Obafemi Awolowo : Inside The Late Sage’s Ikenne Home
THE 11-day funeral rites for the late matriarch of the Awolowo family, HID Awolowo begin tomorrow and end on November 25. Since her passing on September 19, the Ikenne home of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo has been a mecca of sorts. Visitors from all walks of life have been going there to pay tributes to her.
At the middle of the compound is the main house and Sopolu Library built in honour of Awolowo’s father. Efunyela Hall too has been receiving a plethora of visitors. It was built in 1979 in memory of Chief (Mrs) Efunyela Awolowo, Awolowo’s
mother. Important functions are held there.
At the entrance to the hall is written on the wall, one of Awolowo’s popular quotes in 1963: “I have no doubt, and I say this without any spirit of immodesty, that in the course of my political career, I have rendered services to this country which historians and the coming generation will certainly regard as imperishable.”
Also inscribed on the wall is what the late Dr Nnamidi Azikwe said about Awolowo: “From generation to generation, Chief Awolowo’s contribution to the history of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general shall be a landmark and inspiration to guide our people in the holy crusade for a place in the Sun.”
Inside Efunyela Hall are different photographs, including that of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN’s) campaign rally at Mapo, Ibadan on February 26, 1983. Others include the photographs of Obafemi Awolowo and Queen Elizabeth (II) of England in March 1956, when she visited the then Western Region of Nigeria. The picture was taken during the Children’s
Rally at Race Course, Ibadan.
Also there are the photographs of Awolowo with the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero and the late Alake of Egbaland, Oba Oyebade Lipede at the opening of hotel of Prince Sijuwade of Ile-Ife.
The portraits of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, Sir James Robertson, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Mobolaji Bank Anthony, Kwame Kwrumah of Ghana and those of the five UPN Governors: Ambrose Alli, Michael Ajasin, Bisi Onabanjo, Lateef Jakande and Bola Ige are also there.
Another popular saying of Awolowo is inside the hall: “I have never regarded myself as having a monopoly of wisdom. The trouble is that when most people in public life and in the position of leadership and rulership are spending whole days and nights carousing in clubs or in the company of men of shady character and women of easy virtue, I, like a few others, am always at my post working hard at the country’s problems and trying to find solutions for them.”
There is also a museum by the entrance to Awolowo’s residence. Inside it is an eight-sitter grey Mercedes 230.6. Awolowo used it to travel the length and breadth of the country during his electioneering campaigns in 1979 and 1983. It was bought in 1970. The museum was commissioned on August 4, 1989 by H.I.D Awolowo.
Inside the museum is the University of Cape Town Honoray Doctor of Law (LLD) Degree Academic Gown given to Awolowo in recognition of his immense contributions to the social and political development of the African continent. There are also the Academic Gown of the University of Lagos Honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 1968 and Honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD) of the University of Ibadan (UI) in 1961.
The cap “Awo Fez cap’ synonymous with Awolowo is there as well. He was widely known with this cap and his followers wore the cap to show their loyalty to the sage.
Finally, there is the Awolowo mausoleum, the centerpiece of the compound.