Respected economist, Sam Aluko is dead

by Chi Ibe

Only a day after respected diplomat and former minister Matthew Mbu passed, it has been confirmed that Professor Sam Aluko is dead, aged 83.

The late Aluko, one of Nigeria’s foremost economists died in the UK earlier today at the age of 83.Most renowned for his idea which introduced the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under General Sani Abacha, the late Aluko, who hailed from Ekiti state, graduated with a distinction from the London School of Economics.

Whilst a student there in the 1950s, he criticised the budget of the government of Obafemi Awolowo so often, that to shut him up, the Western Region withdrew his scholarship and requested that he return to Nigeria.The school authorities however replied that if the scholarship were to be withdrawn, the school would take over and foot the bill. He was thereafter sent a letter of congratulations signed by Chief Awolowo himself.

By the time Nigeria’s Constitutional Conference was held in 1957, Awolowo invited the young Aluko for dinner, and thereafter began to seek his council on economic policies.When Nigeria attained independence in 1960, Aluko entered politics as the Secretary General of the Ekiti Peoples Party from where he was elected Chairman of the Ado District Council.

Many notable economists passed through him in his days in the University of Ife where he was the first Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.Aluko served as economic adviser to Generals Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar. He also advised former Ondo governor, Michael Ajasin during the Second Republic.

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