An Intimate Side of Mama Awolowo


This is a tribute to a great ICON, a woman who bore the pain of carrying on the heavy burden of wanting her country to prosper; a legacy of her late husband, a politician of note Obafemi Awolowo.



He was a national hero in the Nigerian history and his voice and love for his country lives on many years after he left the shores of this world. Every politician and political party particularly from South West Nigerian rode on the legacy of Baba Awolowo during campaigns. There is just this tangible and aliveness about his legacy that all of our leaders want to associate with.

We all continue to celebrate this great man that left a deep foot print in the sands of our times but we forget the strong and brave woman behind the scene who stood by him through thick and thin. He refred to her as his “Jewel of inestimable  value”. When he finally lets down his guard in private allowing his shoulders hang down after holding it so high in front of the people trying to be strong for the good of all, she was there holding him and letting him know that all would be well.

Mama Awolowo was fondly called Mama HID( Hannah Idowu Dideolu). 


Watching a Tribute on this great woman made me see the intimate side of her life that I wasn’t privy to before and I’d like to share it. Here is what a few family members and those who worked with her closely had to say about her:

Her Driver: Mama would always remember that someone wanted to see her even when protocol would not allow the person in. And she would send for such an individual.

Her Cook: Mama Eat in the morning and afternoon but didn’t like to eat at night…I call it maintaining a healthy life style

Her Grand-daughter 1: Mama always encouraged us to save for a rainy day. Her rainy day was to always have something to give whenever anyone showed up in need family included.

Her Maid: Mama liked been told the truth even when you are in the wrong. And “I am sorry is her favorite word”.

Her Daughter: When father died Mama kept her cool and pulled through but when she was hit by the loss of her son, it hit her badly.

Her Grand-daughter 2: Mama didn’t spend money anyhow. You couldn’t get an extra cent from her if she doesn’t want to give it in a business transaction

Mama herself in a pre-recorded interview said: “I took food to my husband in prison”
Her pains were quiet and hidden from the world through the years. She found solace in God; she loved, lived and sacrificed for others to live.

A Lesson from her: Her pains didn’t break her, she broke her pain and still lived to see her 99th birthday, and a few weeks from celebrating her centenary. Life can be tough and sometimes drop very bitter pills on our laps but there is a lot more to live for and celebrate. Hers is a celebration of life. MAMA HID, THE GREAT WOMAN BEHIND PA OBAFEMI AWOLOWO’S SUCCESS STORY …SUN RE O! May her gentle soul rest in peace and may her good legacy live on to many generations.

Photo Credit: News of the People

Adebisi Adetunji

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