Posted by News Express | 22 October 2012 | 11,685 times
Foremost educationist, Mrs. Sheila Solarin, who died yesterday evening wrestled with death for some time, it has been disclosed.
The widow of the legendary educationist and social critic, Dr. Tai Solarin (who died in 1994), finally succumbed around 4:00 p.m. She was said to have been admitted at the Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, for the past three months, receiving treatment for a broken hip she sustained when she fell on her way to bed. She died at age 88.
Though born a Briton, Ma Sheila was a Nigerian at heart. She came to Nigeria 60 years ago shortly after her marriage to Tai Solarin in 1951 in Manchester, United Kingdom, where they were both students. She was the proprietress of Mayflower School, Ikenne, Ogun State, South-West Nigeria, where she officially retired at 80 and passed much of the responsibility on to her children, Corin and Tunde. The famous Mayflower was jointly owned by Tai and Sheila and has produced many successful Nigerians as well as non-Nigerians.
“They both worked in Molusi College Ijebu Igbo in 1952 but on January 27, 1956, they founded the first and only secular school in Nigeria. They established a boarding house 1977 which served more than two thousand students of the three public high schools in Ikenne town,” said Dr. Raphael James, a Lagos-based researcher, while commenting on the life of Sheila and Tai Solarin.
Sheila was knighted as a Member of the British Empire on 17 October 2007 by Queen Elizabeth II for her services to education in Nigeria.
Paying tribute to Sheila, Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun, said: “Mama Solarin was a foremost educationist, a great teacher and disciplinarian who rendered an immeasurable service to the people of Ogun State and Nigeria through the Mayflower School. The school founded in 1956 became one of the best schools in the country and has produced many of the leading lights in our nation.”
*Photo, courtesy CRIMMD Lagos, shows Sheila is shown here with some of her students at Mayflower School.
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