Obafemi Awolowo

Politician

1909 – 1987

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Who was Obafemi Awolowo?

Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo was a Nigerian nationalist, political writer and statesman. His first name, Obafemi, means 'the king loves me' and the surname Awolowo, the source of his nickname, Awo, means 'the mystic commands honour'. A Yoruba and native of Ikenne in Ogun State of Nigeria, he started his career,like some of his notable contemporaries, as a nationalist in the Nigerian Youth Movement of which he became Western provincial secretary, and was responsible for much of the progressive social legislation that has made Nigeria a modern nation. He was an active journalist and trade unionist as a young man, editing The Nigerian Worker amongst other publications while also organizing the Nigerian Produce Traders Association and serving as secretary of the Nigerian Motor Transport Union. After earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Nigeria from a London University through correspondence, he went to the UK where he earned a law degree as an external student. While there, he founded the Egbe Omo Oduduwa, a pan-Yoruba cultural society, which set the stage for the formation of the Action Group, a liberal nationalist political party. As Leader of the Group, he represented the Western Region in all the constitutional conferences intended to advance Nigeria on the path to independence. He was the first Leader of Government Business and Minister of Local Government and Finance and first Premier of the Western Region under Nigeria's parliamentary system, from 1952 to 1959, and was the official Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament to the Balewa government from 1959 to 1963. In addition to all these, Awolowo was the first individual in the modern era to be named Leader of the Yorubas, a position which has come over time to be conventionally ascribed to his successors as the official political leader of the Yoruba peoples of Nigeria.

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Born
Mar 6, 1909
Ikenne
Religion
  • Christianity
Ethnicity
  • Yoruba people
Nationality
  • Nigeria
Profession
Education
  • Law degree, London School of Economics
  • Bachelor of Commerce, University of London
    ( - 1944)
  • Wesley College, Ibadan
Lived in
  • Ogun State
Died
May 9, 1987

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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