Recent happenings in our country have put me in a melancholic state. One of them, for example, is the return – or the so-called return – from Britain of what has been generally or popularly perceived or accepted as the James Ibori loot. The huge money involved is in the region of above four solid million British pounds.
The federal government through its Attorney General and Justice Minister is laying claim to the money which many persons believe should ordinarily go to the coffers of the Delta State government, the actual and real owner of the fabulous cash. Yes, the outlandish cash that was outlandishly removed from the safe-hose of Delta State or whatever place or wherever the money was pilfered from ordinarily, it has been repeated – and I hereby repeat it – should be sent to Governor Okowa of Delta State on behalf of the people of the state. But these are not ordinary times in Nigeria my country your country our country. This is why the federal government wants to confiscate it. And this is why the Delta State government and other persons, indigenes and non-indigenes of the state, are calling the federal government to order and have even gone to court, to the Supreme Court, that is, to challenge the central confiscators of gluttonous appetites who churlishly are waiting to pounce on the coming British millions of pound sterling.
Nothing is sweet to hear about everything in connection with the story relating to the branded money. And as a citizen of Delta State by birth I am particularly unhappy and deeply saddened. I am doubly so by the silence, with the sore silence, of James Ibori on the matter. And this silence is compelling me to wallow like a humpback on the ground of discomfiture. And how unhappily, how unhappily so, for me on account of this poor silence! Ibori should let us know the whole truth of what has been, no matter what. Many of us will admire him because we will accept his words as not those of one who wants to create means of escape from reality or the truth of reality or of actuality. But I must be building castles in Spain! And Ibori’swell known acolytes? Why are they dumb? They must talk. Again, I am building castles in Spain. Phew! But Tony Elumuenor, his pretty pressperson, has been talking pretty fine, even if not pretty well as he should, as some persons may say.
I was in this state of thought and of melancholy – when some news of sweet sensations streamed to me. They relate to the late Jakande. In this column on March 12, towards the end of my reflection on his demise, I said as follows: “May this reflection help to add genuinely to the efforts of our compatriots who are planning to give him an immortal place in our history of genuine patriots who have distinguished themselves as Nigerian patriots of patriotic patriots…” How greatly and broadly broad were my broadly broad smiles when I read on page 36 of the Vanguard of Monday, March 22, 2021, that a “group of Lagos prominent indigenes, yesterday, urged Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to have the Lagos State University, LASU, named after the first civilian governor, late Alhaji Lateef Jakande, for his meritorious services to the state.” Chief Adesunbo, the spokesperson of the prominent Lagos indigenes said thus: “The late Jakande founded and established the pioneer university and nurtured it to maturity… Jakande deserved such honour as his works in the state were yet to be surpassed. He had done more than any governor dead or living… The scripting of governance in Lagos state cannot be chronicled without Jakande as one of the chief protagonists and, we dare say, inadequately sung heroes of our nation!” How sweet! How sweet are these sweet words! How sweet are they! How sweetly sweet are they?
Earlier on Sunday, March 21 on page 13 of Sunday Punch Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the new leader of Afenifere, spoke glowingly, sweetly sweet, of Jakande in this manner: “He was our candidate [as a supreme Awoist] and he was a man we called “‘Action Governor’. He stood for excellence in leadership and he was a shining example.” Also, on Monday, March 22, on page 9 of this paper, it was reported that the current governor of Lagos State Mr. Sanwo-Olu spoke very highly of Jakande as follows: “He built the foundation that all of us are enjoying today. He will continue to live in the hearts of several children and even unborn children because he has indeed laid the foundation for something that nobody can erase.” The prominent Lagos indigenes have spoken more than nicely well and made a beautifully immortal request.
Why should LASU not be happily and sweetly named after Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande who did so much and much more than so much for Lagos without pilfering a kobo from the coffers of Lagos State throughout the time he governed the state? Why should LASU not now be renamed and known as LAKJU (Lateef Kayode Jakande University) or LAKJUL (Lateef Kayode Jakande University, Lagos)? For the outstanding exemplary first civilian governor of Lagos State who governed and served Lagos so, so well to immortalize him on his passing by renaming the university he selflessly founded after him is not too much, and it is not a tall request. Our prophecy on this score should bear fruit and manifest without qualms and without further delay. The late supreme administrator is a model (and is forever so) to and for all our politicians and political office holders of our contemporary time who must compel themselves to “see their positions as a great opportunity to serve and benefit the people.”Jakande has shown the way in exactly the same manner as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, his mentor and leader, showed the light which he lit in Western Nigeria in the then fabulous days and decades of decades that made Western Nigeria the best of our regions.
In my state of Delta I want to see model governors, model politicians, model political-office holders who will not pinch and more than pinch our money. I want to see public office holders we can celebrate and continue to celebrate forever for their public actions and life that the born and unborn can always copy. We want political leaders who lead the people a-right and righteously and who also live righteously. Our public offices and public houses must not bear the addresses of rogues. Our public offices and public houses must bear the addresses of sweet flowers or flowers of sweetness, the people will always relish religiously as butterflies religiously relish flowers that they love. When will my state give us such butterflies?
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.