Second son of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Oluwole, is dead.
He died Wednesday evening at the Wellington hospital, St Johnswood, London, according to a statement released by the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Publishers of the Tribune titles, which he was the publisher.
He was aged 70.
His death was as a result of the complications he suffered as a result of a car crash that occurred on 30 September, 2006.
Confirming the death in a statement late Wednesday, Edward Dickson, Editor-in-Chief and Managing Director, African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Publishers of the Tribune titles, said Chief (Oluwole) Awolowo had been in and out of hospital, home and abroad, since he was involved in the ghastly accident seven years ago on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.
The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, in a statement signed by its spokespman, Yinka Odumakin, said Chief Oluwole’s death was a big blow to the deceased’s family as well as the group.
“His death is a big pain and loss to all of us who are followers of the sage. We pray that the Almighty will strengthen our Mama and the entire family in this difficult moment. May his amiable soul rest in perfect peace,” Odumakin said in the statement.
Born at Ibadan on the 3 December, 1942 into the prestigious family of the Late Obafemi Awolowo, Wole was the third child and second son of Papa Obafemi Awolowo and Mama Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo.
He never discriminated against friends and relations who knew him as ‘Unbreakable’, a title given to him by Papa Awolowo himself for his tenacity of purpose.
At the tender age of 12, he joined the youth wing of the NCNC, the political party led by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe which was opposed to his father’s Action Group. This was not an act of rebellion, but freedom of expression and association which in fact the late Papa Awolowo admired in his son.
From Ibadan Grammar School, he proceeded to Leighton Park School, Reading, Berdshire, England for further studies. He was admitted into the famous Leeds College of Commerce where he graduated in Business Studies in the early sixties.
After sojourning abroad successfully he returned to Nigeria when the inclement clouds were gathering on the Action Group Party and his revered father was being befitted by the political turbulence of that era.
He thereafter took up jobs at managerial cadre at the Nigerian Tobacco Company, Ibadan, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation and the Nigerian Television Service, Lagos.
Having acquired experience in the public service, his entrepreneurial spirit propelled him into the business of Transportation, Petroleum Products dealership and Estate Management and Development amongst others
The responsibility of manning the family later fell squarely on him when his father was incarcerated and his beloved elder brother – Lawyer Segun Awolowo, passed on in terrible circumstances in 1963.
He became very active in politics. He joined the UPGA and effectively participated in the successful election of Chief TOS Benson as an Independent United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA) in 1964.
With the emergence of the military on Nigeria’s political landscape in 1966, he veered away completely from politics to active full-time business. Apart from transportation, petroleum products dealership and Estate Development, he was also a Director of Dideolu Stores Limited, Sopolu Investment Ltd, amongst others.
He won his first elective office in 1975 as a councilor representing Apapa in the then Lagos City Council. For discharging his responsibilities creditably in various city council committees, he had virtually no rival when the time came in 1979 to pick a UPN candidate for the Lagos State House of Assembly to represent Apapa Constituency.
He won a landslide victory and remained a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly till 1983 when the military came calling the second time in the chequered history of Nigeria.
A successful parliamentarian, he had a reputation as a smart political operator. With a high sense of responsibility and unusual capacity for hard work and vigour which are the hallmark of the Awolowo family, he was able to head several legislative committees on Environment, Education and Health.
He led the delegations that visited UK, Canada and USA on special assignments.
In 1984, the Board of the African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc appointed him Publisher/Vice Chairman of the Tribune titles.