Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola has expressed sadness at the passage of former Publisher of the African Newspapers of Nigeria, Chief Oluwole Awolowo, describing him as a leader and a gentleman.
Chief Oluwole, the first son of the late sage and former Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, died last Wednesday in a London hospital.In a statement signed by Special Adviser to the governor on Media, Mr Hakeem Bello, Fashola said he was particularly pained by the fact that the former member of Apapa Local Council passed on at a time he was needed most to propel the enduring legacy of the Awolowo Family.
“It is, indeed saddening that Chief Oluwole would pass on at this point in time when he is most needed to continue to provide needed support to the family, especially to the matriarch of the Awolowo Dynasty, Chief (Mrs.) Hannah Awolowo, who turned 97 recently. That Chief Oluwole has played a leading role in the affairs of the prominent Awolowo Family, especially since the translation of Papa Awolowo, is never in doubt. His indomitable presence as Vice-Chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria, publishers of the Tribune titles and overseer over the other family interests has gone a long way to keep the legacies of Papa Awolowo alive years after his translation. He was a genuine leader and a natural gentleman.”
Governor Fashola recalled the political career of Chief Oluwole Awolowo, especially when at a tender age he demonstrated his independence of mind by joining the youth vanguard of a party opposed to that of his father. The Governor pointed out that this was just one example of the broadmindedness which “dominated the entire life of Chief Oluwole”.
“But Papa Awolowo did not rebuke him for that. Instead, the Sage admired him for it and gave him the nickname “Unbreakable”, a name which he obviously lived in full both in his public and private life,” Governor Fashola said adding that lessons could be learnt from men like Chief Oluwole Awolowo in a milieu where “ethnic, religious and sectional considerations still remain dominant”.
Condoling with the matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty, Fashola also recalled the periods when Chief Oluwole served in Lagos in political capacities. He said the deceased would be sorely missed “not only by the famous Awolowo dynasty but also by the people of Lagos whom he served and the entire people of the Southwest and Nigeria”. The Governor prayed for the peaceful repose of the soul of Chief Oluwole Awolowo and that the Almighty God would grant his family, his Ikenne community and most of all, his dear mother, Chief (Mrs) H.I.D Awolowo, the fortitude to bear the loss.