Awolowo, Nigerian nationalist and political leader, was born in Ikenne, a
town in Ogun State. The son of a farmer, Awolowo trained as a lawyer. He
became involved in politics in the 1940's and organised the Action Group in
1951. He was elected Premier of Western Nigeria from 1954 to 1959, after which
he became the opposition leader in the Federal House of Representatives. An
unyielding advocate of federalism and socio-economic programmes, he was
arrested in 1962 for allegedly plotting to overthrow the government.
Imprisoned in 1963, he was freed three years later by General Yakubu Gowon,
head of Nigeria's military government, who appointed him the Federal
Commissioner for Finance and Deputy Chairman of the Federal Executive Council,
a position he resigned in 1971. In 1979, he ran unsuccessfully for president.
He died on May 9, 1987.