27 July 2017

'Gbenga Sesan, 40, Gives ICT Scholarship to 22 Nigerians at the 2017 Tai Solarin Memorial Walk Today

The globally acclaimed ICT genius and founder of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN), who clocked 40 today, gladly gives ICT scholarship to 22 volunteered Nigerians who had never had computer knowledge or training before. This is his birthday gift to some of the participants of the 2017 Tai Solarin Memorial Walk which took place today from the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos to Yaba Bus Stop where the statue of our immortal national hero is.

This surprised birthday gift from 'Gbenga Sesan was innocently offered during the course of a motivational speech he delivered at the occasion titled "Tai Solarin, Curses, Darkness and Candles". He said this is part of personal social responsibilities he has been used to for some years now in line with Tai Solarin's spirit of patriotism and philanthropy in raising and grooming what he termed citizen heroes.

The highly impactful lecture at the base of Tai Solarin's statue was regularly interspersed with rousing ovation from the listening audience at the Memorial Walk. Some ex-Mays joyfully joined both the walk and the lecture. Among the great Nigerians at the event are the co-founder and emeritus chairman of Tai Solarin Organisation (TSO), Mr. Akinbayo A. Adenubi, mni; Mr. Olutayo Keshinro - Chairman of TSO; Sulaiman Dave Bola-Babs - Coordinator of TSO; Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu and Azeez Ayodele who are eminent Board Members of TSO.   

27 July 2016

It's 22 Years Today That Our Own Dr. Tai Solarin Left His Great Legacy for Nigeria

The good deeds of patriotism, honesty, hard work, freedom of conscience, religious tolerance, matrimonial ideal, educational excellence and moral probity that our great icon, Dr. Tai Solarin, was famous and popular for still live on today in the minds of us his followers and admirers.

Tai Solarin Organisation, Tai Solarin University of Education, Tai Solarin College of Education, Tai Solarin Memorial Schools, Mayflower School, Mayflower Private School, Mayflower Junior School, T(ai) & S(heila) Hospital, Tai Solarin Memorial Library and Tai Solarin Way are some of the monuments extant today that make his memory lingers in our mind.

Twenty-two years after the transition of the social critic and human rights crusader par excellence, Tai Solarin lives on.

27 July 2015

2015 Tai Solarin Memorial Walk Took Place in Lagos Today

Corin Solarin, daughter of Dr. Tai Solarin of blessed memory, relived the fond memories of her father in Lagos today at the end of a 2-kilometre 35-minute walk organised by Tai Solarin Organisation (TSO) in remembrance of the 21-year anniversary of the social critic’s transition.
     Corin juxtaposed the humanitarian legacy of her father with the current sociopolitical and economic realities of today in Nigeria as the Keynote Speaker.
The Guest Speaker of the day, Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu who doubled as a respected board member of TSO and former president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) emphasized the importance of ICT in 21st century educational curriculum of Nigeria institutions of learning today.
Among the dignitaries who cheerfully walked from the National Stadium in Surulere to Yaba Bus Stop en route Ojuelegba Roundabout were the founding Chairman and current Chairman of TSO namely Mr. Akinbayo A. Adenubi (mni) and Tayo Keshinro respectively.
The anchor of the pep talks at the end of the walk was Sulaiman Dave Bola-Babs, TSO Coordinator. The Vice Chairman of TSO, Mrs. Abimbola Nwokolo gave the vote of thanks at the end of the impressive programme at Yaba, Lagos.
A great number of ex-students of Mayflower School, Ikenne, who attended the great school from the 60s to recent time, gave a very good account of themselves at the 2015 Tai Solarin Memorial Walk today. Other admirers of Tai Solarin’s principles and personality also added their valuable time to the Monday morning event in Lagos. Even the throng of the masses who Tai Solarin lived and died for in patriotic zeal were not left out of the motivational talks which took place at the basement of the newly renovated statue of the great educationist at Yaba Bus Stop, Lagos, Nigeria.                                           


27 July 2014

Tai Solarin’s Legacy Lives On 20 Years After His Exit

As Tai Solarin Organisation (TSO) is remembering the 20 years of Dr. Tai Solarin’s transition today, we are excited to acknowledge that your immortal greatness is still fresh in our minds as an erudite scholar, author, columnist, social critic, moralist, humanist, human rights activist, disciplinarian, patriot, teacher and farmer. We, your admirers, shall continue to cherish your philanthropy and educational legacy for a long time to come. Your greatness is inspiring and enduring. Keep on living in our consciousness, Oga Tasere (The Slim Teacher).

01 January 2014

May Your Road Be Rough!

Exactly 50 years ago, on 1 January 1964, our venerable “Pastor” Tai Solarin prayed for you and me: ‘May your road be rough!’ As we are welcoming the centenary year of our dear country Nigeria today, can somebody shout a big ‘Amen!’?
Coordinator of Tai Solarin Organisation Sulaiman Dave Bola-Babs (left)
and new Chairman of Tai Solarin Organisation Tayo Keshinro (right)
welcoming Professor Zakari Mohammed (FNLA, FNIM)
of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as the Guest Speaker
at the 2012 Tai Solarin Memorial Lecture at Victoria Island, Lagos

‘May your road be rough!’ I am not cursing you; I am wishing you what I wish myself every year. I therefore repeat, ‘May you have a hard time this year; may there be plenty of troubles for you this year!’ If you are not so sure what you should say back, why not just say, ‘Same to you’? I ask for no more.

Our successes are conditioned by the amount of risk we are ready to take. Quite recently, I visited a local farmer about three miles from where I live. He could not have been more than fifty-five, but he said he was already too old to farm vigorously. He still suffered, he said, from the physical energy he displayed as a farmer in his younger days.

Around his hut were two pepper bushes. There were cocoyams growing round him. There were snail shells which had given him meat. There must have been more around the banana trees I saw. He hardly ever went to town to buy things. He was self-sufficient. The car or the bus, the television or the telephone, the newspaper or the magazine, Vietnam or Red China were nothing to him. He had no ambitions whatsoever, he told me. I am not so sure if you are already envious of him, but were we all to revert to such a life, we would be practically driven back to cave-dwelling.
On the other hand, try to put yourself in the position of the Russian or the American astronaut. Any moment from now, the count 321 is going  to go, and you are going to be shot into the atmosphere and soon you will be whirling round our Earth at the speed of six miles per second. If you get so fired into the atmosphere and you forget what to do to ensure return to Earth, one of the things that might happen to you is that you could become a satellite forever, going round the Earth until you die of starvation and, even then, your dead body would continue the gyration!

When, therefore, you are being dressed up and padded to be shot into the sky, you only know too well that you are going on the roughest road man has ever trodden. The Americans and Russians who have gone were armed with the great belief that they would come back. But I cannot believe that they did not have some slight foreboding on the contingency of their non-return. It is their courage for going in spite of these apprehensions that makes the world hail them so loudly today.

The big fish is never caught in shallow waters. You have to go into the open sea for it. The biggest businessmen make decisions with lightening speed and carry them out with equal celerity. They do not dare delay or dally. Time would pass them by if they did. The biggest successes are preceded by the greatest of heart-burnings. You should read the stories of the bomber pilots of World War 2. The Russian pilot, the German pilot, the American or the British pilot suffered exactly the same physical and mental tension the night before a raid on enemy territory. There were no alternative routes for those who most genuinely believed in victory for their side.

You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs; throughout the world, there is no paean without pain. Jawaharlal Nehru has put it so well. I am paraphrasing him. He wants to meet his troubles in a frontal attack. He wants to see himself tossed into the aperture between the two horns of the bull. Being there, he determines he is going to win and, therefore, such a fight requires all his faculties.

When my sisters and I were very young and we slept on our small mats round our mother, she always woke up at 6 a.m. for morning prayers. She always said prayers on our behalf but always ended with something like this: ‘May we not enter into any dangers or get into any difficulties this day’. It took me almost thirty years to dislodge the cankerworm in our mother’s sentiments. I found, by hard experience, that all that is noble and laudable was to be achieved only through difficulties and trials and dangers. There are no other roads.

If I was born into a royal family and should one day become a constitutional king, I am inclined to think I should go crazy. How could I, from day to day, go on smiling and nodding approval at somebody else’s successes for an entire lifetime?

When Edward the 8th (later Duke of Windsor) was a young, sprightly Prince of Wales, he went to Canada and shook so many hands that his right arm nearly got pulled out of its socket! It went into a sling and he shook hands thenceforth with his left hand! It would appear he was trying his utmost to make a serious job out of downright sinecurism. Life, if it is going to be abundant, must have plenty of hills and vales. It must have plenty of sunshine and rough weather. It must be rich in obfuscation and perspicacity. It must be packed with days of danger and apprehension. When I walk into the dry but certainly cool morning air of every January 1st, I wish myself plenty of tears and of laughter; plenty of happiness and unhappiness; plenty of failures and successes; plenty of abuse and praise. It is impossible to win ultimately without a rich measure of intermixture in such a menu. Life would be worthless without the lot. We do not achieve much in this country because we are all so scared of taking risks. We all went the smooth and well-paved roads. While the reason the Americans and others succeeded so well is that they took such great risks.

If, therefore, you are about to win any target you have set for yourself in this New Year, please accept my prayers and your elixir – May your road be rough!

11 November 2013

How Many Books of Tai Solarin Have You Read?

I read books that challenge and inspire:
books that make one feel that life is worth living.
 TSO. Coordinator Sulaiman Dave Bola-Babs and Yemi Shodimu of O Le Ku fame admire two of Tai Solarin's books on display at a Tai Solarin Memorial Lecture, Victoria Island, Lagos

“But why should I read Tai Solarin’s books at all?” you may ask. Here is Tai Solarin’s response, from the horse’s mouth: “My guess is that most people want to read about people who started poor and ended in affluence or greatness. This is because most of the people everywhere are poor. Or to put it in another way, most of the people everywhere are common men.

The average reader would like to read about the life of the common man who ended uncommon. The common man who sweated and strained, body all aching and racked with pain, but who eventually made it by extracting himself with his own exertion from the crowd of the common men to the pinnacle, with so few up there and all of them uncommon. In our society in Nigeria, this is the class to which I belong. I started from down under and eventually rose not to affluence but to greatness.”

Writing a foreword to Education for Greatness 1: Selected Speeches of Dr. Tai Solarin, Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, Professor Babs Fafunwa, observed that “Tai’s fertile mind, like his writings, ranged over a broad variety of topics: nation-building, self-reliance, technology, science, culture, economic well-being, food production and human rights, just to mention a few. But all of Tai Solarin’s topics, both in speeches and articles in the national newspapers, dovetail into education.”

If you want to have education for personal and national greatness, your starting point may be an acquaintance with the 265 pages book Education for Greatness 1 with 48 colour pictures of Tai Solarin, Sheila Solarin, Corin Solarin, Tunde Solarin, Mayflower Junior School pupils, Mayflower School students, ex-Mays and Tai Solarin’s friends and associates, inter alia, plus variegated ideas and principles of education advocated for more than four decades in his own pristine words.

If you are in hurry to drink from the fountain of wisdom of the social crusader par excellence, your best bet is the 126 pages book or ebook titled Tai Solarin in a Nutshell: Immortal Quotes of Tai Solarin with a foreword by the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Benin, Professor Grace Alele-Williams.  According to her, “the book is an attempt to bring together in one book the philosophy of the man Tai Solarin. In particular, it describes what the man stood for. The book attempts to view the wide range of Tai Solarin's writings about the failures and, in some ways, what greatness Nigeria could attain as a nation.

“Tai Solarin was an educationist, a social critic and a reformer. He believed ardently in the power of education to transform Nigeria into an egalitarian society, a state in which Nigerians would enjoy the basic necessities and civil rights. These he saw as a right of every Nigerian to food, shelter, water, transportation, adequate health care facilities and education from birth to the tertiary level. He not only used every opportunity available to him to teach, lecture and discuss, he also often berated the authorities for the type of education available in the country, the missionary schools and the private proprietors. Tai not only criticised the government, he also practised what he taught by establishing his school.

“In all, Tai Solarin in a Nutshell: Immortal Quotes of Tai Solarin is not a book to be read in a hurry. Each nugget calls for deliberate thinking in order to re-examine policies, practices, governance, indiscipline, indulgence, malice and inadequacies in the nation. This book is, therefore, capable of galvanizing its readers to re-examine Tai Solarin's life and works in order to examine not only our schools and colleges today but also governance and the role the educated can play in transforming our country for good.”

Those are glimpses into just two of the 36-plus books on Dr. Tai Solarin and Mayflower School. If you are interested in benefiting from the 11 books authored by the social critic and 25-plus publications by other scholars on him and his philosophy of life, simply call 0803-365-3110 right now to avail yourself of the books and ebooks on him and his existential ideology cum national and international ethos.

Even the former military president of Nigeria could not resist the persuasive power and logic inherent in the sterling thoughts of irrepressible change agent as admitted in his 2012 interview with the Leadership newspaper, “I was an avid reader of late Dr. Tai Solarin when I was in secondary school. There was his column, ‘Thinking With You’. I grew up to know that even the whites teaching us at that time loved to read him, because there was a lot of sense in what he said.”

My personal sentiment about Dr. Tai Solarin was my discovering the genius in him in 1984 after reading his A Message for Young Nigerians good nine years before the former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice of Nigeria, Dr. Olu Onagoruwa, detected same in 1993 when he averred, “Dr. Tai Solarin and I share the same ideals and ideology of equity and social justice, with an unalterable belief in the rule of law and preservation of the dignity of man. Like all great men of unusual vision, Tai Solarin approximates to Mahatma Gandhi, Karl Marx, John Dewey, etc. in selflessness and self-denial. However, I feel confounded that his logical mind finds no place for religion and the Creator who created his genius.”

If you want to start enjoying the genius of Tai Solarin in the next few hours, simply call 0803-365-3110 right now to avail yourself of the two books above or the following ebooks on your laptop or desktop:
Education for Greatness 1: Selected Speeches of Dr. Tai Solarin
Tai Solarin in a Nutshell: Immortal Quotes of Tai Solarin
No Witches, No Angels: My Credo
Our Grammar School Must Go
Sheila: A Lady of Courage.

How many books of Tai Solarin have you read?

21 October 2013

The Good That Sheila Solarin Did Lives After Her, One Year After

All the Board Members of Tai Solarin Organisation remember the great departure of our dear Mama Sheila with fond memory exactly one year ago today at the Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilishan-Remo, near her home town Ikenne-Remo in Ogun State of Nigeria.

The good that Sheila did lives after her in the minds of three medical doctors here and hundreds of beneficiaries of her uncommon humaneness.

‘My Mama, though not your biological son, you loved and cared for me as one,’ reminisced Dr. Matthew Ogayemi of Mayflower Clinic, Ijebu-Ode. ‘Which one do I talk about: my days at Mayflower School; King’s College, Lagos; University of Lagos and Medical School at University of Benin? How can I forget your role as a mother during my wedding and your efforts in making Mayflower Clinic, Ijebu-Ode, see the light of the day? I still have with me one of the letters you wrote to the then Commissioner for Health under the then Military Administrator of Ogun State, Colonel Daniel Akintonde, telling him: “Matthew is my son. My husband and I brought him up and encouraged him to set up his own private hospital with the name, Mayflower Clinic.” That was a time the then Commissioner for Health never wanted the clinic to see the light of the day for no just cause, despite the fact that Dr. Akinola, the then Director of Clinical Services and his team had personally inspected and recommended that the certificate be given. “The evil that men do lives with them.” Thank God, with the backing of the then Military Administrator of Ogun State, Colonel Akintonde, who invited me to his office in company of my wife, the certificate of Mayflower Clinic, Ijebu Ode, was hand-delivered to me at Ijebu-Ode by officials of the Ministry of Health.

‘Mama, I missed you and will continue to miss your motherly advice and encouragement. In my private moments, I still weep for missing you. However, considering what you have done for many in this world, I strongly believe you and Oga are in Heaven. Considering what Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-40, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

‘This space can never be enough for me to tell one percent of who you are to me. It is unfortunate that you will not be around to launch my almost completed book on you and Oga titled The Solarin I Know. Mama, enjoy yourself with Oga in Heaven till we meet to part no more.’

Similarly, in the words of the Medical Director of T & S Hospital in Lagos [T for Tai and S for Sheila], ‘Hers was a life not only dedicated to Nigeria but also totally donated to Africa. Like Jesus Christ died on the cross so that we may all live, Tai and Sheila often made themselves uncomfortable in order to make other people comfortable. When Dr. Tai Solarin died in 1994, Mama Sheila buried him within four hours! If Sheila had died before Dr. Tai Solarin, he would have buried her in less than two hours. After burying Tai, Sheila left the graveside and went to Ikenne to arrange for the staff salaries. Her conviction was that the living must continue to live. On the day Dr. Tai Solarin died and was buried, staff salaries were paid!

Tai and Sheila served the people and served God. They built houses for people, bought cars for people, provided for the clergies and did so much more for many others. But more than anything else, they sponsored many indigent and non-indigent students, home and abroad. As at when Sheila died on Sunday 21 October 2012, she had 34 students on her sponsorship list. In the years of crises in South Africa and Liberia, refugee students were sponsored by Tai and Sheila. Today, one of them is in government as a Minister in South Africa. While in Jos prison, Dr. Tai Solarin sponsored a warder to become a lawyer, a cook to become a teacher, and a typist to become an engineer.

‘During the Biafran war, several Igbo students were picked up by Tai at the war front, fed, clothed and sponsored through primary, secondary and tertiary institutions. Among them are two renowned medical specialists, one of them in a university teaching hospital in the U.S.A. Tai described one of them as “an egghead but a church rat" in his recommendation letter. How many times did Tai and Mama Sheila rescue accident victims on Ijebu-Ode – Ikorodu road, only Bros Ade can tell! How many hospital bills they settled? Neither Corin nor Tunde can tell. In the days of national crises, they did not maintain neutrality – they said their mind. They shared one heart and one love. They lived, served and died for humanity.

Like her husband, Sheila was straightforward, down-to-earth, hardworking, bold, courageous, cool-tempered, good-spirited and honest; and she was an embodiment of truth. She was a lover of students and mother of all.’

According to Dr. Tolani Oduwole of Alpha Clinic, Sagamu, ‘Madam was dear to us and supported our family and medical practice in very many ways. She supported our children as they schooled in Mayflower. She actually housed one of them when there was a pressure on accommodation in the students’ hostel. Our children had access to the school library all the year round.

‘Each time a fruit tree fell in Mayflower, we were the recipients of homemade marmalades if only we provided the jars. Madam provided us with ideas on hospital building and furniture. To her credit, our current site was built with bricks made from Mayflower. We got furniture from exquisite teak logs from Mayflower. Madam would send gardeners to put our garden right. Exotic plants were potted for us at Madam’s expense. A framed needlework adorns our waiting room, courtesy of her handiwork while she waited to be attended to in the banks and did not want her time idle!

Madam’s love for books and learning was legendary. She freely shared her books and thoughts. She was passionate about children’s education, the rights of women and the Nigerian state in general. Once she visited us and saw a burnt patient who could not afford the bill, Madam paid the bill in full.

Sheila loved nature and loved people. Once, at Easter, we drove to the Murtala Mohammed Gardens in Epe to see the gardens and park. She cared for the South African children who came to study in Nigeria. They were free to spend the holidays in her home and took very good care of them all. She found time to visit them in Johannesburg when they went back home.    

‘We can only say she had played her part creditably well. We have been enriched by her life, we are grateful for her remembrance.’ We remember the immortal Sheila today and always for an excellent life well lived for humanity for 88 years, 4 months and 3 weeks. One year after her departure, Sheila lives on.