A former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, has said the former Lagos State governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande agreed to serve in the government of the late General Sani Abacha, out of pressure from Late MKO Abiola.
At the ongoing 90th birthday celebration of Jakande, which takes places at Haven Cottage, GRA, Ikeja, Osoba, who was the Chairman of the occasion, said unlike widespread insinuations and condemnation which trailed Jakande for serving under Abacha, the former governor was pressurised by the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 election, Basorun MKO Abiola, as well as pro June 12 supporters to accept the offer.
He added instead of maligning Jakande for the decision, the people should appreciate his role in the June 12 struggles and contributions to the development of Lagos State.
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“Following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections and the attendant political crisis, Jakande was enjoined to join the cabinet of General Sani Abacha as Works Minister. The thinking was the pro June 12 supporters should have a foot in the government. Many may not remember that Alhaji Jakande alongside Dr. Olu Onagoruwa and Alex Ibru were in the vanguard of those who worked for MKO Abiola’s bail, which unfortunately , he was prevailed upon not to accept at the last minute,” he said.
He added: ” We will never know what course history would have taken if Abiola had taken that bail.It is important for us to note that for Alhaji Jakande , the appointment was just another opportunity to serve the public, not.for any personal aggrandizement. He has unfortunately been maligned for this by members of the old political family , forgetting that much earlier in 1966, he had rejected invitation to serve the military government of the day. The failure to understand the context of some of the political developments post -1993 still underpins the political tendencies in South West politics today.”
Osoba lamented the failure of past and present federal governments to honour Jakande with a national honour ‘ when people of lesser contributions strut around the country with high honors.
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“Whenever we celebrate accomplishment, we acknowledge the exploits of our heroes past and commit the attendant lessons to the present and future generations. That sense of history and appreciation is important for the sustained growth of our values and country. It becomes particularly so in the context of today’s celebration for Alhaji Jakande is one Nigerian who has not been given enough credit for his immense contributions to the development of the Nigerian media and our dear country. It is my recommendation that Baba Jakande should be given nothing lower than the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic,” he said.
National leader, All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, eulogising Jakande said the former governor has maintained his stance as member of the Progressives, and praise his “unshakeable and unforgettable legacy.’
Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his remarks said his administration will immortalise the name of Jakande by naming the 496 block of flats at Garden Estate, Igando, which is undergoing construction by the state government, after the former governor upon completion.