Flashback: What Akintola Said in Praise of Awolowo

Flashback: What Akintola Said in Praise of Awolowo

Monday, August 26, 2019 11:53 am

Awolowo and Akintola

The eulogy delivered by Chief Akintola on the occasion of Chief Awolowo’s 50th birthday anniversary in March 1959


By Ladoke Akintola

To Chief Awolowo, passivity is a bane and inaction an anathema. How could it be otherwise to a life which thrives on industry and to a man with fanatical faith in hard work? That was why he made himself a terror to the demagogues and Mountebanks who, with neither a chart nor a rudder, believed that they could steer the Nigerian ship of state to its destination. No pilot has a clearer vision and none a keener sense of mission than Chief Awolowo…

Awolowo a good blend of Gandhi’s philosophy and Nehru’s dynamism

In the political changes which took place in Nigeria from 1947 onwards, Dr. Azikiwe has been spasmodic and casual; Sir Ahmadu Bello has been leisurely and care-free; but Awolowo has been constant and calculating…To know Chief Awolowo as a man is to respect him. It has been my pride and pleasure to know him. He is by every standard a genius. His unimpeachable character, his faith in God, his confidence in his fellowmen, his personal devotion to duty and his loyalty…have conspired together to make him a great pillar of strength. He never lets a friend down…

As a political leader, Chief Awolowo is miles ahead of his colleagues. His sincerity of purpose, his democratic leadership and inspiring example are yet to be equaled by any of the leaders of other major political parties in the country…Awolowo is the nearest approximation to Mahatma Gandhi. He is a good blend of Gandhi’s philosophy and Nehru’s dynamism and the only hope for democracy in Africa.

• Ladoke Akintola, “Awo: The Path-Finder”, Daily Service, 6 March 1959

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