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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 0909-177-3366 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.

01 September 2013

Hurray! Tai Solarin Organisation Is 10 Today

I was an avid reader of late Dr. Tai Solarin’s column “Thinking with You” when I was in secondary school. I grew up to know that even the whites teaching us at that time loved to read Dr. Solarin, because there was a lot of sense in what he said.
But there are some present-day Nigerians you have known for the last 20 years repeating the same theme that makes no sense. The moment they know they are being ignored, maybe we will have a breeze of good air.
General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd.)
Leadership newspaper, 19 August 2012

In preparation for the 10th year anniversary of Dr. Tai Solarin’s demise, Tai Solarin Organisation (TSO) was jointly founded on 1 September 2003 by two admirers of the great educationist and social critic extraordinaire: Mr. Akinbayo Adekunle Adenubi, mni, former Registrar and Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) who edited a 1985 book Timeless Tai: A Collection of Tai Solarin’s Articles on Education and Sulaiman Dave Bola-Babs (SDB), Millionaires Consultant at MillionaireWorkers.com Inc. who edited and published a 265 pages book with 48 colour pictures Education for Greatness 1: Selected Speeches of Dr. Tai Solarin with a foreword by Professor Babs Fafunwa.
Today, TSO’s Board is comprised of the co-founders as Chairman and Coordinator respectively plus the following dedicated and committed members: Mrs. Abimbola Nwokolo, Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu, Leo Igwe, Tayo Keshinro, Azeez Ayodele, Teju Onasanya and Lawal Ibrahim.

The Chairman and Coordinator of TSO delivered papers at the Tai Solarin International Humanist Conference jointly organised by the International Humanist and Ethical Union and Nigerian Humanist Movement in 2004.

In 2009, TSO published a 126-page book Tai Solarin in a Nutshell: Immortal Quotes of Tai Solarin with a foreword by Professor Grace Alele-Williams.

If you are interested in contributing your own quota to the great legacy of Dr. Tai Solarin, you are cordially invited to join TSO or be on our mailing list for a premium invitation to our annual memorial lectures which usually take place at The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria’s auditorium, Victoria Island, Lagos. Please call 0803-365-3110 now for either option and get a free ebook on Dr. Tai Solarin in advanced appreciation of your kind gesture.

We have successfully organised seven Tai Solarin Memorial Lectures as follows:
1.   “The Individual and the Challenges of Commitment in an Anomic Society” by Professor Femi Osofisan in 2004.
2.   “Nigeria: A Country in Perpetual Flux” by Professor Tam David-West in 2005.
3.   “Tai Solarin and the Legacy of Protest: Civil Society and Nigeria’s Political Transition” by Dr. Reuben Abati in 2006.
4.   “The Evolving Crises in the Credibility of Nigeria’s Ivory Towers” by Professor Adamu Baikie, CON, in 2008.
5.   “Education, Merit and the Corrosion of Social Balance: The Nigerian Case Study” by Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, OFR, in 2009.
6.   “Nigeria: Corruption, Corrosion and Correction” by Professor Munzali Jibril, FNAL, OFR, in 2010.     
7.   “The Dynamics of Information: Embracing the Present to Cope with the Future” by Professor Zakari Mohammed, FNLA, FNIM, in 2012.     

The great people who have made this possible over the ten years by their sponsorship are:
The Solarin Family represented by Mrs. Fola Olumide (nee Solarin)
Senator Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, OON
Engr. Lekan Adeniji
Dr. O. J. Mbonu
Dr. Ebi Omatsola    
The corporate bodies and their arrowheads which have also associated their great brands with our sponsorship in cash and in kind over the last decade are as follows: 
Dale & Parker Ltd., Dr. Jonathan Okoakih
De-United Foods Ltd., Makers of Indomie Noodles
dkr Associates, Mr. Dokun Oyenuga
Florence & Lambard Ltd., Mrs. Ronke Fetuga
FMA Architects Ltd., Arc. Femi Majekodunmi
International Energy Services Ltd., Dr. Diran Fawibe
Landmark Publications Ltd., Elder Ojo Agboola
Leadway Assurance Ltd., Mr. Oye Hassan-Odukale
Morgan, Omonitan & Abe Ltd., Engr. Dapo Abe
Peninsula Resort, Mr. Niyi Onibudo
Spectrum Books Ltd., Chief Joop Berkhout
Stag Engineering Ltd., Engr. Ayo Jagun
SVD Concerns, Mr. Chris Ogan
T & S Hospital, Dr. Wale Omole
Tantalizers, Mr. Folu Ayeni
Telecom Answers Associates, Engr. Titi Omo-Ettu
Terra Energy Services Nigeria Ltd., Engr. S. A. Adetunji
The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN)
Ultima Ltd., Mr. Femi Ayeni
Wemy Industries Ltd., Pastor Ademola Odunaiya
Electronic & Print Media Houses

As we are marking the 20 years of Dr. Tai Solarin’s departure on 27 July 2014 with a grand memorial lecture at our Victoria Island, Lagos venue, please call 0803-365-3110 now if you are interested in being an individual or corporate sponsor of the great event and your brand will be duly acknowledged on our website and our printed programmes.  

We have been immortalising the quintessential legacy of Dr. Tai Solarin over the years via intellectual channels such as:
a)     publication of annual memorial lectures and books;
b)     creation and maintenance of Tai Solarin Organisation's website and blog;
c)     collection and development of research materials on him; and
d)     organisation of lectures and attendance of conferences.

Thanks to our individual and corporate sponsors over the years. Thanks to the selfless sacrifice of time, money and intellect of all the Board Members of Tai Solarin Organisation. Tai Solarin lives on. Happy 10th birthday Tai Solarin Organisation!