Oluremi Raphael Aina; Educationist, professor of business education and vocational training whose teaching career saw him teaching at the Nigeria Defence Academy, NDA, where he taught several of Nigeria’s top military officers. The professor of international repute is a recipient of the Officer of the Federal Republic, OFR national award. Oluremi was the the first African to lead the International Association for Education Assessment, IAEA.
Born on October 24, 1939, Aina was the fourth of a family of nine. Marriage of his parents- Simeon ‘the Carpenter’ and Cecilia were opposed for its variance with Christian teaching. They were ostracised and told that they would never have children. After some delay, the couple had three girls, and the fourth, a boy whom they named Oluwaremilekun. A set of male twins was to follow, then two girls and then a boy, Titus.Oluremi Aina did not impress his father in his early years at St. Nicholas Catholic Primary School, Otan-Ayegbaju. He found it difficult to cope and, by 1952, his father angrily withdrew him from school and took him to his farm in Ikoro-Ekiti. His mother enlisted the service of Victoria, Oluremi’s eldest sister, to help plead that he be returned to school. A teacher also intervened and, eventually, the young Aina returned to school, improved in his ability. After elementary school, Oluremi proceeded briefly to St. Thomas Catholic Modern School, Otan-Ayegbaju, and left thereafter for St Murumba College, lle-Ife in 1957 for the Teacher’s Grade Three certificate. Before leaving for Murumba, he, in 1956, was a pupil teacher at Catholic Mission School, Otan-Ayegbaju. .During his days at Murumba, Aina was no longer slow academically, even though he still devoted a lot of time to playing. He won a special prize in Mathematics.
Education & scholarship
In 1965, Sarah Holdings, an American, awarded Oluremi a scholarship to study at the Technical College, Ibadan, now The Polytechnic, Ibadan. Again, he lived up to the billing here, but he left for the United States of America in 1972. This was again on scholarship. In America, he enrolled at the Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. He was later admitted for his graduate studies at the Northern Michigan University and the University of North Dakota. In all, he came out with flying colours. At Kalamazoo, he broke a 96-year-old record, emerging the best overall student and the first foreign student to win the school’s honour award. He was singled out for recognition at the convocation, during which George Bush, then the American envoy to China was guest of honour. After his first degree, he taught at Loy Horrix High School, Kalamazoo. While studying for his, master’s degree, one of his sisters died and he returned home to be with his family. On getting home, he discovered that the then Western Region government had awarded him a scholarship for further studies. After the funeral, the family supported his idea of going back to America to complete his studies. And so, he returned to complete his master’s and also undergo his doctorate, which he completed in 1977.
About a decade in America got Oluremi his first, second and third degrees, but he refused to stay back after completing his studies, believing Nigeria needed him more than America and to Nigeria he returned. Back home, he took up a teaching appointment with the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1977. By 1989, he had become a professor. Before then, he had returned to America in 1981 to obtain the International Teachers Certificate at the Manchester Business School, University of Manchester[i]. He is the author of two books; Three Decades of Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Nigeria and Assessment and Contemporary Issues in Education. After a stint at the NDA, Oluremi was later registrar and chief executive officer of the National Business and Technical Examinations Board, NABTEB, 1992-2002[ii].
[i] TELL, April 24, 2006
[ii] Newswatch, November 2, 2009