Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday said the death of Hannah Awolowo forced him and his wife out of “hiding”, saying he had a plan to keep off public functions for at least 12 months.
Jonathan made the disclosure during condolence visit to the Ikenne home of the Awolowos, over the death of HID Awolowo.
The former leader was accompanied by the former Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, and his political associates.
“Within this period, myself and my wife have been hiding; we don’t even go out. We thought we’ll be hiding for at least 12 months. But in this particular case, we cannot hide. So, we’ve come for the condolence and to encourage our brothers and sisters that we are together,” he said.
On the passing of Mrs. Awolowo, Mr. Jonathan said it was a great loss, but that he took solace in the fact that death is an inevitable end that would come when it would come.
The former President who arrived the Awolowo home at exactly 1:17pm was accompanied by his wife, Patience, a former leader in the House of Representatives, Mrs Mulikat Adeola-Akande and former chairman of the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Jide Adeniji among others.
While condoling with the family, the former president noted that HID Awolowo enjoyed a rare privilege of living extra 29 years, when compared to the biblical prescription of three scores and ten.
He further described her as a rare mother, whose milk of human kindness, milk of encouragement and milk of advice Nigerians still need.
He said: “Me and my wife are not mourning because mama has passed on. For me, we believe that it’s a rare privilege to add extra 29 years to the biblical three scores and 10; it’s not easy.
“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have been mourning but mama was a rare mother. She was a woman of virtue described in the Bible and she was a mother to all of us.
“A mother that her milk of kindness we still need, her milk of encouragement we still need, her milk of advice we still need and today she’s no more with us.”
Meanwhile, the Awolowo family has disclosed that their late matriarch would be buried November 25, 2015, the day she would have been 100 years.
The eldest daughter of the family, Omotola Oyediran disclosed this while appreciating the former President for his condolence over the death of their matriarch.
According to her: ”What can we say but to give God all the glory for a very beautiful life she lived. She has done so much and it is impossible for us to put all that she has done together.
“ I want to assure you that though some of you have received letters in the past about the centenary in order to write tributes for her. I want to assure you that those tributes will be printed.
“I want to appeal to all of you to be part of celebrating mama, by the grace of God, we haven’t concluded the arrangements but I would let you know that the very day that she was supposed to be 100 years, she would be buried. There will be dancing amid tears at the burial of who I call Iya niwura.
“There is no way you can separate papa from mama and mama from papa, the story is one. It is interesting that papa passed on Saturday, 9th of May, 1987 and mama also passed on Saturday, 19th of September, 2015, we give God all the glory”, he said.
In his tribute, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, described HID Awolowo as a “truly noble lady who contributed exceedingly to Nigeria’s independence by providing inestimable support to one of the country’s founding fathers.”