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