BY EBUN SESSOU
•Says subsidy should continue unless…
Alhaji Abdul Lateef Kayode Jakande, former governor of Lagos State, in this interview, speaks on the burning issues in Nigeria as well as Lagos State. Excerpt.
On LASU fees
I think it is an eyesore for such to happen in this part of the country. It is outrageous and shouldn’t be allowed. On what basis was the university created in the first place?
The only modality for its creation was to give life to the people of Lagos State. As the first executive governor of Lagos State, the university was created to serve Lagos State very well and it did.
I had advised the governor to withhold this excessive increase of fees. Frankly speaking, I see no excuse for any government in the state to increase the university fees from N25,000 to N300,000 or N250,000. I want to appeal to Governor Fashola and I think he has been wrongly advised. How many families can afford to pay such huge amount of money? I am a strong believer in free education and I want to urge the governor to go back to free education at all levels.
I believe that Lagos State government can afford it and therefore I appeal to His Excellency not to enforce this high fees. It will mean so many children going out of school and it is not in the interest of the people of Lagos State. Education is number one priority and I appeal to the governor to please do not increase the fees.
Whether the parent has money or not is not my business but education must be free at all levels and I appeal to the government to do just that.
There is no defence for the increase. Free education is the right of every citizen in Lagos State. From primary to university level.
On Boko Haram
It should be on the part of the federal government to do something about it because we can’t afford terrorism to continue in this country.
But there have been series of clarion calls on the federal government to find lasting solution before the Christmas bomb attack in some parts of the country. For me, nobody in government has any choice than to stop this madness. And I believe it shouldn’t be religiously influenced.
We have seen all that he can do but there is no evidence that he has the mind of the people at heart. There is nothing to show that he is doing anything as regards Boko Haram or other related issues concerning terrorism. What goes on on a daily routine is evidence to prove that the president is weak and there is nothing in his capacity than to bring the doers of this act to justice.
On removal of subsidy
I do not see why subsidy should stop unless an alternative is produced and that should not be oppressive on the common man on the street. You cannot stop subsidy if there is no better alternative. As we speak, there is no concrete conviction on the necessity for stopping subsidy. My view is that the government should produce an alternative to subsidy which will not oppress the common people on the street and until that is done, I think the subsidy should continue.
Being a democratic government elected by the people, it is expected to respect people’s opinion. In this case, there is no valid alternative that government has produced for removal of subsidy and if it is removed, too many people will suffer.
On Jonathan’s style of leadership
We must insist that he doesn’t destroy too many lives in this country. He is elected to serve the people and not to destroy them and that is why I am saying that if he has any reason at all to remove subsidy, there must be an immediate palliative. I have read some of their statements saying that there will be construction of roads which is a total shame on their part. There must be an immediate palliative measures and failure to do that is to inflict harship on many lives unnecessarily.
I don’t know whether Jonathan has been wrongly advised because it is obvious that he is not a man of his words. I don’t see reason why he should stop subsidy without having a good intention for his people. My appeal is that Jonathon should insist that subsidy should continue.