#BoJu BoJu @ Lagos - authored by Bashorun J K Randle - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Saturday, 31 July 2021

#BoJu BoJu @ Lagos - authored by Bashorun J K Randle

Following the undertaking by the Trustees of King’s College; St. Gregory’s College; Barewa College; and Igbobi College to alert their schools to the raging controversy over the shabby treatment meted out by the Government to the Randle family over the J.K. Randle Centre which is under construction at Onikan, Lagos, more schools have insisted on getting involved as part of their civics education. The girls’ schools - Queen’s College, Yaba; Holy Child College, Obalende; Methodist Girls’ High School, Yaba; Reagan Memorial College, Yaba and many others all over the country - St. Anne’s College, Ibadan; St. Louis College, Bompai, Kano; St. Theresa’s College, Ibadan; St. Louis College, Jos; St. Louis College, Kakuru, Kaduna; etc have been protesting vigorously about being excluded from what is rapidly emerging as a salutary lesson and traumatic event. 

Not unexpectedly more and more boys’ colleges - CMS Grammar School, Bariga; Government College, Ibadan; St. Finbarr’s College, Akoka, Yaba; Government College, Umuahia; Government College, Onitsha; Government College, Owerri, Imo State; Government Secondary School, Sokoto; Junior Secondary School, Runjin, Sambo, Sokoto etc have hooked their wagon to the tidal wave of consternation, indignation and bewilderment. The Unity Schools in all the thirty-six States of the Federation have quickly joined the protest against “Boju Boju”. 

Others are the boys’ schools – Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha; Our Lady of Fatima College, Auchi; Christ School, Ado Ekiti; Government College, Kaduna; Stella Mari’s College, Port Harcourt; Hope Waddell Institute, Calabar; St. Brendan’s Secondary School, Ogoja; Government Secondary School, Umuahia; Christ the King’s College, Onitsha etc.

As if determined to ensure gender parity, the girls schools insisted on not being left out. Hence, the Trustees of Queen of the Rosary College, Onitsha; St. Catherine’s Secondary School, Nkwere; Holy Child Secondary School, Abakaliki; Cornelia Cornelly College, Uyo; etc. had no choice but to join the crusade.

The recurring question is: “What has the J.K. Randle family done to incur the wrath of the government ?”

It is only the government itself that can provide the answer.

From Atlanta, Georgia in the United States of America, Lagosians have launched:

# BoJu BoJu @ Lagos. If you do not know what “Boju Boju” means then you are not a Lagosian !! The global response has been swift and phenomenal. Mr. Anthonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has already declared his concern over allegation of abuse of human rights. The British Government which has been accused of participating in the project has issued a statement to the effect that nothing has been concluded yet. Indeed, as a matter of routine, the British Government would carry out a robust Due Diligence (to be carried out by J.K. Randle Professional Services !!) before making any commitment.

Here is a quote from the official statement of the British government :

“The J.K. Randle family has had strong ties with Britain for several generations. Some of them have British passports. Indeed, some of them are resident in the Borough of Chelsea and Westminster. Therefore, they are at liberty to petition their Member of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Greg Hands to raise the matter in Parliament during the Prime Minister’s question time.”

What has been most fascinating is the statement issued by Chief Sunday Igboho (who is currently under arrest in Cotonou, Benin Republic) and his fellow freedom fighter Chief Gani Adams who both insist that they are law abiding citizens. Therefore, they demand that the matter must be tabled before the Nigerian National Assembly (The Senate and the House of Representatives) and it is when all other options have been exhausted that they would enter the fray. The reason they are being ultra cautious is that they are not ready (after being nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace) to jeopardise their claim to glory and international recognition.

In the meantime, the Niger Delta Avengers have decided to join the cause of the J.K. Randle family by declaring: “Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.”

As for the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), he has clarified matters by declaring that as a matter of routine, FIRS, could not but beam its searchlight on the J.K. Randle Centre which is within shouting distance (about 300 metres) from its Lagos Office on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi – just to check that the contractors have remitted WHT (Withholding Tax); VAT (Value Added Tax); and other taxes along with the submission of accounts audited by J.K. Randle Professional Services !!

As for the Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), he has insisted that the CAC could not but as matter of routine send out its task force to ensure that all the companies involved with the J.K. Randle Centre have been properly registered and that their Annual Returns are up to date.

In a joint Statement both the new Chairman of EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission] and the Chairman of ICPC [Independent Corrupt Practices Commission] emphatically declared:

“We are only doing our work. Corruption is not just about money. It is about morality and ethical conduct by those who hold political office. Public trust and confidence are at the lowest ebb. What is being advertised as “Boju Boju” – is what we call sleeze or “Monafiki”; “jibiti”; “Magomago”; “Wuruwuru”; “Abosi“; “One Chance”; “Jamba” or “Mesujamba” in local parlance. This is both a case study (as defined by Harvard Business School and the Said School of Business, Oxford University) and a test case of our professionalism. We are going to get to the bottom of this. We have our check-list:

Was the selection of the Architects and Quantity Surveyors as well as the contractors advertised ?;

Was the Budget approved by the State Assembly?

Was the procurement in compliance with extant rules and regulations ?

Was the selection of the contractors and others carried out by the Tenders Board without undue interference ?

For all we know we are dealing with a case of vindictiveness, vendetta or duplicitousness.

As for the Federal Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, he wasted no time in wading into the controversy.

“This is not a military government. We are committed to the Rule of Law.

It is self-evident that part of the land in question is Crown Land. The Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall was on a leasehold and only the Federal Government can dispose of it or alienate it. A State government cannot encroach on Federal Government property without consequences. If the Federal Government were to trespass on State Government property, there would be an uproar.

In any case, President Muhammadu Buhari had magnanimously released the President’s vast Guest House and former residence of the Governor-General on the Marina to the State government. The State government is at liberty to use it as a centre for whatever purpose.

It is less than five hundred metres away from the J.K. Randle Centre. This is all very strange.

The evidence at our disposal suggests that all this mess was the handiwork of the previous Governor. It is the same story with the newly built Bus Terminal at Oshodi which has become a white elephant. A complete waste of public funds which should have been spent judiciously on priority projects such as schools, hospitals, roads etc.

We are also going to look into compensation paid to the Trustees of Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall; and why a lawyer was immediately paid a hefty N15,000,000 (fifteen million naira) with “alacrity”. It is all so fishy.

We smell a rat. Just let the law follow its course. Corruption is fighting back.”

The Nigerian Institute of Architects has raised an alarm to the effect that its regulations make it mandatory for projects of the magnitude of the J.K. Randle Centre to be advertised. This would be followed by a transparent selection process which would be properly documented with regard to short-listed firms and the selection of the eventual winner.

It was the Society of Environmental Consultants which demanded a copy of the project’s Environmental Impact Analysis. The environmentalists are particularly concerned about the consequences for traffic not only in the immediate vicinity but the entire Lagos Island when major events which would attract large crowds are going on simultaneously in an already congested area – Island Club; Mobolaji Johnson Stadium; MUSON Centre; The Museum; City Mall etc. It could paralyse the traffic in Lagos entirely. Other issues relate to COVID-19 and environmental pollution. Global Best Practice requires that the J.K. Randle Centre must be carbon neutral.

The Nigerian Bar Association did not pull any punches:

“Our position is clear and consistent. Whenever there are grave allegations against the government especially in matters pertaining to law and order, we insist on carrying out a thorough investigation first and it is only thereafter that we shall make our position known. We must not be seen to be hasty in pronouncing judgement. Regardless, if it turns out that the government is the aggressor in this matter, it should give us cause for serious concern. After all, it is the government itself that is the ultimate guarantor of law and order. The government cannot afford to flout its own laws. It must respect private property.  Otherwise, the consequences would be chaos and anarchy.”

As for the Nigerian Economic Society, it approached the matter from a somewhat different perspective:

“We are talking about allocation of scarce resources.  At a time when the entire country – both Federal and State – is weighed down with huge debts and debt servicing is consuming about 98 per cent of our revenue, how do you justify using public funds for a project which the private sector or the J.K. Randle family could handle with their own resources (plus a token contribution from the government)?  There is hunger all over the country.  No jobs; no security; no housing; no nothing !!”

As for the Nigerian Association of Witches and Wizards, their grouse is that from time immemorial Onikan where the J.K. Randle Centre is located has been their sacred ground.  This is not the time for the government to provoke their wrath.  Dire consequences will follow.  Otherwise, they would carry out their threat to summon the ghosts of members of the J.K. Randle family (going back four generations) to come and drive off the intruders.  It is common knowledge amongst Lagosians that Onikan was and remains the exclusive preserve of extra-terrestrial beings known as “Anjonu”.  They allowed Dr. J.K. Randle to build the “Love Garden” and the public Swimming Pool on their territory only because he did not charge the public any money.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has issued a cryptic statement:

“We shall discuss the matter at our next Council Meeting.  For now, all we can confirm is that Bashorun J.K. Randle served as our President in 2003/2004.  

It was during his tenure that he as President handed Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (who later became Governor of Lagos State) his membership certificate.  Bashorun Randle has been practising as a chartered accountant for fifty-two years.”

As for the Commodore of the Lagos Motor Boat Club who is an old boy of St. Gregory’s College, he confirmed that he learnt of the following report on CNN:

“Last night at the Lagos Motor Boat Club, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi Trustees of leading colleges – King’s College; St. Gregory’s College; Barewa College; and Igbobi College urged Bashorun J.K. Randle to either pay the government ransom for the release of J K Randle Centre, Onikan which had been “kidnapped” by the government or engage the services of Yoruba freedom fighters – Chief Sunday Igboho or Aare  Gani Adams !!

Both Professor Theo Ogunbiyi (Trustee of St. Gregory’s College and ex-University of Oxford) and Bashorun J. K. Randle (Trustee of King’s College) confirmed that the advice is consistent with the tradition of these great schools for wicked and irreverent good humour.”

As far as the Commodore could determine, no rules of the Club had been broken.  Besides, the actual venue of the meeting was on the water about two thousand metres away from the boundary of the Club right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  Furthermore, the only way to reach the venue was to walk (no boats; no ferries; and no helicopters).  Only those Trustees of leading colleges who had mastered the delicate art of walking on water were  able to attend the meeting at which very profound advice was given to Bashorun J.K. Randle.”  It is common knowledge that to survive as a Trustee of Old Boys’ Association of certain schools and colleges you need more than bullet proof vest for protection. You need to master “aquamatics” – the art of “abseiling” on water.  As the late beloved Chief Folarin Coker (ex-CMS Grammar School, Lagos) used to admonish the uninitiated; “Eti ri nkan nkan” !!  meaning You haven’t seen nothing yet.

As for the diplomatic community, one of the Ambassadors has summed up matters as follows:

“This is all very bizarre.  What we have been able to download from the website of the Randle family is as follows:

“Boju Boju O.  Oloro nbo.  Se kin si ?”

(Let us all close our eyes.  The demon/masquerade is on his way.  Should I open my eyes and confront him ?)

Thomas Randle –

Haberdersher; importer of paints from Portugal (“Baba Oloda”).  He lived at 3, Onikepo Street, Lagos and his shop/warehouse was at Ita Faji, Lagos.

Dr. J.K. Randle was born on 1st February, 1855.

He won gold medal in surgery in 1888 at University of Edinburgh.  He bequeathed the “Love Garden”           (now known as MUSON Centre) and the Dr. J.K.           Randle Swimming Pool “to the good people of           Lagos for their peaceful enjoyment and recreation.”             He founded Nigeria’s first political party, the People’s Union in 1908.

He died on  27th February, 1928 and he bequeathed huge endowments and scholarships to schools and universities for the less privileged.

The influenza pandemic raged in Lagos from 1918 to 1919 when

“The 1918 Influenza pandemic was one of the most deadly in world History. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with a gene of avian origin. It spread worldwide between 1918 and 1919.

The total number of deaths of the pandemic was at least 50 million worldwide. According to the Public Record Office London, the influenza hit Lagos on the 14th of September 1918, four years after the Amalgamation of the Northern and Southern Protectorates by Lord Fredrick Lugard.

The spread in Lagos was fast and devastating such that in the first two months the causality figure was enormous – Lagos lost 1.5% of its 81,941 population.

Inhabitants around the seaports of Marina and Apapa, especially seamen working on ships docked on harbour ports were one of the first sets of people to be infected with this virus and from that point, it spread to the hinterland and majority of people on Lagos Island.

The Colonial government swung into action by creating different means of spreading information, educating people on how to best stay healthy during that period. House to house disinfection was also done to ensure the safety of people of Lagos.

Still, people from Lagos reportedly fled the infested town to other parts of the country. Since the train was the major means of transportation back then, it was a little shocking that in no time the virus spread to Abeokuta, Ibadan, Illorin, Bida, Jebba, Zaria, Kano, and Bauchi.

On October 14, 1918, the flu was detected in Onitsha, where a large number of people got infected and died due to the virulent nature of the virus, with insufficient health care to combat it. By December 1918, it had spread all over the country. Right from the first outbreak in Lagos, the colonial authorities worked hard to combat it, but it spread due to the migration of people from infected areas to other parts of Nigeria.

By mid-1919 the pandemic came to an end, as those who had been infected either died or developed immunity against the virus.

During the colonial times, some parts of Yoruba land and other places in the hinterland of the country witnessed plagues and outbreak of diseases which claimed hundreds of lives. People sought native medicine and other unorthodox means to cure these illnesses.

One interesting case of an unorthodox approach to another epidemic, Smallpox, was the case of Dr. Oguntola Sapara Williams in Epe. Epe, a small town off the coast of Lagos, was hit by a smallpox epidemic in 1897.

The magnitude of the epidemic was so severe; the death toll was more than the community had ever recorded from any disease ever.

Dr Oguntola Sapara Williams, the first native appointed assistant surgeon was posted to Epe to help out with the people of the town. While at this posting at Epe, Sapara took the unorthodox step of joining the local smallpox cult with the motive of understanding their operations and eventually terminating their activities which he suspected was not helping the small community. This came about as a result of blackmailing the cult members who would take scrapings from skin rashes of actual smallpox cases and apply them on the skin of uninfected persons.

In his words: “In 1897 when I took charge of Epe district, the town of Epe was known as the hotbed of the small-pox epidemic. Finding that vaccination and other precautions seemed to fail, I joined the cult and having got into the mysteries I summoned the small-pox priests together and threatened them with prosecution for disseminating the disease and used perchloride (sic) of mercury solutions. They left the town through disgust and since then, up till the time I left Epe, vaccination had scope for doing good work and then the town enjoyed immunity from smallpox which was hitherto unknown”

One major aftermath of this situation was that the colonial government enacted the Witchcraft and Juju Ordinance in 1917 and made the worship of Sopona (the Yorùbá god of Smallpox) a crime punishable by fine and imprisonment.

Let’s not forget the widespread epidemic of leprosy in the entire stretch of Egba land between 1857 and 1859, this led to the establishment of the 1st Hospital in Nigeria by Reverend Father Coquard of the Catholic Church in Abeokuta. The hospital was the first set up as a world-class healthcare and research centre then. The Hospital which is known as the “Sacred Heart Hospital” still stands today at Itesi in Abeokuta.

The smallpox crisis led to the establishment of medical research departments in Lagos where some of these vaccines were produced locally and also led to the establishment of the Infectious Disease Hospital in Lagos in 1899 and Abeokuta in 1923.

A key lesson that was learnt from these cases was that it is important to be extremely proactive in situations like this. Proper hygiene and adherence to government regulations are key. Closure of borders and restricting movement of people from affected areas to non-affected areas is crucial.

Dr. J.K. Randle appealed to the Colonial government for money to build public toilets and refuse disposal units in Lagos.  He was turned down.  He therefore proceeded to use his money to build them.  

Fortunately, some of them are still with us – at Olusi Street; Ita Fajip; Iddo Motor Park; The Marina; Igbosere Street (behind King’s College); Ajele Street; Cow Lane, etc.  Sadly, most of them have been hijacked by politicians who have “privatized them !!

Chief J.K. Randle -  He was born on 28th July 1909.  He attended

King’s College, Lagos where he was the House Captain of Hyde-Johnson’s House and chool in 1928/1929.  He was the captain of athletics, hockey, football, cricket, boxing etc.  He also excelled at draughts.  He was a sports legend; business titan; and phenomenal philanthropist.

He was the Lisa of Lagos (Prime Minister); Chairman, Lagos Race (Horse Racing) Club; Chairman Island Club; President Nigerian Cricket Club; Vice-President

Nigerian Olympic  Committee.

He died on 17th December 1956 shortly after returning from Melbourne, Australia where he attended the Olympic Games as Chef de Mission

of the Nigerian Team.

He left very generous bequests to C.M.S. Grammar

School Bariga; Holy Cross School, Lagos; Ahmadiya College, Agege and Ansar-ru-deen College, Isolo for sports and education.

Bashorun J.K. Randle -  He was born on 13th January 1944.  He qualified as a Chartered Accountant (England and

Wales) in 1969.  He retired in 2004 as the Chairman & Chief Executive of KPMG Nigeria and Chairman of KPMG Africa.  He is a past President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria [ICAN] and a former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Lagos State University.  He also

served on the Governing Council of the University of

Benin as well as being Chairman of Eko Hotels Limited.  He is a versatile and prolific writer and lecturer.  For fifty-five years he has been writing weekly columns in Nigerian newspapers in addition to delivering lectures at various fora in Nigeria and


He is currently the Chairman & Chief Executive of

J.K. Randle Professional Services (Chartered Accountants and Consultants).  He has published thirty books amongst which the best known are:

(i) “The Godfather Never Sleeps”

(ii) “God Does Not Live In Los Angeles Anymore.?

(iii) “Who Is Fooling Who?”

(iv) ”The Natives Are Friendly?”

(v)”The Duke and the Soul Princess”

He is a Trustee of King’s College Lagos Old Boys Association and the “In-Coming President” of St. Gregory’s College Old Boys Association !!

Sometimes fake news is not fake news at all as evidenced by the following report:

“Sanwo Olu inaugurates J.K. Randle Centre Board of Trustees, Randle family head absent.”

“Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu inaugurated the Board of Trustees for the J.K Randle Center for Yoruba History at the Lagos House, Alausa, Ikeja, today.

The board has Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu as (chairman), Sherifat Folashade Jaji (vice chairman), Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi (secretary), Olubunmi Osiewu (treasurer), Polly Alakija, Euzebio Jide Damazio andAbdul Rafiu Adewale.

However the head of the Randle family was absent at the event.”

For several years the Dr. J.K. Randle Swimming Pool was left in ruins by the government which converted it to a parking centre for Fire Brigade trucks and tricycles which has been seized by ruthless and corrupt LASTMA (…….) officials.

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