By Gbenga Oke
LAGOS—FAMILY members, friends and political associates, yesterday, gathered in Lagos to mark the one-year anniversary of the demise of the Awolowo matriarch, Chief Mrs. Hannah Idowu Dideolu and to remember her life, struggles and role in the unity of Yoruba nation.
HID Awolowo passed away on September 19, 2015.
The event which was tagged ‘One Year Memorial Anniversary Lecture’, was organized by the Yoruba Unity Forum, YUF.
Notable Nigerians present at the event include, Chairman of the YUF, Bishop Bolanle Gbonigi; Arch. Bishop Ayo Ladigbolu, former deputy governor of Osun State, Erelu Obada; former deputy governor of Lagos State, Senator Kofoworola Bucknor;
Senator Anthony Adefuye, Senator Femi Okurounmun, founder of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Dr Fedrick Fasheun; National Coordinator of OPC, Otunba Gani Adams; one of the surviving children of the late HID, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu; Senator Muniru Muse, Princess Olabisi Sangodoyin and Chief Ogunsuyi.
She fought Yoruba unity—Gbonigi
In his welcome address, chairman of YUF, Bishop Gbonigi, said HID Awolowo fought so much to ensure the unity among Yoruba nation. The cleric said, “Mama Awolowo fought for the unity of Yoruba nation until her death. When YUF was formed, she and late Okunade Sijuwade maintained that the first assignment as a group is to ensure the unity among the Yoruba nation”.
She was a foremost Yoruba woman— Okurounmun
Paying glowing tributes to the late matriarch, Senator Femi Okurounmun, described Awolowo as a foremost Yoruba woman in Nigeria.
Okurounmun said, “HID Awolowo stepped into the shoes of her husband and played that role respectfully, gently without being arrogant. She was a fantastic politician and had a good knowledge of Nigeria politics even at her old age. She was the first among many within the Yoruba Unity Forum and she played the role of the Chairman of the forum while she was assisted by the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade. They both fought for the unity among Yoruba kings.”
A uniting force among the Yoruba nation— Adefuye
In his remarks, Senator Anthony Adefuye, said HID Awolowo during her life demonstrated that what a man can do, a woman can do better. He said, “Mama was the uniting force among the Yoruba nation. She played that fantastic role and brought all the Yoruba leaders under one umbrella and that is why she cannot be forgotten several years to come.”
She left an indelible mark in Yoruba education—Prof Afolayan
Speaking on the theme: “Eternal Sustenance of Yoruba language and culture”, Professor Adebisi Afolayan, said the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his wife, Mama HID Awolowo left an indelible mark in the Yoruba education and academics.
Afolayan, who is the chief consultant for Language Education and Development, Ile-Ife, noted that “the late sage and his wife played a major role in the development of Yoruba education in the South-West but it unfortunate that today the standards of education has declined while the Yoruba language itself is being relegated by the people who should champion the cause.”
He, however, insisted that “the study of our language should not relegated simply because we now speak other borrowed languages from other nations of the world. That is why we are calling for the usage of Yoruba language even in the primary schools.”
In addition the university don said, “for the South-west and Yoruba nation to continually remember the late Awolowo and his wife, Yoruba leaders still living today must play a major role at ensuring that Yoruba education is promoted in our schools and free education is provided just like it was during the days of Awolowo.”