Obafemi Awolowo the late Nigerian nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence, was widely known for his wise sayings and words of predictions and was also credited with predicting the emergence of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
The Obafemi Awolowo Foundation produced the most popular quotes and predictions by one of the greatest Nigerians ever to come out of the western part of the country.
Awo on an Ijaw Presidency of Nigeria
“I look forward to the day – not in the far distant future – when an Ijaw would be President of our Republic, and a Birom his Vice or vice versa.”
– Speech at the UPN’s First Campaign (1978): In Voice of Wisdom (1981)
Awo On Future Conflicts
“The seed for a future minority problem in the North has been sown by the Government. It will grow with growing political consciousness on the part of those who settle permanently in the North.”
– Path to Nigerian Freedom (1947)
Awo On The Risk That The Few Rich Are Running
“We have in our midst about 1,000 rich Nigerians who in the past cleverly rigged the sources of the wealth of our nation, and we are now tactically poised to oligopolise all the munificent avenues of riches that may supervene now and in the future.
“The rich, and the highly-placed in business, public life, and government, are running a dreadful risk in their callous neglect of the poor and down-trodden.”
– Address delivered to Ondo House of Assembly (1980): Voice of Wisdom, 1981.
Awo’s Self-Assessment As A Leader
“While many men in power and public office are busy carousing in the midst of women of easy virtue and men of low morals, I, as a few others like me, am busy at my desk thinking about the problems of Nigeria and proffering solutions to them. Only the deep can call to the deep.”
Awo on State Police
“Under my proposals, Police is a residual subject, because the immediate problem of maintaining law and order can only be properly and more effectively tackled by the State Government.”
– The Strategy and Tactics of the Peoples’ Republic of Nigeria, 1970.
Awo on Population As Basis Of Sharing Revenue
“In a country where the accuracy of the census figures is so much in acrimonious dispute, it is gross and aggravating provocation to urge that population should be used as a basis of sharing what belongs to others who are much fewer in number.”
-The Strategy and Tactics of the People’s Republic of Nigeria, 1970.
Awo On Creation of More States for Minorities
“The creation of the Mid- West State will be the beginning of a journey which may be short or long but which will irresistibly bring Nigeria to the goal of true federalism and more States, and of individual freedom and happiness for all our people.”
– Awolowo and Nigerian Federalism, 1988.
Awo On Nigeria As Created By The British
“It is incontestable that the British not only made Nigeria, but also hand it to us whole on their surrender of power. But the Nigeria, which they handed over to us, had in it the forces of its own disintegration. It is up to contemporary Nigerian leaders to neutralize these forces, preserve the Nigerian inheritance, and make all our people free, forward-looking and prosperous.”
– The Peoples’ Republic, 1968.
Awo on Self-Seeking African Leaders
“Africa has produced more self-seeking leaders than public-spirited ones. But, thank goodness, the masses of the people remain largely unspoilt and uncorrupted, and are developing fast the technique of differentiating gold from lead and real metal from dross. What is more, they have begun to show their preparedness for very rough action against any political leader who may be caught in the game of public trickery and fraud.”
– The People’s Republic, 1968.
Awo On “The Courage To Look”
“The gloom of the world is but a shadow, and there is radiance in the darkness, if we could but see. To be able to see this radiance, all you need to do is to cultivate the courage to look, and the insight to apprehend the light which shines, at all times and in all places, for those who make Truth the object of their daily pursuit.”
Speech to University Graduands (1967): In Voice of Courage, 1981