Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Friday, February 26, 1999 Published at 15:38 GMT


World: Africa

Profile: Olu Falae

Flying the flag for the Alliance of Democracy: Olu Falae is standing as the party's joint candidate

By Lagos Correspondent Barnaby Philips

He's being described as a technocrat and a moderate, and that's precisely why he's been chosen.


Olu Falae: "General Obasanjo represents a continuation of military rule in civilian clothes"
The AD and APP hope that Olu Falae, a 60 year old economist, is the man to pull off a near impossible feat: deliver a solid vote from his native Yoruba south-west, yet, at the same time, appear attractive enough to voters elsewhere to stop the Obasanjo band-wagon. The retired general and chicken-farmer is definitely the front-runner, but Falae does have a lot going for him.

Nigeria elections
Whereas Obasanjo's attitude to the June 12 annulment of 1993 - Nigeria's litmus test of democratic credibility- has always been ambivalent, Falae's position was unequivocal.

When the generals blocked Moshood Abiola's victory, Falae threw his weight behind the pro-democracy group, NADECO.

Eventually, General Sani Abacha had him locked up for his alleged role in a series of bombings. It was an unlikely charge to make against the urbane Falae, whose manner is best described as that of an old-fashioned British civil servant, more interested in discussing economic theory than in blowing people up.

He is an undemonstrative man; he lives on the exclusive Victoria Island on Lagos, but his house is quite modest.

Sparkling academic credentials

Olu Falae's academic qualifications are not in doubt; infact, General Obasanjo's pale in comparison.

Falae is a product of the now faded academic excellence of south-western Nigeria. Primary school in his hometown, Akure, secondary school in Lagos, and then the University of Ibadan.

In the early 70s, he studied at Yale; but it wasn't until the mid-80s that he came to national attention, as the civil service brains behind General Babingida's attempts to introduce economic reform.

He became known as Mr SAP, after structural adjustment programme; not a popular tag to take into an election, but Falae argues that there was nothing wrong with the idea; only the implementation was wrong.

Now his renowned organisational skills will be tested again: to take on the PDP, and cope with the disarray in the AD/APP alliance. It may prove a challenge too far for this most competent of men.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia


In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief