By MOSHOOD ADEBAYO, Abeokuta
Heaven literarily opened yesterday as the remains of Mrs. Sheila Solarin, widow of the late social critic and activist, Dr. Tai Solarin, was buried in Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State. Amid heavy downpour, eminent Nigerians had bade Solarin’s wife farewell at an interdenominational church service held on the open ground of Mayflower School, a school she founded along with her late husband in 1956.
The remains of the late Sheila, in a brown casket plated with gold, arrived the school premises in a grey Mercedes Benz amid shouts of “Mama, Mama” by hundreds of students. The Presbyter, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Ilishan circuit, Reverend Joseph Osifuwa, admonished the gathering to live a purposeful life worthy of emulation. According to him, the gathering was not to mourn but to celebrate the good deeds of the woman, who he described as a “woman of many parts.”
His words: “We are not gathered here today to mourn but to celebrate this great woman. She left so many indelible works, which people must draw inspiration from. Many come into this world without impacting on those who came in contact with them. “Mama, agreed with her husband to fulfil the mission that God gave them by giving qualitative education to thousands of Nigerians. She contributed positively to the development of education in Nigeria and for many years to come, we shall continue to appreciate her contribution to the education industry in Ogun State.”
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, in his oration, described Sheilla as someone who was committed to the human race, particularly in the area of the provision of qualitative education not only in Ogun State but Nigeria at large. “As a non-native, she has endeared herself to the society. She was committed to the provision of qualitative education. The Mayflower School she co-founded with her late husband has continued to stand out among schools in the country,” he said. Amosun’s predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who also attended the funeral, described Mrs. Solarin as a disciplinarian who did her best in life.
“I want other people to emulate her attitude so that it will be better for all of us,” he admonished. Solarin’s remains were later interned at the family plot beside her husband, Tai during a private burial, which involved her two children and few family members.