-She had been planning her funeral, talking about it
-Gold casket imported from USA
The walls between progressive and conservative elements in Nigerian politics momentarily collapsed on Wednesday, November 25, 2015, as politicians from all walks of life besieged the country home of the Awolowos in Ikenne to pay their last respects to Mama Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, who was on that day committed to mother earth. The roll call which also includes Nigerian captains of industry, foreign diplomats, friends and well-wishers was intimidating, as the venue of the burial became a Mecca of sorts.
ENCOMIUM Weekly’s DAYO RUFAI, who was in Ikenne brings you the happenstances from the well attended event.
President Muhammadu Buhari graces the occasion
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was conspicuously absent at the church service held at Our Saviour’s Church, Anglican Communion, Ikenne, later in the afternoon arrived Ikenne to pay his last respects to the deceased. His chopper had landed at Babcock University compound, from where the Vice President, Prof Osinbajo and Senator Ibikunle Amosun Governor of Ogun State, who were there before him led him straight to the Awolowos house. The chants of Sai Baba, Sai Buhari rent the air when the crowd sighted his convoy amid water-tight security. The President later visited the mausoleum, the Yeye Oodua Awolowos final resting place before he jetted out.
How her remains were brought into the church
Her remains were taken to the church in a gold casket on a chariot led by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) band and Police Dress Team 1. On their way to the church, the convoy was joined by Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and his wife, Funsho; Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, among others.
Gov. Ibikunle Amosun as the Chief Host
Ogun state Governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun was the chief host at the burial. His Commissioners were saddled with several responsibilities both at the church service and at the reception. He was also seen giving directives to fix this and that at the events. He had earlier in the week renamed a school after HID. He was at the event with his wife, Olufunsho.
Senator Bukola Saraki stands out
The Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki stood out at the event. Saraki, who arrived the event before 10am, adorned the same ankara alongside others. He was one of the few dignitaries who dressed as such. He also represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the church service.
“As you can see, prominent Nigerians from the South, to the East and to the North came here today to pay their last respects to Chief Awolowo. Nigeria is here today,” Saraki said.
He commended HID for holding forte for 28 years after the departure of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, describing her as an unforgettable woman.
Gov Oshiomhole steps out with wife
The Governor of Edo state Comrade Adams Oshiomhole was among the dignitaries who came late to the event. Notwithstanding, Oshiomole, who arrived the venue with his wife Lara, were ushered into the church amid tight security. While Oshiomhole wore a brown jacket as usual, his wife looked radiant in a black linen gown.
Otunba Subomi Balogun and his Rolls Royce Phantom
Classy business mogul and founder of First City Monument Bank, Otunba Subomi Balogun arrived the church very early. In fact, he was one of the few dignitaries who witnessed the programme from the start. He, however, stood out as he stepped out of his state of the art Rolls Royce phantom, which bore a gold-plated number, Olori Omooba.
Between Ambode and Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his political son, Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state arrived Ikenne together. They came in early for the church service. Party faithful also cheered them to high-heavens as they found their way into the church. Asiwaju and Ambode waited till the end of the ceremony before they left town.
Tunde Bakare and Yinka Odumakin
Fiery preacher and pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare and political activist, Yinka Odumakin were also at the church service. The duo were sighted together while the programme lasted and also left the venue hand in hand.
Barr. Adebayo Shittu and APC faithful
Prominent Oyo state politician and Minister of Communication, Barr Abdul-Raheem Adebayo Shittu had a hectic time in the hands of party faithful who flocked around him for unknown reasons. Immediately the minister stepped out from the church, the Oyo state APC loyalists who had been chanting his praises swooped on him and it took more than 30 minutes before his security details could rescue him.
Men of God bid HID Awolowo farewell
Though the church service was held at the Our Saviour’s Church, Anglican Communion, Ikenne, pastors from different denominations united to bid the deceased farewell. For Mama’s burial, there was no barrier of doctrines or denominational segregation, as the body of Christ was united and with one voice; that indeed, a woman of God had been called into glory and the church must honour one of their own, who was selfless in her service to God.
They came from far and wide, irrespective of titles and status; there were reverends, pastors and prelates from the Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, The Apostolic and the Foursquare Church, among many others.
Those that were on ground to bid Mama farewell included the Archbishop Metropolitan and Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend (Dr) Nicholas D. Okon; Prelate of the Methodist Church, His Eminence, Dr Samuel Emeka Uche; the General Overseer of the Foursquare Gospel Church, Reverend Felix Meduoye and the President of the Apostolic Church, Pastor Dr. G.O Olutola.
Others were the Archbishop of Ondo Province, Archbishop George Lasebikan; Most Reverend Ephraim Adebola Ademowo; Most Reverend Adebayo Dada Akinde; 36 bishops, pastors, catechists, ordinands and other ordained ministers of God and religious leaders.
Evang. Ebenezer Obey was on bandstand
Juju Maestro, Evangelist Ebenezer Obey was the musician of the day at the Awolowo’s residence. Obey was one of Baba Awolowo’s favourite musicians. He thrilled at the event. Obey also changed the tune of his music as soon as President Buhari stepped into the Awolowos’ compound.
Aliko Dangote’s simplicity
Despite the intimidating crowd at the church service, Nigeria’s leading businessman, Aliko Dangote walked quietly into the event. Few security details were with him. He also took time to exchange pleasantries with other dignitaries.
HID laid to rest beside her husband, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo
The remains of Mama HID Awolowo were committed to mother earth beside that of her late husband, Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Awolowo inside the mausoleum at their country-home in Ikenne. Due to lack of space, only the children, grand and great grand-children alongside few dignitaries were allowed to witness the lowering of the gold casket into the ground.
The symbolic tree for HID
Shortly after Mama was buried, a symbolic tree was planted by Mrs. Oyediran and Dr Awolowo Dosumu in memory of the Yeye Odua by the side of a fountain within the premises.
President Muhammudu Buhari
Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and wife, Bola
General Yakubu Gowon and wife, Victoria
Chief Ernest Shonekan
Lieutenant-General Oladipo Diya (retd)
Senator Bola Tinubu and wife, Remi
Hon. Lasun Yusuff
Governor Ibikunle Amosun and wife, Funso
Gov. Abiola Ajimobi and wife, Florence
Gov. Rauf Aregbesola and wife, Sherifat
Gov. Olusegun Mimiko and wife, Kemi
Gov. Ben Ayade
Gov. Adams Oshiomhole and wife, Iara
Gov. Rochas Okorocha
Gov. Abdul-Azeez Yari
Gov. Mohammed Jibrilla
Gov. Abubakar Badaru
Gov. Nasir el-Rufai
Gov. Aminu Tambuwal
Gov. Kashim Shettima
Mr. Rotimi Amaechi
Mrs. Kemi Adeosun
Barrister Adebayo Shittu (Communication)
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
Dr Kayode Fayemi
Mr. Babatunde Fashola
Professor Isaac Adewole
Dr Ogbonnaya Onu
Chief Audu Ogbeh
Alhaji Aliko Dangote
Mr. Oba Otudeko,
Otunba Subomi Balogun
Mr. Segun Ogunsanya
Dr Yemi Onabowale
Chief Ayo Adebanjo
Sir Olaniwun Ajayi
Chief Olu Falae
Senator Biyi Durojaye
Chief Olusegun Osoba
Chief Niyi Adebayo
Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala
Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and wife
Chief Gbenga Daniel and wife, Olufunke
Alhaji Lateef Jakande and wife
Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka
Chief Titi Laoye-Tomori
Mr. Femi Pedro
Chief Koforola Bucknor-Akerele
Senator Gbenga Kaka
General Olufemi Olutoye
Senator Daisy Danjuma
Senator Monsurat Sunmonu
Senator Lanre Tejuosho
Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora
Pastor Tunde Bakare
Chief Dele Momodu
Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu
Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa
Chief Kola Ogunjobi and others.