(Vice-Chancellor, University Of Ibadan)
Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka was born at Odo-Ijesa, State of Osun, Nigeria, on 16th February, 1958, to the family of the late Mr Gabriel Ola and Madam Florence Mopelola Olayinka. He hails from the Ojimi lineage, Ajifodu Dynasty. He attended St. Bartholomew’s Primary School, Odo-Ijesa, from 1964 to 1969 and he was appointed the Senior Prefect in his final year. He was admitted into the famous Ilesa Grammar School in January 1970 and completed his West African Secondary School Certificate in 1975, in Division One.
He entered the University of Ibadan during the 1977/78 session to study Geology. He graduated with a BSc degree (2nd Class Honours, Upper Division) in 1981 and he was the best graduating student in his class.
He undertook the National Youth Service Corps Scheme from August 1981 till July 1982 with the Hydrogeology and Hydrology Division of the Federal Department of Water Resources, Port Harcourt. He was privileged to participate as a Site Geologist in the National Borehole Programme, Phase 1, in the old Rivers State (now Rivers and Bayelsa States). He worked as a Geologist with Deptol Consultants from August 1982 till September1983 during which time he was involved in extensive fieldwork for hydrogeological investigations in Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Taraba States.
He proceeded to the United Kingdom for postgraduate studies in September 1983, first at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, London. He earned an MSc degree in Geophysics of the University of London and Diploma of Membership of Imperial College in July 1984. He subsequently received the Overseas Research Students’ Award from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of United Kingdom Universities (now Universities UK); he utilised this scholarship at the University of Birmingham for his Ph.D. research in Applied Geophysics which he completed in April, 1988.
He had postdoctoral research experience in Germany, first at Technical University, Braunschweig as a German Academic Exchange Service Visiting Scholar from April till August 1996 and later at Technical University, Berlin, as an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow from July 1997 till April 1999.
He took up appointment at his alma mater, the prestigious University of Ibadan, as a Lecturer Grade II in Applied Geophysics in the Department of Geology on 21st April, 1988. Through a dint of hard work, diligence and perseverance he rose rapidly through the ranks, being promoted to the grade of Lecturer I in 1991, Senior Lecturer in 1994 and Professor of Applied Geophysics effective 1st October, 1999.
He has served as External Examiner and External Assessor for professorial candidates in many Universities in Nigeria and at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. He has held Visiting appointments to Covenant University, Ota; Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti; Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye and the Federal University of Technology, Akure. He has been invited as Guest Lecturer by many universities in Nigeria and the Institute of Geophysics, Technical University, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Germany.
Prof Olayinka has had the privilege of over two decades cognate administrative experience at the University of Ibadan. These include a two-term stint as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) from December 2010 to December 2014, where he served as Chairman, Committee of Provost, Deans and Directors; Senate representative on the Governing Council from August 2007 till December 2010; Dean of the Postgraduate School from 2002 to 2006; Head, Department of Geology 2001/2002 and 2006 to 2010; Sub-Dean of the Postgraduate School 1999-2001; and Sub-Dean (Postgraduate) of the Faculty of Science, 1995-1997. He served on several occasions as the Acting Dean, Faculty of Science, during the 2009/2010 session. He was a member of the University Senate from 1994-1997 representing Congregation and has been a full member from 2000 till date. He was Chairman of the Senate Curriculum Committee from February 2007 till February 2011 and Chairman Curriculum Review Sub-Committee of the MacArthur Grant from 2009 till 2014.
He has authored/co-authored over 58 articles in journals, 7 books, 2 edited books, 11 chapters in books, and 1 Monograph.
Outside of the University of Ibadan, Prof Olayinka has garnered extensive academic and professional experience nationally and internationally. He has received numerous grants from Oil exploration and production companies; the European Union; the Association of Commonwealth Universities; the Department of Foreign and International Development (UK); the UK Department for Higher Education; and the International Institute for Educational Planning/UNESCO.
He has served as Consultant to the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)/Association of African Universities and the Joint Higher Education Management Programme (DIES) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
In 2006, he convened the First International Conference on Research and Innovation Management in West Africa and this gave birth to the West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA) with its Secretariat ceded to the University of Ibadan. WARIMA has grown to become a much-respected institutional member of the International Network of Research Management Societies (INORMS), the global body of research managers.
Prof Olayinka has received significant recognition and professional accolades during his career. He has been privileged to be involved in encouraging scholarship and scholarly publications, mentoring of emerging scholars and capacity building including skills for writing competitive grant proposals. He has an impressive record of fund mobilisation and prudent management. He has always been a committed, loyal and enthusiastic leader and team player.
Prof Abel Idowu Olayinka is happily married to Dr Eyiwumi Bolutito Olayinka and the union is blessed with two children.