Thursday, November 26, 2015 12:30 am
A galaxy of dignitaries, led by President Muhammadu Buhari turned up in Ikenne, Ogun state to give a final farewell to Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, wife of the famous statesman and first premier of the Western Region, Obafemi Awolowo.
She was committed to mother earth at exactly 1.45pm, after a four hour service at Our Saviour’s Anglican Church in the town, east of the state. Her grave was within the mausoleum built for her husband who died in 1987.
It was a private burial for the woman who had been in the public eye, since the 50s, when her husband became head of government and premier of the Western region of Nigeria.
Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, his wife,Dolapo, Hannah’s surviving daughters – Mrs. Omotola Oyediran, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo – Dosunmu and few other people, including the clergymen were the only ones given the privilege to witness the burial. Osinbajo’s wife, Dolapo is a granddaughter of HID Awolowo.
Buhari who arrived Ikenne at 2.15pm, some moments after the burial signed the condolence register in honour of the deceased. On arrival, he went to the Efunyela Hall where he spent some 30 minutes with the children of the deceased, before heading to the Mausoleum at 2:49pm to see the resting place of Mama and her husband and left two minutes later.
The president praised Hannah’s role in keeping the home front for late Awolowo..
“Let me appreciate those who have come to participate in this ceremony. When I was in the car, I discussed with the governor of Ogun State about the Late Mrs. Awolowo and all the nation is doing for her. While chief (Obafemi Awolowo) was all over the country and the world, she was effectively managing the family. So, she earned this. May her soul rest in perfect peace.
“And for you that have, for weeks, been gathering , friends, associates and facing all the logistics problems, day and night, I congratulate you for a very successful burial of the Late Mrs. Awolowo.
“I came back last (Tuesday) evening from Iran and I had to make sure I do not miss the last rites for Mrs. Awolowo because she earned it. This is the third time I have been here, and I hope the family will try and continue to hold together as they have been doing”, Buhari said.
Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun said Buhari’s presence at HID’s final funeral rites was an honour to the Yoruba race and the entire nation.
Welcoming Buhari on behalf of the Awolowo family, the eldest daughter of the deceased, Mrs. Oyediran said: Judging by the life mama lived, little did we know that she was so loved by all Nigerians and you all have demonstrated it this afternoon. So, we warmly welcome you into our midst…So, I want to thank you and use this opportunity to wish your government progress and the good work you’ve started. I pray that the good Lord will continue to support you and you’ll not fail in Jesus name. We all believe there will be a change. May the Lord bless you sir”.
It was not only the Federal Executive that came to pay Hannah Awolowo, the final respect. Senate President, Bukola Saraki also led senators and representatives to the occasion.
At the Church service, he described late HID Awolowo as a righteous and loyal woman,who every woman must emulate.
The former Kwara state governor said he and other federal lawmakers came to celebrate the woman,whose virtues had been extolled by many Nigerians since she died in September.
He called on every Nigerian to continue to propagate the ideology of the late woman,whose funeral was held amid pomp and celebration with dignitaries from all over Nigeria in attendance.
Here is the roll call of dignitaries who witnessed the funeral: former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and his wife, ex-Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and his wife Victoria, Head of the defunct Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the National leader of the All Progressives Congress(APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and host Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Governors Rochas Okorocha, Rauf Aregbesola, Adams Oshiomhole, Nasir El Rufai, Governor Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Governor Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Governor Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Governor Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna); Governor Mohammed Bindo Jibrilla (Adamawa); There were also former governors, such Olusegun Oni, Lateef Jakande (Lagos); Otunba Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo); Olagunsoye Oyinlola in attendance.
There were also ministers in attendance: Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole; Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun; Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Environment Mrs. Amina Mohammed and Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Businessman Oba Otudeko,Florence Ita Giwa, Mrs Sinotu Ojikutu, a former deputy governor of Lagos, Pastor Tunde Bakare and wife, Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu,serving and former Federal lawmakers also came.
Juju maestro, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey Fabiyi thrilled the guests to melodious evergreen music.
Mama HID would have been 100 years on Wednesday. But she died on 19 September, with her burial scheduled to coincide with her centenary on earth.
The security Operatives – soldiers, police, Department of State Security Service (DSS) and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were on ground in their hundreds but were overwhelmed by enthusiastic crowd surging to bid HID Awolowo a final good bye.