Cover Stories, News

Awo’s letter to his jewel of inestimable value on the verge of being convicted for treasonable felony in 1964


My Beloved Mamma Segun,

I learnt you had been ill.  I was upset.  But I am happy to hear that you have improved considerably.  Your health and your life 1-mw89463mean almost everything to me.  I must say categorically that life would mean nothing to me without you and our children and grandchildren, and without an opportunity to serve the people of Nigeria in particular and mankind in general.  I pray most earnestly and always, therefore, that you my Darling as well as our children and grandchildren may be blessed by Almighty God with robust health, long life and prosperity, Amen.

As you will remember, three weeks or so ago I decided not to write again until we meet in flesh.  Then I had no doubt for reasons which I had given in some of my previous letters, that my appeal would be allowed and that judgement would be given within four weeks at the most after the conclusion of arguments.  I want to assure you, Darling, that I still trust in God that the verdict will be in my favour.  But I am writing this in case the worst happened, which God forbid.  In that event, it would not be easy for me to communicate with you as I had done when my appeal was pending.

During the past week, rumours have been circulating that my appeal would be dismissed and that, at the very best, my sentence might be reduced.  I do not believe these rumours myself.  Unfortunately, my suspicions have been aroused by the undue delay in delivering judgement.  It took five clear weeks to argue the appeal.  And last Friday it was exactly six weeks since the Appeal Court reserved judgement.  We are now in the seventh week!  It is as if the history of this case as it was enacted last year is repeating itself!  I hope not.

But should the worst happen, I want you to take it like a brave woman that you are.  That would not be the end for me.  The best is yet to be, as long as my life is spared.

I hope that, in that event, the Prison Officers would continue to take care of me as they had done hitherto, and to protect my life against the plan of evil-doers.  I will do my very best to look after myself.  My faith in my destiny remains unshaken.  If the A.G/N.C.N.C Alliance wins the next Federal elections, I will be out of here whether my enemies like it or not.  That is what we must work for.

You remember the first letter I wrote you from this Prison, last year.  If the worst should happen, I would like you to refer to it.  There are only FOUR points I wish to add to the instructions I gave in that letter.

It is probable that I might be transferred from Lagos to a prison in the East or the North.  If they tried to transfer me, I would protest as strongly as I ever can.  Because my transfer from Lagos especially to the North would suggest that my enemies want to engage in some foul play against my life.  Under no circumstances will I commit suicide; because it is cowardly in the extreme to do it, apart from the fact that it is a sin against God, and wickedness of the worst order against your Dear Self, our children, grandchildren, and other members of our family.  If I was transferred, you would be duly informed of my destination.  This much I want you to bear in mind; if you heard that I died you could be sure that my enemies had killed me.  I say this, because after committing this heinous crime, these evil people might issue a release that I committed suicide, or that I died or was killed when I was trying to escape from lawful custody. In the latter connection, I want to emphassie that under no circumstances would I attempt to escape.  I have great hopes for the future and I am determined to live.  So, if the news reached you that I died, you should get all our lawyer and doctor friends to kick as much row as they can kick.  The rank and file of the Party should also kick a row.  This portion of the letter should be photostated and published.  I am a warrior by nature.  I am not afraid of death.  But I don’t want my memory to be blackened, or your good name to be tarnished by enemies who, after murdering me, would like to exonerate themselves by accusing me of killing myself.  It is essential absolutely essential to fight this issue if it ever arose, firstly in order to clear my good name and that of our family, and secondly in order that you might be able to claim the sums (which must be about £6,000 by now) which I assured with Prudential Life Assurance, and Gresham Life Assurance.  If it was established that I committed suicide, not a penny of this money would be paid.  In the interest of my children, and particularly of Motunde, these assured sums must be collected.

If after my death, my enemies did not stigmatise my name and memory, and they merely announced my death, it would still be necessary for you to organize for the cause of my death to be probed and ascertained.

Once more, I want to assure you that I would do my best to take care that the evil-doers don’t reach me with their poison.  If I suspected any fishy business, I might go on hunger strike or subsist only on fruits and tinned foods (if the latter are available).

I do not want you to be sad about the contents of this letter at all.  I know you will be upset by what I have said, so much so that you might shed tears.  As you will have seen, I do not lose hope at all.  I am confident about the future; and I have no doubt that, by the Grace of God, before this year is ended, I shall hold you once again in my arms in affectionate embrace.  We all believe that God answers prayers; but we must realize that He answers them in His own good time, and when He knows such answers will be most benefitted to us.  So let us wait on the Lord, and renew our strength.  Whilst I am still hoping that my appeal will be allowed, it occurs to me, in view of the machinations of my enemies, that I should write in this way when I have the opportunity.  To be forewarned is to be forearmed.  It may be that the opportunity for writing you would still be open; in which case I would write occasionally, not weekly as before.  It all depends on how often Falade is allowed to see me.

If the worst happened, which God forbid, you should direct your prayers to the success of the A.G/N.C.N.C Alliance at the next Federal Elections.  These will take place, latest in December this year, that is less than six months from now. In this connection I am writing to some A.G leaders to urge them to remain firm until victory is ours.

As regards our children and grandchildren.  Tola does not present any problem.  She can fend for herself.  I only pray that it may please God to bless the union between her and Kayode with undying love and with children, and to bless the two of them and their children with health, happiness and prosperity Amen.

Wole is a problem; I leave it entirely to you to tackle the problem, since there is not much I can do from behind the bars.  I do pray fervently that it may please God to direct him aright and help him to make a success of his life Amen.

Ayo’s and Tokunbo’s problems are simple. It should be possible for you to arrange admission for Ayo to Lagos University this year, and for Tokunbo to Ibadan University next year.

Motunde does not present much problem yet.  Kayode and Tola are capable of looking after Feyi.  May God grant to all these children and grandchildren and others who will come after them long life, prosperity and happiness Amen.

Abah presents a problem.  I think she should be assisted to go abroad, and then we should finish with her once and for all.

In your own case, I strongly appeal to you to have courage, and to keep good health.  In addition I want you to concentrate on your business and Church duties.  You should also be as active as you can in Party work.  Because, if this appeal failed, my next Court of Appeal is the Electorate.  In order to bring about my early release, you should try and help in the organization of the Women’s Wing of the A.G in Yorubaland including Lagos. If you organize a Conference of A.G Women at any time, it will be largely attended.  You will not necessarily be the Leader of the Conference or even its Convener.  But you should be the moving spirit of such a Conference.  All you need do is to invite a few women to discuss arrangements for the Conference, and then get the A.G Secretariat to issue the invitations.

Falade and Co., will continue in our employ as usual. Just now, there is enough money to pay him and others up to the end of October this year.  Maybe, before then God will provide further means of maintaining the skeleton staff which we now have.  I have not discussed the contents of this letter with him, except that I have asked him to help to organize the Women’s Conference, and to keep a schedule of rents on our properties, so that he may remind you whenever they are due.  If all goes well with us at the Federal Elections, then the problem of keeping Falade and others on the Party’s staff will be solved.

Finally, this week will go down in History as ‘The Week of Decision’.  It will be a week of decision not only for us but also for the entire people of Yorubaland in particular and of Nigeria in general.  Whichever way the decision goes, only God knows what will be the consequences.  It is our ardent wish that the appeal should be in my favour; so be it. If not then God’s will be done; and as true Christians we have no right to murmur, complain, or show resentment against God’s will.

Let us, therefore, wait patiently and calmly for the Will of God to be done.

I take this opportunity to renew to you, my only Darling Wife, my vow of undying love. In God’s good time we will meet again in a most happy reunion, and that before very long.

Give my most affectionate regards to Tola, Kayode, Wole, Ayo, Tokunbo, Motunde and Feyi; and my good wishes to my sisters, their children and grandchildren, our Mothers, and all our relatives and friends.

With divine love,

I remain,

Your Ever Devoted and Affectionate Husband,


– Excerpts from Adventures in Power


Related Stories:



About the Author