Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo // ⓘ (Yoruba: Ọbáfẹ́mi Oyèéníyì Awólọ́wọ̀; 6 March 1909 – 9 May 1987) was a Nigerian nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria's independence movement (1957-1960). Awolowo founded the Yoruba nationalist group Egbe Omo Oduduwa, and was the first Leader of Government Business and Minister of Local Government and Finance, and first Premier of the Western Region under Nigeria's parliamentary system, from 1952 to 1959. He was the official Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament to the Balewa government from 1959 to 1963.
|Premier of Western Nigeria|
1 October 1954 – 1 October 1960
|Succeeded by||Samuel Akintola|
|Federal Commissioner for Finance|
|Preceded by||Festus Okotie-Eboh|
|Succeeded by||Shehu Shagari|
|Born||6 March 1909|
Ikenne, Southern Nigeria Protectorate
(now in Ogun State, Nigeria)
|Died||9 May 1987 (aged 78)|
Ikenne, Ogun State, Nigeria
|Political party||Unity Party of Nigeria (1978–1983)|
Action Group (1950–1966)
|Relations||Yemi Osinbajo (grandson-in-law)|
Oludolapo Osinbajo (granddaughter)
Segun Awolowo Jr. (grandson)
|Alma mater||University of London|
As a young man he was an active journalist, editing publications such as the Nigerian worker, on top of others as well. After receiving his bachelors of commerce degree in Nigeria, he traveled to London to pursue his degree in law. Obafemi Awolowo was the first premier of the Western Region and later federal commissioner for finance, and vice chairman of the Federal Executive Council during the Nigerian Civil War. He was thrice a major contender for his country's highest office.
A native of Ikenne in Ogun State of south-western Nigeria, he started his career, like some of his well-known contemporaries, as a nationalist in the Nigerian Youth Movement in which he rose to become Western Provincial Secretary. Awolowo was responsible for much of the progressive social legislation that has made Nigeria a modern nation. In 1963 he was imprisoned under the accusations of sedition and was not pardoned by the government until 1966, after which he assumed the role as Minister of Finance.[failed verification] In recognition of all of this, Awolowo was the first individual in the modern era to be named as the leader of the Yorubas (Yoruba: Asíwájú Àwọn Yorùbá or Asíwájú Ọmọ Oòduà).
Early life edit
Obafemi Awolowo was born Jeremiah Obafemi Oyeniyi Awolowo on 6 March 1909 in the Remo town of Ikenne, in present-day Ogun State of Nigeria. He was the only son of David Shopolu Awolowo, a farmer and sawyer, and Mary Efunyela Awolowo. He had two sisters and one maternal half-sister. Awolowo's father was born to a high chief and member of the Iwarefa, the leading faction of the traditional Osugbo group that ruled Ikenne.
In 1896, Awolowo's father became one of the first Ikenne natives to convert to Christianity. Awolowo's paternal grandmother, Adefule Awolowo, whom Awolowo adored, was a devout worshipper of the Ifá. Adefule, Awolowo's grandmother, believed that Obafemi was a reincarnation of her father (his great-grandfather). Awolowo's father's conversion to Christianity often went at odds with his family's beliefs. He often challenged worshippers of the god of smallpox, Obaluaye. His father ultimately died on April 8, 1920, of smallpox when Obafemi was about eleven years old.
He attended various schools, including Baptist Boys' High School (BBHS), Abeokuta; and then became a teacher in Abeokuta, after which he qualified as a shorthand typist. Subsequently, he served as a clerk at the Wesley College Ibadan, as well as a correspondent for the Nigerian Times.
Following his education at Wesley College, Ibadan, in 1927, he enrolled at the University of London as an External Student and graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.). He went to the UK in 1944 to study law at the University of London and was called to the Bar by the Honorable Society of the Inner Temple on 19 November 1946. In 1949, Awolowo founded the Nigerian Tribune, a private Nigerian newspaper, which he used to spread nationalist consciousness among Nigerians.
In 1945, he attended the fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester as a representative of the Nigerian Youth Movement along with H. O. Davies. Amongst an illustrious list of attendees included Kwame Nkrumah, Hastings Banda, Jomo Kenyatta and Jaja Wachuku to name a few.
As Premier edit
Awolowo was Nigeria's foremost federalist. In his Path to Nigerian Freedom (1947) – the first systematic federalist manifesto by a Nigerian politician – he advocated federalism as the only basis for equitable national integration and, as head of the Action Group, he led demands for a federal constitution, which was introduced in the 1954 Lyttleton Constitution, following primarily the model proposed by the Western Region delegation led by him.
As premier, he proved to be and was viewed as a man of vision and a dynamic administrator. Awolowo was also the country's leading social democratic politician. He supported limited public ownership and limited central planning in government. He believed that the state should channel Nigeria's resources into education and state-led infrastructural development. Controversially, and at considerable expense, he introduced free primary education for all and free health care for children in the Western Region, established the first television service in Africa in 1959, and the Oduduwa Group, all of which were financed from the highly lucrative cocoa industry which was the mainstay of the regional economy.
Regarding the blockade of Biafra during which more than 1 million Igbo children died of starvation, Awolowo was quoted as saying, "All is fair in war, and starvation is one of the weapons of war. I don’t see why we should feed our enemies fat, only to fight us harder."
In opposition edit
From the eve of independence, he led the Action Group as the Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament, leaving Samuel Ladoke Akintola as the Western Region Premier. Disagreements between Awolowo and Akintola on how to run the Western region led the latter to an alliance with the Tafawa Balewa-led NPC federal government. A constitutional crisis led to the declaration of a state of emergency in the Western Region, eventually resulting in a widespread breakdown of law and order.
Excluded from national government, Awolowo and his party faced an increasingly precarious position. Akintola's followers, angered at their exclusion from power, formed the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) under Akintola's leadership. Having previously suspended the elected Western Regional Assembly, the federal government then reconstituted the body after manoeuvres that brought Akintola's NNDP into power without an election. Shortly afterwards Awolowo and several disciples were arrested, charged, convicted (of treason), and jailed under Balewa for conspiring with the Ghanaian authorities to overthrow the federal government. In 1979 and 1983, he contested under the Unity Party's platform as a presidential candidate, but lost to the northern-based National Party of Shehu Shagari.
In 1992, the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation was founded as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organisation committed to furthering the symbiotic interaction of public policy and relevant scholarship with a view to promoting the overall development of the Nigerian nation. The Foundation was launched by the President of Nigeria at that time, General Ibrahim Babangida, at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan. However, his most important bequests (styled Awoism) are his exemplary integrity, his welfarism, his contributions to hastening the process of decolonisation and his consistent and reasoned advocacy of federalism-based on ethno-linguistic self-determination and uniting politically strong states-as the best basis for Nigerian unity. Awolowo died peacefully at his Ikenne home, the Efunyela Hall (so named after his mother), on 9 May 1987, at the age of 78 and was laid to rest in Ikenne, amid tributes across political and ethno-religious divides.
- Path to Nigerian Freedom
- Awo – Autobiography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo
- My Early Life
- Thoughts on the Nigerian Constitution
- The People's Republic
- The Strategy & Tactics of the People's Republic of Nigeria
- The Problems of Africa – The Need for Ideological Appraisal
- Awo on the Nigerian Civil War
- Path to Nigerian Greatness
- Voice of Reason
- Voice of Courage
- Voice of Wisdom
- Adventures in Power – Book 1 – My March Through Prison
- Adventures in Power – Book 2 – Travails of Democracy
- My march through prison
- Socialism in the service of New Nigeria
- Selected speeches of Chief Obafemi Awolowo
- Philosophy of Independent Nigeria
- Memorable Quotes from Awo
- The Path to Economic Freedom in Developing Country
- Blueprint for Post-War Reconstruction
- Anglo-Nigerian Military Pact Agreement
See also edit
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- "Federal Executive Council - Nigeria Embassy Turkey". embassynigeriaturkey.com. Retrieved 4 April 2022.
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- James Booth. Writers and politics in Nigeria. Africana Pub. Co., 1981, p. 52.
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- "Obafemi Awolowo | Nigerian statesman | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
- Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African Nation, R. L. Sklar (2004), Africa World Press, ISBN 1-59221-209-3
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- "then British owned"
- Akosa, Amala (31 January 2018). "LIFES AND TIMES OF CHIEF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO". Retrieved 29 May 2020.
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- "About Us". Nigerian Tribune. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2011.
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- the world
- "IN MEMORIAM: Awo, the sage who named the naira, drew his last breath 30 years ago". TheCable. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- Case For Ideological Orientation, O. Awolowo.
- "Obafemi Awolowo: The Man With a Plan Archived 21 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine"
- Nweke, Obinna Chukwunenye (2023). "Hunger as a weapon of war: Biafra, social media and the politics of famine remembrance". Third World Quarterly: 1–18. doi:10.1080/01436597.2023.2182283. ISSN 0143-6597.
- "IN MEMORIAM: Awo, the sage who named the naira, drew his last breath 30 years ago". TheCable. 9 May 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
- "Obafemi Awolowo: Endowed with robust planning capacity, notable integrity, ardent nationalism …". Businessday NG. 14 January 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
- Olaiya, Taiwo Akanbi (1 April 2016). "Proto-Nationalisms as Sub-Text for the Crisis of Governance in Nigeria". SAGE Open. 6 (2): 215824401664313. doi:10.1177/2158244016643139. ISSN 2158-2440.
- "Accord concondiale: The continuous search for Nigeria's elusive unity and indivisibility (6)". The Sun Nigeria. 25 January 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
- Siollun, Max (2009). Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976). Algora. p. 15. ISBN 9780875867090.
- Adventures in Power Book One: My March through Prison, O. Awolowo Macmillan Nigeria Publishers, 1985.
- "About OAF". www.obafemiawolowofoundation.org. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
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- "Obafemi Awolowo | Nigerian statesman". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
- Nigeria 100 Naira 1999-2014 Bank note museum
- Nigeria 100 Naira 2014 & 2019 Bank note museum
- "Chieftaincy Title: Buhari Congratulates Adebutu". The Punch. 19 October 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2020.