Dr Onaolapo Soleye Dead: Former Nigeria’s Finance Minister Dies Days After Landmark 90th Birthday!
Nigeria has lost one of its most illustrious sons, Dr. Onaolapo Soleye, a former Minister of Finance and a distinguished public servant, who passed away at the venerable age of 90. His death, coming just days after his 90th birthday celebration, marks the end of an era in Nigerian public service and academia.
Dr. Soleye, a figure of significant stature, played a pivotal role during General Muhammadu Buhari’s military regime as the Finance Minister, a tenure that lasted twenty eventful months. His contributions to Nigeria’s financial sector were not limited to this role alone; he also served with distinction as the Commissioner for Finance and Industry in Ogun State. His expertise and leadership extended beyond the realms of public office, as he was a respected member of the board of the Obasanjo Presidential Library, contributing to the preservation and promotion of Nigerian history and culture.
Born and raised in a time of great change, Dr. Soleye’s life was a testament to the power of dedication and service. His journey began in academia, where he rose to the position of an Associate Professor at the prestigious University of Ibadan. His transition from academia to public service was marked by a commitment to excellence and a deep desire to contribute to the development of Nigeria.
In the early hours of Wednesday, just a few days after his landmark 90th birthday, Dr. Soleye passed away, leaving behind a legacy of service and integrity. The announcement of his passing was made through a heartfelt statement from his family, which read: “With heavy hearts but with gratitude to God Almighty for a long, impactful, and positively eventful life, we announce the passing of Pa Dr. Onaolapo Soleye…”
Dr. Soleye was not just a public servant but also a devout man of faith, deeply committed to church activities. His love for humanity was evident in his readiness to assist and support anyone in need. The statement from his family further emphasized his role as a father figure not only to his immediate family but to the nation at large, and they invited all to partake in his forthcoming rites of passage.
Renowned figures have paid tribute to Dr. Soleye, highlighting his immense contributions to the country and his inspiring personal qualities. Among them is Senator Otunba Gbenga Daniel, representing Ogun East in the National Assembly, who described Dr. Soleye as a remarkable man whose life was characterized by acts of kindness and good deeds that touched many lives.
Senator Daniel fondly recalled Dr. Soleye’s legacy, noting his time as Commissioner for Finance in Ogun State and later as the Minister for Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He lauded Dr. Soleye’s prudence and expertise in managing Nigeria’s finances, affirming his unwavering commitment to a better Nigeria. As a mentor and a leader, Dr. Soleye inspired countless individuals, including Senator Daniel himself, who considered him not only a mentor but also a close friend and confidant.
In a heartfelt condolence message, Senator Daniel extended his sympathies to Dr. Soleye’s family, the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Matemilola, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and the people of Egbaland, emphasizing the profound sense of loss felt by all. He found solace, however, in the lasting legacy of good deeds and integrity that Dr. Soleye left behind.
Dr. Soleye’s passing is not just a loss to his family or to Nigeria but to the numerous lives he touched through his public service, academic contributions, and personal acts of kindness. As arrangements for his burial are underway, the nation reflects on the life of a man who dedicated himself to the service of his country and its people, leaving an indelible mark on the sands of Nigerian history.