A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged the Awolowo family to celebrate their late matriarch’s death.
Obasanjo, who arrived the Ikenne residence of the Awolowos at exactly 7.30pm on Saturday, said HID lived an enviable life and should be celebrated in death.
He said, “It is a passage of an icon. Normally for all of us it should be a mixed feeling because Mama had lived a life that most of us, will envy, but it doesn’t matter how long our loved ones had lived, we will still want them to remain with us.
“We must thank God because Mama had lived through the vicissitudes of life, but she had died in peace. For her, it was a peaceful exit into the great beyond.
“Since Mama had decided to leave before her centenary celebration, we cannot query God.
In the same vein, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said with the death of HID Awolowo, Nigeria has lost a preeminent mother.
He said, “I have been enthusiastically looking forward to making a big but surprise visit to Ikenne, Ogun State to be part of the centenary birthday celebration of Mama H.I. D. Awolowo, knowing that she is the last woman standing among the wives and mothers who truly contributed by supporting their spouses in laying the foundation for our nation building.Saraki stated that even as a nonagenarian, she kept on hosting different fora and contributing ideas on the unity of the Yoruba people in particular and Nigeria in general.
“She was an epitome of a good wife and mother and I have no doubt that as she reunites with her darling Husband, Pa Obafemi Awolowo, she would have good account to give of how far she had held forte in the absence of the late sage.”
Also speaking on the death was the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere. Its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, said the deceased stood by her husband when he was alive and never wavered and remained the pillar of the family after the death of her husband.
He said, “She was a supremely intelligent, kind-hearted, loving and caring mother of the Yoruba nation,” adding that “Mama, as no one would doubt, remains a Jewel of Inestimable Value even in transition to glory.”
Former Secretary-General of the Afenifere and ex-General Secretary of the National Democratic Coalition, Chief Ayo Opadokun, on Saturday described HID Awolowo as a strong pillar of politics in the defunct Western Region.
Opadokun, who is one of Awolowo’s political mentees, recalled that Mrs. Awolowo refused to succumb to the pressure mounted by the opposition when political situation was tensed in the region.
He said, “Mama was an unmatchable complement to Papa Awolowo in all his life’s socio-economic and political struggles. Mama was always the pillar of support that kept the home front secured throughout Papa’s life since they got married.
“The greatest evil that was politically unleashed on the Awolowo family in the First Republic was such that, had it been that Mama was not an historical phenomenon herself, she could have succumbed to the evil machination of political opponents of Papa Awolowo.”Opadokun stated that Mrs. Awolowo experienced ups and downs in her life like any other person, “but she took them all in her strives.” He recalled that she remained herself even when she lost her first son, Mr. Wole Awolowo few years ago.
He added, ““During the period Chief Awolowo was incarcerated for political reason in the so-called treasonable felony trial, and the progressive political wing in the country was looking for someone to galvanise it, Mama was the strong pillar in the entire Western Region, which is now about eight states.”
Also, a former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, has said that Chief (Mrs.) HID Awolowo lived a life of love and service and described her death as the end of an era.
In a statement, Oyinlola, described HID Awolowo as the mother of the nation and that her death has made the nation poorer.
It read in part: “The exit of Mama HID Awolowo at almost 100 years old is a great blow to all of us who took her as our mother. It, in significant terms, effectively ended an era in the politics of Nigeria and, in particular, of Yorubaland.
“As wife to immortal Awo, Mama was a paragon of love and unflagging loyalty. As a politician, she was a bulwark of courage and strength to the weak. As the mother of the nation, she, till the very last minute, exuded uncommon wisdom and care in critical moments.”
In his reaction, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, described the late matriarch as an era which has now receded. In a statement, he said, “An era recedes. As solace, it leaves in its wake a treasured privilege for those who knew her, who experienced her indomitable spirit at first hand, and drank from her depthless fount of family embrace.”
For the former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola SAN, HID Awolowo’s wise counsel would be sorely missed.
His statement read, “No words will suffice to describe how sorely mama will be missed. But I am confident that the memory of Mama’s legacy, her national service without a title, and the pride of her life’s work will build bridges of comfort for the entire family.”