Adunni Oluwole

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Adunni Oluwole was a colorful politician and rights activist famous for her support for workers rights especially during the Nigerian general strike in 1945.

Oluwole was born in Ibadan, she had four other siblings including Olugbesan Oluwole, a police superintendent. At an early age, her mother took all the children from Ibadan to Lagos after some family squabbles. In Lagos, the transplants lived close to St John's Church, Aroloya, Lagos where Adolphus Howells was the vicar, Howells later played an important role in the family's life. At a certain period, Howells was looking for a servant boy, Olugbesan's aunt thought it would be a great opportunity for him and proposed the opportunity to his mother, who agreed to it. Later, Adunni who was close to his brother and visited him frequently at the Howells place, said she too wanted to live with the Howells.

Adunni was helped by the Howells in her educational pursuit, she attended St John's School, Aroloya though by the end of her primary education, she had returned to her mother's place. From 1925-1936, she was involved in leadership and dramatic roles at St John's Church but in the mid 1930s, she soon became an itinerant preacher claiming to have seen a vision that God was the God of the living and not the dead and that she opposed to the dead being brought to St John's Church for funeral services before burial.

As an itinerant preacher, she made use of her skill as a powerful speaker to enjoy immediate success. However she was also unpredictable, though, she preached Christianity fervently, she once turned around and became a Muslim only to later revert back to Christianity.

Her interest in social justice came to fore in 1945 during the general strike. She supported the workers and though not a rich woman donated monetary resources and gifts in kind to the striking workers while attending meetings and voicing her solidarity. After the end of the strike, she became involved in politics and in May, 1954, she founded the Nigerian Commoners liberal party. She supported a stand opposing the call for independence in 1956 on the grounds that the then Nigerian political leaders had abused the responsibility they had already secured. She stated her views that the common man should choose between gradualism or immediate independence. However, her political career ended abruptly in 1957, the year she died.


  • Olusanya, G. 'Olaniwun Adunni Oluwole', in Awe, B. (ed.) 2001 Nigerian Women in Historical Perspective Bookcraft/Sankore, Ibadan.