A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has lamented the criticism against a former Lagos State governor, Lateef Jakande, for serving under the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, as works minister.
Osoba said Jakande worked with Abacha to serve as the eye of people seeking the actualisation of the annulled June 12, 1993 election won by the late MKO Abiola.
The former Ogun State governor said the decision was, however, misconstrued and people had continued to malign him for it.
The APC leader spoke on Tuesday at the 90th birthday celebration of Jakande at The Haven Event Centre, Ikeja, Lagos.
He said, “The thinking was that 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 by his lawyers not to accept at the last minute. 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 Jakande, the appointment was just another opportunity to serve the public; not for any personal aggrandisement. 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,” he said.
Osoba, who recently celebrated his 80 birthday with public presentation of a book, said he was pained that Jakande had yet to write a memoir on his own “journalistic and political exploits” from which many young Nigerians would have learnt.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, commended Jakande’s transformation of the education system in Lagos State and the free education policy which many children benefitted from.
“More importantly was in the housing sector which he made effectively. He built the largest number of housing projects by any state government in one circle, including that of the Federal Government, which was built under the Jakande administration and that has remained to this day,” he stated.
The National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, said Jakande had achieved many firsts at a time it was extremely difficult to rule Nigeria.
He described him as the foremost progressives “anyone could find on the continent.”
“One key, not excluding others, was his unshakable and absolute loyalty to his leaders. At the very crucial time in the history of politics in the country, he was extremely loyal to former Premier of the Western Region, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Ideologically, he has never departed from the progressives’ path. He is always with the progressives,” he said.
According to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Jakande’s name is synonymous with development.
He promised that the Igando Housing Estate currently under construction would be inaugurated in August and named after him.