African History

Brief History Of Chief Obafemi Awolowo – A Great Nationalist And Political Leader

Brief History Of Chief Obafemi Awolowo - A Great Nationalist And Political LeaderChief Obafemi Awolowo [image credit: reportersatlarge.com]

Chief Jeremiah Oyeniyi Obafemi Awolowo who was born on the 6th of March 1909 in Ikenne, Ogun State by David Sopolu Awolowo and Mary Efunyela Awolowo.

He lost his father who was a farmer at 10 years in April 1920 making him engage in odd jobs like selling firewoods to raise his tuition fees.

Obafemi Awolowo attended Baptist Boys’ High School and later moved to Ibadan to complete his high school at Wesley College, Ibadan in 1927.

To further his education, he became a teacher in Abeokuta, a clerk at Wesley College, a stenographer and a journalist at Daily Times. He also became a taxi driver, a broker.

He formed the Nigerian Produce Traders Association and The Nigerian Motor Transport Union.
He was the founder of the Yoruba cultural and political organization, The Egbe Omo Oduduwa with the sole intention to unite the Yoruba tribe.

In 1944, he went to London to study in the University of London as an external student and graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce (Hons.) and Bachelor of Law by the University of London and was called to the Bar by the Honorable Society of the Inner Temple on the 19th of November, 1946.

He founded the Nigerian Tribune newspaper, the Egbe  Omo Oduduwa and Action Group – a political party that formed the first elected government in the Western part of the country in 1949.

In 1952, he was made the leader of Government Business and Minister for Local Government. 


In 1954, he was made the First Premier of the Western Region till 1959 when he stepped down as the Premier and was assigned into the House of Representatives becoming the leader of Opposition, Central Legislature.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo was charged for felony in September 1963 and was sentenced for 10 years’ imprisonment but he came out jail after a military coup in July 1966 and was appointed the Commissioner of Finance and Vice Chairman of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

After his resign in protest against the military government in 1971, he became the Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University and the University of Ife which is now Obafemi Awolowo University.

Upon returning back to politics in 1978, he became the leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria as contested for the Presidential election in 1979 against Shehu Shagari and lost. He re-contested in 1983 again and still was defeated.

After the military overthrown of the Civilian Government under Shehu Shagari, Chief Obafemi Awolowo retired from politics with his party and other political parties suspended.

PERSONAL LIFE:

Chief Obafemi Awolowo married Chief Hannah Idowu Dideolu Adelana Awolowo on December 26, 1937, and they both had 5 children;
Olusegun Awolowo,

Omotala Awolowo, Oluwole Awolowo, Ayodele Awolowo, and Tokunbo Awolowo.
On May 9, 1987, Chief Awolowo died in his hometown, Ikenne, Ogun State at the age of 78.


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