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Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909-1987) was a Nigerian nationalist, a political leader, and a principal participant in the struggle for Nigerian independence. He was born in Ikenné, Western State, Nigeria, on March 6, 1909. The last two years of Awolowo as Premier of Western Region was concentrated on efforts to write his name in the book of Legends. He incorporated Western Hotels which invested in Premier Hotel, Lafia hotels in Ibadan and Lagos Airport Hotel respectively.

He set up Western Nigeria Development Corporation (WNDC) to finance mega corporations. This was established in 1958. It encouraged plantation development with six agricultural plantations covering 20,517 acres in collaboration with Cooperative societies, eleven additional plantations covering 8,468 acres with crops ranging from Cocoa , Rubber, Oil Palm, Citrus, Cashew and Coffee had been put in place all over the region. WNDC, a clearing house for multitude of companies, established for the rapid industrial development and revolution of the region.

Among them were: WAPCO at Ewekoro for cement, with enough capacity to serve the whole country, Nigerite Ltd producing asbestos and roofing sheets, National Bank, Wema Bank, Nigerian General Insurance, Great Nigeria Insurance, Gravil Enthoven and coy, Vegetables Oil Ltd, Cocoa Processing Industry Ogba Ikeja, Odua Textile Mills Ltd, Wrought Iron Ltd, Union beverages Ltd, Sungass company. Also, he opened up some of the biggest industrial layouts in Ibadan, Oluyole and Lagos Oba Akran axis and Ilupeju in Mushin axis with over 120 factories for mass production of different needs & gave birth to Nigeria Textile Mills, West Africa Breweries, Dunlop Tyres, Crittal Hope Aluminum, Nidogas, Nigeria Wire and Cables in Ilupeju. Odua Investments was the largest conglomerates in Nigeria as at 2004 with assets worth over N10 trillion. Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo paid the Western Nigeria Civil servants the highest salaries far above Federal government.

So much jobs were created by vast industrialisation drives. All these were achieved without Oil revenue between 1951-1959. He also touched the road construction with bitumen & laid road network covering over 2,000 kilometers throughout the region.

Other achievements of his regime: Cocoa House, the tallest building in West Africa for decades, Liberty Stadium, the most modern in the entire African, Western Nigeria Television & Broadcasting Service (WNTV/WNBS), the first Radio & Television Stations in Africa, Many General Hospitals and Dispensaries in rural area, Free Education at primary school level. His effort in Cooperative society development gave birth to establishment of Cooperative Bank in 1953 and Cooperative College. The eight years most of the present Governors spend was the same Pa Awolowo had covering what comprises eight states nowadays, yet he achieved so much. Most of our present day Governors cannot mention one world class company, corporate institution or industry set up to create jobs for teaming youths being turned out year in, year out, by our ivory towers. Today leaders should at least emulate our late sage foot steps instead of all the temporary empowerment programs (Motor cycle, Keke Napep, Pepper grinding machine, Cassava grinding machine, Deep freezer, Fridge, Clipper, etc) being used to cajole the electorates at the time of election every four years.

A time will come in this nation that people aspiring  for positions must show a well laid out plan before the electorate. The cash and carry politicians will fail. Let us look forward to lasting legacies.

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