By Dele Sobowale
By all standards u qualify as a Senior Citizen of Lagos State..I dnt believe u had a deep thought of what u might be igniting before u write on d Christian Governorship thing in Lagos. Please it takes a slip from people with followership like u to start what they cannot finish as there are millions out there to highjack noble talks and put the state on fire. I am a Christian.. Lagos needs peace for development than who is the Gov. Muslim of Christian…”.
I plead with you not to react to “Et tu, Dele” of Voice of Reason of Dec. 18. Am a regular reader of the two columns & have never seen any harsh reaction of yours to any of Uncle Kola’s many religious stands”. Ogunji, Ifo, Ogun State.
“This time we aren’t fighting [enemies], we are fighting our friends. But remember this, no matter how bitter things got, they’re still our friends and this [Lagos State] is still our home”.
Harper Lee, in TO KILL A MOCKING BIRD
To our reader and friend Ogunji and others, let me assure that the advice is unnecessary. Alhaji Kola Animasaun established this page as a “must read” years before I climbed on his broad shoulders to renown. Alhaji is the last person I will quarrel with openly.
The matter on hand is not Animasaun verus Sobowale. I was approached by aggrieved Christians who confronted me with documents alleging discrimination against them. All I have done is to open an issue that was already the subject of sermons in several churches.
I am surprised that a lot of our brothers did not know there was a groundswell of agitation in this regard. Alhaji Kola can tell me off anyway and anytime he likes. He is my senior brother. And I am forever indebted to him. End of that.
Whether you are in support or against my position, I still offer a hand of brotherhood because this is a fight between friends and Lagos is still our home. Contrary to those who think there will be violence, I think the issue will be resolved amicably after being openly discussed.
There is a Yoruba adage which says “ti omo iya meji ba wonu yara soro ti won rerin jade; won so oto oro fun ra won ni”. Translation: “when two brothers end a serious discussion smiling; they have not been honest with themselves”. We have for too long taken silence for absence of grievance. The sooner we recognize this the better.
So many text messages, as can be imagined, came in, on account of this. Almost all those against, like the one quoted above and the one presented in part 2 followed the same pattern – don’t disturb the peace. None ask for the evidence.
Apparently, if these people were in South Africa when Nelson Mandela started his epic struggle, they would have told him to “shut up and let’s have peace!!!” Thank God Mandela did not shut up; instead he also stood for peace BUT NOT PEACE AT ANY PRICE. So let me continue my pilgrimage on this matter from where I left off in part 2.
The next phase of Progressive politics came after years of military rule in 1979 with the formation of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN. In Lagos, Alhaji Jakande, representing Lagos Island, was the governorship candidate and Rafiu Jafojo, representing Badagry, was the Deputy Governor – both Muslims and we all trooped out to support them.
Nobody bothered about their religion because the UPN, until then had a discipline organization. Each member knew his position within the party and nobody was selected for elective post who had not been known in his/her constituency for years as a party member.
Under that strict regime, nobody cared about religion or anything else—other than party loyalty. It was also agreed that after eight years of Jakande the governorship would swing to Epe.
Alhaji Jakande finished his first term – gloriously – and started his second term in 1983. The first sign of “religion as an issue” within the Progressive camp started that year. Hitherto, appointments were zoned according to the members’ home town – defined as father’s birth place.
The two ranking UPN members from Epe were both Christians and I was there one evening when they returned from a meeting where it was advanced that one could also be an indigene of Epe if his mother came from the Local Government.
Those advancing this position had a candidate, who was serving as Commissioner on Lagos Island ticket. Perhaps, it was a coincidence that he was also a Muslim. History would never allow us to know what would have happened after 1983.
Let us accelerate the story. When IBB formed two government parastatals, SDP and NRC, the “conservatives” presented Sir Michael Otedola, the “progressives” could not agree among themselves which of two Muslims to back. So a faction backed Otedola.
In doing so, there was no pretence that he was the “best” candidate; he was simply a beneficiary of “bad belle” politics. So the claim that the “best candidate” is always presented cannot hold on account of historical evidence. If the “best candidate” is so obvious, why could they not select one for SDP. “Best” has always been subjective —until someone can tell me the objective criteria used. Abacha brought that experiment to an end in 1993…
REMINDER TO PROFESSOR NNAJI
“When faith is lost, when honour dies, the man is dead”.
John Whittier, 1807-1892.
Last July, without being prompted by anyone, you promised the entire country 5,000MW of power supply by December ending. I challenged you on these pages to be different from late Chief Bola Ige, Engineer Lyel Imoke. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and late President Yar’Adua who made similar promises in the past but failed to deliver.
One of your fans sent me a text message calling me “a pessimist” – as if that is a crime. By the time this is read all over the world, there will be 6 days left for you to fulfill your promise or do the honourable thing – you know what I mean.
If you fail to deliver and sustain 5,000MW from December 31, 2011, as far as I am concerned you will no longer be considered honourable – if you stay in office. And your fan will remain a fool for putting his trust in government officials.
LAST LINE: For eight days running, power supply to my area in Lagos has dwindled to two hours a day. That does not suggest 5000MW generated.
LAST LINE: The NASS has condemned privatization. Read how NITEL was taken to the cleaners for N60b. Ni Wikileaks. Deleleaks. N5000 a copy.