To say that the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, premier of Western Nigeria (Yorubaland), when Yorubaland was still within Nigeria but having control over its own resources like a country on its own; to say he was the ultimate leader, in the 1950’s and even extending into the early parts of the 1960’s, when he was no longer Premier but still the political leader of the West whose legacies were still very much on ground in Yorubaland, to say that he was the ultimate leader is almost an understatement.

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In the first place, remember that, that was not yet the digital age; it was even barely the jet age; yet he was the ultimate administrator, statesman and welfarist.

To think that, under Awolowo, Yorubaland had television service before European countries like France and Greece did; to think that he executed a program of free primary education when no other part of the colonial Nigeria did, and the colonialists themselves couldn’t do same; would make some people wonder how it was achieved.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo Legacy

Awolowo was the ultimate planner!

In the first place, free primary education under Awolowo was not only for schools established by the government. Every primary school in Yorubaland, whether it was established by government or by a missionary organization, was under the free primary education scheme of Awolowo’s government.

Textbooks were supplied for the use of pupils in all the schools; even the slates used by primary One pupils, back then, was supplied by the government.

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The teachers were adequately paid, even when they had been employed by the missionary organisations that owned the schools; the government supervised them to ensure qualified teachers were employed! Yorubaland was not fed by Hausa people, as people, today, tend to think that without the Hausa, Yoruba would go hungry.

Awolowo established farm settlements throughout Yorubaland, where farmers had access to land, equipment and expert advice from government agric workers who lived on the land and well taken care of by the government.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo Legacy

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An example was the Farm Settlement in Èrúwà, in today’s State of Ibadan (formerly Oyo State). The food crops produced in Èrúwà, alone, fed practically all of the West.

There was the Western Nigeria Marketing Board which, among other things, specifically planned and executed bouyant cocoa farming for all cocoa farmers in Yorubaland, with a Wind Farm specifically in Èrúwà where the government of Awolowo as far back as the 1950’s used Wind Power to generate electricity and as a result of which the agricultural program of the West was not grounded by lack of power.

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The proceeds from this bouyant cocoa trade, where both the farmers and the government made abundant returns, was the reason Yorubaland could build industrial estates in Ìlúpéjú, Apapa, as well as in Ibadan (Olúyòlé Estate).

This same proceeds from cocoa farming is the reason Yorubaland could build the famous Cocoa House, the world-renown University of Ife, the world-class Liberty Stadium, the Western Nigeria Television Service, Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service, the healthcare system and many more.

There was also the rediffusion service (a radio transmission service) that had outlets in every village, and could be accessed by schools throughout Yorubaland, where, radio broadcasts on WNBS service was transmitted to practically everybody as anybody could access it, many of the broadcast boxes attached to even Trees throughout Yorubaland.

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The proper management of Cocoa farming in the farmlands of Ekiti, Osun and Ondo provided the funding for this. Cattle farming was done by the Awolowo government and Yoruba people were not eating Fulani cattle; there were no Fulani cattle roaming our streets, either.

There was also the Lafia Canning company in Ibadan where juice was produced as far back as the 1950’s/60’s, and which supplied all the juice needs of Yorubaland.

The Cement factory at Ewékorò was also there, but Obasanjo allegedly sold it to the Fulani neo-colonialists. According to a report recently monitored online, Obasanjo has been accused of being the one that destroyed whatever remained of the Farm Settlement system.