September 27, 2015

Soyinka celebrates HID Awolowo’s ‘ memorable existence’

Soyinka celebrates HID Awolowo’s ‘ memorable existence’

by Bassano, half-plate colour transparency, 21 July 1972

•Pat Utomi, Onagoruwa, Omole, Bishop Fape pay tributes

By Daud Olatunji

Barely a week after the demise of Chief (Mrs.) HID Awolowo, Ikenne, her home town, continues to wear gloomy look.

Dignitaries, who trooped to the home of the Awolowos, have, however, decreased as fewer sympathisers were recorded seven days after.

HID passed on penultimate Saturday, 67 days to her 100th birthday and shortly after she presided over a family meeting.

Among the early callers at the Awolowo home, yesterday, were Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo, Ile-Ife, Professor Bamitale Omole; and a former presidential aspirant, Professor Pat Utomi.

Soyinka visited the Awolowos around 8:50am.

The Nobel Laureate, who was received by two of the deceased’s surviving children, Reverend (Mrs) Omotola Oyediran and Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, wrote in the condolence register that mama lived an enviable life.

“An enviable life! A memorable existence,” he wrote.

Omole, also writing in the register, noted that the passage of Mama Awolowo was an end to glorious years of a woman she described as a “great national leader.”

Utomi, in his tribute, said the deceased sacrificed her life for the service of others.

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka and HID

Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka and HID

Also, a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice under the military regime of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, Dr. Olukoya Onagoruwa, eulogised mama as a great woman.

Onagoruwa, in his condolence message, said, “It was Papa Awolowo himself who stated that he owed   his success of life to three things: God, a spartan and disciplined life and my wife. There is no doubt mama was a great woman.”

A former Minister of Police Affairs,Alhaji Abdul-Jelili Adesiyan, likened mama to Khadijat, one of the wives of Prophet Muhammed.

Bishop of Remo Diocese (Anglican Communion), the Right Reverend Olusina Fape, said HID lived a fulfilled and rewarding life.

Fape, who led priests in the diocese to the Awolowos home, maintained that God granted mama’s request of not witnessing any tribulations or trials before her death, noting that HID’s position in the diocese would be difficult to fill, considering her generosity and wise counsel.

In their condolence message, signed by the Secretary, the Yooba Omo Oodua Forum described mama as “a centenarian staunch Christian, matriarch and co-founder of the prestigious Awolowo dynasty”.

A former Executive Director, Publication of African Newspapers of Nigeria, Mr Folu Olamiti, said HID mentored him.

Olamiji, who currently works with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC),  wrote, in his tribute, “You came, saw and conquered. You mentored me to what I am today. I will eternally be grateful for the love and care you showered on me. Mama sun re o. Definitely, you are now in the bossom of our Lord. May your soul rest in peace.”