Home Headline Condolences pour in as HID Awolowo dies at 99

Condolences pour in as HID Awolowo dies at 99


The Matriarch of the Awolowo family, Chief Hannah Idowu Dideolu (HID) Awolowo, is dead at the age of 99.
The Awolowo, who would have clocked 100 years-old on November 25, died on Saturday at the family’s country home in Ikenne-Remo, Ogun.
She reportedly died shortly after a meeting on Saturday with her family members, who were said to be planning for her 100th birthday.
Her death occurred 28 years after the departure of her husband and late elder statesman, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who died on May 9, 1987.
HID Awolowo (née Adelana; November 25, 1915 – September 19, 2015), was born to a modest family in Ikenne community of Ogun State.
She was the widow of the late sage and politician, Obafemi Awolowo, who famously referred to her as his “jewel of inestimable value.”
A successful businesswoman and astute politician, she played an active role in the politics of Western Nigeria.
She 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 tried and 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 president in the Second Republic, she toured the length and breadth of the country with her husband campaigning.
She also coordinated the women’s wing of the party and was always present at all party caucuses.
A successful businesswoman, she became the first Nigerian distributor for the Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC) in 1957.
She was the first to import lace materials and other textiles into Nigeria.
Meanwhile, one of the early callers to her residence on condolence visit was the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, who arrived at 5.55p.m.
In the deputy governor’s entourage were: former governor of the Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the Bishop of Remo Diocese Anglican‎ Communion, Rt. Rev. Olusina Fape and his wife, Toyin.
Others include Mr Taiwo Adeoluwa, the Secretary to the Ogun State Government.
Onanuga, in her condolence message, said “The state government and the people of Ogun commiserate with the entire‎ family on the passing of our matriarch.
“The news of her departure came to us as a shock, when we are preparing for her centenary birthday.
“Indeed, Ogun State has lost a mother, who has always been supportive of the Governor Ibikunle Amosun-led government.
“It is our prayer that her gentle soul rest in peace,” she said.
In his own message, Daniel said, “Mama’s death was not totally unexpected, but the reality is something that cannot be expected for the Yoruba nation, entire country and the entire world.
“It is indeed the end of an era. We take solace in the fact that Mama and the entire Awolowo clan have several children of which I remain proud to be one of them.
“We shall keep the banner flying. Adieu Mama!”
President Muhammadu Buhari also expressed immense sadness over the news of the passing away of Mrs Hannah Dideolu Awolowo.
“On behalf of the Federal Government and people of Nigeria, President Buhari extends sincere commiserations to the children, grand children and great grand children of the “Jewel of Inestimable Value” on the death of their famed matriarch, just a few weeks before her hundredth birthday,” a statement issued in Abuja on Saturday by the president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“The president joins them and millions of admirers of her late, revered husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in mourning Chief HID Awolowo.
“She 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 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,’’ the statement said.
Buhari, therefore, prayed that God would comfort Awolowo’s family, relatives, friends, associates and admirers, and grant them the fortitude to bear her irreparable loss.
He also prayed that the Almighty would receive the late matriarch’s worthy soul and grant her eternal rest from her long, earthly service to her renowned spouse, family, community and country.
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki also commiserated with the Awolowo family, the government and people of Ogun and Nigeria in general on the demise of Mrs HID Awolowo.
Saraki, in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja, said the nonagenarian would be greatly missed as she contributed immensely in laying the foundation for national development.
The president of the senate described the late Awolowo as a dedicated Christian, who served God and humanity in her life time.
“I have been enthusiastically looking forward to making a big surprise visit to Ikenne, Ogun State. To think that she will not be there during the period of the celebration, which is just about two months away, makes me sad.
“Even as a nonagenarian, she kept on hosting different meetings and contributing to ideas on the unity of the Yoruba people in particular and Nigeria in general.
“She was an epitome of a good wife and mother and I have no doubt that as she reunites with her darling Husband, Pa Obafemi Awolowo, she would have good account to give,’’ he said.
He urged the bereaved to take solace in the fact that she lived a good life and prayed God to grant her soul eternal rest.
Gov. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State said shock was an understatement at the passing of one of the most notable icons of Nigerian history at a time everyone was looking forward to her centenary celebrations.
Mimiko, in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information in the state, Mr Kayode Akinmade, described the deceased as a supremely intelligent, kind, loving and caring mother of the Yoruba nation.
“It is traditional to recognise the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, as the greatest Nigerian ever, but Awolowo would not have been the colossus that he was if not for the pillar he had in Mama,” he said.
He noted the support of Mama for Chief Awolowo in his battles against the forces of underdevelopment and tyranny in the face of unceasing persecutions following his tireless commitment to democracy and the advancement of the African cause.
“Mama made invaluable contributions to the Awolowo School of progressive politics encapsulated in the social democratic mantra of ‘Life More Abundant’ during and after the life time of the great sage,” he said.
He further described the late Mrs Awolowo as a rallying point for all Yoruba sons and daughters irrespective of political affiliations as the co-chairman, with the late Ooni of Ife, of the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF).