How Awolowo treated his grandchildren

How Awolowo treated his grandchildren

Friday, May 5, 2017 10:13 am

Awolowo and his grandchildren

By Funke Awolowo

Today I want to intimate friends and foes about Papa, known to many as Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Most know him as the sage, a foremost politician, an outstanding legal luminary, to some a passionate educationist, and to some a father, the husband of one and only HID and to me a grandad. A great deal is known about all the afore mentioned. However, I want to talk about my grandad and his impact on my life, especially too impactful to ignore, making it imperative to share with others.

Papa doted on all his children but was also involved rather passionately with all his granchidren. He had a file on each of us where he compiled report cards and all our positive achievements. At some point, I observed that he was detailed enough about our various character and mannerisms and in his wisdom tried to influence adjustments. In our teens, he observed and infleunced our reading culture and from time to time suggested books. At some stage while I was in the UNiversity of Lagos, he suggested books such as Prometheus Unbound, To you I grant the relativity of life, The holly Bible and such books with depth, which, to my pleasant surprise, I came across at the university in Wolverhampton.

Funke Awolowo

What about holidays? I must say every vacation with Papa was an experience. At some point whilst in Ikenne, we would visit all the landmarks from Ogere, to Abeokuta’s the Olumo rock, Ososa where Hubert Ogunde did his filming and other palaces. Today I realise and appreciate that this itself was a subtle form of broadening our minds. He emphasized the need for us to know something about everything even when one tended to be an authority on the specific. He had so much disdain for ignorance.

Believe it or not, Papa was also a fashionista. He always wanted us to dress well and as the young ladies turned twenty one, he felt we needed to have our little collection of jewelry which he made somewhat mandatory on Mama. He abhorred any form of vulgarity and with a glance we always made necessary adjustment.

Lastly, Papa’s diet was simple but classy. He had sent one of his cooks to learn the British culinary taste and we all looked forward to dinner with him. Many joined with him, and he was always surrounded with stewards in white sparkling uniform who waited judiciously on all his visitors. He never had lunch, something he adopted from his experience in prison.

Lastly is Papa’s spirituality. Church was compulsory and I observed his immense respect for the clergy. A lot had been said about him in this area and I once asked him what he felt about juju? This was my way of prodding further but I remember him saying to me that I was to dismiss anything that had no scientific orientation or explanation. Now I understand that with this answer he was telling me to concentrate on my studies!

Papa gave a lot to the church such as pipe organs. He was instrumental to training the musicians abroad. He travelled with a sizeable to Israel from time to time. I would say he practiced his Christianity glaringly. So it’s no surprise that many of us are actively involved in our various churches. Papa left us 9 May 30 years ago.

Funke Awolowo posted this piece on her FB wall

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