When Obafemi Awolowo was sentenced to prison, a lot of progressives were shocked, some died instantly and some became sickly. Some people, (Bishops and Statesmen) went to beg the central government of Nmamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Balewa. The government agreed to free Awolowo but, knowing fully well the reputation of Awolowo and that he may not agree, they said that his wife ( Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo) must come to beg the government, and after that, Awolowo would be freed. The aim was to put Awolowo’s wife pictures in the front pages of major newspapers.
The ‘eminent’ men went to Hannah to persuade her to beg the government, Hannah thanked them all, but said she could only do that if her husband permitted her, if not, she would not. Recall that in 1986, a similar offer was made to General Muhammadu Buhari’s former wife and she fell for it, Buhari later divorced her.
The eminent men went to meet Awolowo in prison and begged him to let his wife beg the government, they cited many verses from the Bible to convince him. Awolowo, in reply, thanked them very well but declined. He said “my wife beg who exactly? Will she kneel down or prostrate? Beg for what offence exactly? That I plotted a coup? This is ridiculous! You are men of God, you should know that God does not encourage people to bow to injustice”.
Awolowo allegedly said and I quote, “if truly I did what they accused me of, I will not come out of this prison alive, but if am innocent, I won’t spend the rest of my life here in prison”.
By the time Awolowo was released from prison few years later by the Yakubu Gowon government, all those who had conspired to imprison him, had been killed in a coup.
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