Augustus Taiwo “Tai” Solarin born on 20 August 1922, he was a Nigerian educator and author. He established the famous Mayflower School, Ikenne, Ogun State in 1956. In 1952, Solarin became the principal of Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo, a post he held till 1956 when he became the proprietor and principal of Mayflower School.
He attended Wesley College in Ibadan. Solarin was inspired by the writings of Nnamdi Azikiwe who encouraged young people to travel abroad for study. His initial attempt to gain a passport fell through but he later enlisted in the British Air Force and served with the Royal Air Force as a navigator in the Second World War. He remained in Britain, studying at University of Manchester, and then at the University of London. Tai Solarin married English-born Sheila Mary Tuer in 1951
Tai Solarin was also a well known humanist and atheist who opposed the ownership of the schools by churches. Tai Solarin once said that “black(people) hold onto their God just as the drunken man holds on to the street lamp post—for physical support only. In 2004, the Mayflower School played host to an International Humanist Conference, commemorating the life and work of Tai Solarin. It was attended by guests from the United States, Africa and Europe. Uncle Tai, as he was popularly known, derived immense pleasure in selflessly and fearlessly advocating for a better Nigeria, an action borne out of genuine, unfettered, earnest and heartfelt feeling about the state and future of the nation and the future generation.
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He was dissatisfied with the mind boggling erosion of values, the misrule and total collapse of all facets of life and sectors in the country and expressed shock at the unfathomable silence and culpability of the leadership and people. He was never known to capitulate to ephemeral inducements, paradisal accountrements and corporeal appurtenances.
Tai Solarin was unequivocal and explicit on the side of justice, truth and fairplay, was always ready to suffer for the sake of others, share in their misery and stand by the weak
Tai Solarin wrote regularly for the Daily Times, the Nigerian Tribune and The Guardian.
More About Dr. Tai Solarin
Tai Solarin was famous in Nigeria as both a social critic and an educator
. Affectionately known as “Uncle Tai” by his admirers
, he was usually found wearing sneakers, shorts, and a khaki hunting cap, inspiring some to remark that he looked more like a “village eccentric” than a great intellectual
. Although there are several people and organizations in Nigeria and Ghana attempting to educate the public about secular humanism and its ideals, Tai Solarin is by far the most interesting of them all.
Tai Solarin was born in 1922 and had a long and interesting history. A native Nigerian, he was educated in a Nigerian missionary school, served in Britain’s Royal Air Force during World War II, and finished a bachelor’s degree in history and geography at the University of Manchester, Great Britain, in 1952
. Tai returned to Western Nigeria to become Principal of Molusi College from 1952 to 1955
. Because Molusi’s governing board forced him to open each school day with hymns and prayers, and march his students to church every Sunday, he protested and eventually quit
. He wasted no time. He started his own school in 1956, calling it the Mayflower School, followed by the Mayflower Junior School in 1959, both located in Ikenne, southwestern Nigeria, where Tai lived for the remainder of his life
. He briefly returned to England to pursue graduate studies at the University of London.
. Then, in 1976, he turned the original Mayflower school over to the government, though it was still run under Tai’s direct guidance and innovative principles until his death
. Dr. Solarin also became chairman of the People’s Bank of Nigeria in 1989, a position he held until his death
• Towards Nigeria’s Moral Self-Government
• Thinking with You.
• A Message for Young Nigerians.
• To Mother With Love.
• Mayflower; the story of a school.
He died on 27 June 1994 (aged 71) in the town of Ikenne in southwestern Nigeria, where he had a home.