The last matriarch of the Awolowo family in Ogun State, Chief Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo (HID) has been laid to rest yesterday beside her late husband, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo.
The late matriarch died on Saturday, September 19, 2015 – 67 days to her 100th birthday; and she was interred after 10 days of funeral events in her hometown of Ikenne around 1:45 pm.
She had been put up for a grand lying-in-state in a glass casket at her home for several days, and prominent people from within and outside the country had been visiting to pay their last respects. And then in a carnival-like procession, her body was conveyed in a horse-drawn carriage to her mausoleum; but not before she also travelled in an open-roofed military Jeep.
The two surviving children of HID – Rev. Omotola Oyediran and her husband, together with Ambassador Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu with her husband, and all grandchildren and great-grandchildren were at the graveside when the late matriarch was lowered into her grave.
The Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh and the Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche led over 50 other senior clerics to conduct the interment service. Pastor Tunde Bakare was among the clerics that attended the funeral service.
Before this time, funeral rites had been held at Our Saviour’s Anglican Church in Ikenne.
News reporters and others were not allowed to attend the interment of Mama Awolowo which took place at the mausoleum where her husband was interred in 1987. Only the bishops and other high-ranking members of the clergy together with immediate family of the Awolowo dynasty were allowed to attend.
She was buried in a heavy, gold-plated steel casket with figures of angels placed on its sides.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Earnest Shonekan, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, former Chief of General Staff, General Oladipo Diya, business moguls Aliko Dangote and Oba Otudeko, and 16 governors were at the funeral ceremony.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s helicopter landed at Model School, Ikenne – which has now been renamed by the Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, at 2:15 pm after the interment, and he headed directly to Efunyela Hall where he held a brief meeting lasting 30 minutes with the immediate Awolowo family. Then accompanied by Gov. Amosun, he visited the mausoleum where he spent about two minutes before leaving.
Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and his wife – a grand-daughter of Mama HID Awolowo were also at the funeral and interment services.
Senate President Bukola Saraki and several senators and members of the House of Reps had earlier arrived around 10:16 am. National leaders and Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and wife Senator Oluremi Tinubu were also at the occasion.
Former state governors Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Chief Lateef Jakande, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Chief Christopher Alao-Akala, Chief Segun Oni, and Otunba Niyi Adebayo among others were all present.
Governors Segun Mimiko of Ondo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State and his wife Iara, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State and Simon Lalong of Plateau State were all in attendance.
Members of the FEC who graced the occasion included Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami and Minister of Communication Adebayo Shittu all graced the occasion.
Afenifere leaders at the funeral service included Senator Femi Okunrunmu, Chief Gbenga Kaka, Chief Biyi Durojaiye, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, and Chief Olanihun Ajayi among others were at the funeral service.