One year after: HID Awolowo remains a reference point —Bishop Fape

The Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos, His Grace (Dr) Michael Olusina Fape, has said that despite the critical period Nigeria is passing through now, the matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty, Chief (Mrs) Hannah Dideolu Awolowo, still remains a reference point one year after death, thereby urging national leaders to put up their best while serving the country, for their names to be written in good memories of the people.
Bishop Olusina Fape
Bishop Olusina Fape

Fape, who also doubles as the Bishop of Remo Diocese (Anglican Communion), noted that as the country is passing through this critical period, each actor administering it must do things that would make the people to remember either for good or bad.

He spoke while delivering a short sermon at the first year remembrance and communion service in honour of Mama HID Awolowo, held at the family chapel, Efunyela Hall, Awolowo’s residence, Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State, on Monday.

“Nigeria is in a critical stage. Every actors on the scene now will give account of his/her stewardships. It may seems as if nobody is taking note but I say here that somebody is taking note. One day your testimonial will come out clearly. Beloved, how will you wished to be remembered for?

“While still alive, we are daily writing our testimonials. We will leave the stage one day and everything we do where here will be remembered in our memories. Mama HID Awolowo remains a reference point,” he added.

The cleric,  while speaking on the theme, “What will you be remembered for”, explained that Mama Awolowo was being remembered for the good name she left behind, her role in the development of God’s work and her immediate society.

Fape described the co-founder of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, publisher of the Tribune Titles as a lover of peace, a generous,simple and virtuous woman, who impacted positively in her lifetime.

The Archbishop said the remembrance service would not have been held, if Mama had not contributed her own quota to the development of Nigeria, which according to him had made her to be a reference point even in death.

Fape highlighted reasons why the family decided to celebrate Mama in death, as a woman who knew God; a woman who held forth the family and political circles of her late husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, for 30 years after the latter’s exit and a woman who handed a good name to her children.

He commended the family for putting up a Foundation in honour of Mama , saying the initiative would further perpetuate the memories of what she stood for in her lifetimes.

The Bishop said, ” We appreciate God for keeping watch over everybody and the gathering here to remember a virtuous woman, a matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty, Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo who transited to the great beyond exactly a year ago.

“The theme for this gathering is “What will you be remembered for?”.  It is customary to remember our departed beloved ones especially among the Yoruba people. It is out of the love we have for them, and that is the reason why we have among the Yoruba people names like “Babatunde”, “Babatunji”, “Babajide”, “Babarinde”, “Yejide”, “Yeside” amongst others.

“These our own names that we give to our children to perpetuate a memory of the departed. But, it is only when such people had positive impact in their lifetime will such name be given. I don’t know how many people will want to name their children “Abacha”, “Jezebbel” etc. Many people will want to name their children “Abraham” ,”Sarah” because these people had positive impacts in their various generations.

Why are we remembering Mama today ? I have identified four reasons why the family is remembering her today. Firstly, Mama is being remembered today, because of what the children know about her. The entire family is thanking God for all that you knew about your mother when she was alive.  You are remembering Mama for her love for God. Mama served the Lord in her lifetime. Age was not an hindrance. She will try to be in Church for Sunday worship before any other people. We are thanking God for a woman who knew the Lord , who served the Lord.

“Secondly, the reason why we are remembering Mama today, is to rehearse the faith of the  Awolowo family. I believe you are thanking God today because God has made it possible for you to still remain in the light.

Thirdly, I believe you are remembering Mama today, to challenge yourself that you must not depart from the good name that had been handed over to you. You are receiving the challenge and am challenging you today to hold forth. Let me thank you for putting in place a Foundation again in the name of Mama, remembering the ideals of what Mama stood for both in the Church of God and the society.

“When you mentioned HID it resonates. When you mentioned HID people know it for good, whether you like it or not the onus is on you to make sure that the good names of your parents did not evaporate. It is a big challenge and you may not know,but a reality will be dawned on you more and more and more that will people still come to the Awolowo family after Papa is gone, after Mama is gone. We thank God that the Awolowo Foundation is already thriving as well as the HID Awolowo Foundation which is expected to berth today.

“You cannot separate the two. You can speak about the achievement of one without talking about the other. The Foundation to be instituted today is for a reason. The Foundation will tell many up coming generations to know about her. A woman who was a pillar of support to her husband and family. A woman of value who hold the forth for almost 30 years since the departure of her husband. All roads were still leading to Ikenne in her lifetime. She was a woman who impacted on her generation positively.

Fourthly, to demonstrate that a godly life has eternal rewards. We thank God that a year after, it seems as if Mama was still here.”

The Old Testament and the Epistle were read by the Chairman of ANN Plc, Reverend (Mrs) Omotola Oyediran and co-chairman, Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, respectively.

The service was attended by the wife of the vice-president, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, who is a granddaughter of Mama Awolowo, the Bishop of Ogbomoso, The Right Reverend (Dr) Titus Olayinka, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Senator Anthony Adefuye, Mr.Segun Awowlowo (Jnr), Chief Idowu Sofola (SAN), the Alakene of Ikenne -Remo, Oba Adeyinka Onakade and his wife, Pa Emmanuel Osibona among many others.