Professor Sam Aluko, Nigeria’s foremost Economist is dead. He died in the UK on Tuesday at the age of 83.
He achieved a rare feat of finishing his MSc with a distinction at the London School of Economics. As a student there, he criticised the budget of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo so much that the Western Region decided to withdraw his scholarship and requested that he should return home. The school authorities however replied that if the scholarship is to be withdrawn, the school would take over and foot the bill. He was thereafter sent a letter of congratulation signed by Chief Awolowo. By the time the Constitutional Conference was held in 1957, Awo eventually invited him over to dinner and they became very close thereafter.
He was the Secretary General of the Ekiti Peoples Party during the First Republic and he was elected as the Chairman of the Ado District Council.
A Professor of Professors, many Economists of note passed through him in his days in the University of Ife where he was the first Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.
He was also known to have served He served as Economic Adviser to the Late Head of State, General Sani Abacha. Others he advised included the former Governor of Ondo State, Chief Adekunle Ajasin and General Abdulsalami Abubakar.
The idea to put the excess funds from the increase in the pump price of petrol during the Abacha years and the subsequent formation of the Petroleum Trust Fund was proposed by the foremost Economist. So also was the idea of the Value Added Tax (VAT).