They came to see him, the politicians, pretending to love him. They came with tears in their eyes, their heads bowed in mock humility and deceit. If it would not have been embarrassing, they would have thrown themselves to the floor in painful anguish that Baba Jakande had departed this world.
But in truth, they hated the man they were pretending to cry for. The hated him for his humility and integrity. They despised him for his honesty and lack of avarice. They were turned off by his simplity and austere lifestyle, but most importantly they detested him for the deep love he had for the people of Lagos state.
If they had a choice, those who still had a little bit of conscience left would not have visited the home of the great little man that has just passed and entered the pantheon of the greats. His virtues reminded them so much of their vices. He was simple – they are loud. He was humble – they are known for their arrogance. He protected the people’s commonwealth – they steal the people blind. He was motivated by the desire to work for, and protect the common good – their predilection is to take from the little that the people have and add to their ill gotten wealth. He was a light that continually sought to lighten up the environment – they are darkness that continues to push our country towards the precipice. He had very little physical and material properties to show as a one time governor of Lagos state – they have properties all over the state, the country, and abroad – all, mostly the proceeds of ill-gotten wealth.
Yes! They did not like Jakande very much. His cleanliness reminded them too much about the filth and dirt that clings and hangs on to them like a tenacious leach.
But if you read the first the first and second inauguration speeches of the late Alhaji Lateef Jakande as elected governor, you will understand who the man was and why and how he achieved so much.
They show Jakande at his patriotic and humanistic best. They show his motivations, commitments, and belief in the common good. Now we understand why his government was neither pro-rich nor pro-poor but was pro-people without colorations. It is today, amazing to see political armed robbers, jackals and hyenas who have stolen the people blind, lining up to pay tribute to a man whose life and lifestyle was a clear and direct repudiation of their financial lusts and political concupiscence. I am almost persuaded to say that God will punish them for turning Nigeria into a wasteland of frustration, deprivation, and hunger. But He has assured us that no evil will go unpunished. We are waiting. Jakande in life and death has shamed these amoral ‘conquistadors’ that today’s Nigerians so shamelessly extol for depriving them of a better life in the land of plenty.
His footprints are everywhere in the state. He swore to uphold free educational for all and he achieved that. He promised to invest in the health of the people and he delivered the general hospitals you see everywhere. He desired a more befitting and bigger working environment for the state civil servants and he gave them the imposing secretariat at Alausa. He even wanted to solve the now intractable transport situation in the state by building a metroline but the military government stopped him.
So let them shed their crocodile tears, wail and gnash their teeth before television cameras and photo lenses. We know that they are secretly glad that the man who reminded them so much about their dubious political credentials and their moral deficits is gone.
But when all is said and done, we the people know and remember our true champions. Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande was one of them. Adieu great one!