Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has formally renamed the Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Ijebu-Ode, to Sikiru Adetona College of Education, Science and Technology (SACOETEC). The Tai Solarin College of Education, located in Ijagun, a suburb of Ijebu Ode, was formerly known as the Ogun State College of Education. It was established in 1978 by the Ogun State government and in recognition of his contribution to education and humanity, was renamed after Tai Solarin, a renowned educationist in 1994.
To those who don’t know him and I doubt if there exists one, Tai Solarin was the foremost educationist from Ikenne-Remo in Ogun State whose image towered like a colossus in the humanitarian arena before his demise on 27th July 1994. The Ogun State Government honoured his memory in 1994 after his death by renaming their only college of education after this great son of the soil from Ikenne-Remo and said this was done for his laudable contributions to the development of education in Nigeria.
Today in the same Ogun state, some legislators, who lack a sense of history, have gathered in the State Assembly and muted the idea of de-immortalizing this great man, this great son of Africa, whose image traversed not just Africa but the entire globe all round and passed a bill to de-honour the dead, to rename the institution, after the Awujale of Ijebu, Oba Sikiru Adetona.
While the respected monarch, the Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona is also a man of great influence and honour and also deserves honour and immortalization, de-immortalising and de-honouring one son to honour another is the greatest human error of history from which those who make such would never recover till the end of time.
On the 27th of January 1956, in personal rebellion against religious persecution and discrimination in schools in Nigeria, Tai Solarin founded the great college Mayflower School, which was birthed in religious freedom and the first of its kind in Africa. This Nigerian educator, humanist and civil rights pioneer, who in 1952, became the principal of Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo, a post he held till 1956, resigned in protest from his post as a principal in Imolusi College, went to the fearful forest of Ikenne, Ogun State, Nigeria, where every mortal feared to tread at the time and settled there where he founded the pre-independence prestigious college that produced the first female chemical engineer in Nigeria and named it Mayflower, after the historical Mayflower ship that brought the first batch of pilgrims to the United States.
We have all lost our history!
Tai Solarin, may he continue to reign wherever he is today, does not rank with mere men, he ranks with extra-ordinary great sons of Africa in the circle of Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso, with the likes Amicar Cabral, Samora Machel, the Ayodele Awojobis, the Gani Fawehinmis and the Dele Giwas and the Ken Saro-Wiwas of this world. He ranks with his great brothers from Ogun, the Ransome Kutis, the Fela Anikulapo-Kutis, the Beko Ransome-Kutis and the Wole Soyinkas. Ogun has indeed produced great sons. May their ancestral spirit forgive us of our ignorant wrongdoings of dishonouring them by our worldly cravings and may they have pity on our children and never hold back their blessings upon our land.
Ogun, this is sad, too sad!!!
Tope Temokun is a Nigerian constitutional lawyer