H I D Awolowo dies at 99, Ambode mourns her

Hannah-AwolowoYeye Odua of Ile Ife, Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, wife of the legendary politician, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is dead.

She was aged 99, just a few weeks to her marking a century in this world. She was born on 25 November 1915.

The woman, who was once described by Awo, as a jewel of inestimable value, has now gone to join her husband, who died in 1987.

Born to the Adelana family in Ikenne, Ogun State,  the same town where Awolowo was born in 1901,  she grew into being a political matriarch of western Nigeria.

Although she was a big-time trader, she was unable to divorce herself from the politics of her husband, especially in the western part of Nigeria.

And she really had no choice into being thrown into a political role. When her husband was jailed in a concocted treasonable felony in 1964, she filled the vacuum by representing Awolowo  in the alliance formed between the NCNC   and the Action Group, under the umbrella  United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA). As Awolowo was kept away in prison in Calabar, she was left alone to bear the burden of taking care of their children, one of whom, the eldest, Olusegun died in an accident.

In the Second Republic, Hannah also stood by Awolowo, as he campaigned twice to become Nigeria’s president in 1979  and 1983.

Little wonder Awolowo called her a ‘jewel of inestimable value’ .

Since Awolowo’s death, her home in Ikenne has been a Mecca of sort to politicians across  Nigeria, in search of political relevance in western Nigeria. She also hosted regular meetings of Afenifere and some other Yoruba groups, in efforts to give the Yoruba nation, a political unity and focus. She sometimes had to settle political quarrels among southWest politicians.
Meanwhile, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Saturday expressed shock and sadness over the death of Chief Mrs Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo.

The Governor in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna said he was one of mama’s many followers looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday, which was just few months away.
“Mama would have clocked 100 on November 25 this year. It was going to be a milestone, not just for her, but for our great country. She was the matriarch of the Awolowo family, a well respected dynasty in the history of Nigeria”.

 “Mama’s demise at this time is painful, especially coming at a period when Nigeria is gradually enjoying democratic bliss, which her late husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo fought for till his death”.

“We however take solace in the fact that she lived a fulfilled life. We celebrate her for what she stood for, uniting the Yoruba race for a common course and keeping her family together since the demise of her husband”.

“She was the pillar behind Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s legacies. She was the backbone of the brand of progressive ideas that defined the politics of the South West in the First Republic and in subsequent Republics”, the Governor recalled.

The Governor prayed for the peaceful repose of her soul, urging her family to draw strength from the legacies she stood for while she was alive.

“On behalf of my family and the good people of Lagos state, I want to express our heartfelt condolence to the family of Mama Awolowo, the people of Ogun state and Nigerians on this great and irreparable loss”, he said.

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