The Glorious Exit Of Alhaji Lateef Jakande
By David Adenekan
“ki a to ri erin odi inu igbo, ki a to ri efon o di odan”, Baba kekere sun re o.
The writer of this piece was fortunate to meet Alhaji Lateef Jakande as a child. At the early hour of every morning, Alhaji Lateef Jakande would have a brief stop at our family house in Ebute-Metta, Lagos and come out from the vehicle to shout with a loud voice “Adenekan, your Tribune Newspapers are at your door”. Chief Raji Afolabi Okeowo Adenekan would immediately rush out of the house to exchange pleasantries with his friend. I was about seven years old.
My dad was one of the earlier distributors of Tribune newspaper in the Mainland division. My big brothers and my mother were part and parcel of the exercise as they were not spared in this chain of newspaper distribution.
This was how much I knew and how close I was to Alhaji Lateef Jakande before he became the governor of Lagos State in 1979.
The glorious exit of Alhaji Lateef Jakande brings to mind the issues of leadership in our today’s Nigeria. Why are you a leader? Are you a leader to serve people or you are a leader for people to serve you? What will be your legacy after your tenure? These are some of the questions we need to address as we celebrate the glorious exit of Alhaji Lateef Jakande.
At this juncture, a logical and discerning mind should be able to draw a parallel line between democracy and affluence. What and what is expected of a leader when given the mandate to serve? Are you a selfless leader that will transform the common wealth of the people into good and benefit of all the citizens or is the ultimate goal of your ambition, a self aggrandizement and a display of oppressive behaviors and tendencies at the detriment of the masses?
This posited argument and fundamental
question is one of the reasons for this essay as we X ray and compare the leadership as well as stewardship of two notable past civilian executive governors of Lagos state. Paradventure, we may draw a parallel line between these two powerful figures in Lagos state politics.
Historically, and without a doubt you cannot devoid the influence of money from power politics. This is because the position of power and authority automatically attracts wealth and fame.
However, the question is, where do you draw the line? Are you using your position of authority to undermine or influence how your government conducts business and breaching the codes of conduct which invariably translate into conflict of interest by giving your blood related family members plum jobs in your government for the benefit of your family, and against the overall interest of the people you are called to serve or what kind of affluence are you craving for as a democratic leader?
Now, let’s dissect the life of Alhaji Lateef Jakande as the former executive governor of Lagos state and using his achievement and affluence as a parameter. A search light into the life and wealth of Alhaji Lateef Jakande both in and out of government connotes a life of moderation.
There is no record that he turns the properties or wealth of Lagos state into his personal use or he uses his position as governor of Lagos state to enrich or put his family members in a position of authority.
In fact, from a reliable source, it was gathered that his wife did try to influence him to make Deji Jakande his son a councillor in Lagos state. He rebuffed such a move and declared that leadership is not given but earned. He told his son to learn the art of leadership by proving himself to his ward that he can be a good councillor. Yes, Deji Jakande was never made a councillor under his leadership as the head of progressive movement in Lagos state for almost two decades.
Is this not a sharp contrast between Alhaji Lateef Jakande and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the de facto governor of Lagos? Is senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu not using his power and influence to accumulate wealth from the resources of Lagos state and putting members of his family in position of power to further expand his empire of ill gotten wealth at the detriment of Lagosians?
A reference point is the unresolved bullion van “Watergate Scandal” that is still pending with the so called Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as petitioned by a human rights activist; Comrade Deji Adeyanju.
Another reference point is the Alpha Beta “Water Gate scandal” that has been in the news for almost two decades.
A glimpse at the following facts as reported by
#MASTER GREED support all of these arguments:
Bola Ahmed Tinubu ‘s vineyard.
1. Sade Tinubu, daughter – Administers Lagos markets, with revenue reportedly over ₦15bn/year
2. Seyi Tinubu, son – handles Lagos outdoor advertising sector reportedly pulling in over ₦19bn/ year
3. Fola Tinubu, (Primero) nephew – handled state funded BRT corridors. Takes over public transportation services in Lagos metropolis from unit operators worth N120bn/year
4. Remi Tinubu fuels Light Up Lagos generators N36bn/year
4. Bola Tinubu (Alpha Beta) – earns 15 % of Lagos gross internally generated revenue of N480bn
5. Bola Ahmed Tinubu N500m monthly pocket money from Lagos House
6. 15,000 copies of The Nation newspaper purchased by LASG daily
7. N5bn Lagos Morgues and Laboratories under Tinubu consultancy
8. N13bn annual Lagos road toll gates under Tinubu consultancy
Yet, he is eyeing presidential seat..
Yes, all of the above may not be true as reported. However, as I once posited in one of my articles few years ago that “o jo ga te, ko jo ga te ofi ese mejeji jo ara won” This may be interpreted as it seems like a parallel line but the obvious similiarites cannot be denied. Is it not the obvious fact that since the inception of this dispensation in 1999 there was no senator that has spent more than two terms apart from Senator Remilekun Tinubu (the wife of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu)?
Also, if the likes of Alhaji Lateef Jakande had turned the position of power and authority in Lagos state to a family affair or dynasty, the likes of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu will never smell the seat of power. The frank question, is that, what would be the fate or destiny of the son of a trader or artisan (ordinary citizen) that God Almighty has endowed with leadership qualities to add great value to our democracy with this dubious and selfish political arrangement institutionalized and perpetrated by Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his likes?
Yes, in this instance, there can never be a fair distribution of powers and resources. This is because powers and resources will be revolving around few individuals at the detriment of the masses. This to me is not the essence of democracy as defined by many political pundits or scholars.
Moreover, what are the legacies of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu apart from the obvious atrocities that we just highlighted above?
Now, let’s bring to light the many legacies of the people’s governor; Alhaji Lateef Jakande and see the clear distinction between a selfless leader and a leader that is enmeshed in “hippopotamus attributes” that is borne out of greed and selfishness.
One, the government of Alhaji Lateef Jakande built the current Lagos State Secretariat which houses all the state ministries as well as the popular round house hitherto occupied by all subsequent governors of the state.
Two, his government built the Lagos State House of Assembly complex.
Three, his government built the Lagos State Television
Four, his government built the Lagos Radio
Five, his government built Lagos State University
Six, his government established General Hospital in zones all over the state with assurance of free health care.
Seven, his government established Teacher Training College and the College of Education.
Eight, his government built low cost houses in Ijaiye, Dolphin, Oke-Afa, Ije, Abesan, Iponri, Ipaja, Abule Nla, Epe, Amuwo-Odofin, Anikantamo, Surulere, Iba, Ikorodu, Badagry, Isheri/Olowu, Orisigun etc.
Nine, his government established the Water Management Board and Waste Disposal Board on the 18th of August, 1980.
Ten, his government constructed the Adiyan Water Works to increase water supply in the state to 18.16 million litres per day.
Elleven, his government modernized and expanded the Iju Water Works which was first commissioned in 1915. This increased daily capacity from 159 million to 204 million litres per day.
Twelve, is government purchased and commissioned the giant car crusher equipment. The equipment was designed specifically to crush derelict vehicles in Lagos State. It had the capacity to crush 45 vehicles per day.
Thirteen, his government constructed, rehabilitated and resurfaced Epe/Ijebu-Ode Road, Oba Akran Avenue, Toyin Street, Town Planning Way, Alimosho-Idimu-Egbe Road, Idimu-Iba-LASU Road, the new secretariat road and several others.
Fourteen, his government constructed Victoria Island/Epe Road and thereby creating an ‘oil rig’ for Lagos State.
Fifteen, his government established Asphalt Plant for the Department of Public Works.
Sixteen, his government established Electricity Board for Rural Electrification with provision of street lights.
Seventeen, his government modernized, expanded and commissioned Onikan Stadium in 1982.
Eighteen, his government established a singular school system and ensured genuine free education in Lagos State and the beneficiaries of this policy are in different positions of eminence in the country and around the world.
Nineteen, his government raised the primary schools in Lagos State to 812 with 533,001 pupils (against 605 primary schools with 434,545 pupils he met in 1979) and secondary schools to 223 with 167,629 students (against 105 schools with 107,835 students in 1979).
Twenty, his government constructed 11, 729 classrooms with the maximum of 40 children per class between March and August 1980, by 1983, he had constructed over 22,000 classrooms.
Moreover, in July 1983, two commercial passenger boats christened “Baba Kekere and Itafaji” to run the Mile 2 – Marina (CMS) route via the lagoons were inaugurated by his government to mark the official launch of the Lagos State ferry services.
Futhermore, his government took over the ownership and financing of Lagos State Printing Corporation in July 1980
Also, his government established the first State Traffic Management Authority (Road Marshals).
In addition, his government established small scale Industries Credit Scheme which preceded the EKO bank.
Another landslide achievement, is that, his government established LASACO Insurance.
His government also expanded existing market and built new ones.
Lastly, his government established Traditional Medicine Board.
It is imperative to note that all of these great achievements was done within the span of 4years and three months in office as executive governor of Lagos state.
The fundamental question, is that, what truly are the legacies of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the over 20 years he has stayed put in power as the de facto governor of Lagos state?
Prejudice apart, the above are the highlights of the legacies of Alhaji Lateef Jakande as reported in the internet news media and these are validated facts that we all can see all over Lagos state. We shall leave the honest and final verdict for the people’s court to decide if Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu ever deserves being considered for the highly exalted office of the President of Nigeria in 2023? This is if there will ever be, as a result of recent events and signs, a general elections in 2023 with the beating of war drum that’s reverberating all over the land.
In summary, will the people allow Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu to commercialize the entire resources of Nigeria for himself and few acolytes the way he has pocketed the entire resources of Lagos state as the defacto governor of Lagos state?
Only time will tell.
Adieu Baba Kekere, Alhaji Lateef Jakande “orun re o”. You are truly a rare gem and your great achievements will remain a placard in the minds of unborn generations. “Rest in peace” (RIP).