Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo, GCFR (Yoruba: Ọbáfẹ́mi Awólọ́wọ̀; 6 March 1909 – 9 May 1987), was a Nigerian nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence movement, the First and Second Republics and the Civil War.
He was the first premier of the Western Region and later federal commissioner for finance, and vice chairman of the Federal Executive Council during the Civil War.
He was thrice a major contender for his country’s highest office. A native of Ikenne in Ogun State of south-western Nigeria, he started his career, like some of his well-known contemporaries, as a nationalist in the Nigerian Youth Movement in which he rose to become Western Provincial Secretary.
Awolowo was responsible for much of the progressive social legislation that has made Nigeria a modern nation.
He was the first Leader of Government Business and Minister of Local Government and Finance, and first Premier of the Western Region under Nigeria’s parliamentary system, from 1952 to 1959.
He was the official Leader of the Opposition in the federal parliament to the Balewa government from 1959 to 1963. In recognition of all these, Awolowo was the first individual in the modern era to be named Leader of the Yorubas (Yoruba: Asiwaju Awon Yoruba or Asiwaju Omo Oodua)