Oluyemisi Samuel Falae: Teacher, farmer at 80
But, the son that was born to the family of Joshua and Abigail 80 years ago has continued to manifest God’s goodness to his family, Nigeria and the Yoruba nation.
Most people remember Olu, as he is fondly called, as Nigeria’s minister of Finance during the shifting sands of military President Ibrahim Babangida’s socio-political experimentation.
That fateful January 8, 1990 when he was drafted from the office of Secretary to the Federal Government, Falae was on the way to attaining his 62 years’ sojourn on this earth.
And although his path through that office was tough, it was obvious that he was chosen to do what only a man of his stature could do.
The job toughened him such that he earned a nickname that took time to wear off.
Perhaps, the nickname of Mr. SAP was what recommended Falae for the appointment as Finance minister, but it broached his virtues, including sincerity, diligence and team spirit.
As the son of a farmer, Falae knows there is fruitage in patience, hard work and planning.
It was planning that saw the Olu of Ilu Abo grow from a teacher at Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure to a senior civil servant, and a missed opportunity as Nigeria’s president.
In politics, Chief Olu Falae kept faith with his convictions. Prior to the present cacophony of voices on restructuring, the former SGF was convinced that Nigeria was in dire need of economic restructuring.
Falae’s belief that economic considerations underpin political ideologies must have helped to shape his political orientation. And it showed in his choice of political platforms and associations.
That explains when the military junta decreed two broad political parties into existence, Chief Falae settled for the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
It was also not surprising that in 1999 when Nigeria returned to the path of representative democracy, the former Finance Minister was estimated as the most prominent apostle of Awoism.
He was rewarded with the presidential ticket of Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Armed with wit and deep knowledge of statecraft and economic issues, Falae’s towering political image frightened the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, into hibernation in a hotel room, all in a bid to avoid a debating session with the economist.
After narrowly missing that golden opportunity to lead the country as the first university graduate to preside over its affairs, the Oloye went back to his roots and remembered his days as a son of afarmer. And he became a farmer.
However, knowing that he still has more to offer in the area of grooming of future leaders, situations and circumstances entrusted Falae with the challenge of leading a political party, the SDP.
As the national chairman of SDP, he is like an oasis in a desert of political decadence where impunity, violence and impish behaviours trump civility, elocution and reason.
For Olu, Olu of Ilu Abo, at 80 years it is obvious that there are many lands for him to conquer. Even if he cannot till the land, he has men to cultivate and young ones to teach the art of ideological politics.
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