Chief J. Oyeniyi Obafemi Awolowo was in no doubt, the Martyr of Yoruba race with unbeaten records of first, first and first in the history of the continent of Africa.
He was born on 6 March 1909 and died on 9 May 1987. Papa Awo was a Nigerian nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence movement. As a young man, he was an active journalist and a truly self made visionary man amongst his contemporaries here in Nigeria. The late Sage edited publications such as Nigerian worker. He studied commerce in Nigeria and later on travelled to London to pursue his degree in Law. He was the founder and Chairman of Nigeria Tribune.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the first Premier of the Western Region from 1952-1959 and later federal Minister for finance and the Federal Executive Council during the Nigeria Civil War. He was a native of lkenne, Ogun State. He contested three times for the position of the President of Nigeria. He was referred to by the late Col. Odumegu Ojuku as the President that never became a president. He was the Western Provincial Secretary of Nigerian Youth Movement. Chief Awolowo amongst other selfless services was responsible for much of the progressive social legislation that has made Nigeria a modern nation.
When he was serving as the first Premier of the Western Region, he started the first free health care services in Africa, the first free primary education in Africa and established the first radio and television station in the continent of Africa, the unbeaten records till date.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the official Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament to the Tafa Balewa government from 1959-1963. In 1963 he was imprisoned under the accusations of sedition and was pardoned by the government of General Yakubu Gowon in 1967 after which he became Minister of Finance.
In recognition of all his pedigrees, Chief Awolowo was the first Yoruba man in the modern era to be chosen as the Leader of the Yoruba meaning (Asiwaju Omo Yoruba)
Chief Awolowo till date is the first and only martyr of Yoruba race. He died for his beliefs in humanity and philanthropist services. He received numerous awards and countless recognition worldwide. Chief was a man born before his time and a man that could rule the Americas and Europe successfully if he had the opportunity to do so.
Chief Awolowo’s top memorable quotes: “It is not life matters, but the courage you put into it.” “l have never regarded me as having a monopoly of wisdom. The trouble is that when most people in public life and in the position of leadership are spending whole days and nights carousing in clubs or in company of man of shady character and woman of easy virtue, I, like a few others, am always at my post working hard at the country’s problem and trying to find solutions for them…” “Those who desire to reach, and keep their places at the top in any calling must be prepared to do so the hard way” Awo saw it coming: “For the progressives to be in power they need the support and collaborations of some conservative. After attaining power the conservative would on their own, walk away. The progressive would now build a great party that would move the nation forward.” Awo’s cardinal aim of education: “Any system of education which does not help a man to have a healthy and sound body and alert brain, and balanced and disciplined instructive urges, is both misconceived and dangerous.” Awo on free education and free health services; “In other to attain the goals of economic freedom and prosperity, Nigeria must do certain things as a matter of urgency and priority. It must provide free education (at all levels) and free health facilities for the masses of its citizens.” “ As long as Nigerians remain what they are, nothing clean, principled, ethical and idealistic can work with them. And Nigerians will remain what they are unless the evils which now dominate their hearts, at all levels- are exorcised. But l venture to assert that they will not be exorcised, and indeed they will be firmly entrenched unless God Himself imbues a vast majority of us with a revolutionary change of attitude.” “ONLY THE DEEP CAN CALL TO THE DEEP”
The man, Awo died as a Martyr, may his soul Rest In Peace in the abstract world.