For many years, TAI SOLARIN was a trouble for IBB; a hard critic of IBB and a perpetual lover of the poor. He called IBB incompetent. So One day, after series of criticisms, IBB invited Tai for a discussion, he asked him what he could do to better the lives of the poor.
Tai was happy, he quickly proposed a soft loan for all the poor Nigerians to enable them start small scale businesses and as they return the loans, other poor people will continue to benefit until it reaches all.
IBB clapped for Tai and pleaded with him to champion the noble cause so that the programme can run without a hitch. Tai agreed.
Immediately, a Peoples Bank was formed by Decree and huge fund was pumped into it with Dr. Tai as the Chairman. Poor people were getting funds to start or expand their businesses, it was coordinated by Tai, IBB never gave him any bottleneck, no distractions.
But after giving out loans to the poor, the poor refused to return the money, neither did we see their businesses on ground, they have spent the money but no repayment. Wahala de!!
Tai was sweating under the Air conditioning system, “this is trouble”. After many futile attempts to recover the loans, the Celebrated Peoples Bank crashed and became liquidated. Tai was running helter-skelter.
He finally went to IBB but IBB was not angry, he merely said “Egbon, see what we are facing in government?
It is easy to talk, talk is cheap sir but look at your bank. This is just one small bank that you cannot manage o, imagine how many banks we have, imagine ruling a whole country sir? If people now blamed you for the collapse of the bank you proposed and ran, how will you feel? Don’t worry sir, you will not be prosecuted. Just go home and rest.
You have had enough troubles already……thanks for your service to the nation…..” But before he could leave Dodan Barracks, the then Military President Ordered that he be called back. Tai Solarin started sweating. But he quickly composed himself before IBB asked him, “would you like to serve as the Minister of Education or Finance?” All he needed to say was “Yes sir, either of the two will be ok.” And IBB would have appointed him right away. But Tai Solarin quickly answered. “Mr President, you already told me to go home and rest. I will be on my way now.” With that, Tai Solarin left the presence of the President. The two men never met again and Tai Solarin never criticized IBB again.
As written by Akindele Ayekooto.