By Japhet Alakam, BOOK PRESENTATION
The memories and contributions of one of the greatest legend of the Yoruba nation, Late Pa Awolowo came alive penultimate week as people from all walks of life especially people from Remo, Ogun State and followers of the Late Awo gathered at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos for the public presentation of the Nigerian edition of the book, Obafemi Awolowo and The Making of Remo: The Local Politics of Nigerian Nationalist written by a German scholar Insa Nolte.
The event which was well attended by many notable personalities of Yoruba land afforded another significant opportunity to reflect on the life and times of the Late Awo, his vision and the need for the present leaders to emulate his style of leadership that left for prosperity impressive legacy for emulation.
In her presentation,the Guest Speaker and Secretary of the Awolowo Foundation, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu called for a return to fiscal federalism pointing out that it is the only catalyst for Nigeria’s socio- economic growth and stability.
Speaking on the basis of the present presidential system of government that has exposed the country to all sorts of problems like insecurity, high cost of governance, rise of ethnic nationalities, unemployment and others, Tokunbo argued that “From a promising start in the years before independence, Nigeria’s federal system became increasingly unitarist in practice and today, there are persistent calls for true or fiscal federalism. This call is not misplaced.”She noted.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the occasion, S.K Onafowokan expressed joy for the organisers for making it possible to have the presentation of the book about Awolowo,whose unparalleled contributions to the political limelight of Nigeria remains incontrovertible.
He lauded the contributions of the late sage to the building of a virile society and called on all citizens of Nigeria to imbibe the ideals of hard work, honour, integrity, transparency, accountability and robust confidence which the legend bequeathed on the country.
On his part, the Chief Host, Prof Ogunmola noted that , “Many books have been written about Awo but none has taken into cognizance his root and that is why we are happy with this book.”
He also pointed out that the book was first published in London but the need to have the Nigerian edition made them obtain the copy right patent to publish it in Nigeria as a commemorative edition to Mama H.I.D. Awolowo for her 95th birthday.
In his review, eminent Historian, Prof A. Osuntokun of the Redeemers University said that the 421 page book first published in 2009 for International Institute, London and now reissued in Nigeria by a local publisher to commemorate Mama H.I.D.Awolow’s 95th birthday is a scholarly work on Chief Awolowo and the evolution of modern Remo, a sub- group of Yoruba in Ogun State.
The book, he further said “deals with the story from pre-colonial times to the present. It discusses the evolution of the 33 kingdoms and settlements in Remo and how the various kingdoms fought against each other or put it the struggle for unity of Remo. It also discusses the different persons that shaped the history of Remo from that period till the time of Awolowo and went on to address one important aspect of Awo’s life which is the fact that many of his beliefs and operating philosophy are rooted in his experience at the local Remo level. ”
In her comments, the author, Insa Nolte who was clad in her Adire attire thanked all for the launch and confessed that she enjoyed speaking to the people about their history.
According to her “what inspired me was that people don’t agree on issues about their history. So I find it fascinating talking with them to find out what they think. I will be happy if the book will inspire other people to look into their local history.” She said.
In attendance for the great event were HRM Oba Sijuade, The Ooni of Ife, Chief Richard Akinjide, former Attorney General of the Federation, Dr Dokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu , Secreatary of the Awolowo Foundation, Prof Jide Owoye, Chief Gabriel Ogunmola, Prof. T.O.Ogunlesi, Mr Tutu Braimoh who represented the presenter, Dr Kesington Adebutu, Prof. Alaba Ogunsowo, Oba Gisorin of Remo land and others.