YORUBA LEADERS

  • CHIEF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO

    6 MARCH 1909 - 9 MAY 1987 AGE 78

    Obafemi Awolowo was born on 6 March 1909 in Ikenne, in present-day Ogun State of Nigeria. His father was a farmer and sawyer who died when Obafemi was about seven years old. He attended various schools, including Baptist Boys' High School (BBHS), Abeokuta; and then became a teacher in Abeokuta, after which he qualified as a shorthand typist. Subsequently, he served as a clerk at the famous Wesley College Ibadan, as well as a correspondent for the Nigerian Times. It was after this that he embarked on various business ventures to help raise funds to travel to the UK for further studies. Following his education at Wesley College, Ibadan, in 1927, he enrolled at the University of London as an External Student and graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.). He went to the UK in 1944 to study law at the University of London and was called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple on 19 November 1946. In 1949 Awolowo founded the Nigerian Tribune, the oldest surviving private Nigerian newspaper, which he used to spread nationalist consciousness among his fellow Nigerians. He was the first premier of the Western Region and later federal commissioner for finance, and vice chairman of the Federal Executive Council during the Civil War. He was thrice a major contender for the office of the President in Nigeria. As premier, he proved to be and was viewed as a man of vision and a dynamic administrator. Awolowo was also the country's leading social democratic politician. He was the official Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament from 1959 to 1963. In recognition of all these, Awolowo was the first individual in the modern era to be named Leader of the Yorubas: Asiwaju Awon Yoruba or Asiwaju Omo Oodua. In 1992, the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation was founded as an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organisation committed to furthering the symbiotic interaction of public policy and relevant scholarship with a view to promoting the overall development of the Nigerian nation. However, his most important bequests (styled Awoism) are his exemplary integrity, his welfarism, his contributions to hastening the process of decolonisation and his consistent and reasoned advocacy of federalism-based on ethno-linguistic self-determination and uniting politically strong states-as the best basis for Nigerian unity. Awolowo died peacefully at his Ikenne home, the Efunyela Hall (so named after his mother), on 9 May 1987, at the age of 78 and was laid to rest in Ikenne, amid tributes across political and ethno-religious divides.

    1. OBAFEMI JEREMIAH AWOLOWO
    2. MACAULAY HERBERT
    3. SAMUEL AJAYI CROWTHER
    4. LADOKE AKINTOLA
    5. FUNMILAYO RANSOME-KUTI
    6. FRANCIS ADEKUNLE FAJUYI

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  • OUR HISTORY

    HISTORY OF THE YORUBA PEOPLE

    Yoruba history by TYLPI writer

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