By Ayodele Fagbohun
It is certainly uncalled for; reckless and obscene perversion of our contemporary history for the Governor of Ogun State, Mr Dapo Abiodun to rename Tai Solarin College of Education to Sikiru Adetona College of Science, Education and Technology under the pretext of silly transformation of the tertiary institution.
Granted, the governor may be naive due to inexperience to grasp the depth of impactful contribution of Dr. Tai Solarin to education and social re-awakening as a foremost educationist and outstanding social reformer the country has ever produced .
Anyway, governing a state is a serious and earnest business, not actually cut out for a misguided erring and irresponsible youth as ignorance of the law is not excuse and cannot be admissible in law court.
To avoid charges of mischief making and ulterior motives, Governor Abiodun could have run to the achieves in his privacy to learn fast :Who is Who in Nigeria” in order not to run foul of the chequered history of the country and easily be misled by the self-seeking, frivolous political advisers and numerous political clowns that may put him into trouble in the eye of the public.
For Tai Solarin was a formidable force to reckon with in the annals of progressive politics in Nigeria. He was a pain in the neck of military rule and neo colonial fascist administration which hurled him into jail for his non conformist and uncompromising stance to play ball with the political desperadoes and violators of our public space.
Mr Abiodun and his likes in Ogun State should take cognizance of the fact that Tai Solarin in the evolutionary trends of Nigeria to nationhood could not be waved aside since he arrived the shores of the country from United Kingdom after a meritorious service to the country in the Air Force of the Imperial West African regiment during the World War II.
In the meantime, he enrolled into a British university as undergraduate student and obtained a degree before a successful voyage back home. Tai Solarin took teaching appointment in Molusi College of Education in 1956.
Afterwards, he founded Mayflower School, a post primary institution which laid emphasis on Agricultural Science as a compulsory subject in the school curriculum. Through this initiative in agriculture, the school was self sufficient in food production . Hardly the management of Mayflower School, Ikenne went to the market to buy food stuffs apart from salt.
In the mangrove forest of Ekitiland, Solarin found an ally and comrade in Chief Jegede, the principal of Comprehensive High School, Ikere -Ekiti who modelled his school after the farming experiment in May flower with resultant high yield and self sufficiency in food production.
Tai Solarin Mayflower served as a pilot project which ought to have been a precursor and innovative for mechanised and agro industrialized revolution in the country sooner than later.
Dr. Tai Solarin blazed the trail of science and technology even at the rudimentary level of education which was capably of recording exponential breakthrough for the county given right type of leadership.
Pastor William Kumuyi, Founder and the Superintendent Deeper Life Bible Church ministry was a Maths teacher in Mayflower after his graduation from University of Lagos. Many students who have distinguished themselves in their various callings passed through the portal of the school and the crucible under the disciplinary guidance of Tai Solarin.
His giant strides and stature in the development of education cannot be rubbished by the latter day political office holders who are failing inexorably to defer to the feat of our elder statesmen either living or dead.
To cap it all, Dr Tai Solarin was a redoubtable social reforms, author, fearless social critic, newspaper columnist and mobiliser of the youth in his occasional radio broadcast for ethical revolution in the country.
When General Yakubu Gowon said in his unfortunate broadcast that 1976 was no more realistic for the handover date to relinquish power and return to civil rule, Tai Solarin retorted with a pungent and blistering article, “The beginning of the end “, which no newspaper in the country could dare published.
Dr. Tai Solarin cyclostyled the offending copy for onward distribution round the major towns across the country.
He was promptly arrested by Gowon military junta and clamped into jail house as a regular customers in the gulag of military dictatorship.
Ostensibly the military administration invited him to serve, while in actual fact , it was a smokescreen to gag him. However, leopard won’t change spot.
Indeed, Dr. Tai Solarin served as pioneer Federal Complaint Commissioner in Oyo, Ogun, Ondo covering former Western states and later, Chairman, People’s Bank (now defunct).
He resigned abruptly and voluntary from office as federal commissioner when he could not immediately produced his driving licence when stopped by the traffic wardens on the road.
As a social reformer and vigorous campaigner for decent and clean environment, he would go all out to pick rotten corpses on the streets to the nearest government institution . This was to caution the government officials in our health sector to do the needful and restore sanity to the dirty and ever stinking environment.
Although Tai Solarin is dead, his works speak volumes. He lives eternally in the hearts of the downtrodden and the less privileged.
His memory must be immortalised for the unborn generation to emulate his self sacrifice and initiative to the cause of human progress.
His special fondness for humanchild is superlative and electrifying, he was a self confessed agnostic and atheist who did not believe in direct worship of invisible God.
However, Tai Solarin took humanchild as his personal god or goddess, whatever so called to be worshiped and catered for, in the provision of good education for sustainable development .
Governor Dapo Abiodun should graciously disposed and expeditiously reverse the renaming of TASCE to the original holder, so as, not to distort progressive history of Ogun State as an integral part of Yoruba people and to give honour to whom it is due.