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SDP extols ex-minister’s leadership qualities

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National Chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Chief Oluyemisi Samuel Falae

As the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and national chairman of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Chief Olu Falae turns 80 today, the National Secretary of the party, Alhaji Shehu Gabam, said it is a unique opportunity to recognise his contributions to the progress and development of Nigeria.

In a statement yesterday, Gabam said that Falae’s exemplary life as a Nigerian patriot and political colossus who has contributed immensely to the political and economic development of Nigeria is worthy of emulation by current and younger generation of leaders as a way of deepening the country’s political leadership and democratic culture.

He noted that Falae’s foray into the political space after his retirement from public service in 1991 has signified a turning point in Nigeria’s political history.

Falae, popularly called “Awalu Falalu” of Nigeria politics as a result of his acceptability in different parts of Nigeria, especially in the core north, has remained committed to the dreams of Nigeria’s founding fathers of making Nigeria one indivisible great and strong nation.

His two failed attempts at becoming Nigerian president have not diminished his commitment to the country.

Gabam stated: “Chief Falae is a true political leader with credible antecedents; a respected party man and a patriotic Nigerian who believes in the promotion of the ideals of good governance, equity and accountability.

We in the SDP felicitate with Chief Falae, our indefatigable leader, on the occasion of his 80th birthday anniversary.

We implore Nigerian leaders, especially the younger ones to emulate the leadership qualities of Nigeria’s foremost social democrat.

He remained one of the greatest promoters of national unity and the growth of democracy in Nigeria.”

Falae, who was decorated with the national honour of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) in 2008, he was born on September 21, 1938 in Ilu-Abo, a suburb of Akure, the Ondo State capital.

He had his early education at St. Stephens & David’s Anglican Primary School, Akure between 1944 and 1952.

He attended Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos between 1953 and 1957 for his secondary education and later obtained a B. Sc in Economics from the University of Ibadan in 1963.

He also attended the Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States between 1972 and 1974.

Falae began his public service career as an Assistant Secretary, National Manpower Board in 1963 and rose to various positions in the planning department of the Federal Civil Service before becoming a Permanent Secretary, after which he voluntarily retired in May 1981.

He was appointed Managing Director of Nigeria Merchant Bank in June 1981, the position he held until he was appointed Secretary to the Federal Military Government and member Supreme Military Council (SMC) on January 29, 1986.

He became the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on December 29, 1989.

His tenure was remarkable for the introduction of the International Monetary Fund’s stringent economic policy, Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), which has been described as the most anti-poor economic measure in Nigerian history.

Falae contested the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential primary in 1992.

He returned to the scene after the ban on political activities was lifted to contest for Nigeria’s Presidency as the joint candidate of the Alliance for Democracy and the All People’s Party in February 1999.

The 80th birthday celebration programme would be headlined by a Special Colloquium to be delivered today by Chief Nia Nwodo, the Eze Ndigbo, at Amazing Grace Event Centre, Oda Road, Akure.

That would be followed tomorrow by a church service at the St. David Anglican Cathedral Ijomu, Akure.


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