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Strive For Peace: The Lateef Jakande Legacy

February 20, 2021 | Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes
Written by Koboju Etariemi

During the Alhaji Lateef Jakande burial, former Lagos state governor and National leader of the All Peoples Congress party (APC), Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu called for peace amongst the various tribes, religions and ethnic groups in the country. He posits that Nigeria is currently in crisis and the only way out of the crisis will be for the various ethnic groups to work together and strive for peace. A war in Nigeria would submerge the entirety of West Africa.

While it is true that Nigeria is in crisis, the idea that that the crisis is solely tribal, ethnic and religious is a bogus one. Not even Boko Haram or the now established insurgencies around the country is the real dilemma Nigerians consider they’ve found themselves. On the contrary, the main problem of the average Nigerian is not the herdsmen- farmer war neither is it Boko Haram or the kidnapping of the school children at Kagara. We are becoming accustomed to all of these issues now. They are the new normal. The main problem of the average Nigerian is the insensitivity that’s the government.

Nigeria is unfortunate to have a group of leaders who lack direction and have absolutely no clue as to where they are steering this ship. To say Nigeria is under crisis today is an understatement. The United Nation, last year, declared Nigeria a war zone. Our economy is in shambles. But for the legacy of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, we must put aside our tribal, ethnic and religious differences and strive for peace; forging a Nigeria that our children can be proud of. Lori iro.

Do you know?

Alhaji Lateef Jakande is the first civilian governor of Lagos state. He was a follower of the vibrant and late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Lateef Jakande was a journalist by profession for the Nigerian Tribune. In 1956, he rose to the position of editor-in-chief of the Nigeria Tribune. In 1975, he left the Nigerian Tribune and established John West Publications and began to publish The Lagos News. He became the first president of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria.

In 1979, under the umbrella of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Jakande ran for the gubernatorial elections of Lagos state and won, becoming the first civilian governor of the state. His tenure as governor saw the establishment of the Lagos State University (LASU). In 1983, he was arrested by the military and was charged and convicted of treason. After his release, he served as the minister of works under General Sani Abacha’s regime.

Alhaji Lateef Jakande died on the 11th of February, 2021 at the age of 91.

2023 is a long way out. Nigerians must brace themselves for the long haul. This administration is going to be a long, cold and bitter winter experience. To save Nigeria is to save the system; to save the government. Kaduna state’s governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai has on Friday, shed light on the direction he thinks Nigeria should embark on. One that many well-meaning Nigerians couldn’t agree more on.

El Rufai during a live broadcast has urged the federal government to implement state policing. This would enable and empowered state governors, giving them direct country over the security and policing of their states. He further stated that the response of the national police to threats have been uncoordinated and ineffective, hence, the need for state police. Governors should have the authority when it regards the safety and security of the citizens of their states, not some aloof person at Abuja.

I believe what Nigeria needs are growth and development. There can’t be growth and development when the lives of the citizens of a country are at risks. While the youths are at it, it is the duty of the federal government to protect them, nurture them and create an environment and viable economy to aid their growth and development. However, President Buhari-led administration seeks to do the opposite. The killing of youths, the banning of cryptocurrency, thereby, stifling the livelihood of the majority of the youths is just not the way to go.

Alhaji Ahmed Tinubu was absolutely right when he said Nigeria is in crisis, and I dare to say, Nigeria is in dire crisis. Talk of the insurgency that’s Boko Haram, the Herdsmen-Fulani war brewing in the south-west among many others. However, Nigeria’s real crisis, one that’s worth addressing is the insensitivity and aloofness of its leaders, those sworn to protect and serve. The lack of good roads, uninterrupted power supply, basic health care, unemployment amongst many others are the real issues.

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