Biography of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was born on the 6th of March, 1909, in the protectorate of southern Nigeria. He was a nationalist, one of the Nigerian elites that fought for country’s independence and he challenged his strength toward the struggle for true federalism.
Awolowo was born in the present day’s Ogun state then southern protectorate of Nigeria, to a Yoruba farmer and sawyer who died when Awolowo was just at the age of seven.
He attended Baptist boy high school, Abeokuta and became a teacher in Abeokuta, shortly after; he qualified as a short hand typist. After a while, he qualified as a clerk at Wesley college Ibadan and at same time, a correspondent the Nigerian times.
After his education in 1927 at Wesley College, he gained admission at the University of London and graduated with a bachelor degree of commerce. in the 1930s he became active in politics by becoming a member of Lagos youth movement . Which later became the Nigerian youth movement, he rose to become secretary for the western province.
In 1944, he went to the UK to study law at the university of London and was called to bar by the honourable society of the inner temple on 19 of November 1946 while in London he founded the Egbe Omo Oduduwa (society of the descendant of Oduduwa).
The main goal was to foster unity among the Yoruba folks and to secure a future for his people. it was his nationalist spirit that made him produce of the powerful works that helped the Nigeria cause in its fight for independence, titled “path to Nigerians freedom (1947), in his work he claimed that there was a need for Nigeria to have a federal type of government, to protect the interest of any ethnic group, and at the same time bring unity among them.
He encouraged the struggle for self-government in Nigeria and in the same year he returned to Nigeria to practice law.
In 1950-1951 he founded the action group, a political party that had most of it members from Egbe Omo Oduduwa , the party having been created swung into action by calling for the end of colonialism and campaigning for the cause of self-government. In 1951, the party won in an election conducted in western region and Awolowo served as the leader of government business and as the minister for local government structure.
He later established elective councils in 1954 until 1959 when he became the premier of the western region and his focus was on education, agriculture and social services. One of his most remarkable achievements is, he gave education and primary health care in the western region.
The first television station in Africa was established by him and he tried to fight for a united Nigeria. His party entered for alliance with other regions party and allocate them with the British to get the country’s independence as early as it is, but it did not work. In 1959 after 2 major political parties had formed an alliance he became an opposition leader in the federal House of Representatives.
When Nigeria became an independent entity on the first of October 1960 Awolowo changed his stands for federations and gunned for Democratic Socialism advocating for a neutral foreign policy. Clash of idealism hits the party and Awolowo fought to maintain his leadership status, he partially succeeded in the party’s annual conference in 1962 but he was later sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for treason but his prison term came to a premature end after a military coup took place on July 1966.
In the same year of his release, he was a member of the National Conciliation Committee, which he tried to create and understanding between the federal government and eastern region. It did not work and the civil war book out between the federal government and the republic of Biafra between 1967 to 1970.
Awolowo been the federal commissioner for finance and vice chairman executive council threw his weight behind the federal government.
It was said that he was the brain behind the federal government emerging victorious in the civil war as he advised Gowon to stop sending food or any aids, whatsoever, to the republic of Biafra and it worked. He was made chancellor of the University of Ife now Ahmadu Bello University in mid 70s
The 12 years lane on politics was lifted in 1978 and he emerged as the leader of UPN, Unity Party Of Nigeria, he became their presidential candidate.
He ran for presidency in 1979 and 1983 presidential elections but was defeated by Shehu Shagari: there was military coup in the later stage of 1983 and party were banned and Chief Awolowo retired from politics. Awolowo died on May 9th, 1987 at the age of 78.
Chief Awolowo’s greatest achievement resulted from the foresight clear sense of direction and seer competence that brought into government.
At the beginning of his career in government Awolowo quickly reformed the local government system of the western region and took revolutionary steps to Nigeria’s and improve the western Nigerian civil services. An extremely good judge of men’s qualities, he had also put together a very efficient team of ministers. Having taking those steps, he was set to achieve within 5 years a string of first in the history of Africa between 1954 and 1959 his government
*Evolved and was served by the most efficient civil service in black government.
*Established the first television station in Africa.
*Built the liberty stadium, the first such modern spot facility in Nigeria.
*Introduced and successfully implement the first free primary education programme in Nigeria.
*He was the chancellor of the university of Ife and Ahmadu Bello University.