Francis Abiola Irele (commonly Abiola Irele, born 1936) is a Nigerian academic who has been called the doyen of Africanist literary scholars worldwide. He is currently Provost at the newly founded Kwara State University in Ilorin, Nigeria. Before moving back to Nigeria, Irele was Visiting Professor of African and African American Studies and of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. Irele graduated from Ibadan University in 1960. Immediately after graduation, he went to Paris to learn French and completed a Ph.D in French at the University of Paris, Sorbonne in 1966. He held teaching positions at the University of Ghana, University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), and University of Ibadan. In 1989, he moved to Ohio State University in the U.S. as Professor of African, French and Comparative Literature.