Muibi Omolayo Opeloye

Muibi Omolayo Opeloye, Ph. D, F.I.S.N, a Professor of Islamic Studies was born to the family of Shaikh Idris Gbadebo Opeloye, the Chief Imam of Ife land more than 65 years ago. For his elementary education, he attended Ansar-ud-Deen School, Ogbon- Agbara, Ile-Ife between 1955 and 1961, after which he proceeded to Ansar-ud-Deen Secondary Modern School, Iloro, Ile-Ife between 1962 and 1964.

In view of his fathers ardent love for Arabic, he took what seemed an unpopular decision within his community at that time to enroll the young Muibi at Arabic Institute of Nigeria,Elekuro, Ibadan in 1965 where he pursued Arabic and Islamic learning for four years. In consequence, of his brilliant performance in the school, he was selected by the school authority to undergo 1-year Certificate Course in Arabic at the University of Ibadan in 1968 which he completed successfully. Professor Opeloye had his first degree in Education (with Arabic and Islamic Studies as teaching subjects) at the University of Ibadan between 1974 and 1978 and graduated with 2nd class upper division. He obtained his Masters and Ph.D degrees in Islamic Studies at the University of Ilorin in 1982 and 1988 respectively Professor Opeloye is a teacher per excellence. He has taught virtually at every level of educational system in Nigeria.

In 1969, on completing his certificate course, he taught at Ansar-ud-Deen Primary School Ogbondo, Ile-Ife. Between 1970 and 1974, he was a secondary school teacher. He taught at Irepo Grammar School, Igboho, from 1970 to 1971, Ilorin College, Ilorin, from 1971 to 1973 and Ilorin Grammar School, Ilorin from 1973 to 1974. On completing his first degree, he taught at Oyo (now Osun) State College of Education, Ila- Orangun between 1979 and 1984. Since 1984 to date, Professor Opeloye has been a university teacher. He started his academic career at the Lagos State University (LASU) and rose through the ranks till he became Professor of Islamic Studies in 1996. While at LASU he held several administrative positions. He was Ag Head, Department of Religions from 1993 to1996. He served as Dean, Students Affairs between 1996 and 1998. He was elected Dean of Arts in 1998 and re-elected in the year 2000.He was appointed Chairman University Admissions Committee in 2000. While serving in all of these positions he left an indelible mark. Professor Opeloye transferred his service from LASU to Obafemi Awolowo University on 1st August 2011 as Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Religious Studies. Since joining the University he has served as member of various committees at the Faculty and Departmental levels.

He is currently the Editor of Ife Journal of Religion and Chairman Obafemi Awolowo University Board of Investments Company He is a member of the Nigeria Association of Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Studies (NATAIS), He has held many positions of responsibility. He served as the Association Editor -in- Chief from 1988 -1991, as its Treasurer from 1994 -1996, as Vice- President from 1996-1998 and served two terms as President from 1999 – 2003. His professional activities were not confined to NATAIS. He also served meritoriously as Public Relations Officer (PRO) for Nigeria Association for the Study of Religion (NASR) from 1989 to 1991. He is also, a member of International Association of History of Religions (I.A.H.R.) Prof. Opeloye is a scholar of international standing. He was a Visiting Scholar to Department of Religion, Temple University, Philadelphia, U.S.A. in 1991/92 session. He won the fellowship of Iqraâ Trust, London which he utilized to carry out a research in Quranic studies leading to the Publication of his book: A Dictionary of Peoples and Places in the Quran. Professor Opeloye also won the prestigious German Academic Exchange (DAAD) Fellowship utilized at University of Rostock Germany in 2003.

This professor is a Fellow of Islamic Studies of Nigeria (F.I.S.N.) awarded by Nigeria Association of Teachers of Arabic and Islamic Studies in recognition of his contributions to the growth of the twin disciplines of Arabic and Islamic Studies in Nigeria in 2006. He is equally a winner of several other meritorious awards. His attendance at international conferences has taken him to different countries of the world including the United States of America, Britain, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Egypt, Islamic Republic of Iran, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Turkey, China and recently Malaysia. He was a Visiting Scholar to the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University in 2004/2005 academic session. While at the Institute he was invited by the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II to serve as Commissioner in Osun State under Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. His selfless service as Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Development between 2005 and 2010 prompted the late Ooni to confer on him the prestigious honourary chieftaincy of the Seriki of Ife Land in January 2010. Also in recognition of his capabilities the Ooni appointed him as the President of Ife Development Board, a position he holds till date. Professor Opeloye is a prolific writer. He has to his credit more than fifty academic publications made up of journal articles (Nigerian and foreign) and chapters in books. Professor Opeloye is happily married with children.