By Ayodele Fagbohun
“I would like to be remembered for helping to build a strong and united multi-ethnic state. I want to be remembered for creating the basis for an irreversible revolution in education, in the provision of social justice in Nigeria.
I have not yet succeeded in all these. But I have set a pattern which NO OTHER NIGERIAN (capitals mine) can ignore or reverse.”
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, SAN, (1909-1987) encapsulated his long drawn out and chequered political career in the country in the above unique pronouncement by the late sage, as philosophy of Awoism.
The late sage, Obafemi Awolowo died on May 9, 1987 exactly 36 years ago at the age of 78 without fulfilling a life-long desire of becoming the Prime Minister of independent Nigeria or President, by the adoption of American presidential system of government now in vogue.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo could excel over other rival contestants to the highest political office in the land having had distinguished, meritorious and sustainable career which was non pareil in public service. Awo was premier of Western Nigeria and leader of opposition in the federal House of Representatives in the First Republic.
He subsequently became federal minister of finance in the war-time and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria.
He actively participated in prosecuting Nigerian/Biafran civil war; crushed the rebellion and restored normalcy to the country.
No wonder, British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson pronounced Awo, a world class leader in 1969 at the common wealth Prime ministers’ meeting in London.
According to the British premier, Wilson, Awo was competent enough to sit in the White House as an American President or in his own office at 10 Downing Street, London as British Prime Minister.
Despite the glowing tributes and encomiums generously poured on Obafemi Awolowo by a political icon of world repute, Mr. Harold Wilson, Awo’s organizational skills and expertise was blatantly wasted by the contradictions inherent in Nigerian politics its complexities and political mediocrity.
As the nation inches along and forward to the inauguration and installation of the President elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shetima, Vice-President-elect by the grace of God on May, 29, 2023, another unique opportunity now beckons on Nigerians to make huge success in the next political dispensation.
This is mainly to nail the political coffin of the political jesters, clowns, renegades and the busy bodies who daily daydream; in soporific hallucination and want something ominous and alien to democracy. They shall all be vanquished at the might of their strength who dare say fail!
By a stroke of fortune, goodluck or both, Bola Tinubu, the incoming president, unconsciously wears the “Big shoes” left behind by indomitable Awo in 36 years after the transition.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu can be aptly called heir apparent to the late sage now discovered after a prolong wait. Tinubu and his team will surely blaze trail in the fast approaching political dawn of purposeful governance.
Tinubu/Awo are two of a kind having predilection for pragmatic social welfare schemes; life more abundant for the downtrodden and to cap it all, preservation of unity and territorial integrity of the nation.
Tinubu as president-elect avers that Nigeria’s unity is non-negotiable. This perhaps may irk or irritate the sensibilities of some nationalist politicians who exhibit laissez-faire policy on the status of Nigeria in the comity of nations.
Yoruba proverb says: “cutting off the head is not a panacea for head ache. It will not only aggravate the pain but untimely send the victim to the world beyond, thus, defeating the essence of living and purpose of existence without achieving one’s destiny.
On this note, it must be vigorously asserted that it is a great disservice to the memory and brave political exploit of the eminent politician, Awo for any of his lieutenants under any pressure or provocation to contemplate let alone, work concertedly or surreptitiously for a Yoruba republic out of the strong, virile and multi-ethnic state.
To balcanise Nigeria whatever spurious and inelegant reasons, into various fiefdoms and mini banana countries will do incalculable damage and injury to the nation as the giant of Africa both politically, economically and strategically in the international forum
When asked why he was driving himself so hard to preside over a disorganized and multi-ethnic Nigeria in 1979 general elections, Awo said emphatically that he was doing so, to spread good tidings of free education, free medical and health care delivery; rural integrated development; full and gainful employment of western region to the rest of the country.
According to Awo, he wanted to build an egalitarian society in Nigeria, like Singapore and Malaysia.
We the entire countrymen and women earnestly hope that Tinubu’s presidency will surely fix the dilapidated and moribund infrastructure; confidently and surely build on the undying legacies of Awo in Education, Health, integrated rural development and employment, to perpetuate the ever green memory of the legend in the annals of the nation’s history.
The righteous shall flourish like palm tree!
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