In a few days’ time, it will be 57 years since our nation attained independence. The story of the struggle that led to that momentous occasion on October 1st 1960 will not be complete without mentioning late Pa OBAFEMI AWOLOWO. He was a leading voice among eminent nationalists of his time who successfully negotiated our nation’s liberation from the colonial masters.
His commitment to the growth and development of our nation was further demonstrated during the post-independence era. Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the first Premier of the Western region, was a shining light among his contemporaries and displayed an incredible ability to use leadership as a tool for the advancement of the welfare of the people.
Thirty years after his death, his thoughts and ideas on a wide range of issues relating to the economy, fiscal federalism and education among several others, are still as relevant today as they were back in time. His legacies and landmark achievements, particularly in the Western region including Lagos colony, have endured and remain a source of inspiration and benchmark for progressive leadership in the country.
Awolowo was a symbol for the aspiration of Western Nigeria during his lifetime. His achievements remain indelible across the nation. The vision of new generation leaders like us, is to consciously rise up to his ideals and principles.
The unveiling of the statue is thus in recognition of all the legacies that the Awolowo dynasty is enviably known for and the beginning of the realization of all his aspirations for a better Nigeria and the Yoruba people in particular.
Indeed, our joining hands with five other Western States in the Oodua Investment Conglomerate and championing the political and economic integration of Western Nigeria shall never be in vain.
In the same corollary, the position of Lagos State on restructuring remains the same as stipulated in the manifesto of our great party, the All progressives Congress, which states that “The APC shall initiate action to amend our Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to States and local governments in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit”. Hence, we welcome the restructuring committee of the APC presently going round the country.
We as a people are serious in making sure that this part of the party’s manifesto comes to pass and as the late sage, Pa Obafemi Awolowo, rightly said in one of his eternal thoughts and I quote”… The Nigeria which the British handed over to us, had in it the forces of its own disintegration. It is up to contemporary Nigerian leaders to neutralize these forces, preserve the Nigerian inheritance, and make all our people free, forward-looking and prosperous…” end of quote.
Hence, this monument is erected by the Lagos State government to celebrate the legendary achievements and contribution of an icon in political leadership, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
This statue is not just about beautifying the environment or serving as a tourist attraction, but more importantly, it is meant to be a constant reminder to all of us and future generations of the need to value the sacrifice of our heroes and strive to uphold and promote the ideals which they stood for.
May the labour of our heroes past never be in vain.
God bless the Awolowo family as we pray for the continued repose of his soul.
Thank you and God bless you all.