Chief (Mrs.) Margaret Oloruntomiwo Audu

gradChief (Mrs.) Margaret Oloruntomiwo Audu was born in Kabba, Kogi State on November 16, 1938 of royal ancestry. Her mother, Olumawu who was a major inspiration in her life was the daughter of the Late Obaro of Kabba Oba Gbayero Ajibohokun who reigned from 1870 to 1923.

Chief (Mrs.) M O Audu had her primary education at St Andrew’s School Kabba. Her post primary education was at what is today Abdul Azeez Atta Memorial Secondary School, Okene.

In a then rare display of academic excellence, in 1951, she beat all the boys and girls who sat for the final examinations in the 12 provinces of Northern Nigeria, coming first in the final Middle IV Examination. The April 1952 issue of “Gaskiya Tafi Kwabo” paid tribute to her with a front page story captioned “Two girls topped 12 Schools of the North”.

She qualified in 1954 as a Grade Two Teacher at the United Missionary College, Ibadan. In 1959, she was awarded the Northern Nigeria Scholarship and proceeded alongside 60 male and five female students from Northern Nigeria to Britain where she studied at the University of Southampton in the Milton College, Portsmouth, majoring in English and Home Economics.

In 1961, she attended a specialist course in Home Economics at the Seaford College of the University of London and thereafter proceeded to the London School of Hygiene and the Tropical Medicine to specialize in Tropical Nutrition. From 1965 – 1967, she studied and obtained her Postgraduate Diploma in Home Economics and Community Development at the Queen Elizabeth College of the University of London.
In 1970 she obtained a Certificate in Effective Communications in Athens, Ohio.

To crown her academic efforts, she obtained a Masters of Science Degree in Child Development (Home Economics) from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the United States of America in January 1971.
She attended several local and international seminars and workshops. She participated in the National Seminar/Workshop on Improving Primary Schools in Nigeria in 1986. In 1989, she attended the World. Chief Mrs. Audu also authored a number ofpublished works in her field, prominent among them are Child Rearing Practices in Nigeria in 1984, and Girls in Boarding Institutions – Advice to Parents.

Chief Mrs. Margaret Audu began her working career as a teacher at her Alma Mata, St Andrew’s School, Kabba. She later joined the Teachers Mama_3College Demonstration School as the institution’s first headmistress after which she left to teach at the Women Teachers College, Kabba. From 1962 – 1965, From October 1974 – October 1975, she served as the Chief Education Officer in charge of the Universal Primary Education and was involved in the establishment of, and the admission exercise into the 19 Grade Two Teacher’s Colleges in Kwara and present-day Kogi state.

From October 1975 – September 1977, she served as the first Executive Chairman of the Kwara State Schools Board. In June 1977, she was appointed the first Principal Special Grade ( rank of Permanent Secretary) in Kwara State and was transferred to Ilorin Teachers College as the Principal of the institution. In 1979, she was transferred back to head Queen Elizabeth School, Ilorin, by which time the students’ population now included 2700 boarders. In 1983, she was appointed Sole Administrator of the Kwara State Schools Board, a post she held in addition to her post as a principal till October 1984.

mama4In the course of her career, Chief (Mrs.) M.O. Audu served in various local, national and international boards. At the local level, she was a member of the Implementation Committee of the National College of Education at Zaria in 1964. She served from 1980 – 1984 as a Council Member of the Kwara State College of Education, Oro. She was twice appointed member of the governing council of the University of Ilorin between 1993 and 1999. Member of the Board of Trustees of the Kwara Investment Board in 1985. Member of the Kwara State Land Allocation Committee from 1980 – 1990. Chairman of the Kwara State Sexual Harassment Committee from 1985 – 1989. Member of the Implementation Committee of Kogi State Polytechnic at Lokoja in 1992. President of the Kwara Chapter of the World Organization for Early Child Education (OMEP) in 1988. President of the Abuja Chapter of OMEP and the Vice-President of OMEP Nigeria. Member of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Capital Territory, Family Support Programme in 1996 – 1998 and was the pioneer President of the Association of Private Schools in FCT, Abuja.

At the national level, she served on the National Education Research Council for many years. From 1966 – 1971, she served on the National mama5Committee of the West African Examinations Council representing teacher education. She was a member of the Think Tank for National Policy on Education under the chairmanship of the Professor Sanya Onabamiro in 1981 and team leader for National Curriculum Development in Home Economics for Primary Schools.

Her service was elevated to the international level upon her appointment to the International Organization of the West African Examinations Council from 1968 – 1986, representing secondary education. She was also a life long member of many local and international associations promoting extracurricular and humanitarian activities. She has been a member of the Girls Guide of Nigeria from 1956, member St John’s Ambulance of London from 1960, member Nigerian Red Cross Society from 1962, member World Association of Teachers of Home Economics and matron Boys Scout of Nigeria, FCT.

Chief Mrs. Audu’s career in the civil service spanned over thirty years. She retired in 1985 and thereafter established Olumawu Nursery and Primary Schools at Ilorin and Abuja.

mummy3Work in the vineyard of the Lord

The worship of the Lord was a major part of Chief (Mrs.) M O Audu’s life. She gave her life completely to God over three decades ago and was steadfast all through her life in the work of God. She was very prayerful and was the inspiration of the prayer life of her family, colleagues and close associates. It is common testimony of everyone that was close to her that she was constant in calling to pray for them at least at the beginning of every month. Her prayer reminded most of the arrival of a new month. She worshipped the Lord ever so constantly with vigorous dances in praises and profound prayer.

Born into an Anglican family, she was active in the church and was honoured twice by the Anglican Church of Kabba. Her titles were the Gbejoga of Anglican Church, Kabba and the Atunjose Obirin Ijoof Anglican Cathedral Kabba. Her local Church was Christ the Messiah Church of which she was a Trustee and Deaconess. She prayed constantly with the Primate Mrs Aimila.

Service To Her Communityobaro
Chief (Mrs) M O Audu was abundant in community spirit and effort. She would not let pass any opportunity to contribute her quota in whatever way possible to her community. She was very proud of her ancestry and she was equally so honoured. She was the Iyalode of Kabba, Iyalode of Okoro Gbede and the Yeye Omo Okun of Okunland. She constantly cared for the less fortunate. She always sought progress and worked tirelessly for the improved well being of her community.

Chief (Mrs.) M O Audu’s personality cannot escape the need for elaboration as she had so much force of presence.

Rooted most probably in the defining ethos of her trade, she was at work a stickler for perfection. Morally a strict disciplinarian. Socially a crusader for rectitude. Over the years, her nicknames especially within her constituency (children, students and teachers) bore the same theme. Iron lady, disciplinarian, Maggie Thatcher ….. But also, where occasion demanded and permitted, her kindness and generosity were legendary. To many, she was Iyarere (sweet mother), Iyalode (mother of all) Mama….. She knew a lot about humility and paid all their dues as was expected.

She had a gift of superior intellect and was very widely read, attributes which were manifest in her engaging personality. Her power of recollection was huge and she was particularly at home with figures, perhaps explaining her constant quest for exactitude. She had a huge appetite for work she and was, never one to leave anything to chance. She even walked very fast too, usually outpacing anyone together with whom she walked. She was brave, taking on most challenges head on. Quite naturally therefore, she was usually first among her equals. As early as the fifties, she was chosen to lead an all female delegation to meet the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth the Second on the occasion of her visit to Nigeria in 1956.

mama6Chief (Mrs) M O Audu also liked to be sociable. She would dance vigorously in the church and at the few social events she attended, particularly to “Iworo” – a traditional dance group founded by her late mother Olumawu. She was forever entertaining. Her culinary skills were world class. Hospitality was second nature to her. She had a strong passion for the theory and practice of Home Economics. She shopped compulsively, always buying one thing or the other to send to this or that person.

She was gifted with languages. She knew enough of Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba, Igala, Ebira and Nupe to charm anyone. She also liked literature and was thoroughly at home with most of the works of the literary giants of medieval Europe. She sang a lot and well too, knowing the wordings of fairly lengthy and sometimes obscure hymns by heart.

She was colourful, but kept to fairly simple clothing and adornment. Her favourite color was pink.

Chief (Mrs.) M O Audu was an enigma. She was so much to so many. An amazon.

Family Life
God was gracious unto Chief (Mrs.) M O Audu as she lived to see her children’s children. She was a fiercely loving and devoted wife, caring and an all present mother and a doting grand mother. But really, perhaps one of the more special attributes of hers being celebrated here was her capacity to mother such a big family across every divide. Over the years she became ‘Mama, Mummy and Grandma’ to such a great multitude. Chief (Mrs) M O Audu’s children and grand children then were innumerable. She had life-long companions. Alhaja Aduke Maliki and Mrs Halima Alayoku travelled the journey of most of her later life by her side.
Chief (Mrs.) M O Audu was called to life eternal on July 3rd, 2006. She was laid to rest at her home in Kabba on September 1st, 2006.
She is survived by:

Moji & Funsho Iyela
Ola & Evelyn Garuba
Dele Garuba
Musa & Farida Audu
Arome & Yinka Audu
Ayodeji & Laura Audu

Grand Children
Bunmi Iyela
Busola Iyela
Folarin Iyela
Timi Iyela
Kajo Garuba
Dotun Garuba
Bomi Garuba
Yomi Garuba
Fadel Audu
Ayegba Audu
Mofe Audu
Eyi Yemi Audu