NEWS

Why Jakande And Tinubu Didn’t Get Along


At the time he died last Thursday, Alhaji Lateef Kayode
Jakande, LKJ was undoubtedly the role model for good
governance with legacies spread around Lagos.
So impactful was his touch on society that ahead of the
1983 election that those plotting to rig the election in some
Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN controlled states knew better not
to touch Lagos. That was essentially given the phenomenal
imprints he had put on the ground in his first term.
The memory of LKJ and some of his colleagues in the
Second Republic refreshes the ideological orientation of the
political class of that era.
Jakande’s UPN had its four cardinal programmes of rural
integrated development, free compulsory education at all
levels, full employment and free health for all.
Jakande by and large pursued these programmes and even
more. It is remarkable that one of the legacies he is best
remembered for is housing which significantly was not
among the UPN’s cardinal programmes. But through the
Jakande Estates dotted around the then rural areas of
Lekki, Ajah, Mile Two and so, the programme of rural-urban
integration was driven.
While the UPN governors pursued their platforms with gusto,
the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, was also known to have
pursued its programme of housing for all with similar gusto.
The federal administration built and commissioned housing
estates around the country known as Shagari houses.
The competition by the UPN and the NPN to deliver on their
platforms was a healthy competition that helped to further
development.
None of the five civilian governors who followed matched
him in the delivery of democracy dividends to the
electorate.
But for a man with such veritable legacies on ground, it is
remarkable that he died a diminished political entity. It is
doubtful if he could have weighed influence in the election
of his councilor in Ilupeju after 1999.
Though he was a member of the All Progressives
Congress, APC, the party apparently did not bother to
associate with him.
Jakande did not come into the political terrain as many
others. He came well prepared after a successful stint as a
journalist and newspaper manager.
Having associated with Chief Obafemi Awolowo from the
fifties, he was part of the inner caucus who prepared the
policy framework for the UPN during the pre-registration
meetings that regularly took place at Awolowo’s residence
at Apapa.
By the time the party was registered and he was eventually
elected as governor, Jakande went on to enunciate
programmes and projects that defined his legacy. Perhaps
one project which will continue to haunt many in the APC is
the abandonment of the metro line.
At the flag-off of the project in July 1983, Jakande who was
not given to self-adulation was reported to have said that
the metro line project was one that generations in 100
years’ time would thank his administration for.
However, six months later, he was out of office after the
Muhammadu Buhari coup and the project was scuttled
albeit with great financial cost on Lagos State. The military
government ‘diagnosed’ it as a white elephant project.
Had that metro line project been allowed to proceed, not
only would it have addressed today’s transportation chaos
in Lagos, it would also have shone as an example worthy of
emulation by other parts of the country.
Indeed, given his success as governor even while still in
office, the idea of Jakande succeeding Awolowo began to
crystalise and he began to be called Baba Kekere.
After Awolowo’s death in 1987, and as the country edged
towards the Third Republic, Jakande had become about the
most prominent political personality in Lagos State.
His choice of his faithful adherent, Femi Agbalajobi over
Dapo Sarunmi to be candidate of the Social Democratic
Party, SDP for the Lagos State Governorship Election of
1990 tore the progressive camp asunder.
Sarumi with the heavy money and backed by the Gen. Musa
Shehu Yar‘Adua tendency fought Jakande/Agbalajobi to
standstill within the SDP. It was a battle of wits that ended
in a war of mutual destruction.
One of the operatives of the Sarumi camp was one Mr Bola
Ahmed Tinubu who at that time in the late eighties had not
too long ago just retired as an executive with Mobil Oil.
In the end, the military regime intervened and both
Agbalajobi and Sarumi were removed from the contest. In
the repeat primary, Yomi Edu who was regarded as a
product of the Sarumi tendency emerged as a candidate.
His choice of Awolowo’s daughter, Mrs Tokunbo Awolowo-
Dosunmu was seen as a sop to Jakande and the Agbalajobi
tendency. However, it was flatly rejected.
Jakande then decided to show his control of the Lagos
political field in the main election between the SDP’s Edu
and the National Republican Convention’s candidate of
Otunba Michael Otedola.
Despite having complete control of the State House of
Assembly, the SDP in the main election massively lost the
governorship office to the NRC’s candidate.
That was because on election eve, the Jakande tendency
spread out the word to vote Otedola instead of Edu.
By showing his political strength and savvy he showed that
he was the supremo in the progressives’ camp. But many
apparently never forgave him. One of those who apparently
never forgave him was that young operative, Mr Tinubu
who was at that time at the beck and call of Sarumi.
Later as governor, Tinubu kept his distance from Jakande
despite the phenomenal programmes and projects of the
LKJ years.
Another spot on Jakande’s glorious political sojourn was his
adventure into the Sani Abacha government. Though he
entered the government as was agreed by Yoruba elders
and performed creditably as secretary of housing
development, he along other Yoruba elders when asked to
leave rejected the call.
That was what drew the curtain to an eventful political
swagger across Lagos. He lived on, however, till last
Thursday. But his legacies dotted around Lagos and the
men and women he raised through institutions he created
will even endure more.

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