Tunji Olurin

Tunji Olurin as a younger man
Tunji Olurin in younger days as military officer. Photo: source unknown

Tunji Olurin was a military governor of Oyo state, 1985 to 1988 and administrator of Ekiti State during the State of Emergency imposed on the state by President Obasanjo in 2006. He also led the ECOMOG force to Liberia between 1992 to 1993 during the country’s civil war. Olurin was born 1944 in Ilaro. He completed his secondary school education at Egbado College, Ilaro, in 1964. From Ibadan Polytechnic he enrolled at the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna in 1967. As a soldier, Olurin also trained in Pakistan in the Infantry School and Staff College, Jaji and the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos.

Olurin joined the Nigerian army in 1967. In 1978, he was deployed to command Nigerian army in the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations in Lebanon, his battalion positioned between the Palestinian and Israeli forces. He also controlled the Organization for African Unity (OAU) force in Chad. Olurin quelled a religious fundamentalist group in Kano in 1981. When General Babangida seized power in 1985, he was a commander in Babangida’s own town. He was appointed to govern Oyo state. As governor, he was instrumental in conceptualizing the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in Ogbomoso. In 1990, Olurin was returned to command an armoured division in Jos even as member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council. While in Liberia, he is believed to have consulted Charles Taylor, prominent Liberian warlord, to his own economic advantage.

To avoid a descent into chaos in Ekiti State, he was invited to be the sole administrator by Obasanjo. He would later join the People’s Democratic Party to play politics. In 2015 he bided unsuccessfully for the governorship of his home state of Oyo. Tunji Olurin died 21, August 2021.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer