As Premier of the Western Region he proved that good government is not only necessary but possible.
‘For half a century, Chief Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ, “the best president Nigeria never had”, was the symbol of the contradictions fashioned by the peculiar chemistry of Nigerian politics. Mystic, nationalist, economist, jurist, administrator, author, statesman and philosopher, he brought value and ethics to Nigerian politics. As Premier of the Western Region he proved that good government is not only necessary but possible.
He gathered the best brains of his region to achieve his objectives. He started the first universal, free primary education system in Africa, he built the first TV station in Nigeria, and the first Olympic-size stadium, and he started the first free health programme for children. It was Nigeria’s loss that he never managed to secure a national mandate to become president…His main ideas – federalism, democracy and free education – have become the creed of modern Nigeria, accepted by right-thinking people as the keys to national progress.’
(Mallam Sumaila Rabiu – 1999)