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Awolowo, Obafemi (1909–1987)

Hellen Olubunmi Jaiyeola Akinade


Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo was a Nigerian nationalist and Yoruba political leader. Awolowo was an astute nationalist, politician, and reformer who played a frontline role in Nigeria's quest for independence from the colonial masters. His contribution to the political and economic development of the Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria is held in high regard. Awolowo's political and development ideology is generally referred to as Awoism in Nigeria and his close lieutenants – generally referred to as Awoists – hold on to this broadly welfarist ideology up to this day. Even in death, Awolowo remains relevant in Nigerian politics, as every politician who craves Yoruba support identifies with his name and successes even when he does not claim to be an Awoist overtly. Awolowo held many political and chieftaincy titles, in recognition of his numerous contributions to Nigeria's development. He was a renowned writer with many publications to his credit. He was a fighter for true federalism, and he believed that “it was the destiny of the intelligentsia of each of Nigeria's ethnic groups to organize the groups and come into some federal arrangement for governing the nation” ( Uwechue 1996 : 60). In the early twenty-first century, Awolowo's political ideologies remained compelling to contemporary Nigeria, especially in the Yoruba-dominated Southwestern Region. A self-made man with a humble beginning, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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