Sunday, February 21, 2021 12:00 pm
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Alhaji Lateef Jakande, a former Governor of Lagos State, who died recently, and the late Chief Gani Fawhinmi, the lawyer and civil rights gadfly, share service to humanity in common. In fact, the two showed mercy to younger ones and they reaped goodness in their lifetimes.
On Alhaji Jakande, the account of Dr Goke T Akinrogunde is a cardinal lesson in philosophy. In a tribute, “Celebrating Jakande who took a final bow,” the medical doctor narrated that as one of the sons of a mother of two sons, who lost her husband when he was barely two years to cancer in 1972, it would have been very difficult to get the education to become a medical doctor if not for the free education policies in existence when he was in school, “especially the mid-segment – secondary education.”
Then pay back time came on 3 August 2020 when Jakande fell ill and Akinrogunde offered him treatment free!
The doctor narrated: “I was a beneficiary of this, starting with ease of transition from Primary 6 from St Peter’s (Faji) to Form 1 at GOVOVI. I got admitted seamlessly into secondary school September 1981, having passed the first school leaving certificate earlier in the year. No common entrance was done because there were now far more spaces than it used to be, so competition for space is no more necessary.
In GOCOVI (all boys school) I met other students from other schools, especially those from Army Children School, Bonny Camp, so my class was a mixed one of civilian and barrack boys. Interesting experience it was with these sets of boys.
Fasttrack, early morning of Monday 3 August 2020, I got a call from a professional colleague, a cardiologist in Lagos, that my service would be required urgently for an Nonagenarian at home. He would like to confirm if I am available to attend and that I should send my invoice accordingly if I am inclined.
In recent years, I had set up a modest clinic and medical ultrasound resource practice among the masses in one of the suburbs of Ikeja, Lagos. Among other things, we are mainly focused on medical checks, leveraging on head-to-toe ultrasound screening resources. And we are available in dedicated days of the week, Monday is one of such days. Hence, yes we were available, this answered my colleague’s first question.
To the second question of cost-implication for the arrays of specialised investigations on home service basis – the answer was a NO NEED because the person to be examined was ALHAJI LATEEF KAYODE JAKANDE.
I was happy to provide this service Free because I benefited from the strategic Free Education Policy under LKJ in Lagos in the early 1980s, which is the foundation of the little knowledge of relevance to care for him today.”
Read the doctor’s full narrative here
The account of how he reaped his good deeds good was given by Senator Babafemi Ojudu in a tribute to the lawyer’s wife, Ganiyat on her 70th birthday. Gani had offered to defend a rusticated student of University of Maiduguri pro bono. And he reaped the reward when he was detained in Gashua prison by the Military and he fell critically ill. According to Ojudu whu traveled to Gashua with Ganiyat, the corp member doctor “was a medical student of University of Maiduguri and a unionist. Prof Jubril Aminu , the then Vice Chancellor expelled him and some of his colleagues. Gani fought their case from the lower court to the Supreme Court without taking a kobo and that was how he got back to school to complete his studies and became a medical doctor. Our mouths were agape. We could not close it. That certainly was divine intervention!”
Below is Ojudu’s account:
To Ganiat Fawehinmi at 70: A For-better –for worse risk taker published on 21 May 2019
“I decided to engage the guy who manned the hotel. “Hello could I please have a bucket of water?”,I asked. “Yes he said”, adding “ but that will be when I return from the SSS office”. SSS was the State Security Service which has now transformed to DSS , Directorate of State Security. I was curious, not without a suspicion of what was in the offing. I decided to probe further and asked. “What are you doing at this time at the SSS Office?” “ Oh they said if any guest comes in here I should come and report to them”. I told him he should quickly go and come back to give us water to bath. “Alright sir”, he said.
I quickly dashed to Ganiat’s room. “Madam we have to get out of here “, I told her. I explained why. She packed her things and off we went leaving the keys on the door. We found ourselves on a desolate road walking and sometimes running while she tried to keep up with me. We do not know where we were going. We kept going until we saw a motorcycle rider and waved him down .
We both jumped on the bike and he asked us where we were going. We knew nowhere. I quickly put on my thinking cap. Take us to the nearest secondary school. He drove us to one . We got to the gate. My instinct was on the high and I told the gate man we were there to look for the youth corp members in the school and will appreciate if he could take us to their quarters. Without hesitating and asking questions, he agreed.
We got to the house and there were three of them, all of them Yoruba and a particular one from Lagos. They welcomed us in and asked us what our mission was . We told them and they gave us seats.
They said it was God that had directed us their way. They said as soon as Fawehinmi was brought to town, he fell critically ill and had been taken to the hospital. They claimed to know the doctors taking care of him who incidentally were youth corp members too.
One of them offered to go look for the medical doctor . The other chose to go and buy food for us . Our food came while we waited for the emissary to the doctor . It was fried yam. We tried to eat. It was as cold as a dog’s nose and full of sand as well. We tried to eat but we could not do much of that. Then began a sand storm, mosquitoes also began their opera performance and we conductors slapping our ears , head and face. I saw tears dripping from Ganiat’s eyes. I tried to console her.
Shortly after, our emissary to the doctor came with him. The doctor told us Gani was reacting to treatment. He asked Ganiat to write on a small sheet of paper to be taken to Gani that night in the hospital. She did. Madam begged that he should please do everything possible to ensure Gani got a good treatment and also be extra vigilant that he was not poisoned.
Then came the revelation. “ Madam”, the doctor said, “Chief was my benefactor. It is pay back time”. We didn’t know what that was. He then explained. He was a medical student of University of Maiduguri and a unionist. Prof Jubril Aminu , the then Vice Chancellor expelled him and some of his colleagues. Gani fought their case from the lower court to the Supreme Court without taking a kobo and that was how he got back to school to complete his studies and became a medical doctor. Our mouths were agape. We could not close it. That certainly was divine intervention!
He left with Ganiat’s message and came back with Gani’s own from his hospital bed. We sat on chairs till the wee hours of the morning and made our way to the park early enough before the goons could rise from their bed to stake out the park for us. We drove to Maiduguri and took a plane back to Lagos . Mission accomplished. The following day National Concord reported ‘ Gani Hospitalized In Gashua’.
Read the full story here