President Muhammadu Buhari and the 36 state governors of the federation are expected to bid the Co-founder/Chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, publishers of the Tribune titles, Chief Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, farewell as she is committed to mother earth on November 25.
This was disclosed by the Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa, at a press conference organised by the media-sub committee of the HID Awolowo Burial Central Planning Committee to reel out programmes slated for Mama’s burial.
The conference was jointly addressed by the Chairman of the HID Awolowo Central Planning Committee, Ambassador Olatokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu; Reverend Tola Oyediran; the Chairman of the Media sub-committee, Chief Taiwo Alimi; and the Managing Director of ANN Plc, Edward Dickson.
Adeoluwa said invitation letters had been dispatched to the Presidency and that the state governors had equally been invited through the secretaries to the state governments.
The SSG noted that the late Yeye Oodua deserved a befitting burial because of the motherly role she played in the history of the nation.
Adeoluwa said further that the state government had dedicated November 23 as a special day of tributes in honour of the departed soul.
He said the event would hold at the Sagamu International Stadium, Sagamu between 12pm and 4pm, adding that Fuji icon, Alhaji Wasiu Ayinde, and other artistes would be on the bandstand.
Adeoluwa said people from different zones of the state were expected at the programme.
He added: “The Ogun State Government is involved in everything. We are powering the events. We are fully involved in the programmes. Mama belonged to everybody, not just the Yoruba. The governor is the chief mourner. On Monday 23rd, Ogun State Government and people will be celebrating the matriarch of the Awolowo family and bid her farewell.
“The governor will be hosting his brother governors. Letters have been dispatched to 35 state governors and to Mr. President, that they should come and honour mama. Chairmen and legislative arms of the 20 LGs have also been invited. It will be an afternoon of tributes from the governors.”
Adeoluwa also disclosed that the Ogun State Executive Council would deliberate on the proposal by Governor Ibikunle Amosun to immortalise the matriarch and probably approve same on Monday next week.
While reeling out the programmes slated for Mama’s glorious exit, Awolowo-Dosumu said the burial programmes would last for 11 days.
She explained that Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, venue for the funeral service, would only accommodate 690 guests, noting that different designated centres with large television screens had been provided for other well-wishers to participate in the funeral service.
The chairman of the Central Planning Committee said the church would only accommodate eminent personalities and family members, while appealing to other guests to make do with the provision at the Obafemi Awolowo Square and the Apostolic Church, all in Ikenne, for the burial service.
Dosumu-Awolowo said about 60 bishops from the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and 300 priests would be part of the funeral service.
She also disclosed that the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E.O. Adeboye; the Presiding Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare; and other anointed ministers of God, including the Muslim community, would be participating in the burial activities.
The chairman also informed newsmen that there would be no vehicular movement into Ikenne township on the day of the burial, adding that enough shuttle buses would be provided to convey people so as to ease the flow of traffic.
Awolowo-Dosumu said Mama’s final journey would begin on November 15 with a lying-in-state at Park Lane, Apapa, Lagos State, which would be followed by a Christian Interdenominational Service at the same venue.
Her body departs for Ibadan, Oyo State on November 16, with another lying-in-state at her husband’s residence in Oke-Bola area of Ibadan.
This would be closely followed by a commendation service at Agbeni Methodist Church and another commendation service by the Liyangu Ruling House/HID Awolowo Church, Sagamu, Ogun State.
Mama’s body would thereafter be taken to the Tribune House for a lying-in-state and a day of tributes as the day marks the 66th Founder’s Day of the Nigerian Tribune by the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
On November 17, there would be orations/tributes by different groups, including Afenifere, Yoruba Unity Forum, Yoruba Council of Elders, National Youth Service Corps, Oodua Foundation in the United States of America among others.
Later in the day, Pastor Bakare would be ministering at a programme tagged: “Praise the Lord.”
There will be the presentation of Mama’s biography, titled: “In the radiance of the Sage (The life and times of Mama HID Awolowo),” on November 18 and service of songs by the Women Group of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, Diocese of Remo.
November 19 will feature orations/tributes by universities that conferred honorary doctorate degrees on Mama Awolowo and Service of Songs by the Christian Association of Nigeria.
There will be traditional dance, tagged: “Ode-Iyalu,” in the early hours of November 20, which would be followed by Muslim prayers; tributes by Ikenne Development Association; Liyangu, Awolowo, Ligu-Ogodo-Adebowale families and Sadeke Descendants.
Also, the Ife Council of Chiefs and others would also be on ground.
November 21 would be a day set aside for theatre artistes, including the Ogunde Yoruba Theatre, with songs and play, with the theme: “HID Unto Glory” and other theatre groups to be led by Chief Jimoh Aliu and Adebayo Salami. There will also be service of songs by choirs from various churches.
The Apostolic Church will be conducting a service of songs on Sunday November 22 while different women organisations would be celebrating HID on Monday November 23 and a service of songs by the Methodist Church of Nigeria on the same day.
Pastor Adeboye would be conducting a private prayer session for the Awolowo family onNovember 24 and a Christian wake keep to be conducted by the Anglican Communion.
These programmes would be preceded by Woro dance in the morning.
Dickson, in his remarks, assured newsmen of comfortable coverage as he disclosed that the accreditation of newsmen would commence next week Wednesday.
Dickson also said a functional media centre would be provided to ease the work of the journalists in reporting all the burial activities.
Oyediran appreciated the journalists for their support since the demise of Mama in terms of adequate news coverage.