Osita Chidoka, a former minister of aviation, has said the late Obafemi Awolowo, a former Premier of the defunct Western Region, introduced ethnic politics and an unorthodox means of party funding in Nigeria.
Chidoka made the claim on Monday in a Facebook post, which was accompanied by pictures of some books written by Awolowo such as ‘My March Through Prison’ and ‘ The Travails Of Democracy And The Rule Of Law’.
According to the former minister, he admires the late Awolowo as he was a great disciplinarian, fine writer and a courageous man who modernised campaigning in Nigeria.
But Chidoka, a former corps marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), insisted that he agreed with his father that the former premier sowed the seed of ethnic discord in Nigerian politics, particularly with the role he played during the civil war as the country’s Minister of Finance.
He also claimed that the late sage was “too rigid and had an unforgiving nature”, adding that his bizarre style of party funding continues to plague Nigeria till today.
Chidoka wrote: “Still on the box from my past. I found three books I bought between 1998 and 1999. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a great influence in my life
“I started reading him in secondary school when I read his biography, ‘My Early Life’, which I later learnt was influenced by Winston Churchill’s biography of the same title. I am infatuated by Winston Churchill too, but another story for another day.
“My first conflict with my father was his disagreement with me over my choice of Awo as a role model. He told me what he did during the war against the Igbos and his introduction of ethnic politics in Nigeria. I agree with him on both counts but yet I still admired the man.
“The man Awo is exemplary in his discipline. He went to university as a grown man and read law at great personal cost. He lost his properties to an auction due to loan default and overcame it.
“He modernised campaigning in Nigeria, but most importantly, he wrote copiously. He was a reader and a writer. Awo was astounding in his courage. I love his turn of phrases. He wrote such beautiful lines like “ my jewel of inestimable value” his love of law and its practice. Reading his books gave very good insight into the first republic.
“Awo had his issues; he was rigid, unforgiving, and like his contemporaries, used unorthodox mechanism for party funding that has continued to plague Nigeria to this day. While Coker Commission of Inquiry was a witch-hunt, the facts were glaring and Awo acknowledged this much in the book Travails of Democracy pg 383 to 390.”