Chief Obafemi Awolowo would have been 108 years old today but he died 30years ago, in his bedroom, without any disease or sickness whatsoever. Of all his contemporaries, his death was the best.
He was the first Premier of Western Region and the best developer of the region till the time of this post!!!!! He was a unique Premier. While he was the Premier, Western Region comprised of today's SW and Bendel(Edo and Delta States).
The manifesto of Action Group became Herculean to achieve in the minds all except that of Awolowo. Free Education, Free Health services, development of infrastructures etc. Even with scarcity of funds, Awolowo achieved all and even more than he promised like building of University of Ife now named after him, Liberty Stadium, WNTV first Television Station in Africa and France and now called Nta Ibadan after taken over by Federal government. Cocoa farmers were very lucky in his time, they were the high and mighty then. Awolowo did not bother them with storage facilities, they only needed to produce, government will buy and store and sell..… But if you think the farmers enjoyed, that's small compared to the hopeless poor. But for Awolowo, only children of elites would have gone to school.
Awolowo did Universal Free Education throughout the length, breadth, nooks and crannies of the Western Region and this singular act bridged the gap between the children of the poor and those of the rich....The poor were in jubilation mood;
"Awolowo's Regime is good
Awolowo Regime is good
The children of the poor are speaking English
Awolowo's Regime is good "
Although, many people who later became his future detractors were all beneficiaries of his Free Education policy and Scholarship. Even the Grammar they used to abuse him, he 'taught' them.
His political influence almost caused his untimely death but for God who saved him. He left Western Region and became NIGERIA minority leader, a torn in the flesh of Central Coalition Government of NCNC and NPC who through the help of some of his associates engaged him in the fiercest battle of his life! He lost his first son, his political party but not life. During the battle, the mother of his former Attorney General Rotimi Williams went to him to ask Awolowo for the release of his son "Please my son cannot stand with this anymore, I don't want him to die", Awolowo called Rotimi Williams to quit the struggle!!
Awolowo and several of his disciples were arrested, charged, convicted (of treason), and jailed for conspiring with the Ghanaian authorities under kwame Nkrumah to overthrow the federal government. Awolowo was reported to have said "If truly I planned to overthrow this government through coup, I will die in that prison but if you people lied against me, I will come out greater and I won't meet any of you alive...." Wow, the rest is history.
Gowon released Awolowo from prison and made him Finance Minister and his Deputy in cabinet. To his credit, he managed the war economy without borrowing a kobo. Infact, Nigeria was so rich that Gowon once said "our problem is not money but how to spend it...." Nigeria was borrowing nations her money, Gowon was paying Udoji Allowance from the money saved by AWO...… He left Gowon when the ovation was loudest and advised him to conduct election.
Shagari honored him with the greatest honor in the land GCFR...… He was the greatest leader ever produced in Western Region, his records are glaringly undeniable and he put the SW politics in the most respectable position. He started the inter-regional campaign in Nigeria. He wanted to replicate what he did in the WR in Nigeria but he was vehemently stopped!!!!
When he left in 1987, three days after, IK Dario waxed the first record for Awolowo.…
"There is NO elder again. The town has spoiled
The husband of the house has died
And the house is now empty!!!!! “
Ebenezer Obey too"
"What a pity, earth is eating up humans
Death killed Obafemi Awolowo"
Even Sikiru Ayinde Barrister;
"Awolowo Baba Oluwole o
Oyeniyi Baba Oluwole o
Baba Oluwole o
Baba Omotola d'ara ile
Baba Oluwole eh"
Talk of the town, in newspapers, TV, Radio.… He was given a state burial by IBB who said "Since 1959, Nigeria politics are divided into two, either you're for Obafemi Awolowo or you're against him"
Today is his birthday......
Happy birthday Father of Light, son of Efunyela, the bride price payer of Dideolu, Father in law of Osinbajo.....Successor of Oduduwa, Predecessor of Ajasin, Ige and......long enjoyment in Paradise and more beautiful songs of praise to the glory of the Almighty!!!!
You want to be like Awolowo?
Let me give you a test....
He was deliberately charged with Treason. Together with all his chronic supporters. His Lawyer, a Briton, was denied entry visa to Nigeria, also deliberately.
He opted for his first son, the first International Lawyer in Nigeria, Olusegun to defend him and other accused. While in court, waiting for his lawyer, the court in process, Adesanya entered the court, with water rolling from his eyes, whispered into Awolowo's ears, "Leader, your son was involved in accident on his way here..."
Awolowo interrupted "Is Segun dead?"
"I'm afraid, Yes sir"
"Please go and stay with my wife, please"
Awolowo quickly stood up to call the attention of the Judge to the new development....He didn't say his son was dead, he said "My Lord, I have the information that my lawyer was involved in an accident and he's dead, I hereby appeal to you to allow me represent myself and my colleagues in this treason charge against us"
After the day's proceeding, Jakande, Enahoro etc who were crying due to Segun's death wondered why Awolowo refused to cry....Awolowo knew their thoughts and said;
"I love Segun so much, he was my first child but he's dead and I couldn't help him. What is paramount now is to avert another death hanging on our necks in the name of Treason. Else, we will die too.."