Shades of Swagger #14 | Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Premier of the Western Region, Nigeria, ca, 1959.
Awolowo, Obafemi (b. March 6, 1909, Ikene, Nigeria - d. May 9, 1987, Ikene), Nigerian statesman. Awolowo was involved in the Nigerian youth movement in the early 1950s; he founded the Action Group and took part in constitutional conferences in London and Lagos that preceded independence. He served as premier of the Western Region (1954-59), but ancient rivalries prevented him from attaining higher office after independence in 1960. He was leader of the opposition in the federal Parliament until a tribal quarrel led to his arrest in November 1962. He was sentenced to ten years in prison for plotting to overthrow the government. He was formally elected leader in 1966 of the Yoruba, one of the major tribal groups of Nigeria. Released and pardoned (August 1966) after Lieut. Col. Yakubu Gowon had established a military government, Chief Awolowo became vice-chairman of the federal executive council and was placed in charge of the Ministry of Finance (1967-71). He ran unsuccessfully as Unity Party of Nigeria candidate in the presidential elections of 1979 and 1983.
Photo courtesy of Elisofon, Eliot photographer and the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African Art, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives.