Sunday, September 20, 2015 3:05 pm
Like every young man, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was ripe for marriage and he was looking for the bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh. His first port of call was a damsel, Augusta Omoriola Onafowokan. She was the first Ikenne girl to attend a secondary school, and after her completion of the CMS Seminary in Lagos, she worked at the Colonial Secretariat as a clerk. However bright the love burnt in young Awolowo’s heart, that road was a dead end. No thanks to the lady’s father, Gabriel Onafowokan, the Native Administration Treasurer of Ijebu Province. The man put his foot down: NO to that marriage!
This story is narrated by Insa Nolte, in his book, “Obafemi Awolowo and the Making of Remo: The Local Politics of a Nigerian Nationalist.”
Here is how Nolte puts it: “Like many men of his generation, Obafemi Awolowo looked for a wife from his own community and speciûcally the town of Ikenne. Born in 1915, Augusta Omoriola Onafowokan was the first Ikenne girl to attend a secondary school, and after her completion of the CMS Seminary in Lagos, she worked at the Colonial Secretariat as a clerk. Augusta was the daughter of Gabriel Onafowokan, the Native Administration Treasurer of Ijebu Province, and at that time one of Ikenne’s most prominent citizens.
Like Awolowo, Onafowokan was a child of early Christian converts and a highly educated patron of St Saviour’s Church, Ikenne. As the holder of one of the most highly paid administrative posts available to locals, he was a respected member of the local elite and a man of political weight. In 1930, before his involvement in the bitter politics surrounding local opposition to Awùjalè Adesanya, Onafowokan had been offered the throne of Ikenne. However, by that time his administrative career was so successful that he rejected it, pointing out that his income and influence as a ruler – a position interesting enough to promote bitter disputes over the throne in many communities – would be much lower than in his current position.
When Awolowo asked for Augusta’s hand in marriage, her father turned him down. According to Oyesanya (1992: 38), Augusta was already engaged to another man and her father had little choice in the matter… It is likely that Onafowokan was also swayed by other considerations. Described by his children as a strict disciplinarian (Oyesanya 1992: 49), Onafowokan was a man who brooked no opposition, and Awolowo’s self-assured demeanour and unwillingness to supplicate others may have piqued him. Moreover, Awolowo’s father had died young and left him with few material resources while Onafowokan, like most early converts and their descendants, had used his possession of western education and literacy to establish himself economically.”
It was after that attempt that God provided Awolowo with his heart throb, Hannah Idowu Dideolu (HID).
That is why a blogger, Bayo Adeyinka, wrote that Awo’s marriage to HID was a “a marriage not meant to be, but a jewel she later became.”
Adapted from: https://www.facebook.com/bayo.adeyinka.7/posts/10206460261238904