Supporters and loyalists of the late former Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, have alleged that many politicians who claimed to be Awoists have actually bastardised the legacies of the late politician.
Some of the loyalists spoke on Tuesday at the Ikenne country home of the Awolowos, at an occasion to commemorate his posthumous 109 birthday.
They said bad leadership was at the root of the challenge facing the country.
Those who spoke included Afenifere chieftain, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Senator in the first Republic, Prof. Banji Akintoye, a former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, and the daughter of the late sage, Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu.
Akintoye, who was the chairman on the event, said the present crop of leaders in the country did not think about the future of the people.
He noted that the free education spearheaded and introduced by the late sage in the then Western Region, had been bastardised by the present crop of leadership touting free education.
Akintoye said, “The leadership is awful, the followership is worst. There is no thought about the future of the people by the government. Awo is the one pillar that has contributed immensely to the development of the country, most especially in the Western Region.
“Our education quality has dropped because of the poor leadership. Nigerians do not benefit anything from government of today.”
Akintoye, however, called on the youth to take the bull by the horns, asking them to think of a new Nigeria.
He challenged Nigerian youths to fight for the country by sending corrupt politicians packing.
Okurounmu, however, blamed the present government for allegedly bastardising the legacies of the country’s founding fathers.
He advocated a paradigm shift in the leadership structure in the country.
Awolowo-Dosumu, on her own part, lamented that the youth in the country had been denied the opportunity to learn about their nation’s history.
She them to choose the right leaders during the elections.
Mimiko, in his own remark, noted that the biggest legacy of the late sage was the free access to quality education.
He added that the legacy would live forever.
However, a former governor of Ekiti State and current Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has said the All Progressives Congress will bring back the legacies of the late sage after winning the July 14 governorship poll in the state.
Fayemi said the four cardinal programmes: free education, free healthcare for children, pregnant, old and disabled; job creation and rural development, had been adopted as the APC’s manifestoes.
He spoke on Tuesday at the posthumous 109 birthday of Awolowo organised by the Afenifere Renewal Group in Ado Ekiti.
Fayemi lamented that the legacies, which he left behind had vanished in the state.
“Don’t let us lose hope, just like governor (Rotimi) Akeredolu has said, all these ideals of Awo, we will ensure we do all we could to return them to Ekiti.
“I appreciate the ARG for celebrating the late sage Awolowo. In truth all of us who are of Yoruba race, it is high time we took up our role as leaders. We are the leaders of the black race.”
Also extolling the virtues of Awolowo, Akeredolu said, “We are celebrating what Awolowo stood for which is the advancement of the Yoruba and the African race. Ours is pureness of heart. Awolowo had played his part, it remains us to play ours.
The chairman of Afenifere Renewal Group, Wale Osun, who was represented by Elder Ayo Afolabi, said, “The APC is the party that we the Afenifere have embraced; it is the party that can assist the Yoruba race to get to the Promised Land. We enjoin all people to vote for the party in Ekiti.”
Delivering a paper entitled, “Obafemi Awolowo and Transformative Politics: Sustaining The Worthy Legacy,” the guest lecturer, Prof. Williams Fawole, lamented that many politicians seeking political office in the country lacked germane ideas.
He therefore urged politicians to imitate Awolowo by being original.