Former President Goodluck Jonathan was among dignitaries who thronged the Ikenne country home of the Awolowos to pay tributes to their matriarch, Chief Dideolu Awolowo, who passed away on last Saturday.
He arrived the home at exactly 1.17pm in company with his wife, Patience; a former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives, Mrs. Mulikat Akande-Adeola; and a former Chairman of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Mr. Jide Adeniji, among others.
Jonathan said the death of HID Awolowo forced him and his wife out of their “hidding” place, adding that he had resolved not to go out for one year, after leaving office.
Condoling with the family, the former President noted that the deceased enjoyed a rare privilege of living for extra 29 years, when compared to the biblical prescription of three scores and 10.
He further described her as a rare mother, whose milk of kindness, milk of encouragement as well as milk of advice Nigerians still needed.
He said, “My wife and I are not mourning because mama has passed on. For me, we believe that it’s a rare privilege to add extra 29 years to the biblical three scores and ten; it’s not easy.
“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have been mourning but mama was a rare mother. She was a woman of virtue described in the Bible and she was a mother to all of us; a mother whose milk of kindness we still need, her milk of encouragement we still need, her milk of advice we still need and today she’s no more with us.
“We, just like the immediate children, and indeed this country, have missed her. Within this period, myself and my wife have been hiding; we don’t even go out. We thought we’ll be hiding for at least twelve months.
“But in this particular case, we cannot hide. So, we have come for the condolence and to encourage our brothers and sisters that we are together. God brought her for all of us. She just had to be the direct mother of few but she’s a mother to all. We shall mourn more than even the direct children would.”
A former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, described the deceased as a “truly noble lady, who contributed exceedingly to Nigeria’s independence by providing inestimable support to one of the countries founding fathers.”
He added that in later years after independence, she became a huge source of inspiration to many national leaders.
The national chairman, All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, described the late HID Awolowo as “a legend, an Iroko and a lighthouse to all Nigerians.”