Widow of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, fondly called Awo, Chief H.I.D Awolowo, among others, on Thursday urged current generation of leaders to emulate the virtues of the late former Premier of the defunct Western Region.
They spoke in Lagos, during the launching of a book, ‘Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency’, written by an associate professor at the University of Carlifonia-Davis, Wale Adebanwi.
Others, who also spoke at the event were: a daughter of the late sage, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, who represented her mother and the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation; Chairman, Afenifere Renewal Group, Olawale Oshun; Governor Rauf Aregebesola of Osun State, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi and Chief Ayo Fasanmi.
Others were a former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, who was represented by Aregbesola, and representatives of governors of Ogun and Ekiti states, Ibikunle Amosun and Kayode Fayemi, respectively.
The event which was chaired by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, was coorganised by the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation and the Afenifere Renewal Group.
Reviewer of the book, Mr. Kunle Ajibade, described Awolowo’s tenure in public office as “messiahnic.”
Awolowo-Dosunmu expressed sadness over excuses of current political leaders that what many of what Awolowo achieved in his time as Premier of the Western Region could no longer be replicated in the current generation.
She said, “It upsets me when people say it is impossible to do what Awolowo and his colleagues did. It upsets me because that means they wasted their time.
“What Awolowo and his colleagues did was to make sure we do things better. Good does not go out of fashion; truth does not go out of fashion.”
She urged the Yoruba people to continue to play its role of stabilisation in Nigeria, especially in the time Nigeria was faced with security challenges.
She also expressed the sadness of her mother over the abduction of over 100 schoolchildren in Borno State by suspected members of Boko Haram, urging Nigerians to continue to demand for their release.
Aregbesola, who also spoke and presented the book on behalf of Tinubu, regretted that had Awolowo’s welfarist ideology been embraced, the menace of terrorism would not have been heard of in the country.
On his part, Ajayi called for more authors to write more books about Awolowo, so that current generation and upcoming ones would learn and imbibe the virtues of the late sage.
“We want to know of Awolowo from our cradles and from our primary schools. We want graded books written on leadership, justice, politics, fairness and ideals, among others. These are characteristics Awolowo was known for,” he said.
Ajayi, who is a delegate at the ongoing National Conference, called on other Yoruba delegates to take advantage of the exercise and never to allow themselves “to be annoyed out of the conference.”
Oshun decried the division among the Yoruba elitie, who he said were “divided to the base” in “all spheres of our life.”
He said, “The question then is; were the current efforts at re-working Nigeria’s Constitution through the recently constituted 2014 National Conference to flounder, what would the already divided Yoruba elite in politics and business be saying; lick their wounds and predispose their fellow but ordinary Yoruba people to hewing the woods and carrying water for their compatriots?”
Osoba, who described Awolowo as the modern Oduduwa, the progenitor of the Yoruba race, said, “The history of Awolowo should be taught at our schools.”
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