Comrade Joseph Evah,Â Â Co-ordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group, has described the first civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, as the last man standing in the engine room of Awolowoâ€™s political machine that provided the highest manpower for Africa through free education.
In a message to mark the 80th birthday of Jakande, the Ijaw leader stated that free education at all levels, including free text books projected by Awolowo through Jakande, Olabisi Onabanjo, Ambrose Alli, Adekunle Ajasin and Bola lge between 1979-1983 â€œprovided over 10 million professionals in all aspects of development today and over two million Niger Deltans benefited from Awolowoâ€™s vision.â€
He added that over 100,000 Niger Deltans who would have missed secondary education due to poverty were given the opportunity in Lagos by Jakande without bias.
â€œWe thank God that Jakande is still alive today. My generation benefited from his commitment to Awolowoâ€™s vision.
I rebuke those asking Jakande to apologise for serving Abachaâ€™s government. In fact they should thank Jakande for saving Yoruba nation from total destruction by Abacha.
The intention of Abacha was to destroy Yorubaland after crushing their elites in the military, economic sector and human rights community but Jakandeâ€™s presence in that government slowed down all the moves.
â€œHistory reminds us that late Chief M. K.O Abiola joined people like Obasanjo in 1979 to prevent Chief Awolowo, the best president Nigeria never had from emerging. Also, Awolowo served in the Gowon government and advised Gowon to reject the Aburi Accord in Ghana, giving Gowon all powers to ignore fiscal federalism.
Yet, we celebrate them today because their positive sides overshadowed their shortcomings as human beings. We expect our Niger Delta governors to emulate Jakande and provide free education at all levels to make the desired impact in our region,â€ Evah said.