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Page 50 Editorial HID Awolowo, Nov 25, 1915 – Sept 19, 2015 The demise of Mrs Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo (née Adelana) popularly known as…

Page 50


HID Awolowo, Nov 25, 1915 – Sept 19, 2015

The demise of Mrs Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo (née Adelana) popularly known as HID, at the age of 99 tells a story of a rare gem, whose acumen and popularity is unmatchable.

Though death is always painful, HID’s exit was not seen by many people as untimely, but a peaceful return to her creator after an eventful life.

She was the widow of the famous nationalists, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Premier of the defunct Western Region.

They were married from December 26, 1937 to his death in 1987 and she was the First Lady of Western Region from 1 October 1954 – 1 October 1960.

Mrs Awolowo reportedly died in the company of her children after fervently praying for them and singing praises to God.

The news of her death had resonated throughout Nigeria and beyond, with many people pouring encomiums and telling the world what she was to them.

In his tribute, President Muhammadu Buhari extended his sincere commiseration to the children, grandchildren and great just a few weeks before her 100th birthday.

The President, in a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, said he joined millions of admirers of her late revered husband, Chief Obafemi

Awolowo, in mourning Chief (Mrs.) Awolowo, “who will be long remembered and celebrated as the famous spouse and pillar of strength of the late nationalist, political leader and sage.”

“President Buhari believes that Chief (Mrs.) Awolowo will always be

honoured too for the indelible legacy of very significant, behind-the-scene contributions to communal, state, regional and national development which she has left behind.”

Former President Goodluck Jonathan Jonathan said the present and future generations of Nigerian women and youths would miss Mrs. Awolowo.

In a statement he signed, the former president urged all Nigerian women to emulate the virtue, citing how she stood by her husband during his active days in politics; at the time of adversity and even after he passed away about 30 years.

“Awolowo was a true warrior who stood solidly behind her husband during the epic struggle for self-rule, through the crusade for the enthronement of good governance in the First Republic, the fight against jackboot military dictatorship to the campaign for a united, prosperous Nigeria before, during and post-civil war years,” he said.

Jonathan noted that the deceased enjoyed a rare privilege of living for extra 29 years, when compared to the biblical prescription of 70 years.

The Pan Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, described Mrs. Awolowo’s demise as sad and painful, stressing that the deceased would have a lot to tell her husband about “the desecration of Awo legacies within the Yorubaland.”

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka

Odumakin, said the death of Chief HID Awolowo, 67 days to the celebration of her centenary birthday, “had denied the Yoruba nation the opportunity of celebrating Mama at 100.”

On its part, the northern socio-political organisation, Arewa Consultative

Forum (ACF), said the death of Mrs. Awolowo had created a huge vacuum, not only for the Yoruba race but the entire nation.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad

Ibrahim, the ACF said this was in view of her statesmanship and motherly concern for the unity and peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians.

Similarly, the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation said it has concluded plans to inaugurate a foundation in memory of the late HID in recognition of her contributions to family values, entrepreneurship and perseverance in the face of adversity.

The Executive Director of the foundation, Dr. Awolowo-Dosumu said the need to underline the careers of role models and visionaries in a morally-adrift generation informed the move to institute the HID Awolowo foundation.

Late HID, fondly called “jewel of inestimable value” by her late husbandwas a successful businesswoman and an astute politician.

She played an active role in the politics of Western Nigeria and stood in for her husband in the alliance formed between the NCNC and the AG, called the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA), while he was in jail.

The plans were that she would contest the elections, and if she won, would step down for her husband in a by-election, to fulfil his dream of becoming a president.

She was noted to be the first Nigerian distributor for the Nigerian Tobacco

Company (NTC) in 1957 and was the first to import lace materials and other textiles into Nigeria.

While we hope that her legacies must be sustained, we join millions of

Nigerians here at home and in diaspora in mourning HID Awolowo. Our heartfelt condolences also go to her family.

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