Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Many lessons from HID's "A Memoir of the Jewel"

As we take the marks in celebration of Chief Obafemi Awolowo's 109th post humous birthday, I flashback through the 112 paged book "A Memoir of the Jewel" written by Mama Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo (Mama Awo) where she described her husband to have played a politics of self sacrifice, commitment and focus. As the first Premier of Western region, Awo as he was popularly called, demonstrated rare vision and uncommon commitment to leadership with focus on the provision of free, universal primary education and critical Infrastructure in the key sectors, operating even with limited resources.

He displayed quintessential discipline in politics, exemplifying philosophical and psychological preparedness before aspiring for leadership positions. It, therefore, did not come as a surprise that when he passed on in 1987 that the then Ikemba Nnewi, Emeka Odimegwu Ojukwu aptly eulogized him as "the best president that Nigeria never had". This presented some form of puzzle as to the reality of the nation’s geo-political entity that a man whose vision and virtues are so extolled and venerated by many yet so equally and passionately hated by some obviously powerful political interest groups. This group consistently frustrated his many resolve at doing for Nigeria the same thing he did for the South West in terms of sustainable development and far-reaching transformation initiatives.

Awo was a practical and committed federalist who believed firmly in appreciable level of regional autonomy within an agreed and workable federal system and structure of government. Nigerians are today increasingly coming to terms with the political dynamics behind this political disposition especially as it encourages political stability, regional integration, healthy competition and collaboration within the regions and amongst the federating units.

Many years after, Nigerians remain nostalgic about the quality leadership demonstrated by statesmen like the late Obafemi Awolowo, the commitment to leadership, the sacrifice and focus in governance, raising critical questions on leadership emergence and the deepening of democratic values within the Nigerian state.

The celebration of the leadership virtues of the late sage, many years after is instructive on the need for public servants and political office occupants to endeavour to leave behind lasting impact.


May 08, 2018 / by / 0 Comments

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