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What I did for Yoruba under Abacha – Jakande

From left Mr Dejo Olatoye; Chairman Veteran Journalist, Alhaji Lateef Jakande;Mr Felix Adenaike during a public lecture organize by the League of Veteran Journalist in Oyo state with the Theme "The Challenges of Journalist in Nigeria Politics" .

By Ola Ajayi
IBADAN– SECOND republic Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande said in Ibadan yesterday that he was pleased with how justice took its course in some of the South West zones especially in Ekiti and Ondo States where Peoples Democratic Party led governments were sent packing.

He commended the rare courage of the judiciary saying it should be carried shoulder high for bracing all odds and taking up the courage to solve the seeming knotty issues and bring  succour to many Nigerians.

While speaking at a public lecture organized by the League of Veteran Journalists, Oyo State Chapter led by Mr. Dejo Olatoye in Ibadan yesterday, he enjoined all Nigerians to summon courage and speak up to correct the ills that are plaguing the country.

“When I heard the judgment of Ekiti, I was very happy. I was happy because the Judiciary had the courage to do what was expected of them”.

For the suffering of ordinary Nigerians to end, all must join hands together to say no to any policies that are anti-people.

He said, “We all have a duty to ensure that things work well. South West should normally be for the progressives. We have to be very active to be able to assert ourselves. We are too quiet. Perhaps we are not sufficiently involved”.

Speaking on the topic entitled, “the challenges facing Journalists in Nigerian politics, the 81-year old veteran journalist called on practicing journalists to live up to expectation and play the role of watchdogs.

According to the icon of journalism, “We have to make our minds to return to the good old days and make recourse to the records of our forefathers. We should be at the forefront. There is no reason for keeping mum.”

He advised the South West zone to go into the records of the past to be able to continue being at the forefront politically in the country. We are on the frontline and we should always be.

Admitting that things and times have changed, he said the zone should gird up its loins and pull resources together to be in the position that it should be.

On the Freedom of Information Bill, he stressed that it was fear that had not made the National Assembly to pass it.

For the bill to make any headway, he said journalists in the country should show more seriousness.
Jakande said, “We do not seem to be serious about it. Practitioners should come together and ensure that our freedom to practise is guaranteed.

“We must be prepared to work together. I have not seen us working together as a group. Why can’t we meet the lawmakers and make representations to enlighten them on the bill which is not meant for journalists only? We must start now.”

Contrary to the belief of many Nigerians, he described the late General Sanni Abacha as a listening person adding that he joined his government so that Yoruba would not be left out in the scheme of things.

“We could not leave the Yorubas out of the government. If we left, others would carry on. He was listening to me and I used the opportunity to push through the welfare of our people,”.

When the issue of June 12 came up, I tried my best, but things did not work out.

Under Abacha, he added that he was able to make some Nigerians happy as he noted he built no fewer than 121,000 housing units.

The Chairman of the league, Mr. Olatoye commended journalists in the country saying they had done excellently well

The full interview with the elder statesman went thus:

PDP led government has been sent packing in two of the South West states, what do you think led to this?
I was so happy when I heard the judgment of Ekiti, I was very happy. I was happy because the Judiciary had the courage to do what was expected of them. It takes courage like that to correct the ills in our country.

We all have a duty to ensure that things work well. South West should normally be for the progressives. We have to be very active to be able to assert ourselves. We are too quiet. Perhaps we are not sufficiently involved”.

“We have to make our minds to return to the good old days and make recourse to the records of our forefathers. We should be at the forefront. There is no reason for keeping mum

Yoruba race is at the forefront and we will not lag behind. Let us all get together. Let us give the leadership that this country needs to develop. The problem facing the country is leadership. They are toying with the lives of so many people.

Why did you join the Abacha government that people knew to be violator of Human Right?

We could not leave the Yorubas out of the government. If we left, others would carry on.

Abacha was a was listening person. He was always listening to me. When I became the Minister in charge of Works, I used the opportunity to push through the welfare of our people. I made sure I built about 121,000 housing units for the masses and I’m happy that I achieved this.

On the June, 12 election that was cancelled by IBB

As a Yoruba man, I fought very hard to make things happen.

When the issue of June 12 came up, I tried my best, but things did not work out. We were still on it when IBB annulled it.

Comments about the  late passage of the Freedom of Information Bill

“Looking at the way things are, we do not seem to be serious about it. Practitioners should come together and ensure that our freedom to practise is guaranteed. We must be prepared to work together. I have not seen us working together as a group. Why can’t we meet the lawmakers and make representations to enlighten them on the bill which is not meant for journalists only? We must start now.”

Our problem in the country is leadership. We have vast resources, but unfortunately, they are not well utilized for the welfare of Nigerians.

I said this during my speech that about 43 million Nigerian children are out of school. We cannot sleep with these children out of school. This is totally unacceptable. And they wasted

So, you League of Veteran Journalists should be of progress and for the salvation of people. It appears we are working at cross purposes. We should not make this occasional lectures the end of our story. Let us make use of the  lessons that we learn from them. We cannot afford to abandon our people. We have a situation where university graduates are unemployed not to talk about those who did not go to school.


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