Professor Sam Aluko,
By Omololu Ogunmade and Ibrahim Shuaibu
After battling an undisclosed ailment in a London hospital in the United Kingdom for several days, renowned economist, Professor Sam Aluko, finally gave up the ghost in the early hours of Tuesday. He was 83 years old.
An indigene of Ode Ekiti in the present day Ekiti State, he was an erudite scholar, politician and a staunch member of the think-tank of the first Premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
A politician of impeccable character, he was a prominent leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the defunct Second Republic.
Aluko, who was a vociferous social critic, emerged as the Chairman of the National Economic Intelligence Committee during the military regime of late General Sani Abacha and served in the committee till 2000. The committee was charged with the responsibility of monitoring the capital budgets of the government.
Aluko was one of Nigeria's most prominent and finest economists who had his own fair share of public exposure. His economic philosophy was patterned after that of John Maynard Keynes.
He became the first Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). In 1981, he was appointed into a committee constituted to produce a framework for the Bendel State University, now Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.
He began his teaching career in 1946 and rose through the ranks to become the principal of College of Commerce, Sapele and later vice-principal of Lagos City College. During the period, he served on various local organisations including membership of the Ode Ekiti Progressive Union and the Ekiti People's Party in 1953.
He carved a niche for himself in the public sphere through his critical stance on several government policies. He also served as an adviser to a number of governments in the country.
Born on August 18, 1929, Aluko had his elementary education at St Mary’s Primary School, Ode-Ekiti between 1936 and 1940. He proceeded to Emmanuel School, Ado Ekiti in 1941 before moving to Christ School, Ado-Ekiti from 1941-1945 and later Yaba Technical Institute in Lagos between 1948 and 1949. Between 1955 and 1959, Aluko studied at the London School of Economics, England.
Between 1959 and 1966, Aluko was a lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Ife and University of Nigeria, Nsukka respectively. In 1962, he was a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts as well as Harvard University both in the United States. He was appointed a Professor of Economics at the University of Ife in 1967, where he served until 1980.
After leaving the University, Aluko picked up a political appointment as Economic Adviser to Governor Adekunle Ajasin of the old Ondo State between 1980 and 1983. Prior to his emergence as adviser to Ajasin, he had been a member of the National Executive Council of UPN. His political career dated back to 1962, when he joined the defunct Action Group (AG) before the First Republic was abolished through a military coup d’etat. He wrote three books and co-authored 12 others.
Aluko was married to Joyce Ofuya and the union was blessed with six children, among who is Mobolaji Aluko, a professor of civil engineering who until his recent appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, was a lecturer in a U.S. university.
Commiserating with the Alukos over the demise of their patriarch, President Goodluck Jonathan said the death of the professor was a national loss.
Jonathan in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said that though the death was a painful one, his family, friends and associates should take solace in the fact that he lived a fulfilled life while his legacies speak eloquently for him.
“As they mourn the late Prof. Aluko, President Jonathan urges his family, friends, associates and admirers to be comforted by the knowledge that the renowned economist lived a life full of many indelible achievements and notable contributions to national development,” he said.
Similarly, Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi on his part, assured his Ondo State counterpart that his state stands ready to partner the family in giving a befitting burial to “this illustrious son of the Land of Honour.”
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), yesterday, in his condolence, said, “Indeed the shoes left behind by Aluko will be hard to fill,” while praying to almighty God to grant Aluko’s soul sweet repose for the great service he rendered to his fatherland.
Meanwhile, Chairman of Dantata and Sawoe Construction Company, Alhaji Abdulkadir Dantata, is dead.
He died in a German hospital yesterday and his remains will be flown to Kano today for burial, his personal assistant, Alhaji Auwalu Dansadau, told THISDAY last night.
The deceased was the eldest son of the late Alhaji Sanusi Dantata, and the elder brother to Alhaji Aminu Dantata.
The deceased would be buried according to Islamic rites in the commercial city of Kano.