Chief Solomon Ogbonna Aguene
It is heartening to note that the APC administration of Lagos State lead by Babajide Sanwo-Olu is living up to the expectations of running an inclusive government. This is aptly captured in the list of Commissioners and Special Advisers appointed by the government, as it reflects the cosmopolitan nature of Lagos; including Nigerians from other geographical zones and ethnic groups. The Igbo is represented in the cabinet in the person of Chief Joe Igbokwe. Ndigbo appreciates and thank his Excellency, Sanwo-Olu for the honour done us in appointing one of our own into his cabinet.
We equally congratulate Chief Joe Igbokwe for the well-deserved appointment, as he has paid his dues by aligining with Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu political structure in the state over the years, and up till now. Sanwo-Olu’s first impression is a very good one and signs of greater things to come. He has proven that he is a sincere and honest leader, as he keeps fulfilling his campaign promises, unlike most politicians who ignore promises made during campaigns. He reflects his Pan-Nigerian leanings through the appointment of Commissioners from other ethnic groups. It is one thing to fulfil a promise made to somebody within your ethnic group and another to others who are outside your ethnic without a precondition or expectation. He has shown that he is governor for all Lagosians including Ndigbo by this act.
When he released the first list of Commissioners, some disgruntled Ndigbo, instigated by those few Igbo people who have been fighting my endorsement of Sanwo-Olu started trooping to OhanaezeNdigbo secretariat to protest the non-inclusion of Igbo in that list. My response at that period was plea for patience, explaining that Igbo is not the only ethnic group in Lagos, as there are the Arewa and others. I told them that the governor will definitely consider Igbo when considering other ethnic groups. But my detractors upped the ante of castigating and blackmailing me as selling out Ndigbo through the endorsement of Sanwo-Olu. But now I have been vindicated.He who laughs last laughs best. I have been vindicated through the appointment of Chief Joe Igbokwe, our own into Sanwo-Olu cabinet. I am confident more of the benefits and dividends of democracy will accrue to Ndigbo in Lagos state. I urge all Igbo in Lagos to rally round Sanwo-Olu, as he takes Lagos to greater heights. I equally use this opportunity to urge all dissenting voices to join ranks with me and other members of the executive in supporting the APC administration of Lagos state.
The election of Sanwo-Olu/Hamzat by Lagosians and the rock-solid support of APC leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to their candidature is one of the best things to happen to Lagosians in the present Republic. I therefore extend my thanks and greetings to the Jagaban for his steadfastness in ensuring that Lagos keeps moving in the right direction. Ndigbo can attest to the fact that our places of business especially the markets across Lagos are now devoid of harassment from government agencies since Sanwo-Olu came into office. The frictions with area boys/omo-oniles are no more noticeable at the various markets. So, our places of transacting business especially the markets are now very conducive for business. Sanwo-Olu is a leader for all and his posture as peace-builder is reflected in all sectors of Lagos state. He is a leader who embraces all his subjects, no matter your status in the society. He relates with people, not because they are generals and field Marshalls, but based on the content of their character. His administration needs the support of all Lagosians to keep up the good works.
Sanwo-Olu will definitely make his marks as one of the great leaders in Nigeria. And talk of great leaders, there are very good ones spread across the country. The ones I admire most are: Ebitu Ukiwe (Aka ji ofor Ndigbo, former military governor of Niger and Lagos states, second in command during Ibrahim Babangida Military administration), Ndubuisi Kanu (former military governor of Imo and Lagos state), Prof. (Amb.) George Obiozor (former Nigeria Ambassador to Cyprus, Israel and USA), Bola Tinubu (APC National Leader and former governor of Lagos State), Lateef Jakande (second republic governor of Lagos state), Abdusalam Abubakar(former Military Head of State).
Ebitu Ukiwe is one of the most credible and humble leaders I know. He interacts freely with people irrespective of your status in the society. He is not like many other leaders who stay aloof and look down on the less privileged. He is a leader you can walk up to anytime, anywhere and he will attend to you. He is not one of those leaders who will ask “who sent you,” instead of “what can I do for you?” To those set of leaders, you are not in their class, and couldn’t have come to them unless someone in their class sends you. He relates with you, not on how wealthy you are or how rich your family is; but on the content of your character. He is a wonderful man, and above the lure of materialism.
Rtd. Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (former military governor of Imo and Lagos states) among other military postings I admire because of his amazing humility. He is a statesman of honour and integrity. He was not over-ambitious during his heydays in the military as a professional soldier, he is a leader who detests gossip to the highest level.
Prof. (Amb.) George Obiozor, has captivating qualities as a good leader. People of his caliber who boast of several accomplishments and fame are usually inaccessible to the common man, but not our amiable Professor cum Ambassador. He is a man of the people and interacts with people of all ages and status.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu (The Jagaban) proves to Nigerians what it takes to be a progressive politician by remaining steadfast in his ideological pursuit against all odds. He was leader of opposition for sixteen years; something lacking in most Nigerian politicians. Most Nigerian politicians are fair weather politicians, jumping from one party to another, as they seek patronage. Today, he, and the ruling partyare doing their best to ensure that the nation’s political landscape is completelytransformed as they work to instil fiscal discipline in governance. He is the strong man of Yoruba politics. Many people including us Ndigbo keep wondering what makes him thick and endear him to his Yoruba kinsmen. His strength lies in the support he enjoy from his people who have benefitted and are still benefitting immensely from his political sagacity. He believes every Yoruba person is a potential rich and powerful person, not minding how low the person is. He picks Yoruba people from nowhere and makes them somebody. He even reaches out to Yoruba indigenes stranded abroad by bringing them back home, clean them up, empower them and make them somebody. He is a man of the people. He is my role model. Love him or hate him, he remains the best political tactician of our era. He is what late K. O. Mbadiwe would describe as political juggernaut, the man of timber and calibre. His respect for elders especially traditional rulers, culture and tradition is unparalleled.
Lateef Jakande’s records of achievements in Lagos state as governor speak volume. One of those great achievements includes the landmark Jakande estates scattered in various parts of Lagos, offering affordable houses to Lagosians. He is a very humble and simple man who never bothered about the trappings of office and associated graft. While in office as governor, he ignored the usual long convoy of motorcades associated with political office holders as he used his private Toyota car 1981 model as official car.He was nicknamed Baba Kekere. He is a leader who knows that leadership is all about sacrifice and not an enterprise.
Abdulsalam Abubakar is a fine gentleman soldier, who loved his military career so much that the only political position he held was the one-year stint as a military head of state. His regime was very brief and yet achieved so much, as he handed power to the democratically elected government in 1999. That singular act endeared him to me and I believe many other Nigerians.
The attributes and achievements of these leaders are worthy of emulation by aspiring leaders. I also believe some of them still have more to offer the country, so Nigerians should appreciate what they have done and encourage them to do more.
Chief Aguene is the Chairman, Board Of Trustees, Aguene Art Foundation and President, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos