Monday, 22 October 2012

Sheila, Tai Solarin’s widow, is dead

SHEILA, widow of the late social justice crusader and proprietor of Mayflower School, Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State, Dr Tai Solarin, is dead.
Mrs Sheila Tai Solarin





Aged 88, Mrs Solarin, of British origin, died at about 4.30 p.m. on Sunday at the Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State, where she had been for three months before her death.

She was rushed to the hospital sometime in July when her femur got broken following a slip when she was going to bed around 9.00 p.m.

Her death came 18 years and a few months after her husband and former chairman of the defunct People’s Bank, Tai Solarin, passed on.

Madam, as she was called by students of Mayflower School, was taken through a surgical operation at the hospital for what in medical parlance is called osteoporosis (weak bone), a medical condition associated with old age.

Her children, Corin and Tunde Solarin and some ex-Mays led by Dr Matthew Ogayemi, were with her in the hospital when she died.

It was learnt that her body has been deposited at the morgue in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Lagos.

Before she was taken to the mortuary, Nigerian Tribune gathered that Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was on his way to Babcock Teaching Hospital, Ilisan, to commiserate with the bereaved family.

While confirming the development, Corin, her first child, said she could not summarise her mother’s life and times in words, stressing that Sheila was good, kindhearted and humane.

She said the deceased’s role of mother to thousands of people across the world as well as her love and service to humanity were “exemplary and legendary.”

A member of the family and first child of her brother-in-law, Kehinde Solarin, Mrs Alake Sobo, described Mrs Solarin as a mother to all, just as her husband was the father figure for many while on earth.

Dr Wale Omole, one of the many ex-Mays whose education was sponsored by Tai and Sheila, said the duo sacrificed all they had to liberate them from the shackles of ignorance, adding that they would miss Sheila for her motherly care.

Another old student of the school between 1961 and 1965, Dr Sesan Sobayo, said many Nigerian women would not have endured what Sheila went through with her husband, especially at Molusi College, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State, where Tai had been a principal before founding Mayflower School, Ikenne Remo.

“I was very close to the family not because of anything but because I was a good rascally student. Madam Sheila is the architect of the command of English we have today as ex-students of the school. She would ensure we read a novel per week. Each of us had an exercise book where we would write new words and expressions and she would review the exercise books for all the students.

“She supported her husband to found the school. A typical Nigerian woman would not have stayed with her husband the way she did. They both lived in a hut-like house at Molusi College and were together through thick and thin,” Dr Sobayo recalled.

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