There was huge turnout of residence of Ibadan, Oyo State capital on Monday to honour the late Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, wife of the late Yoruba leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo who commended her final journey home with a lying in State reception.
The Matriarch of the Awolowo family died on September 19,2015 about two months to her 100th birthday.
Her body arrived at Toll-gate Ibadan from Ogun State around 8:30am, and was received by the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi before leading the body to the Awolowo residence at Oke-Bola for the lying in State.
The procession then moved to the Methodist Cathedral Church, Agbeni for a commendation service.
At the service coordinated by the Bishop of Ibadan, the Most Rev. Kehinde Stephen, recalled that the last time he had an encounter with the late matriarch was in February when Tribune newspaper was launching a new printing machine.
He said she had a sound retentive memory while she was a caring mother who not only nurtured her children to excellence but cared about the welfare of the other people’s children
“When she set her eyes on me, she said His Grace it’s nice to see you again, why have you abandoned me and does not visit me again? She also asked after my children. She has a sound retentive memory and she was a fast reader,” he said
He said the Methodist Church will always respect the Awolowo dynasty for their love for education.
“The Awolowo family promoted quality education and have passion for the welfare of the masses. Today, reverse is the case for the education sector because it has been neglected by different government in power. If we make education a priority, it will save the life of the masses and safeguard the future of our children,” Rev Stephen said
Oyo State Governor, Sen. Ajimobi said the Yoruba race and Nigerians at large are proud of the legacies the late matriarch left behind.
He said, “Ibadan is the home of Awolowo’s and all the giants stride recorded by the late sage can be traced to Ibadan. Mama’s diligence and outstanding performance can be seen in the way she administered The Tribune newspaper. She is fondly remembered for her kind heartedness and her service to humanity.”
Urging, the Awolowo’s family to emulate late Mrs Awolowo’s exemplary lifestyle, he said, “Mama was a Nigerian who is detribalized and embraced all. Mama has strong discipline, principle and doggedness. Awolowo gave many people sound education and we are also making education one of our main priorities. Mama was an epitome of Yoruba Nation and motherhood.”
From the church, the late matriarch’s body was moved to the premises of Nigeria Tribune newspaper.
Governor of State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in his tribute said, the said all politicians should learn from the glorious exit and great honoured receive by late Mrs Awolowo.
“She represented the best in coordinating and supporting for the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awowolo,” Aregbesola said
Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwumi Ambode also said Nigerians were remembering mama because she was the spirit behind the vision of the late sage.
” We as Nigerians must continue with that spirit. We should not allow the legacy of the Awolowo’s to die because we are yet to achieve the vision of the late sage and we need all the support of womanhood to achieve it,” he said
The wife of the Oyo State Governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi said: ” The Late matriarch has live a great life and all womanhood should emulate her virtues. We should be able to stand the test of time.”
The first grandson of the late matriarch, Segun Awolowo Jr said what she would missed about her grandmother was her dependability, stability and ability to hold the family together.
The first female judge in Nigeria, Mrs Folake Solanke (SAN), said Mama’s death was a great experience, saying, ” she was an exemplary wife. She reached an age that is worthy of celebration and her legacies will continue to live after her.”
Managing Director of Tribune Newspaper, Mr Edward Dickson in his vote of thanks, promised that the firm will continue to sustain the legacy of the Awolowo’s and will sustain the existence of the newspaper.