Saturday, 10 December 2016


By June 27, 2017 he would have been 95 years old, but he rests in peace. Pa Tai Solarin (Augustus Taiwo Solarin), he was an educator and author. In 1952, he became the Principal of Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo, a post he held till 1956 when, he established the famous Mayflower School, Ikenne, Ogun State.
Dr James standing by the wall of the first building of Mayflower School

Main entrance of Mayflower School

Dr. James and Pa Tai Solarin during his visit to the Ondo State University, 
Ado-Ekiti, during my NYSC year in 1992.

Mrs Sheila Solarin (née Mary Tuer)

On January 27, 1956, he founded May Flower School in personal rebellion against religious persecution, he named the school after the historical Mayflower ship that brought the first batch of pilgrims to the United States. The school's motto is “Knowledge is Light”. The school maintained a rigorous, military training style, that requires that every student wake up at 5:00 am for a round of moderate physical exercise which involved running and in-field stretches. Tai Solarin lead by example as he participated in all the excises. He trained his students to be rugged and knowledgeable in all they tried their hands on. For example; every student is taught the basics of rudimentary and mechanized farming as part of a well rounded, self-sustaining education. He wore the same uniform with his students, khaki short and short-sleeve shirt. The school over the years have produced great Nigerians including the first female engineer in sub-Saharan Africa.

Within the School premises

Pa Tai Solarin's cars

The graveside of Mr and Mrs Tai

                                                     The gravestone of Mr and Mrs Tai

Pa Tai Solarin was one of the post-Independence civil rights critics and activists. In 1975, when the General Yakubu Gowon regime delayed returning power to a civilian regime, he published his essay: "THE BEGINNING OF THE END", which he physically distributed on the roadsides. He was subsequently imprisoned for this act. Throughout his lifetime he fought running battles with various governments in a bid to improve the lot of Nigerians. He wrote regular columns in magazines and newspapers, including: Daily Times, the Nigerian Tribune and The Guardian, highlighting what he called the hypocrisy and vulgarity of the Nigeria of his days. He was a vehement critic of military rule in Nigeria. In 1989, he was appointed the first chairman of 'The Peoples Bank of Nigeria' – a bank created by the President Babangida regime to disburse soft loans and other forms of credit to the very poor to start their own businesses. He was always on his khaki uniform.

Statue of Pa and Mrs Solarin in the School compound

Bakery section of the school

Mini Zoo in the school premises

 He died on June 27, 1994, exactly 22 years ago. May his soul continue to rest in peace. On November 2015, I visited Mayflower School Ikenne, Tai Solarin's School and made a presentation to the Principal of the school in the presence of the Vice principals - Academic and Administration. This is my little support to show solidarity with the objectives of the school which preaches a very strong educational philosophy grounded in self-reliance, self-sacrifice, public service and physical toughness.

Dr. James presents copies of his publications to the Principal of  MayFlower School, on their sides are the two vice-Principals

He was happily married to Sheila Solarin (née Mary Tuer) a British woman. She was named an MBE by Queen Elizabeth II on 17 October 2007.

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