Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Fake Awoists Exposed!


Hannah Idowu Dideolu (HID) sitting as her great husband of blessed memory stands by her side in their good old days.



HID attacks fake Awoists
~ By Victor Oriola


YEYE Oodua Hannah Idowu Dideolu (HID) Awolowo yesterday, described the Chairman of the Editorial Board of The Nation, Sam Omatseye, as a hypocrite over his tirade against the Awolowo dynasty in his back page column in the newspaper last Monday.

A statement personally signed by the matriarch of the Awolowo family, a copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Compass, reads: “My attention has been drawn to an article in yesterday’s (Monday) edition of The Nation newspaper, written by one Sam Omatseye and titled ‘Awo family without an Awo’.

“Ordinarily, I do not join issues with uninformed individuals nor do I comment on articles written in uncouth and downright vile and violent language.

“Hypocrites that claim to be more catholic than the Pope or more Awoist than his family, when they, in fact, hobnob with so-called pariahs when it suits them and their pockets certainly do not engage my attention, usually.

“However, this piece, the latest in a long campaign of calumny against my person and family and which, if reports are to be believed, is the opening salvo of a fresh campaign apparently aimed at destroying and demystifying the Awolowo family, deserves an appropriate response, particularly since, we are informed, such campaign has been adopted as the preferred policy and strategy by a particular political party to consolidate its hold on its newly acquired political power base.



“At 95, I have lived long enough to expect common civility from younger ones, assuming that they received and imbibed proper home training. Having just lost my daughter less than two months ago, I also expect that normal people would spare me the kind of vitriolic attack that was unleashed on my person and my family, particularly as such an attack was entirely unprovoked.

“It is pertinent to mention here that, for all their protestations as the true children of Awo, the top hierarchy of the leadership of the ACN has not deemed it fit to offer me their condolences on the bereavement either by telephone, letter, or personal visit, up till now.

“I should certainly not expect anyone in their right mind to, in the same article, rake up the old wounds of the previous tragic loss of my first son and then proceed to question and, indeed, dismiss the notion that he could possibly have been fit to carry his illustrious father’s mantle. All in a bid to situate Mr. Omatseye’s ‘piper’ as the anointed heir of a heritage that can never be purchased.

“For the avoidance of doubt, my son Olusegun was a graduate of Cambridge University and he was called to the bar in the UK after a stint at the Inner Temple, where his father also studied. These are facts that are open for verification by anyone who wishes to do so.

“Our expectations of Segun were tragically cut short and it is a cruel irony that a so-called Awoist has chosen to taunt me with this. With friends like this, who needs an enemy?

“Omatseye claims that, ‘in all his tribulations, the family (Awo) had was not his flesh and blood’.

“One of the basic tenets of journalism is that facts are sacred but comments are free. Perhaps it should not be surprising that Omatseye failed even in this. I would like to refer him to the dedication contained in Awo’s last book, first published in 1987 ‘The Travails of Democracy and the Rule of Law’. I quote: ‘To my children, Omotola, Oluwole, Ayodele, Olatokunbo. They also bravely weathered the fierce and howling storm from sixty-two to sixty-six; they suffered mental agony in silence; they provided besides sources of cheer for Papa and Mama, in the four-year long journey through the dark and dreary tunnel’.

“As for my personal role in my husband’s life before, during and after the crisis, I commend to Omatseye most of his publications, particularly ‘AWO’, ‘My March Through Prison’, and ‘The Travails of Democracy and the Rule of Law’.

“It is surely to the utter shame of a so-called avowed Awoist that he has exposed his absolute lack of any knowledge of Awo’s life. I would not be surprised if Omatseye was unaware, as many of his cohorts also appear to be, that I was the first person to use the broom as a party symbol when leading the party’s campaign for the Federal elections that were held during my husband’s incarceration.

“Omatseye’s dishonest claim of respect for Awo’s thoughts and opinions is further debunked by his notion that Awo was unable to correctly assess his wife of 48 years (at the time of his transition).

“The abject insult that was heaped on my person by Omatseye, for daring to rise above partisanship and pursue the common good has caused me the kind of pain that can only be dealt with by offering it to God, whose wheel of justice may grind slowly, but is guaranteed to grind exceedingly fine.

“I notice a reference to ‘dynastic curse’ in the article under reference. I totally reject that in my family, by the blood of Jesus and I decree, by His power, that any contrary pronouncement shall return to its sender.

“As for the Awo family’s non-attendance at recent inauguration ceremonies, as decent and dignified people we know that etiquette does not permit you to attend functions to which you have not been invited.

“My daughter, Awolowo Dosumu’s public career and foray into partisan politics had at various times in the past been described in disparaging terms on the pages of The Nation newspaper. The reference to her in the article under reference is, therefore, nothing new.

“I am glad, however, that, by Omatseye’s own admission and inference, all those who recently assumed governance in the South-West have done so by riding Awo’s coat tail. What baffles me, however, is the inverted logic that suggests that his own daughter had no right to his coat tail while these others do.

“The mantra when my daughter was contesting, which emanated from the same group that has now metamorphosed into the conquering army of the West, was ‘a o le sin Baba k’a sin omo’ (we cannot serve the father and the child) has obviously been jettisoned as many of the children and spouses of these same people have now emerged winners in various electoral contests. One law for the goose, another for the gander.

“Like her father before her, she has taken electoral defeat in her stride and has since returned to her profession as an Occupational Health Physician. In other words, she has moved on. It is about time that everyone else did too.

“In any case, Dr Awolowo-Dosumu’s role and activities at the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation since its inception in 1992 have been acknowledged and recognized, even internationally, by fair-minded people who are not so blinkered by their inordinate desire to ‘own’ a legacy that belongs to all that they become economical with the truth and unleash despicable propaganda against people who have done nothing to deserve it.

“Only two years ago, the series of activities organized by the Foundation attracted high-level national and international participation and were favourably received by the general public.

“I recall that some so-called Awoists refused to support the initiative on the pretext that the support of the ‘wrong crowd’ had also been invited. Of course, this did not prevent the full participation of these ‘purists’ in the fund-raising ceremony for Sir Ahmadu

Bello’s centenary celebrations, an event that was organised by the then governors of the Northern states, none of whom belonged to the party of ‘the perfect ones’.

“For clarification, I applaud the way in which the governors and all concerned rallied to the cause of celebrating Sir Ahmadu Bello, one of Nigeria’s founding fathers. I simply quote this example to highlight the breathtaking hypocrisy of these modern-day Pharisees.

“I believed then, and I still believe now that Chief Awolowo’s right to be honoured and celebrated, particularly in the territory in which he held sway and in which he performed the feats for which he will be forever remembered, should not be predicated on political party affiliation.

“As far as I am aware, Chief Awolowo has not founded any of the political parties existing in Nigeria today. His political associates, those who actually knew him personally and worked with him, can be found in several different parties. Let me remind Omatseye and others like him that Awo expounded the theory of dialectics in his last presidential address to the UPN at Abeokuta in 1983.

“His thoughts and ideas have been proved beyond any doubt to be the blueprint for Nigeria’s, even Africa’s development and it remains a source of joy to me to see and hear people from all political parties, using him as their roadmap to success in governance. Talk about vindication!

“I, and my family, refuse, therefore, to be hamstrung or blackmailed into going into the bondage of exclusive association with people who clearly resent and despise us and have made no secret of that fact.

“We applaud all those who have tried their best to approximate Chief Awolowo’s record of service and we extend our best wishes to those, including those in Omatseye’s list, who are just setting out on their journey of governance. We pray that they may succeed, even as Awo did. “To do so, however, they have to remain faithful to his ideals and work sacrificially, as he did, for the benefit of the people in whose trust they today they occupy high office and whose expectations have been raised that another Awo era has arrived.

“Finally, let me say this. When last I checked, there was no law in Nigeria that compelled anyone to go into partisan politics. Under a democratic dispensation, freedom of association is also guaranteed.

“Mr. Omatseye would, no doubt, balk at any suggestion that he should forgo any of his rights as a bona fide citizen of Nigeria, including the above-mentioned rights and liberties, under any circumstances. As my husband always used to say (and include in many of his writings), however, you must always concede the rights to others that you claim for yourself. This is an important lesson for Omatseye.

“To the uninformed, Chief Awolowo’s legacies begin and end with partisan politics. Those who know better, however, recognise that his legacies as a thinker, visionary and administrator hold far wider and more profound implications for, and potential to impact, posterity. My children know this and remain free to choose, individually and collectively, which aspect of their paterfamilies’ legacy they wish to promote and progress.

“My family fully recognizes, cherishes and welcomes the larger Awo family, regardless of status or location. But, we will not be harassed into associating with anyone or group, no matter how loudly they proclaim their self-righteousness.

“Let me end with one of Papa’s favourite quotes: ‘What stronger breastplate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just, And he but naked, though lock’d up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted.’”


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