WHEN the sage, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo was alive, you could meet him or his wife in any of their three residences spread across Ibadan (Oyo State), Apapa (Lagos State) and Ikenne (Ogun State).
But since the sage died on May 9, 1987, his Ikenne home became a Mecca of sort to politicians, historians, tourists and all manners of people.
The death of his Jewel of Inestimable Value, Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo has again turned the Ikenne residence to a tourist delight.
ENCOMIUM Weekly was there on Sunday, September 19, 2015, and these were the things inside the compound of the prominent family.
At the entrance is the gate house which accommodates the security. Facing the gate house to the right is the Mausoleum where he was laid to rest in 1987 and where his wife is most likely going to be buried too.
Immediately after the mausoleum still to the right, is the Efunyela Hall, where meetings, conferences, etc., hold. The hall now serves as reception hall for sympathizers that have been trooping into the compound since the death of Chief (Mrs.) H.I.D Awolowo. The hall which was named after Chief Awolowo’s mother also has pictures and portraits of the late sage and his wife’s sojourn in life.
Beside the Efunyela Hall is another open space with a permanent canopy and sitting arrangement for those who could not be accommodated inside the hall. In the front of the Efunyela Hall, and the main building is a fountain which has not seen water in recent times.
In the front of the main building is a roofed drive in which allows a visitor to be dropped in front of the house before the driver drives off to the parking lot.
Entering the main building will lead you to the first sitting room with settees in the centre of the room and other chairs arranged to the wall. Also inside the big sitting room is a spiral staircase that leads to the rooms upstairs. There are two other rooms beside the big sitting room. One is the secretary’s office which used to be occupied by Papa’s secretary when he was alive and which was taken over by Mama’s secretary. The secretary’s office is to the left. The other room downstairs which is to the right is another sitting room with the settees inside more comfortable than the one in the first sitting room. This is where Mama used to sit and receive visitors. We gathered that there is also a room close to this second sitting room which became Mama’s bedroom for many years now because she could no longer climb the staircase to her former bedroom.
The second sitting room also leads to the kitchen. Behind the main building are staff quarters for the domestic staffers. Beside the main building to the left is Supolu Library, where all books and Papa’s documents are domiciled.
There are other two-storey buildings to the left of the main building after the Supolu Library. Virtually all the buildings in the compound are newly painted probably in preparation for Mama’s centenary celebration which would have held on November 26, 2015.
-Stories by TOLANI ABATTI
-Pictures by DAPO ADESEKO