ENGINEER B. Oloro was the rector of the now vandalised Lagos State Polytechnic from 1992 to 1999, a school built by Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, the man who developed what we now know as Lagos in just four years. His bright idea of metro line for Lagos was like the polytechnic officially destroyed by General Muhammadu Buhari in 1984 and the full cost of the contract paid with no rail. We cannot but weep that those who denied Lagos that service are now building one to Niger Republic with our money in a season when Rotimi Amaechi under whose watch cars are being asked to watch their speed for cows is asking us what has cows have got to do with transportation on national television.
The son of Engr. Oloro was introduced to me by the Ooni of Ife months after Professor Banji Akintoye introduced the father to me.
The junior Oloro invited me to the father’s first anniversary weeks back in our neighbourhood only for him to call me two days to the event that Professor Akintoye had advised them to cancel the event as four colleagues of their father who were also professors contracted coronavirus at same wedding and are dead.
The last time I met the young man was at the Ooni’s palace in Ife where he accompanied Alhaja Jakande to see Ooni. They were planning to return to Lagos that night but Kabiyesi insisted that they wait till the following day. It was a night I had very little sleep when I learnt that Alhaja was at the palace to lobby for LKJ’s son who was seeking ticket to contest election in Lagos that LKJ served all his life without looking for personal comfort. He rode his own car and lived in a house he built before he became governor. It took the leadership of the Lagos Assembly under Speaker Ikuforiji to buy him a good car, years back.
A retired general of Yoruba extraction told me a few days ago of how Alhaji Jakande went to Abuja years back and had to sleep in a very dingy hotel. A man saw him and asked him what he was doing in such God-forsaken place. When he was told that was where he slept, the man got him a plot of land in Abuja that same day.
The casualty with which Jakande was treated reflects in that sad trip that took Alhaja to Ife that night. Even those who served not more than commissioners now have their children benefiting maximally in Lagos just as those who have no record of serving the state. First class thugs would secure such tickets on phone.
I knew Alhaja was just running around like a good mother as LKJ, who issued a notice to the bank where he was a director not to give a job to any relation of his, possibly would not have known about the trip or even lobby such for his children. A relation of his was on the queue for housing allocation unsuccessfully until the coup in 1983.
He would do more for the children of others. LKJ was said to have been advised by Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe in 1979 to cancel free education on the eve of swearing-in as Lagos had no money. He told him he would try. He implemented the programme to the letter and all the schools he built and estates have been named after him by Lagosians today. I recall how I spent quality time looking for Bayo Fabiyi’s LSDPC Estate in some part of Lagos months back until a good okadaman asked if it was Jakande Estate and I was at my destination in a matter of minutes.
I can’t say emphatically whether it was some fate that played out which made former governors of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Ibikunle Amosun to be at LKJ burial ground for final bye while none of his successors in Lagos was there. I saw Fashola on TV in Lagos that night but he was not there for Jakande.
Their absence removes nothing from Jakande who has already immortalised himself forever.
…Yoruba Governors should emulate LKJ
The security brouhaha the Federal Government has thrown to non-Fulani Nigerians which is biting the Yoruba hard is one challenge the governors in the Yoruba space should borrow the Jakande spirit to tackle. There is nothing that stops them from devoting their security votes to confront this challenge head on in what should be a commitment to their people. We can recall how Fashola confronted insecurity challenge in Lagos and got Yar’Adua who was Fulani to cooperate with him.
The Mimiko government in Ondo got the Fulani who kidnapped Chief Olu Falae jailed and Buhari could not shield them from the law.
The governors can’t just throw their arms in the air and not do what they have to do in the fear of Fulanisation.
Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State has been saying and doing the right things that should be the standard in the Yoruba spirit in this season of sheer anomie. If they do what is right, they have a chance to win. If they don’t, they have lost.
They must insist on equipping Amotekun and let the FG say they can’t do it. They should have the testicular fortitude to tell the people if that happens so we can begin to sort things out.
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