“Later, Chief Awolowo took poison, but the public was told
that he had died in the bathroom while brushing his teeth”.
What led to the death of Chief Obafemi Awolowo? Let’s
deal! The cause of Papa Awo death raises some
questions. Let’s look into the history of Obafemi Awolowo
and last things he was involved in before his death.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo was known as a founder of
nationalism in Nigeria. He was a lawyer, publisher,
nationalist, and significant political figure. Obafemi
Awolowo held the Premier’s chair in the Western region
from 1954 until Nigeria got complete independence from
the UK in 1960. Chief Awolowo took a leading role in the
constitutional conferences conducted in London and
Lagos which opened the path for Nigerian independence.
Obafemi Awolowo was a leader of the opposition in the
first Parliament after gaining independence and was
considered as a Chief of the Yoruba people.
In 1979 and 1983, Papa Awo (as he was often called) was
a presidential candidate of the Unity Party. But he lost
the elections to Shehu Shagari who represented National
Party from the Northern part of Nigeria. When the
Government of Shehu Shagari was deposed because of a
military coup in the 31st of December, 1983, Chief
Obafemi Awolowo moved away from political affairs.
Some reports alleged that Papa Awo committed self-
murder because he wanted to stop the probable growth
of military tribunal into an uprising. Chief Awolowo was
going to drive it with his political allies. The main reason
was the intention of General Ibrahim Babangida, Nigerian
Military President, to keep the helm of the country for life
at that time. Obafemi Awolowo planned to remove
Ibrahim Babangida from power with the help of armed
But, unfortunately, one of the participants in that
campaign betrayed them and handed the record of the
conspiracy to the military.
When everything was revealed, General Babangida held a
meeting to Chief Awolowo and threatened him with
prison and exile. Then Papa Awo allegedly decided to
commit self-murder instead of spending the rest of his
life in prison.
But before that, Obafemi Awolowo gathered his
‘comrades-in-arms’ again. At that meeting, the name of
their traitor was revealed. According to Nigerian politician
Mr Adebayo Adeyinka, it was Chief Lateef Jakande, the
former Executive Governor of Lagos State. Although
Jakande denied his guilt, the evidence was against him.
To tell the truth, the former Governor still denies that they
had any disagreements with Papa Awo.
Later Chief Awolowo took poison, but the public was told
that he had died in the bathroom while brushing his teeth.
Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a political leader and
true father of the nation. He believed that Nigeria should
invest its resources into education and develop
Papa Awo organised the free of charge primary education
for all pupils in the Western Region. Besides, he founded
the first TV broadcast in Africa (1959). Also, Chief
Awolowo provided electricity for Nigerian regions using
earnings from the highly profitable cocoa export. He also
led a children’s free health care program. Papa Awo
created the name for Nigeria currency- Naira.
Perhaps, the time will come, and we’ll receive official
and true information about Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s
cause of death. Indeed, Papa Awo is a great Nigerian
politician and founder of the nation. His contribution to
the development of Nigeria is undeniable.