Tai Solarin was born on the 20th August 1922 in Ikenne, a native of Ijebu, he was educated in a Nigerian missionary school, Wesley College in Ibadan. He served in British 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 Solarin was famous as both a social critic and an erudite educator. Popularly called “Uncle Tai” by his fans, he was fond of wearing shorts, sneakers, and a khaki hunting cap. Tai Solarin was famous for his controversial atheism and secular humanism in Yorubaland. He founded the secular Mayflower School in 1959, one of the best and reputed schools in Yorubaland.
Tai met the then Miss Sheila Mary Tuer in Manchester and wedded her on 14 September 1951 when he was 35. Tai and his polytechnic-tra ined chiropodist wife with a master’s degree in English language lived happily together for 43 years in total service to humanity without a single day of sorrow. They were blessed with Corin (a daughter) born on 27 June 1952 and Tunde (a son) born on 15 December 1956.
He was appointed into public offices by various Nigerian governments from the first republic to the Babangida led government by sheer virtue of his sterling patriotism, as a member of the Somade Commission on Education; as the Public Complaints Commissioner for the then Oyo, Ondo and Ogun States; as a member of the Justice Akinola Aguda Panel for the Creation of Nigeria’s New Federal Capital Territory amongst others.
He was detained in various prisons across Nigeria for his human rights activism right from his first major detention on October 12, 1974 by Gowon’s regime to his last major on March 12, 1984 by the draconian duo of Buhari/Idiagbon administration which cost him 17 months behind the bars. Many thanks to the late Mr. Kehinde Sofola, another Yoruba man of repute, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who defended Tai for decades without charging a kobo.
Tai Solarin sadly died on Wednesday 27th July, 1994.
A lot of institutions and monuments were named after him including the Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu, Yorubaland. . .