Olu Falae

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Olu Falae
Minister of Finance
In office
08 January 1990 – 29 August 1990
President Ibrahim Babangida
Preceded by Chu Okongwu
Succeeded by Abubakar Alhaji
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)
In office
January 1986 – January 1990
President Ibrahim Babangida
Preceded by Shehu Musa
Succeeded by Aliyu Mohammed
Personal details
Born (1938-09-21) 21 September 1938 (age 80)
Akure, Ondo State,
Political party Social Democratic Party (Nigeria)
Alma mater University of Ibadan
Yale College

Chief Samuel Oluyemisi Falae CFR (born September 21, 1938),[1] simply known as Olu Falae, is a Nigerian politician from Akure, Ondo State.[2] He was secretary to the military government of Ibrahim Babangida from January 1986 to December 1990, and was briefly the Finance Minister in 1990. He ran for president in Nigeria's Third and Fourth republics.

Early life and education[edit]

Falae was born to the family of Joshua and Abigail Falae. His father was originally from Akure but due to opportunities in cocoa farming, Falae's family and a few other Akure natives moved to a nearby location called Ago-Abo where they settled as pioneers.[3] Falae's father was later made the chief of Ago-Abo village. Falae attended an Anglican primary school in Akure where he met his future wife, Rachael Fashoranti.[4] After primary education, he sat for the entrance exam into Igbobi College and was accepted in 1953. After graduating, he went on to complete his Higher School Certificate at Government College, Ibadan in 1958. Thereafter, he was a tutor at Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure. He attended the University of Ibadan for his undergraduate studies before pursuing a graduate degree at Yale University in the United States. At the University of Ibadan, he represented his hall of residence in the Students Representative Council and was editorial board member of the student run campus magazine.[5]

Civil service and government career[edit]

After completing his bachelor's degree in economics, Falae joined the civil service as the assistant secretary of the National Manpower Board. He later became a principal assistant secretary of the board. In 1971, he was transferred to the Central Planning office and by 1975, he was a director at the planning office. Falae was appointed permanent secretary (Economic dept), Cabinet office in 1977 before leaving the civil service to head the Nigerian Merchant Bank in 1979. However, in 1986, he returned to government service and was appointed as the Secretary to the Government. By then, he believed Nigeria needed economic re-structuring. In 1985, prior to his appointment, the military sought the public opinion of an IMF economic structuring proposal as a condition for external credit from the fund. The popular opinion was to reject the proposal. The administration then came up with Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). SAP was a proposal to diversify export from a crude oil dependent regime, ensure fiscal and balance of payments equilibrium and non-inflationary growth.[6] The mechanisms to be implemented in order to achieve these objectives were the devaluation of the naira, reduction of petroleum products subsidies and trade liberalization. During his time in office, Falae became a vocal defender of SAP even when it was becoming unpopular with the masses, earning him the moniker "Mr. SAP" amongst ordinary Nigerians.[7]

He left the post of Secretary to the Government and served as the Federal Minister of Finance in 1990[8] in the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida.[9] He was relieved from office in August 1990. Thereafter, he joined the democratic transition programme.

Political career[edit]

Falae's foray into politics started during the Third Republic. Babangida had banned 'old breed' politicians, who were mostly people who had held elective office in the past such as Bola Ige and Lateef Jakande. Falae soon became the candidate of choice for followers of Awolowo and some progressives within the Social Democratic Party.[10] He contested for the post but lost to Shehu Musa Yar'Adua before the elections were cancelled. He later threw his support and organization towards actualizing the presidential ambition of MKO Abiola.

In the mid 1990s, following the cancellation of the June 12, 1993 and the coming to power of a new military government, Falae became a prominent member of the National Democratic Coalition during the quest for the restoration of democracy in Nigeria. Falae was jailed by the military government of Sani Abacha, but was released in June 1998 after Abacha's death. He unsuccessfully contested the 1999 Nigerian presidential elections on the joint platform of the Alliance for Democracy and the All People's Party against Olusegun Obasanjo, the presidential candidate for the People's Democratic Party.[11] A Yoruba Christian, he swept the southwest, the Yoruba heartland, but proved unable to attract significant support elsewhere. Since then the Oloye Falae has lived in semi-retirement as a large scale farmer in Ago Abo, Akure, where he holds the chieftaincy title of the Olu of Ilu Abo. He was given the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic in 2008. As of 2008, Falae is the pro tem Chairman of the Democratic Peoples Alliance, a progressive party allied with the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

On the 21st of September, 2015, Chief Olu Falae was kidnapped on his farm on his 77th birthday, with the kidnappers demanding 100 million Naira ($500,000) as a ransom for his release.[12][13] He was ultimately released on the 24th of September, 2015, after the payment of the ransom and returned to his home in Akure.[14][15]


  1. ^ "Cleric charges Nigerians on Olu Falae's 70th birthday". Sunday Tribune. 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2008-10-08.[dead link]
  2. ^ "Falae Clocks Seven Decades". Independent Nigeria Online. 2008-09-20. Retrieved 2008-10-08.[dead link]
  3. ^ Interview (2011-01-01). "My wife's role in my life, by Olu Falae". Vanguard Nigeria. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  4. ^ Interview, Vanguard
  5. ^ Awude, D. (2008). Keeping faith: A biography of Olu Falae. Akure, Ondo State: Flocel Publishers. p28
  6. ^ Transition without end : Nigerian politics and civil society under Babangida / edited by Larry Diamond, Anthony Kirk-Greene, Oyeleye Oyediran. Boulder, Colo. : Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1997. p 308
  7. ^ Adebanwi, Wale. Yorùbá elites and ethnic politics in Nigeria : Ọbá́fẹ́mi Awọ́lówọ̀ and corporate agency / Wale Adebanwi, University of California, Davis. New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2014. p147
  8. ^ Commonwealth Observer Group, Commonwealth Secretariat. The National Assembly and Presidential Elections in Nigeria, 20 and 27 February 1999: Report. Page 27.
  9. ^ Maier, Karl. This House Has Fallen: Nigeria in Crisis. Page 29.
  10. ^ Adebanwi, p128
  11. ^ Udogu, Emmanuel Ike. Nigeria In The Twenty-first Century: Strategies for Political Stability and Peaceful Coexistence. Page 176.
  12. ^ "Olu Falae Kidnapped on 77th Birthday, Abductors Demand N100m Ransom". Thisdaylive. September 22, 2015. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  13. ^ Iyabo Lawal (September 22, 2015). "Olu Falae kidnapped on his 77th birthday". Nigeria: The Guardian. Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  14. ^ Josiah Oluwole (September 28, 2015). "How I was abducted, tortured, released — Olu Falae". Nigeria: Premium Times. Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  15. ^ "Falae Regains Freedom, Says He Slept on Bare Floor". Thisdaylive. September 25, 2015. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2015.