Jonathan In Ogun, Names Liberty Stadium After Awolowo
TWENTY-THREE years after he passed on, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was yesterday honoured by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Jonathan, who was on a state visit to Ogun State, named the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan after the late sage.
Although coming two decades after the death of the astute politician, under whose tenure as the Premier of the old Western Nigeria, the stadium was built, Jonathan made the announcement during a call on matriarch of the late eminent Nigeria’ family, Chief Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo at her country home as part of activities marking his official visit to the state.
The President, who was accompanied by the Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel pledged to continue with Awolowo’s dreams and vision.
Spotting the same “agbada,” a Yoruba dress with his host (Daniel), the President started his speech thus: “Awo, the voice of Wisdom, Awo, the voice of reasoning, Awo, the voice of courage.”
He recalled that the late Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) leader started his political career early in life , explaining that the main ambition of Awolowo in life was to improve the quality of life of all Nigerians.
“Chief Awolowo was a visionary leader. We will continue with his vision. We will continue with his dream to transform this great country so that those of us who are alive with his children, by the time his great grand children will get to our age, Nigeria will be a different country.”
He thanked Mrs. Awolowo for supporting his administration. “The Awolowo’s family is not the family of Ogun, it (family) has grown beyond his town, his region and state; it is now the family of Nigeria,” Jonathan said.
Earlier in her address, Madam Awolowo told the President that “I wish to encourage you to be very strong and focused in your service to the fatherland.
“I would not wish to feign ignorance of the enormous challenges prevalent in governance in Nigeria, especially at such level as the Presidency.”
She added: “It is, however, not to say that the challenges are insurmountable. The presence of challenges is not to stop a man from reaching his goal but to bring out the best in him.”
Madam Awolowo volunteered to donate some books written by her late husband to analyse the challenges of the country and proffered solutions to them.
She thanked the President for honouring her late husband at Nigeria’s 50th anniversary celebration as well as naming the Liberty stadium after him.
The President had earlier been received at Isheri, a border town with Lagos by Daniel, where he inspected a guard of honour.
Jonathan, as part of activities marking the visit commissioned and inspected some projects in the state. Among them were the Western Publishing Company, publishers of National Compass Newspapers and its sister Radio station.
He also commissioned Obafemi Awolowo Road, the Sagamu new stadium and the multi-million naira National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation Camp.
The day’s activities were rounded off with a state banquet at the Government House, Abeokuta. The tour continues this morning (Saturday).
Apparently impressed with the large turn-out of residents at the commissioning of the Shagamu new stadium, Jonathan said: “I want to sincerely thank the government and my dear brothers and sisters from Ogun State for this honour and warm reception accorded me and my entourage.
“I have to thank you very sincerely. You have shown your love, you have shown your support and demonstrated your encouragement. I sincerely thank you. Let me sincerely appreciate what the government is doing.”
He thanked the governor for his vision and mission and his quality leadership, which he said the governor had demonstrated since providence brought him to power in 2003.
“I know that Gbenga Daniel’s days as governor of Ogun State are numbered, on
29th of May, next year, he’s going to leave and I’m sure that the Ogun people will miss him. We pray that after serving as governor, you will still serve Nigeria in very high capacity,” he said .