It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this historic occasion of the unveiling of the HID Awolowo Foundation and inauguration of its pioneer Advisory Council.
Following Yeye Oodua HID Awolowo’s transition exactly one year ago today, the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation’s governing bodies quickly took a decision to honour her in perpetuity by setting up a Foundation in her name, under the aegis of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation.
Our reasons for this are simple. First of all, given her remarkable life, she deserves all the recognition that could come her way.
Secondly, here we have, clearly, a ‘team made in heaven’. Chief Awolowo was, without doubt, the visionary and leader of the team. But Yeye Oodua HID Awolowo was his incomparable enabler and enhancer. Together they braved phenomenal challenges and today, the consensus of opinion is that they won, ultimately.
Admittedly, today’s complex and cynical world of constantly shifting alliances makes the temptation to despair almost irresistible.
Nevertheless, the lives of both the sage and his ‘jewel of inestimable value’ hold so many lessons for posterity. Since today is about Papa honouring Mama through his legacy institution, so to say, we will restrict ourselves to talking about her. Her loyalty and dedication to spouse and family, even and especially in the face of severe trials; her perseverance in the struggle for the supremacy of truth and social justice; her extraordinary industry and entrepreneurship; and her indomitable spirit in the face of formidable odds. She was strong, she was smart and she was kind.
These are attributes that should be acclaimed and celebrated even more now than ever before, even if evidence all around us appears to suggest that it is no longer enough to possess such noble qualities. We must, nonetheless, keep hope alive. This is the fundamental reason why this initiative is not only necessary, but also timely. In the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu, ‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness’.
The HID Awolowo Foundation is, therefore, poised for advocacy and, if necessary, intervention on issues that, ‘inspire women, promote values, and build the nation’. Our focus will be to underline the careers of role models like Yeye Oodua HID Awolowo in a bid to re-set the values of younger Nigerians who already, I fear, appear to be morally adrift.
On behalf of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, I must commend, and thank most sincerely, all the members of the pioneer Advisory Council of the HID Awolowo Foundation, for accepting to embark on this momentous journey with us. Clearly, you remain optimistic and have, therefore, volunteered to contribute to efforts to prepare the way to a more ennobling future for posterity. We at the Foundation look forward to your wise counsel in this regard and to working closely with you on this important project.
I must also express my sincere appreciation to the Chair of this event, Mrs Ayo Obe, as well as our distinguished speaker, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin.
I thank all members of the various organs of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation here present and, in particular, I thank His Royal Majesty, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Obi of Onitsha, and Patron of the Foundation, for honouring us with his royal presence. I must say to you all that our success over the years owes a lot to your steadfast support. We sincerely appreciate that.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, your presence here today goes a long way to reassure us that, contrary to occasional doubts and fears that we may be ‘swimming against the tide’, there remains a significant number of compatriots who believe in, and support our efforts to advocate a re- connection with Awo’s ethics and legacy, particularly as they relate to the serious matter of national development and nation building.
Yeye Oodua HID Awolowo was totally committed to that legacy when she was with us. I am certain that, wherever she is now, she approves of today’s attempt to celebrate her contribution to the creation of that legacy and to inaugurate a new chapter in the iconic mission she shared with her beloved husband, a mission she spent her entire life upholding with such admirable courage and grace.
I welcome you all, once again, and I thank you for your attention.
Address by Ambassador (Dr) Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, at the inauguration of the foundation.