Tai Solarin was born in Ikenne-Reme, Ogun State on August 20, 1922. He attended his primary education at Otapete Methodist School in Ilesha, Osun State and then proceeded to Wesley College in Ibadan, Oyo State where he got his Teacher’s Certificate. He was a known atheist, a Nigerian educator, a Philanthropist, a social critic and a village eccentric etc.
He was appointed the principal of Molusi College in Ijebu-Ogbo, Ogun State, from 1952 to 1955. While there, he countered the school’s policy on early morning hymns and prayers and also Sunday service. He ordered that the students’ song manuals should be discarded and that students should compose their own songs; this led to the creation of unorthodox hymns that focused on hard work.
As a writer, he wrote regular columns for several national newspapers. More so, it was recorded that he wrote over thirty articles yearly. Prior to his visit to China, he protested against Nigeria’s poor educational system. He observed that almost hundred percent of Chinese children were in school as against less than the twenty five percent in Nigeria.
Tai Solarin married Sheila Mary Tuer on September 14, 1951, and they were blessed with two children. On January 27, 1956, in partnership with his wife, he opened Mayflower School in Ikenne, Ogun State. He worked as the school principal for twenty years. He published many books which include, “Towards Nigerian Moral Self-Government”, “A Message for Young Nigerians”, “Thinking with you”, “Timeless Tai” and “To Mother With love”. In 1971 he was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in literature by Alma College, Michigan.
On June 27, 1994, he died at the age of 72 years at Ikenne Ogun State.
To honour his legacy, the National Universities Commission of Nigeria formerly recognized the Tai Solarin University of Education Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State as the first specialised university of education in Nigeria In November 1995. He was also recognised by Lagos State with the establishment of the Tai Solarin Hospitals in Mushin and Apapa, the Tai Solarin Memorial School in Amuwo-Odofin, and his statue erected at Sabo in Yaba.