Mama HID Awolowo who died last Saturday at the age of 99 may be given a state burial according to President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said this on Sunday through a delegation he sent to the Ikenne country home of the Awolowos led by the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal, and the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin.
The President also commiserated with the entire family of Awolowo, the Yoruba people, Nigerians and indeed Africans at large.
Lawal said he was with the President when the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, broke the news of Mama’s death to him, “and from his (President’s) countenance he was disturbed.”
He said, “We have this to say that Mama had lived to fulfil the saying that ‘behind a successful man, there is a successful, strong, courageous and bold woman.’
“Mama lived an exemplary life for the Yoruba people. Our regret in government is that Mama did not live long enough to see the transformation that this country will undergo with the active participation of her son-in-law, with the active participation of her granddaughter, so, this is something that saddens us.
“Had she waited one or two years, I am sure she would have left this world a very, very happy woman indeed because the fulfilment of what she stood for and what her husband stood for would have finally come to fruition.
“On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has also offered to participate in all activities leading to her final interment, if Awolowo family is gracious enough to give him the opportunity so to do, the Federal Government mourns our departed mother.”
The President’s delegation, which met the Vice President and other members of the Awolowo family at Ikenne, was led by Mallam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff.
He was accompanied by the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), Babachir David Lawal, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt.-Gen. Abayomi Gabriel Olanishakin and the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Vice Marshal Morgan Monday.
Buhari, according to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, described the late Mrs Awolowo as “an institution in her own right” and “a model of motherhood”.
He said to the Osinbajos that the late Chief Awolowo was one of the greatest women political icons in Africa who was revered for her remarkable virtues.
Buhari also noted that her shining virtues as “a great mother, wife and motivator”, would live after her.
The SGF said the President was willing to give a befitting state burial to HID if the family permitted.