Together In Life And Death. Pa Awo And HID!..


Together In Life And Death
By Gregory Austin Nwakunor on September 20,
2015 2:20 am

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IDOWU, the child born after twins,
according to Yoruba mythology, is often
associated with strong will and soul.
Perhaps, stubbornness. For Hannah
Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, popularly
known as HID, those hallowed adjectives
are not mythic expressions. They are
real. They have made her a legend
among her people. A legend of the time.
Born to a modest family in the small
Ikenne community of Ogun State on
November 25, 1915, her mother was
Deaconess Elizabeth Oyesile Adelana, a
business woman and member of royalty,
while her father was the famous Chief
Moses (MF) Odugbemi Adelana, a
descendant of Obara ruling House, in
Ikenne Remo and of the Liyangu
Akarigbo ruling house of Sagamu.
HID had a wild combination of sincerity
and rebelliousness, a powerful mix of
political awareness and activism. With
forcefulness that inspired young and old,
it was not a surprise that her biography
was a reflection of the same duality, the
stubbornness of Idowu and strong will of
Hannah.
Mama Awolowo grew up in a lively and
happy home filled with nine half
brothers and sisters. She was born into a
polygamous household, and was the
daughter of the second of her father’s
three wives, and the only one of the
seven children borne by her mother to
survive long after birth.
She had her primary education at St.
Savior’s Anglican School, Ikenne in 1921
(now Our Saviour’s), but later moved to
St. Peter’s Anglican School, Faji, Lagos.
Between 1928 and 1933, the late chief
(Mrs) Awolowo attended Methodist Girls’
High School, then located on Broad
Street, Lagos.
Driven by an unquenchable desire to
give back to her school wherein she
drank from the fountain of knowledge,
she decided to return to her alma mater,
to teach, and was there between 1934
and 1936, before moving into business.
She resigned into full time business and
got married on December 26, 1937, to
the late Chief Jeremiah Obafemi
Awolowo, who famously referred to her
as his “jewel of inestimable value”. They
remained each other’s best friend to the
end; together they fought for the cause of
justice and for the release of their fellow
men from ignorance and diseases. They
had five children. Olusegun (1939 –
1963), Omotola, Oluwole (late), Ayodele
(late) and Tokunbo.
It was not long after the wedding that
the family moved to Ibadan. Her
husband, subsequently, journeyed to
London where he studied Law.
“I felt a little bit lonely when he left for
London, but he contended that it was for
the good of the family,” mama recalled
that period of her time with the sage.
A woman of industry whose watchwords
were honesty and hard work, she never
joked with supervision. Shortly after her
marriage, in 1937, she took to trading,
the traditional business of her mother
and grandmother. Mama HID remained
till death, a reputable and renowned
businesswoman, who never joked with
total supervision.
She was first appointed Nigerian
distributor of Nigerian Tobacco
Company, in 1957, and was until death,
chairman of African Newspapers of
Nigeria Plc, Publishers of Tribune titles,
Dideolu Specialist Hospital, Dideolu
Stores Limited among others and the
Matron of National Association of
Nigerian Women in Business (Ogun State
chapter).
Back home from Britain, Awolowo
formed the cultural group known as Egbe
Omo Oduduwa, in 1949, and a political
party, the Action Group (AG), in 1951,
also known as Egbe Afenifere in Western
part of Nigeria, as part of the Social
Programme for the emancipation of
Yoruba race. HID was around to play the
role of a supportive partner. She went
with him on campaign trips and hosted
political associates and other guests at
home.
Her devotion to her husband through
thick and thin and the fulfillment of her
marital vows came to the fore, when she
stood unfalteringly beside her husband
during his political vicissitudes,
especially, when the going was truly
tough for the sage during the alliance
formed between the National Council of
Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) and the Action
Group (AG) called United Progressive
Grand Alliance, while Awolowo was held
as a political prisoner.
She was a great source of emotional
spiritual and physical strength for her
deliberately persecuted husband. Mama
did not only face the jeering of political
opponent, she also lost her first son,
Segun, a lawyer in a ghastly motor
accident along Lagos-Ibadan road at a
time her husband was serving prison
term for treason.
Mama bore the tribulations with the
passion of a Christian, realising that all
things that come into being must pass
away.
Socially, HID Awolowo was on the move.
She was the matron, Ikenne Social Circle
till death, and Grand Matron Remo
Country Club. She was also honoured
with much chieftaincy title in
recognition of her impressive standing
in the society. These include the Yeye
Oba of Ife, Yeye Oodua.
She was also the Mojibade of Ikenne and
Iyalode of Remoland. She was bestowed
with the prestigious national award of
the Commander of the Order of the Niger
(CON).
Among other awards, HID was awarded
the Doctor of Letters (Honours Causa) of
the University of Calabar, Obafemi
Awolowo University, Ile Ife and the
Ogun State University (now Olabisi
Onabanjo University).
The Yeye Oba of Ife was not only mother
of the nation, but also the mother of
Remo Diocese (Anglican Communion),
the title she earned through total
commitment to God’s kingdom.
Mama remained Life Matron Agbeni
Progressive Association, Agbeni Young
Women Christian Association, a licensed
Lay Reader, Iyalode, Our Saviour’s
Anglican Church, Ikenne, Iya Ijo of the
same church, synod delegate and the
Diocesan mother.
HID’s sense of piety and reverence for
the things of God began to deepen and
which of course was noticed as she was
made a class leader at Agbeni Methodist
Church in 1940 after years of devoted
attendance.
Unwavering faith in her savior, which
was seen in her being the president of
Agbeni Young Women Christian
Association (AYWCA) for several years
and chairman of the Young Women
Christian Association (YWCA)
international for the Western region.
She was equally made the first matron of
Agbeni Youth Progressive Association
when it was founded 62 years ago. The
various positions she held gave abiding
credence to her Agbeni Young Women
Christian Association (AYWCA) for
several years and chairman of the Young
Women Christian Association (YWCA)
international for the Western region.
On Wednesday, September 5, 2009, she
received the award of the Fellow of
academy of Religion (FAR) by the
Nigerian Association for the Study of
Religion (NASR). This was done in
recognition of her unique and
unwavering contribution to the
advancement of humanity and her role
in the employment of religion as a
veritable tool both in national and global
development.
Yeye Oodu’a whose life has been
dedicated to service to humanity won
herself many awards through her
generosity.
The major beneficiary of her
philanthropy is her church, Our
Saviour’s Church, Ikenne, where she first
presented a marble pulpit when she
turned 50, and on turning 60, donated a
central stained glass of the chancel
window. When she clocked 95, she
insisted that the marble pulpit must be
given a facelift while she ensured that
the church was air conditioned by
donating central air conditions to mark
her birthday and ensure worshippers
worship in comfort. And her latest
gesture was the hosting of the 10th synod
of the Remo Diocese themed “The cost of
discipleship.

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