HID has a lot to tell Awolowo – Afenifere

The pan -Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, on Sunday described the demise of Chief Hannah Dideolu Awolowo as painful, noting that she would have a lot to tell her husband “about the desecration of Awo legacies within the Yoruba nation.”

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Union of Journalists has joined the Awolowo family and other well-meaning Nigerians in mourning the death of their matriarch, saying she played an active role in the survival of The Nigerian Tribune.

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.”

He said, “Death came knocking at the Ikenne residence of the sage on Saturday, plucking the ‘jewel of inestimable value.’ Although every death is painful, our consolation lies in the fact that Mama lived life to the fullest and has now exited at a very ripe age. Rather than mourning her, we shall celebrate her good life to the fullest.

“Mama will forever be remembered for standing solidly behind our eternal leader, Oloye Obafemi Awolowo, throughout his political ordeals in the web of intrigues and contradictions, called Nigeria. She was there for Papa in all the persecutions, orchestrated trials, unjust imprisonments and internal exiling by feudal forces, who resented the federalist principles Awolowo espoused which Nigeria rejected at its peril and which has turned it to a shell 28 years after Papa’s transition.”

According to him, for the past 28 years after Awo’s relocation to higher realm, the spouse of the great nationalist kept his home with dignity and uncommon candour.

Odumakin said, “Now she goes to meet her earthly love, unfortunately, with unpalatable tales of situation of things in Yorubaland in particular and Nigeria in general. She will have a lot to tell about the desecration of Awo legacies within the Yoruba nation and the retardation of Nigeria, as it runs daily from the ideas and ideals of progress he espoused while here.

“But as if nature has a way of mitigating this type of saga, it has dispatched ahead of Mama some good disciples of Papa, like the Ooni of Ife, Olu of Warri and Ambassador Deinde Fernandez as advanced parties to put the sage in the mood to absorb the unsavoury situation reports of Nigeria.

“Our condolences go to the Awolowo biological and political family as well as the entire Yoruba nation over the death of our beloved Mama.

“May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace.”

The NUJ, in a statement by its National Secretary, Shuaibu Usman Leman, on Sunday in Abuja, said “as the Chairman of The Nigerian Tribune, the survival of the newspaper, despite the political and economic downturns, clearly shows the tenacity, discipline and forthrightness of its publishers.”

The NUJ said, “That this famous newspaper continues to wax stronger is a testimony of the shrewdness and insight of the Awolowo family. In the colonial era, the newspaper served as the mouthpiece for Awolowo’s populist welfare programmes. It also played an important role in defending the interest of the Yoruba people in a period when different ethnic groups were struggling for ascendency.

“A successful business woman and astute politician, Mrs. Awolowo played an active role in the politics of the defunct Western Region and stood in for her husband in the then alliance formed between the NCNC and AG, called the United Progressives Grand Alliance, when the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, was in jail.

“Nigeria will surely miss her wise counsel and we pray that the Almighty God will grant her eternal rest and the Awolowo family, the fortitude to continue without her.”