, the oldest environmental NGO in Nigeria, established in 1930, after many years as Chairman of the Ibadan Branch.

He was a keen supporter of the Government College Ibadan Old Boy’s Association (GCIOBA), and attended the ‘Goat Case’ regularly.

Engr. Oyelola chose to lead a simple, and not at all materialistic private life. He was modest and unassuming, and was always consistent in his mode of dress which consisted of a simple buba and sokoto of “ankara” long before it became fashionable again.

He also had a great sense of humour which enlivened any social gathering, and an extensive fund of stories and anecdotes. He was a mine of information on Yoruba history and culture, embellishing his conversations with many a proverb.

He always accorded priority to the welfare of his family, both nuclear and extended.

His wife, four children and eight grandchildren were his pride and joy.

We thank God for giving him to us for so many years, but grieve at his passing. A light has gone out in our lives. We miss him.