Dignitaries from all walks of life on Friday converged at Jogor Center, Ibadan, on Friday, for the 10th memorial lecture of the late former governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina.
Those at the event include widow of the former governor, Mrs Saratu Adesina; deputy governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; former deputy governors of Oyo State, Barr Iyiola Oladokun and Chief Moses Adeyemo; Sen Monsura Sunmonu; former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba; former deputy governor of Ogun State, Prince Segun Adesegun; Sen Olufemi Lanlehin; Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle; former deputy governor of Lagos State, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye; Hon. Akin Alabi among others.
A professor of Sociology and former Indpendent National Electoral Commmission (INEC) national commissioner, Professor Lai Olurode, who delivered the 10th memorial lecture, said it would be calamitous for Nigeria to break up now because it won’t achieve anything.
Olurode noted that it is too late for the country to break up, adding that Nigeria is better as one country.
He explained that the late Adesina believed in Nigeria and wanted the country to remain as one.
“There will be chaos if Nigeria breaks up. For instance, in the South West, that is when Ibadan will be fighting Ijebu and so on. There is chaos in every part of the world right now, so we need to manage our differences.
“There is nothing to run away from in this country, It is better to sit down and settle our differences.
“The political class has a lot of work to do because breaking up Nigeria won’t achieve anything.
“Like Awolowo, Lam was a utilitarian. Utilitarians will always pursue the the happiness of the majority. It does not matter who governs, but inclusiveness is very important,” he said.
Speaking on the 2023 elections, Olurode said the catchy phrase, ‘Awa Lokan’ made popular by the All Progressives Congress( APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is a political reciprocity in Philosophy, noting that Adesina stood for power rotation between the North and South in his lifetime.
“In Philosophy, there is what we call power reciprocity. It is part of diplomacy in politics; Asiwaju (Bola Tinubu) said ‘Awa Lokan.’ Morality and inclusivity demand that you support me after I had earlier supported you. So, Asiwaju is saying we’ve supported the North, now they should support the South too. South East also have the right to ask for the presidency, it now becomes the race of who has the largest numbers,” he said.
The former INEC national commissioner, however, lamented that there is always low turn out of voters across the country, adding that the highest number of rejected votes is always coming from the South West.
He noted that it is worse among political elites and urged political parties and politicians to ensure proper orientation of voters in the South West region before the 2023 elections.
“People stay away from voting. It is only during Buhari’s elections we had a relatively fair turn out of voters, about 40 per cent or so. We have about 99 million registered voters now, hardly will we see 40 million votes across the country in the 2023 elections. The politicians and political parties must enlighten our people on the need to vote and how to thumbprint rightly,” he said.
Olurode also highlighted some factors that may impact the 2023 elections. He said BVAS, security, political parties, attitudinal issues, money among others may affect the elections.
“Power of incumbency may not be of help, giving out money may not be of help and the role of judiciary may not be of much help as well in the 2023 elections. Lam believes politics is an art and prefers governance to politics,” he added.
In his welcome address, former deputy governor of Oyo State and associate of Adesina, Barr. Iyiola Oladokun, described the former governor as an accomplished leader of leaders.
He stated that despite all the efforts to erase the former governor’s memory, his legacies are still standing today in Oyo State and Nigeria.
Speaking, former governor of Ogun State , Aremo Segun Osoba, described Adesina as “Omoluabi Yoruba.”
He said: “He is a contented person and whoever has that has everything. After leaving government house, he went to his house with contentment. Whoever said Lam’s position no longer exists is deceiving his or her self. Lam’s name will continue to exist as a follower of Awolowo.”
Also, a former deputy governor of Lagos State, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, said Adesina was an honest person who suffered for the masses.
“Abacha arrested him as a prisoner of war. He was a courageous person and served the masses with his life. The work he did is still speaking for him,” Ogunleye said.
Chief Lekan Alabi, who spoke on behalf of Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oba Lekan Balogun, Alli Okunmade II; the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Oyo State, Sen Teslim Folarin; and the deputy governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal, who represented Governor Seyi Makinde, extolled the virtues of Adesina.
They described the former governor as colossus and an elephant in politics and the society at large, adding that his legacies will continue to live on.