Mrs Funmilayo was The First WOMAN TO DRIVE A CAR IN NIGERIA, she was a teacher, political campaigner, women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat in Nigeria. She was an avid traveler, She had traveled to many countries around the world, Prior to Nigeria’s independence – specifically during the Cold War – she traveled to the former USSR, Hungary and China, where she met Mao Zedong – the communist revolutionary.
Her trip to countries in the Eastern bloc angered the Nigerian colonialist government, as well as British and American governments in 1956, the government did not renew her passport because it was believed that her intention was to influence Nigerians, especially women, with communist ideas and policies.
She was also refused a U.S. visa because the American government alleged that she was a communist..She was one of the delegates who negotiated Nigeria’s independence with the British government. 8. She was a winner of the Lenin Peace Prize. The Prize was awarded by the Soviet Government to notable individuals, prominent Communists and supporters of the Soviet Union who were not Soviet citizens.
In February 1978, she was thrown down from the window of a 3-storey building (Kalakuta Republic) belonging to her musician son, Fela. This happened when a thousand military personnel stormed the building. She lapsed into a coma and later died on 13 April 1978, from injuries she sustained from the fall.
Sometime in 2012, to immortalize her, her picture was being considered to be on the proposed N5000 note. The Nigerian government later withdrew the idea for a N5000 note. After her death, her son Fela took her coffin to Dodan Barracks – the then seat of power and Nigeria’s Supreme Military Headquarters and left it at the gate. This was done to humiliate the Obasanjo-led military government for the invasion of his property that led to his mother’s death. The invasion inspired Fela’s song “Coffin for Head of State.