PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday, described the death of Mrs Sheila Solarin, widow of renowned educationist and social crusader, Dr Tai Solarin, as a big loss to the nation.
A statement issued by Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said Mrs Solarin’s death had left a big vacuum in the educational system of the country, as the nation would miss the unparalleled commitment, discipline, expertise, prowess and astuteness she brought to bear on the teaching profession and school administration.
According to him, “her remarkably long period in running the popular Mayflower School, Ikenne and teaching English in that school made her to leave an indelible impact on generations of students who, today, occupy prominent positions in all sectors of the Nigerian society.”
President Jonathan, who described the late Mrs Solarin as “a great soul, highly respected mother, peace-maker and community worker,” commended her courage and patriotism in making Nigeria her permanent home before and after the death of her husband.
He noted that “her decision to carry on with the legacy of her late husband, even up to a very advanced age, speaks a lot about her indomitable spirit and a great lesson for others to emulate.”
While commiserating with the Solarin family, the people and government of Ogun State and all students of Mayflower School, he implored them to keep Mrs Solarin’s humanitarian work and other legacies alive, in the interest of the nation and posterity.
Also, the Ondo State governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, described the death of Mrs Solarin as “a great loss to the nation in general and the educational sector in particular.”
Commiserating with the family of the deceased, Dr Mimiko said no doubt, Sheila had left a vacuum that may be difficult to fill in education sector.
Describing Sheila as an educationist par excellence, Mimiko said the deceased was a rare talent, whose experience of two diverse cultures made her unique and rich in terms of knowledge that many benefitted from.
Dr Mimiko said though her death was painful, especially coming at the time when the educational sector needed a repertoire of knowledge like the late educationist, he submitted, however, that the nation and her family should take solace in the fact that the educationist left a mark by investing in the future of many.
Hers was a life of sacrifice - AjibolaFrom Yejide Gbenga-Ogundare, Lagos
Prince Segun Ajibola (SAN) has described the life of the late Mrs Sheila Solarin as a life of sacrifice.
“Her sojourn in Nigeria was out of love, dedication and devotion to her husband, the education sector and the people of this country. It was not only a great sacrifice, but also a clear testimony of her sterling qualities as a humanist, educationist and administrator,” Prince Ajibola said.
He said her demise was a great loss, but a message to Nigerians that if a person could be so loving, committed and devoted to a foreign land and its people, more is expected from Nigerians.
He prayed that God would grant her soul eternal rest and her family the fortitude to bear the loss.
“May the great work which she and her late husband lived for, particularly in the education sector, continue to prosper,” he said.
Her death unfortunate - Lagos NBA chairman
CHAIRMAN, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja chapter, Mr Monday Ubani, has described the death of Mrs Solarin as very unfortunate.
“But it is also a lesson to all of us. Her life is commendable, because she believed so much in the Nigerian state. She has a lot of things to tell her husband in heaven: retarded development, crumbled system, bad governance and corruption, and the fact that things are worse than when he was alive,” Ubani said.
He said her life was exemplary and it was a lesson to all, especially leaders.
“She believed in the system so much that she stayed on, even after the demise of her husband, and did not ask to be flown abroad for treatment. She died in a Nigerian hospital. Our leaders should learn from this and stop taking every ailment to clinics outside Nigeria,” he added.
Her death, devastating blow - Activist
Sir Olawale Okunniyi, a frontline political activist and Ogun State leader of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), has described the death of Mrs Sheila Solarin as a devastating blow to aspiring youths and masses in the country.
Okunniyi, in a condolence message on Monday in Lagos, recalled his encounters and relationship with both Tai and Sheila Solarin, especially in the course of his political activism, describing the Solarins as a great influence on his political career.
He said though Sheila’s role in the restoration of civil rule in Nigeria in 1999 was unsung, “she was among the very few mainstay of the mass action in Nigeria at that time, working relentlessly in alliance with our movement from the Ogun State axis.”
Sir Olawale also said the late Sheila was a compassionate and committed person.
“With the glorious but regrettable exit of the true mother of the impoverished people of Nigeria, we wish to solemnly celebrate the unwavering resilience of the martyr, Sheila, who was a dependable ally of her husband, with whom she spent a lifetime fighting as a voice and defender of the downtrodden Nigerian masses,” he said.
She was a reference point in education sector - Ekiti NUT scribe
From Kunle Awosiyan, Lagos
Dkueath of Sheila, widow of the late Dr Tai Solarin, has been described as a great loss to the education sector.
Scores of stakeholders in the sector, who spoke to the Nigerian Tribune on Monday, said that the legacy Sheila and her husband, Tai Solarin, left behind remained indelible.
Commenting, the General Secretary, the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Ekiti State wing, Mr Jamiu Idris, said that the death of Sheila would create a vacuum in the history of private school in Nigeria.
“I personally pay my tribute to her. The establishment of Mayflower School, Ikene, Ogun State, is a pointer that the country has lost a great woman. She had paid her dues and left the remaining problems in the education sector for us to solve,” he said.
Idris described the late educationist as a selfless woman who gave all her all to human capacity development.
“We will miss her. There is no time Mayflower will be mentioned that Sheila will not be remembered for her meritorious service,” he added.