HOW time flies! It is now one year that Mama H.I.D Awolowo left mother earth to the world beyond. Mama Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, the wife of Papa Obafemi Awolowo is no more.
Nigerians were preparing hard to celebrate Mama H.I.D’s centenary birthday when the old woman died. Stories were told about Mama’s last hours on earth before she gave up the ghost.
It was widely reported that Mama had attended a meeting at the Efunyela Hall, inside Papa Obafemi Awolowo’s compound (her last day on earth) which deliberated on matters connected with the centenary celebrations without Mama ever giving any hint of her imminent transition. Mama had allegedly left the meeting, informing those around her that she was going to eat lunch and take a little nap. Mama never returned to the meeting. Instead, Mama went from taking a nap to eternity. She was a great woman who led a religious life to the very end. And Mama slept in the Lord at age 99 years and ten months (a little less than full 100 years on earth). All Awolowo faithful including all those who believed in Mama H.I.D’s life and times were ever ready to say it loud and clear that H.I.D Awolowo had, indeed, spent 100 years on earth. From September 19, 2015 to November 25, 2015, events fell on events at Ikenne on daily basis to show to the world that Mama H.I.D had truly spent 100 years on earth. Mama was eventually conveyed to mother earth on November 25 (the very day, she would have turned 100 years).
I have written a number of articles inside the Nigerian Tribune to showcase Mama H.I.D’s contributions to the political growth of Awoism in Nigerian politics. Mama was, for many years, the force behind the success of her darling husband in Nigerian politics. I now cull a particular one of those articles that proclaimed Mama’s testimonies to her husband’s politics when they were both very active in the politics of Nigeria. You will enjoy it:-
“The Avatar, Papa Jeremiah Oyeniyi Obafemi Awolowo was one of the founders of modern Nigeria. He was a progressive minded man whose politics throughout his entire life was predicated on a deep love and affection for the poor and the needy. His wife, Mama H.I.D. was there with the great man for achieving these lofty heights. The two of them (Papa and Mama) were a great success in marriage. They loved themselves and they combined all their talents to make life easy and bearable for the common people who came their way.
I say it with all confidence that Mama H.I.D Awolowo was never found wanting in the obligations she was destined to perform in life to ensure the success of her husband in the political governance that he was called upon to perform in his public life.
“Papa Awolowo fondly called Mama in many of his recorded testimonies on his wife – “My Precious Jewel of Inestimable Value”. Yes, Mama meant a lot to Papa Awolowo when the latter was in this world and had chosen Mama H.I.D. as his worthy companion in his life’s struggles.
When Papa Awolowo was working hard as a mercantilist with the aim of getting himself educated abroad, Mama H.I.D. was there with him. When Papa Awo, despite the challenges of marital life, had passed at home his Bachelor of Commerce degree, Mama was there with him.
When Papa Awolowo left the shores of Nigeria to travel to Britain for his Law studies, Mama H.I.D. successfully kept the home front and, indeed, contributed substantially to her husband’s education abroad.
When the great leader returned to Nigeria to embark on a glorious political career, first by forming the Action Group of Nigeria (A.G) and then going to become the Premier of the old Western Nigeria, Mama H.I.D. was with him as an effective companion.
When Papa Awolowo transformed the old Western Nigeria into a haven of peace, progress and development despite the intricacies of party politics, Mama H.I.D was there as a witness.
When Western Nigeria became the region of the “firsts” in Nigeria and Africa, Mama H.I.D witnessed them all.
The independence struggles of Nigeria from British Colonial rule in which her husband had with Papa Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Sardauna of Sokoto (Sir Ahmadu Bello), Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the late wizard of Kirsten Hall, Papa Herbert Macaulay; Chief H.O. Davies, and others played unforgettable roles, Mama H.I.D. Awolowo was there as a dependable ally of her husband.
When Nigeria’s independence was subverted by the political opponents of her husband, putting him into prison and in attempting to disband one of the best organised political parties in Africa of the time, everything happened right before Mama H.I.D.
When her husband became the Vice-Chairman of the General Yakubu Gowon- led Nigeria and he (Awo) had played a remarkable role in finding solutions to the Nigerian civil war (between Nigeria and secessionist Biafra), Mama was fully there with her husband.
No one can push to the background Mama’s contributions to her husband’s efforts in forming the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) during Nigeria’s Second Republic. She campaigned vigorously with her husband to persuade Nigerians to vote for the UPN and approve Awo as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Historically, these efforts did not yield the desired results. We are, however, all witnesses to the fact that hardly a day passes in Nigeria today without a positive mention of her husband’s name in the Nigerian media.
When Papa Awolowo and his lieutenants of the Action Group were detained by the Federal authories after the 1962 Action Group crisis, Mama had visited them all in their detention centres. First, she stayed with her husband at his detention centre in Lekki (near Epe). She later travelled to see all her husband’s associates in their detention centres at various locations in the old Western Nigeria. Today, Mama H.I.D Awolowo is a repository of the authentic history of the struggles for Nigeria’s political unity and development.
As wife of one of the visionary leaders in Africa, Mama had joined her husband in playing hosts to many world leaders. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana was a great friend of her husband during the nationalist struggles for the independence of African countries from colonial and imperialist rule. When progressive Dr. Nkrumah (the Osagyefo and Kantamanto of Africa) visited Nigeria as leader of independent Ghana, he (Nkrumah) had stayed as guest of the Awolowos in their house at Ibadan. I say it with the fear of God that Mama H.I.D Awolowo saw it all.
Despite the greatness, popularity and acceptability of her husband, Awo, as lover of the masses, Mama never allowed all these to go into her brain and destroy her sense of passion of being a dutiful housewife and a great partner of her darling husband.
Promoters and masters of tyranny never make it to the end. Nearly all those who masterminded the oppression and persecution of Papa and Mama Awolowo several years ago have today become irrelevant materials of history. Where today is Mr. John Lynn? Who as a policeman had terrorised Papa Obafemi Awolowo in the treasonable felony years.
Mama was a Christian of note. She served her God until she returned to His bosom.
I will never forget Mama’s role in my emergence as a frontline politician in Nigeria of the Papa Awolowo School. She urged me on whenever I showed any sign of depression in my political struggle. Mama H.I.D Awolowo has gone to join her husband, but her contributions to Nigeria’s politics will forever remain evergreen in people’s memories.
On 19th September (next Monday) our “Aburo” Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu will be launching the Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo Foundation as part of the programmes to immortalise Mama in Nigerian politics. We will all be there at Ikenne (12.00noon at Efunyela Hall) to support Toks in one of her beautiful programmes to laud the Awo socio-political contribution in Nigeria.
Mama H.I.D Good-Bye and Good-Night!
You Live Oh Jeremiah!!
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