ore facts have emerged on how the late first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande was drafted to serve under the late former Head of State, Sani Abacha.
Narrating what transpired as living witnesses, Head of the Jakande Family, Mr Kamaldeen Giwa and widow of the deceased, Abimbola said Jakande was persuaded by eminent Yoruba leaders at the time after severally rejecting the offer.
The late Jakande was later Minister of Works and Housing under the Abacha regime.
He was, thereafter, castigated for serving a military government that incarcerated Abiola for demanding the restoration of his June 12, 1993, presidential election mandate.
Clearing the air on the issue when Afenifere, a pan Yoruba socio-political group, paid a condolence visit to the late Jakande’s Ilupeju, Lagos residence, on Wednesday, Giwa said leaders of Afenifere, including the late Adekunle Ajasin, appealed to Jakande to take up the ministerial nomination.
Giwa, who said he witnessed the scenario, said: “Baba Jakande did not take any appointment on his own. It was with Bashorun Abiola that begged him to take it. I was at that meeting. Abiola came to this house around 2am with Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu) and I think Adefuye (Senator Anthony) and said Baba (Jakande), you have to take this position (ministerial). Baba said ‘no.’ Then, MKO begged all of us there to persuade Baba to accept. Before Bashorun (Abiola) left, he said ‘whether you (Jakande) like it or not, tomorrow, your name will be announced as a minister.’ When he left, we now started to talk to Baba to accept the offer. There is no single person at that meeting that did not beg him. He declined.”
The late Jakande’s widow, Abimbola said the meeting took place on Friday.
According to her, on Saturday morning, many prominent people came to Jakande’s house to persuade him.
She said: “They took breakfast here and discussed the matter till Sunday. They agreed to put the matter to vote. All of them voted in support of him serving in the Abacha’s government. It was only one person, Yomi (Shakirudeen Kinyomi) that voted against the decision. Baba later said he will consider it. He later bowed to their pressure.
“When Abiola told him to accept the offer, he called Baba Ajasin and Ajasin gave him the go-ahead. The people also nominated Babatope (Ebenezer) and Osomo (Mobolaji). Osomo was not around when they swore them in, so they did her own the following day.”
Giwa urged Afenifere leaders to correct the wrong impression by immortalising the late Jakande.
“I believe strongly that Afenifere should also pursue a course where his name will be immortalised,” he said.
Chief Supo Shonibare, who led the Afenifere delegation, described Jakande as a selfless leader and rare being.
The late Jakande’s vision for Lagos, Shonibare said, was beyond the comprehension of the people then.
“He wanted to transform Lagos to compete with other big cities in the developed world, hence his Metroline project. He laid down the foundation for good governance,” he said.
He thanked Alhaja Abimbola for standing by her husband.
Also, All Progressives Congress (APC) Lagos State Caretaker Committee, led by Babatunde Balogun, said the late Jakande lived a fulfilled and good life.
Balogun said: “All the things he did are of benefits to many people. We would forever remember him for giant strides in infrastructure, education and many other things. Some of us are products of his free education,” he said.