‘How Adelabu Penkelemesi contributed to Awolowo’s success’
GOVERNOR Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State yesterday disclosed that the late Premier of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, might not have recorded great success in the region but for the effective and constructive criticisms provided by the late Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu of ‘Penkelemesi’ fame.
Ajimobi, who stated this at the post-humous centenary birthday and launch of Adegoke Adelabu Foundation as well as a book written in 1952 by Adelabu: Africa in Ebullition, held at the Ibadan Civic Centre, Idi-Ape, Ibadan, said the seasoned politician who was leader of the opposition in the then Western Region House of Assembly provided the useful check for the Action Group (AG) led by Awolowo in the region.
“Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu was a man of great ideas who lived before his time. His book, African in Ebullition, published in 1952 was more of a manifesto of social welfare programmes for improved living condition of the people. He utilised his position as the leader of opposition to Action Group under the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, to offer such robust political direction that kept the government in power to be constantly on its toes to provide better services for the people.
“Chief Anthony Enahoro as the House Leader once acknowledged it in the Western Region House of Assembly Hansard in 1953 when he stated that ‘this is not the time for partisanship, but I wish to say, Mr. Speaker, that nobody realised better than we on the government bench that Alhaji Adelabu provided that useful check without which democratic government could not survive.’ He was more than a match!”
Ajimobi then named the major ancient street that divides Ibadan into two historical parts, which starts Felele Roundabout to Agodi-Gate-Yidi in Ibadan as Adelabu Adegoke Way, “on behalf of the people and government of Oyo State, and in everlasting memory of this political giant, an icon and a grassroots mobiliser par excellence.”
The governor, who said that Adelabu possessed what it required to dislodge the condominium – sound education, discerning power, political articulation, courage of conviction, iron will and uncompromising stance in the face of threat and intimidation – personally launched the book and the foundation with N5 million and promised another N5 million by the state, assuring civil servants in the state that all the salaries owed them by the government would be settled this month.
Dignitaries that graced the occasion included former governors of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and Dr. Omololu Olunloyo; Secretary to Osun State Government, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti, who represented Governor Rauf Aregbesola; Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC) in the state, Alhaji Lateef Gbadamosi, who represented former President Olusegun Obasanjo; and Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr. Michael Adeyemo, among others.