HID, Matriarch of Awolowo Dynasty, Dies At 99 | Independent Newspapers Limited
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HID, Matriarch of Awolowo Dynasty, Dies At 99

Posted: Sep 20, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Chesa Chesa, Abuja, Laide Raheem, Abeokuta, Sola Alabadan, Lagos

Wife of the late sage and Premier of Western Region, Chief (Mrs.) Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo is dead, few days to her 100 years birthday anniversary.

Hid Awolowo

Hid Awolowo

The Matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty, according to family sources, passed on in her sleep yesterday afternoon.

Sunday Independent learnt that Mama Awolowo who would have clocked 100 years on November 25 passed on at about 3:15pm, shortly after she held a family meeting with her children and other members of her family.

She finished the meeting and went into her room where she was later discovered to have given up the ghost.

A statement issued by the family and signed by her eldest child, Mrs. Omotola Oyediran, confirmed the passage of Mama Awolowo.

The one-page statement entitled, “Glorious Exit” disclosed that Mama Awolowo died on September 19, 2015.

The statement added that she spent the day in company with her children, grand children, great grand children and close family members before her final exit.

It added that she prayed for all of them before they went into the meeting aimed at planning for her 100th year birthday anniversary.

The statement further said that Mama Awolowo died “as she had always wished; surrounded by her children, grand children and great grand children.”

The statement reads: “With gratitude to God for her remarkable and illustrious life, the entire Awolowo family announce the Glorious Home-calling of our dear Matriarch, Yeye Oodua, Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo this afternoon, September 12, 2015.

“Mama died as gloriously as she lived, she spent the day in the company of her children, grand children, great grand children and close family members.

“She shared a precious few minutes with them when she went in to pray for them as they met to plan her centenary birthday.

“They sang her a befitting song as she came in and she continued to pray for them.

“She died a couple of hours later as she had always wished; surrounded by her children, grand children and great grand children.”

Mrs. Awolowo, who was billed to celebrate her 100th birthday anniversary on November 25, had been slightly indisposed in the past days.

Late HID Awolowo who was born in Ikenne almost a century ago, became a rallying point for the Yoruba unity after the demise of her husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

She died almost 28 years after her husband’s death in 1987.

Her marriage to the late Chief Awolowo on December 26, 1937, had produced five children, with three surviving.

The surviving children are Mrs. Omotola Oyediran and Dr. (Mrs.) Tokunbo Dosunmu-Awolowo, a former Nigeria’s ambassador to the Netherlands and Executive Director of Obafemi Awolowo Foundation. The other deceased children are Olusegun (1939-1963), Chief Oluwole, who died on March 27, 2013, and Ayodele Soyode (mother of Dolapo, who is wife of Vice President Osinbajo, died at 66 in 2011) and Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu,

A successful businesswoman, she became the first Nigerian distributor for the Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC) in 1957. She was the first to import lace materials and other textiles into Nigeria.

Torrents of Encomiums

Torrents of encomiums have trailed the late HID since her death was confirmed yesterday.

President Buhari extended his condolences to the family, saying he had received the news of her death with immense sadness.

An Aso Rock statement said the President received with immense sadness the news of the death of Mrs. Awolowo, widow of foremost nationalist, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who famously referred to her as his ‘jewel of inestimable value’.

“On behalf of the Federal Government and people of Nigeria, President Buhari extends sincere commiserations to the children, grand children and great grand children of the ‘Jewel of Inestimable Value’ on the death of their famed matriarch, just a few weeks before her hundredth birthday.

”The President joins them and millions of admirers of her late, revered husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo in mourning Chief (Mrs.) Awolowo who will be long remembered and celebrated as the famous spouse and pillar of strength of the late nationalist, political leader and sage.

“President Buhari believes that Chief (Mrs.) Awolowo will always be honoured too for the indelible legacy of very significant, behind-the-scene contributions to communal, state, regional and national development which she has left behind.

“The President prays that God will comfort Chief (Mrs.) Awolowo’s family, relatives, friends, associates and admirers, and grant them the fortitude to bear her irreparable loss.

“He also prays that the Almighty will receive the late matriarch’s worthy soul and grant her eternal rest from her long, earthly service to her renowned spouse, family, community and country”, the statement read.

Meanwhile, the Ogun State Government has disclosed that it would be fully involved in the funeral ceremonies of the late matriarch of the Awolowo family.

The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa said this while paying a condolence visit to the Awolowo family in Ikenne.

Adeoluwa who described the death of the matriarch as “very shocking” expressed regret that Mama Awolowo’s demise occurred at a time when preparations for the celebrations of her 100 years birthday had got to an advanced stage.

The SSG who said he was a member of the planning committee for her birthday celebrations, however, expressed gratitude to God for making it possible for her to live a good and worthy life.

According to him, “The Government of Ogun State will be heavily involved in her burial. She was a mother to all of us. Mama had a very close relationship with His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. So, the Government of Ogun State will be fully involved.”

Former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel who was one of the early callers to the country home of the Awolowos, said the Yoruba and the Nigerian nation have lost a matriarch.

Daniel described her demise as the “end of an era.”

He, however, promised that the members of the Awolowo political family left behind by mama would “keep the flag flying.”

Also, the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga described the demise of Mama Awolowo as a shock, especially at a time when preparations were in top gear for her birthday celebrations.

Other sympathisers who visited the Awolowos to condole with them included the state Secretary of the Social Democratic Party, Alhaji Abimbola Awofeso; APC senatorial candidate for Ogun East in the last elections, Mr. Dapo Abiodun; Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Olufunsho Amosun and others.

Ambode, Mimiko, Others Mourn

Reacting to the demise of Madam Awolowo on Saturday, Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, who said he was one of mama’s many followers looking forward to celebrating her 100th birthday, just few months away, expressed shock and sadness.

The Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, said the centenary celebration “was going to be a milestone, not just for her, but for our great country.

“She was the matriarch of the Awolowo family, a well respected dynasty in the history of Nigeria,” he added, noting that the incidence occurred “at a period when Nigeria is gradually enjoying democratic bliss, which her late husband, Chief Obafemi Awolowo fought for till his death.

“We however take solace in the fact that she lived a fulfilled life. We celebrate her for what she stood for, uniting the Yoruba race for a common cause and keeping her family together since the demise of her husband”.

Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko has reacted to the death of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s wife, Hannah saying he was shocked by the devastating news.  He said, “I am shocked by the devastating news of the passing of Mama HID Awolowo, the Yeye Oodua and one of the most notable icons of Nigerian history at a time we are all looking forward to her centenary celebrations would be an understatement.

“She was a supremely intelligent, kind-hearted, loving and caring mother of the Yoruba nation.

“Mama, as no one would doubt, remains a Jewel of Inestimable Value even in transition to glory.

He added that “It is traditional to recognise the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, as the greatest Nigerian ever, but Awo would not have been the colossus that he was if not for the pillar he had in Mama in his battles against the forces of under-development and tyranny, and in the face of unceasing persecutions following his tireless commitment to democracy and the advancement of the African cause.

“As the mother of the Yoruba nation, Mama made invaluable contributions to the Awolowo school of progressive politics encapsulated in the social democratic mantra of Life More Abundant during and after the life time of the great sage.

” She was a rallying point for all Yoruba sons and daughters irrespective of political affiliations as the co-chairman, with the late Ooni of Ife, of the Yoruba Unity Forum (YUF), a movement dedicated to the advancement of Yoruba cohesion, progress and advancement within the Nigerian matrix.

” The government and people of Ondo State commiserate with members of the Awolowo family, the Yoruba nation and all Nigerians on this irreparable loss.”