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Thursday, 14 September 2017

THE TOAST OF LAGOS STATE - By BASHORUN J.K. RANDLE


MAJEKODUNMI [SPARE ME THE PAIN] 


(At Dinner Hosted By The Association of Lagos Titled Chiefs)



In Commemoration of the 90th Birthday of Chief (Dr.) M.A. Majekodunmi)



At Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos



On Saturday 26th August 2006




PROTOCOLS

It is my great privilege and honour to be invited to propose the Toast of Lagos State on this exceptionally auspicious and most heartwarming celebration of the life of an illustrious father of our nation – Chief (Dr.) M.A. Majekodunmi – our “Papa” and our “Baba” – or as we say in Lagos, “Eyan Gidi, Baba Pataki and Omoluabi”. 

Since I have been allotted only five minutes, I shall confine myself to pointing out what is already well-known to you all – for over sixty years, regardless of the fact that Papa hails from Ikereku, Abeokuta in the heartland of Egba Kingdom, Lagos has been his theatre of operation – and I am not confining myself to Massey Street Maternity Clinic where fifty years ago, (we were reminded only last week by the Eminent Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology – Professor Oladele Akinla) our celebrant famously and successfully pioneered the creation of an “artificial vagina”, the beneficiary of which proceeded to achieve motherhood shortly thereafter. All these happened in Lagos. It was considered a miracle at the time and the least Lagos deserves is your generous accolade for a city which provided the enabling environment for this magnificent medical feat on a par with what golfers call “a hole in one”!! Lagos has always had to contend with critical challenges – as the inspiration for its claim to “Excellence”. 
About twenty years ago, as part of my research into the problem of urban decay, I visited Warwick, England as the guest of Mr. John Henderson who had previously served as the Chief Executive of Lagos Executive Development Board (LEDB). In the 1950’s, he was charged with the responsibility for the Lagos Slum Clearance Scheme – a truly daunting project. What is relevant is that in 1953, the population of Lagos was according to official statistics, about 250,000 (two hundred and fifty thousand). It ranked second to Ibadan which recorded 353,000 (three hundred and fifty-three thousand) to claim the prize for being the largest city in Africa, apart from Cairo and Johannesburg. I am not privy to the results of the National Census which was concluded a few months ago.
However, what is certain is that when the results are finally released, Lagos State had better be prepared for a shock. The numbers are going to be overwhelming. We should be lenient on those who insist that the current population of Lagos is 20 million during the day; and about 30 million at night !! When we were growing up, it was not unusual to find money (coins) waiting to be picked on the streets of Lagos. Not any more. Lagos has become a jungle where marauders hold sway. 
Some of you may recall that John Henderson left Nigeria under a cloud. We need not go into the details. What is sufficient is to recognize that he ran into heavy weather and serious problems over the issue of compensation to the families that owned property marked for demolition and the cost of relocating them to Surulere and Ikeja/Ogba. His undoing was his underestimation of the powerful vested interests with which he had to contend. Some well known lawyers got huge slices of the compensation as fees. Tragically, even the share that belonged to their clients never reached destination – the welfare of those who had been uprooted.
Something else that John Henderson revealed was that the then chairman of the Lagos Executive Board, Chief (Dr.) Sir Kofo Abayomi and the other members of the Board (my father, Chief J.K. Randle, Lisa of Lagos, was a member) were men of impeccable character and integrity. Not once did they ask him for any favour (land, houses etc) for themselves or members of their family. If any one put pressure on him at all, it was the great Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony who insisted that the new housing scheme at Surulere must have a befitting stadium. That is what is now known as our national stadium!! Sir Mobolaji lobbied hard for it, not for himself, but for the advancement of sports and the glory of Lagos - and ultimately of our nation.
Anyway, the slums have not gone away.
Also, about 60 years ago, my father who was a bosom friend of the celebrant contested elections in Lagos. It was great fun to go all over Lagos in my father’s campaign van yelling at all and sundry: “E dibo fun J.K. Randle
(Vote for J.K. Randle) !!
For me, it was the perfect excuse for skipping school. On the eve of the election, his opponent turned up with a large crowd together with drummers outside our house. They were yelling: “To wo ba te J.K. Randle, pipa ni e pa, kariun jeba lola”. (If we get hold of J.K. Randle, we shall kill him and cook him as stew to be savoured with “eba” (staple food) tomorrow !!
Being a sportsman, my father promptly joined them: danced right in their midst, accompanied them in chanting their threats to his life and then gave them some money. They went off merrily. In those days, politics was fun – not a do or die affair. Clearly, my father’s fate was entirely different from that of Engr. Funsho Williams whose recent gruesome murder still haunts us.
Going by the official report by the police both his feet were tied. So also were his hands while his mouth was stuffed. All these were in addition to being strangled and having his jugular veins severed plus being stabbed in the heart. Clearly, this was neither an ordinary murder nor straightforward assassination.

 It has all the hallmarks of a mafia-style execution. Some ruthless and sadistic characters are obviously determined to send a powerful message to whoever may contend with them for power, position or money. 
What a tragic irony that such a fine gentleman should be subjected to a slow painful death. He had a brilliant career at St. Gregory’s College. Incidentally, his father ……………………………was at King’s College, Lagos from …………….to ……………….. while his mother ………………….. (nee ……………….was at Queen’s College from …………..to …………………..). It has been a long-standing puzzle why a King’s College Old Boy would send his son to St. Gregory’s College.

Permit me to share with you the condolence message which I delivered to the family of the deceased when I led a delegation of Lagos Titled Chiefs to his Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi residence:
“STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE ASSOCIATION OF LAGOS TITLED CHIEFS WHEN A DELEGATION LED BY BASHORUN J.K. RANDLE VISITED THE HOME OF LATE ENGINEER FUNSHO WILLIAMS ON SUNDAY JULY 30, 2006.
We are here on behalf of the President of the Association of Lagos Titled Chiefs, Chief (Dr.) M. A. Majekodunmi, the Vice-President, Otunba T.O.S Benson and the entire members of the Association of Lagos Titled Chiefs to sympathise with the family of Late Engineer Funsho Williams over the shocking, grotesque and gruesome murder of an illustrious son of Lagos and the scion of an eminent, respected and distinguished family.
We most emphatically and vigorously register our protest and disgust at this disturbing and unsavoury development.
Our appeal to all politicians regardless of their party affiliation is to play politics with decorum, tolerance and decency as prevails in civilized parts of the world. Indeed, Lagos has a historical and non-negotiable obligation to set a worthy example to the rest of Nigeria in the game of politics which at the end of the day, is about the supreme call to SERVE the people with humility, honesty and dignity.” 

Indeed, as a warning that danger is still lurking around, only two days ago, according to a newspaper report, an eminent Chief (of Ife and Lagos) – Chief Mobolaji St. Mathew-Daniel (ex St. Gregory’s College) only narrowly escaped death at Apongbon, in the center of Lagos, in broad daylight. He was shot by his assailants who left him for dead. His driver sped off but was chased all the way to Bonny Camp, Victoria Island. At the time of this awful incident, the Chief’s wife was seated beside him in the car. Sadly, the passenger seated next to the driver was shot dead.
Indeed, the gangsters and killers have not confined themselves to Lagos (or Nigeria). It cannot be mere co-incidence that a few days ago a Nigerian chartered accountant, 70-year-old Chief ………..Fadoju was found dead in his East End, London home. He had been strangled. 
The least the Government of Lagos State can do is to name the street where Eng. Funsho Williams lived after him. There are several other names – Alhaji T.S. Fujah; Dr. Oladele Ajose; Chief Adelakun Faramobi; Chief J.K. Agbaje; and Saka Alawo of Isale Eko (who netted the biggest fish ever caught in Lagos) who deserve to have streets named after them. I must also add the names of Mr. Mobolaji Odunewu; Alhaji S.O. Gbadamosi; Ambassador Ade Martins; Mr. Akintola Williams; Rt. Rev. (Dr.) J.O. Lucas; Chief A.S.E. Agbabiaka and Chief Bolaji Finnih.
As for the celebrant, the naming of a street after him will have to wait until his 100th Birthday. His own father lived till almost 100 and I recall how when he died in 1953, I accompanied my father to the funeral ceremonies in Abeokuta. Everything went well until, Dr. Majekodunmi played a tape recording of his father’s voice. There was consternation all round. Some even took to their heels in the belief that he old man who they thought was dead had risen up to speak !! Whenever I come across Chief Ebenezer Obe and Chief Oluwole Adeosun, who are both Egba Chiefs, I always remind them that the first time I met them was when they took to their heels !! I dare not add that song “Duro de mi kin bo sokoto, Egba’n salo” !! (Wait until I have take off my trousers while the Egbas have taken flight). 
Let me quickly add that the two chiefs not only preceded me as President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria [ICAN], Chief Adeosun was (“simultaneously and concurrently”!!)
Minister of Aviation; Minister of Transport; Minister of Communications (under Chief E.A.O. Shonekan/General Sanni Abacha) but also (again simultaneously and concurrently Chief Executive Officer of NAL Merchant Bank Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Plc). Rumour has it that he is also a former Chief Army Staff in addition to being the Chairman of Pencom [National Pensions Commission]. 
This is not an occasion for mourning. Rather, it is an excellent opportunity to thank the Almighty for his abundant blessings on the celebrant, his devoted wife, our Mama – Mrs Katsina Majekodinmi – and our City Lagos, of which our forefathers used to boast – “To be born a Lagosian is to be “90 per cent blessed. All you have to worry about is the remaining
10 per cent” !!
Permit me to add that at the Olympic Games, held in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America in 1996, I stayed in the same hotel as Hakeem Olajuwon, the Nigerian born star of the American basketball team (which was known as “The Dream Team”). He was eager to remind me that his mother had lost several pregnancies until she registered under the care of our celebrant at Massey Street Maternity Clinic and she was delivered of a beautiful bouncing baby boy who eventually reached the towering height of almost 7 feet. That boy was named Hakeem. 
I must resist the temptation to remind you that in this same Lagos, in 1948 the great Zik (Rt. Hon. Nnamdi Azikiwe who would later become our first President) an Ibo man championed the cause of Prince Samuel Akinsanya (“Sarki”) who later became the Odemo of Ishara - a Yoruba man to represent Lagos in the Legislative Assembly. However, most Lagosians chose to ally themselves with the candidacy of Mr. Ernest Ikoli – from Brass in Niger Delta. I am reliably informed that their judgement was based on their confidence in Mr. Ikoli as a King’s College old boy [KCOB]!!.
While we are still on the subject of the politics of Lagos, perhaps you would permit me to share with you my experience about forty years ago at Onola, Isalegangan, right in the centre of the turbulent Isale Eko area of Lagos. It was very brave of Lawyer (Alhaji) Femi Okunnu who had recently returned to Lagos after graduating from The University of London. Being a King’s College Old Boy (Hockey, cricket etc), he proceeded to deliver a very eloquent speech in “ Queens English”. He spoke about “the dialetics of socialism……. and the compelling dynamics of power reconfiguration…….” Unfortunately, all this was too grand for his audience. The person standing next to me could not resist the urge to poke me in the ribs with a command to be delivered to the speaker:

“Go and tell Lawyer Okunnu to say something really rough, rude and abusive about his opponent (n’iko be won l’ase) instead of all this polite stuff. Politics is not for gentlemen.” 
It did not help matters that Lawyer Femi Okunnu (as he then was) was wearing a well-cut Hector Powe suit with his customary bow tie and his hair was neatly parted at the centre – “centre parting) !
Again, about thirty years ago when Alhaji Alade Idris-Animashaun was chairman of Lagos Executive Development Board, the military government set up a panel to investigate his distribution of land in Lagos. It was alleged that he had given state land to his friends. It is common knowledge that apart from being a perfect gentleman and a man of impeccable character (King’s College, Lagos followed by University of Manchester), Alhaji Idris-Animashaun is not lacking in candour or sense of humour. He faced his accusers squarely and delivered his defence: 
“I agree I gave land to my friends. When you become the chairman, feel free to give land to your enemies.”
That was the end of the investigation !!
It is common knowledge that Alhaji Alade’s father a devout Moslem, was the founder of Lagos Government School, Okesuna which I attended between 1949 and 1956. I wish to assure you that Alhaji Alade’s success in passing all his examinations had nothing to do with his father’s intimidating personality and influence over the teachers. Somehow, the school metamorphosised into both a Christian and Moslem school, without any bias towards a particular religion. Indeed, my aunt Mrs. Abigail Majekodunmi taught there for twenty-six years. I remember how (as she was in charge of the Girl Guides), she would often complain about a certain Michael Ibru, a student who was having great success in distracting her girl guides. I suspect that the culprit is our much beloved Olorogun Michael Ibru, who is now the eighty-year-old patriach of the Ibru family. In the same vein, my grandmother would often castigate her granddaughters – “Efi omo Akin-George sile. Elo kawe yin.” [Leave Akin-George’s son alone. Go and concentrate on your studies]. I can only imagine that this was a reference to the tallest school-boy in Lagos at that time who may (or may not be) Chief J. Akin-George !! 
Lagos Government School, Okesuna was a unique institution. The children of the rich and the poor mingled as equals – no matter what part of the country they came from. Tonye Graham-Douglas from Port Harcourt (Niger-Delta) (former Minister of Information; Tourism & Culture etc) was the biggest boy in our class so he always sat at the back. On the football field, we just stuck him in the goal post and nobody could score against our team.
The then Oba of Lagos, His Royal Highness Musediku Adeniji-Adele’s children – Gbadebo, Sultan, Jemila, Mulikat etc and those of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, and Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu (together with his nephew Azuka Obi) were also there. Dr. Roland Oritsejafor, the Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (who hailed from Warri and speaks Yoruba fluently) was in my class – along with Professor Monsur Kenku, Margaret Kuboye, Dayo Smith; Ade Marinho; Dotun Duro-Emanuel; Adeolu Lipede; Dabiri; Iginla; Aborisade, etc My late first coursin, - Segun Majekodunmi was a year behind me. So also was late Justice Muri Okunola (both at Government School and at Agoro Koranic school). It was his duty to ring the bell at 8 O’clock on the dot, to signify that it was time for “school assembly”. It is not true that Ade Macaulay was our classmate. On the contrary, he had to wear shorts when we were allowed to wear trousers on “Empire Day” (Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday). As far as I can remember, nobody wore shoes. We all went barefoot in our Khaki uniforms. It was also a mixed school and if any of the girls permed their hair, any teacher would just grab them and apply the scissors ! 
Ade Abisogun who is my cousin followed me to both Government School and King’s College. On his first day at Government school, his mother brought him to our house early in the morning and asked me to look after him. I could not resist bursting out in laughter as Ade was wearing clean, well-starched uniform (with braces) plus shoes !! To crown it all, he was carrying his lunch box with freshly sliced sandwiches. Straightaway, I knew that he was the wrong guy for the wrong school. On the way to school, I gently persuaded him to hide his shoes and throw away his sandwiches in addition to roughening up his uniform, just so he could look like everybody else – otherwise, the big boys would beat him up. For all I know, I may have saved his life. 
My father was particularly eager that I should follow in his footsteps and proceed to King’s College. When I told him that what I really wanted to do was to become an artist or a boxer, he did not raise any objection. I could draw and most of the famous boxers of the time – Speedy Twitch; Bonny Ade, Nojeem Maiyegun etc used to train in our compound. He did not discourage me. He promptly enrolled me with a famous artist, Mr. Aiyegbusi who had a studio at Onikan. 
Also, I got plenty of beating in the boxing ring although I suspect that my opponents were somewhat restrained about punching the son of their host and benefactor. 
Anyway, as the entrance examination to King’s College approached my dad panicked somewhat. He did not dare approach the Principal, Mr. R. J. Bunting (an Englishman) for fear of being accused of attempting to influence him. The penalty would be my automatic disqualification. The alternative strategy he adopted was to enroll me for additional tuition (extra lessons) under Mr. Kuboye who was then a teacher at the CMS Grammar School, Lagos (which my father had attended before proceeding to King’s College). Valiantly, Mr. Kuboye strove to teach me Latin, English and Mathematics. 
On the eve of the King’s College examination, it was with considerable trepidation that my father enquired from Mr. Kuboye how he rated my chances. Mr. Kuboye was very blunt:
“Your son will not make it to the Grammar School but he may be alright for King’s College.”

The day the results of the King’s College examination was published, my dad declared free drinks for all at the Island Club – a repetition of what he did on the day I was born, 13th January 1944. Sadly, he died two weeks before I entered King’s College. The only occasion he was ever really cross with me was when I asked him to buy me a bicycle. He demanded to know why I wanted it and I said it was because I saw another kid riding one. He went ballistic. 
“Don’t you ever ask me to buy you anything just because some other kid has it. You must either work for it and buy it yourself or prove to me that you deserve it.”
To rub the message in, he went to Kingsway Stores on the Marina, bought ten bicycles and gave all of them away to total strangers. It was a shock at the time but it is a lesson which has stayed with me all my life. That is the credo of Lagos: “Ikon oninkan kin jowa loju” (what belongs to others is of no consequence or relevance to us). 
Those of you who have read Chief (Dr.) Majekodunmi’s autobiography “Lord, What A Morn” would have come across the revelation that he had actually passed the entrance examination to King’s College, Lagos and had been admitted. However, the then Catholic priest for Abeokuta (he later became Archbishop Leo Taylor) prevailed on the celebrant’s father – Chief J.B. Majekodunmi to send his brilliant son to St. Gregory’s College (a catholic school) instead of King’s College, which had been founded in 1909 for the specific purpose of grooming future leaders for the WHOLE OF NIGERIA !! 
It is not for me to speculate as to whether, had the celebrant made the right choice of school he would not have been the first African to win the Nobel Prize for medicine – or at the very least President of Africa !! 
Furthermore, having carefully reviewed the medical history of Lagos we should commend the patient for not only being the engine of the Nigerian economy but also for nurturing the unique talents of the celebrant who achieved greatness over sixty years ago but had the good fortune to reside in Lagos where that greatness has continued to flourish – with our Papa’s reputation “shining forth emblazoned” as a fulfilled professional – practising excellent medicine in the “State of Excellence”.
Not many people know that the celebrant was only twenty-five years old when he qualified as a doctor (University of Dublin), Ireland. 
We cannot but admit that not all professionals have been as fortunate. A case in point is that of a Lagos lawyer who recently complained bitterly on television that the only clients he has left are armed robbers. They pay his fees alright but the problem is that on three successive occasions they stole his car within a week of paying him !! 
I hope it would not be out of place for me to seize this occasion to disclose that the only person, to my knowledge, who has ever been able to fault Chief (Dr.) Majekodunmi’s medical diagnosis was my grandmother ! In 1952, when she was already approaching the age of 90 she complained to my father that she had some excruciating pain in her right knee. Fortunately, my father was on his way to The Island Club where the celebrant of today was waiting for him. Anyway, “Majek” as my father fondly called the celebrant agreed to accompany him to our house at Ricca Street. It took only one look at the knee for Dr. Koye Majekodunmi to deliver the verdict.
“Mama, it is old age.””
She promptly retorted:
“Koye. I don’t think you are a very good doctor. That knee is exactly the same age as the other one which is not giving me any trouble at all.” 
Perhaps this is an excellent opportunity for us to recognize a special attribute of the celebrant – his largeness of heart and magnanimity of spirit particularly when it comes to acknowledging the talents of his younger colleagues. This was forcefully impressed on me by the fulsome accolade he poured on the late Professor Olukoye Ransome-Kuti who had served under him while he was Minister of Health about four decades ago. It had nothing to do with the fact that Professor Ransome-Kuti was a fellow Egbaman (from Abeokuta) !! 
Rather, it is a demonstration of the confidence in himself and in his own assured greatness that he did not feel threatened by the achievements of others. This is a most commendable trait for which our forefathers were noted.
Furthermore, in spite of his deep religious conviction as a devout Anglican, our celebrant has never shown the remotest inclination to permit religion to define or restrict his circle of-friends. That is another trait of lasting value 
which our forefathers strove valiantly to instill in us and their succeeding generations.
I am happy to record that both Alhaji Alade Idris-Animashaun and Alhaji Femi Okunnu S.A.N. who are devout Moslems have excelled in fostering this invaluable tradition of religious tolerance in Lagos – in all their relationships. It cannot be otherwise anyway, since both of them are King’s College Old Boys. Regardless of the high offices they have held, they remain exemplary ambassadors of King’s College – as sportsmen and highly respected pillars of our society – just like the celebrant who still swims everyday. Something else they share with the celebrant is their humility and incredible sense of humour. 
Perhaps, in the case of Alhaji Femi Okunnu, I should share with you my recollection of an incident which occurred while he was the Federal Commissioner [Minister] of Works. He was the immediate predecessor of then Brigadier Olusegun Obasanjo who is our current President and Commander-In-Chief, Armed Forces of Nigeria. One of our relatives had been caught with a tyre which belonged to the Ministry. It became a police matter and a delegation was summoned to plead with Alhaji Okunnu to intervene in the matter. Unfortunately, the delegation chose to approach Alhaji Okunnu on a day when he was wearing his King’s College tie. He was incandescent with rage. He exploded at the culprit: 
“You have committed the worst offence any Lagosian can be accused of. You have disgraced your family name. Besides, these are sixty million Nigerians. What do you think will happen to the economy we are trying to build for 
future generations if everybody is allowed to steal a tyre and get away with it? You even have the impunity to ask me to intevene. Get out of my office.” 
The culprit duly served his punishment. Anyway, here we are thirty years afterwards. Whenever the culprit (who is now a grandfather) sees me he always demands of me:
“I stole one tyre and went to jail. 
What is our brother Alhaji Femi Okunnu S.A.N. doing about all those who are stealing the entire treasury with impunity.” 
Last Tuesday I had a three-hour meeting with the celebrant and I have Papa’s permission to let you know that he has not only endorsed my campaign:
“JK FOR 2007 IS OK”.
he has assured me that he will be around for my first term (four years) and my second term (another four years) – and after that, we shall sit down together to review matters.
Owing to the dangerous developments in the country, we have been compelled to conduct our campaign strictly by word of mouth – ear to ear; mouth to mouth; and belly to belly – with the slogan “Omo wa ni ; e ma ma pa fun wa !! (He is our son. Please don’t kill him). 

We must urgently convene a meeting with the extremists who have gone go town with the vicious allegation that there is a concerted effort to intimidate or eliminate old boys of King’s College and St. Gregory’s College. Hence, the Inspector-General of Police must either guarantee their safety or Lagos will have no choice but to opt out of the Federation – back to “Gedebe l’Eko wa” (Lagos was destined to be on its own) as was the chant before Nigeria’s Independence. The compromise on the table is that the next President of Nigeria must be a Lagosian !! We will not allow extremists to hijack our campaign. We remain committed to ONE NIGERIA – provided we can retain Niger-Delta. Nigeria without the oil is not worth dying for. 
However, if we are serious about leading Nigeria we must first of all put our own house in order. What was once a city of serenity has become a jungle of poverty, despair and anger. Before, everybody had a job. It was not uncommon for the job to become the prefix – “Broda Loco;” Broda P & T;” “Broda Customs;” “Broda Elder Dempster;” etc. (Our brother who works at the railways (locomotive); Posts and Telegraphs Department; Elder Dempster Shipping Lines etc). Now the population is exploding while the jobs are shrinking – yet more and more people are pouring into Lagos. 
However, that is not all. Our value system has collapsed under the assault of “Area Boys” (gangsters and hooligans); drugs; crime and casual murder/assassination. To make matters worse, whenever one of our own appears to be climbing the ladder of success, we pull him down. This was not the case when the son of the Court Registrar, Mr. Norman-Williams became a doctor about seventy years ago. It was on BBC radio that Lagosians learnt that his son, Modupe had passed his final medical examinations. The whole of Lagos was jubilant. Neither did anyone begrudge my father when he held the three most important social positions in Lagos – Lisa of Lagos; Chairman Lagos Island Club and Chairman of the Lagos Race (Horse Racing) Club. He was barely forty years old at the time. 
Anyway, the elections are coming up in April 2007 and this is the time to borrow a page from the book of the unrepentant Senator Arthur Nzeribe who famously declared that when it comes to elections, he always wins. He is always the defendant, never the petitioner ! Hence, rather than wait till April, we are going to declare our own WINNER of the elections on 13th January 2007 (my birthday) and wait for the rest of Nigeria to petition against us. 
Our brother and friend Professor Adele Jinadu, Oxford University trained political scientist missed the point when he declared on Nigerian Television:
“There is no such thing as free and fair elections anywhere
in the world.”
That was at a time when (about thirteen years ago) he was a Commissioner on the (Not Independent !!) Nigerian Election Commission.
We have learnt our lesson. Just because we want to grab power and make money does not impose on us the burden of moral bondage to Nigeria.
My 82-year-old uncle Afolabi insists that the forced marriage between Lagos and Nigeria has been at considerable cost to Lagosians – not just in terms of money, but in terms of something more valuable – quality of life and the right to live in peace and tranquility. According to him, every one now sleeps with one eye open out of fear, within the trap of uncertainties. 

Government can just lock you up; bulldoze your house; seize your land or declare your wife wanted (because a big man wants her !!). The other day, he brought out a photograph which showed him amongst his classmates at King’s College. He is “the last man standing” – all the others are buried at Ikoyi Cemetery, just a stone throw from his house at Obalande. He lamented: “If I were to rouse them up and march them out of Ikoyi Cemetery, by the time they reach Obalende they would be screaming to go back to the peace and tranquility of their graves. Just look at the mess we have made of Lagos. It has been pulverized and bastardized beyond recognition. It is a tale of endless grief. The terrorists have taken over and we are all at their mercy.”
Where I do not disagree with my uncle is his insistence that being a Lagosian is about one thing and one thing only – the sanctity of the family name. You can do whatever you like but the moment you soil the family name, you are finished. Also, it is okay to be proud (proud of your heritage and pedigree) but what is not allowed is arrogance. Hence, no true Lagosian can ever be arrogant. The moment you cross the boundary, you will be brought down to earth – “won a pitan fun e” (reality check). Somebody will cut you down to size.
Lagosians know only too well the credo of humility and good conduct which are expressed through dance and music. An example: “Alagemo ti bi omo e. Aimojo e ku si lo wo.”
The literal translation is that the masquerade has delivered his child but if the child cannot dance, that is the child’s problem. However, it goes much deeper than that. It is about character, integrity, faithfulness, and steadfastness. Above all, it is about respect for elders; and the supremacy of tradition and culture.
However, there is not much point in drinking a toast to a great man without borrowing a few lessons from his life. “Majekodunmi” is not just a name, it is a philosophy and a way of life.
It is about coming to terms with pain and suffering – without hurting.

Your Excellencies please join me in celebrating a great life in a great city – LAGOS. 
Bashorun J.K. Randle is the Chairman of:- XKPMG Nigeria- JK Randle International- Sloane, Burford & Fullbright International
- J.K. Randle & Co. (Chartered Accountants) and- J.K. Randle Professional Services. 

1 comment:

  1. I am in awe. This is what is called great command of languages. It is so articulated, the expressions so impeccable. I had so much joy reading this article. I was taken through his memory lane, so descriptive that I felt I was watching the events. The narrative felt like I was hearing him speak. What stand out most to me reading this article is the command of language. How are the ones raised in the last 2 decades going to be able to switch between languages, especially the Yorubas.

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