A former Vice Chancelor, Lagos State University, Ojo, Prof. Jadesola Akande, is dead.
Professor Akande's Interview with the Achebe Foundation
A former Vice Chancelor, Lagos State University, Ojo, Prof. Jadesola Akande, is deadThe deceased, a lawyer, researcher and administrator, was 67.
One of her children, Dayo Debo-Akande, confirmed her passage at her Ikoyi, Lagos residence on Tuesday.
“One of her aides told me that she died in her sleep. We will miss her a lot. Her wealth of experience was second to none, “ Dayo told one of our correspondents on the telephone.
The Akande and Esan families also confirmed the renowned academic’s death in a statement.
“The families of Chief Debo Akande (SAN) and Chief Esan of Ibadanland announce the passing away quietly in her sleep on April 29, 2008 of their daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister and aunty, Prof. Jadesola Olayinka Debo-Akande, OFR,” they said.
A lady, who identified herself as Akande’s personal assistant said her boss “did not complain of any sickness” before she left her (Akande) residence on Monday.
The deceased’s son-in-law, Mr. Tokunbo Coker, told one of our correspondents that Akande visited their house around 5.30pm on Monday and discussed with him and her daughter after which she took mango with them.
“It was unbelievable when I learnt that my mother-in-law died in her sleep this (Tuesday) morning. Her body was still warm when I got to her residence at Ikoyi at 11 am,” he said.
Akande’s last public outing was of at lecture marking the 70th birthday of a human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), in Lagos on Monday.
At the event, Akande, who until her death was an Executive Director with the Women, Law and Development Centre, officiated the cutting of Fawehinmi’s birthday cake and prayed for his quick recovery.
Among those who reacted to her passage were Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), the President, Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba; a former Vice -Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, and his successor, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi.
Others were the President, Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, the Executive Director, Women Advocate for Research and Documentation Centre, Mrs. Abiola Akiode-Afolabi; and Dr. Keziah Awosika.
The Special Adviser (Media) to Fashola, Mr. Akeem Bello, said in a statement that the governor visited the family house of the former vice-chancellor in company with his predecessor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Fashola advised the “family members who were equally shocked by the sudden transition of the respected legal scholar to take solace in the fact that she lived a very fruitful and fulfilled life.”
In the condolence register opened for the deceased, the governor wrote, “Dear Aunty Jade, rest in the bosom of your Creator.”
He described her as a “distinguished Nigerian who built many leaders as well as the nation.”
In the condolence register, Agbakoba (SAN) wrote, “This is a shocking and terrible news. A great loss to the legal profession and Nigeria. A legal icon and an academic giant.”
Agbakoba later issued a statement in which he described Akande as “a legal giant and a woman of substance.”
While Ibidapo-Obe said the deceased was “an unrelenting advocate for women‘s rights and empowerment,” Odugbemi described her as a ”pleasant and brilliant academic,” who would be missed by academics and those in the legal profession.
A Judge of High Court of Lagos, Justice Joseph Oyewole, said Akande lived a fulfilled life.
Awosika, who is Akande’s partner at WLDC, said they both spoke on the telephone between 10.30 and 11pm on Monday night about a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
“We talked and discussed about the meeting we were supposed to have in the office today (Tuesday),” she said, before breaking down in tears.
Akiode-Afolabi said Akande’s death was a great loss to Nigeria.
”She was a woman of courage, a woman of profound intellect and very resourceful. She was the last woman standing and she had contributed her quota to the struggle for a better society,” she said.
Also, the Pro-National Conference Organisation said in a statement by its spokesperson, Mr. Wale Okunniyi, that Akande would be remembered for drafting the people’s constitution launched by PRONACO on May 22, 2007.
“PRONACO and the entire democratic movement will no doubt miss her fearless contributions to the renewed effort at reforming the Nigerian polity, ” he said.
Born on November 15, 1940, Akande, a distinguished jurist, was a law graduate of the University College, London. She was called to the bar at Inner Temple in 1963.
Akande returned to the country in 1965 and worked in the West Regional Civil Service as an administrative officer/state council for a year before she proceeded to the Nigerian Law School.
Prof. Jadesola Akande's thoughts on Nigeria
There is still hope for Nigeria
Nigeria has not missed it
We haven't missed it; what we have missed is leadership in Nigeria. I say this, because the leaders we've had in this country have been products of the colonial system.
_The colonial system did not train our people for leadership positions; rather, they were trained to be next in command to someone British in the position of authority who then hands down instructions. Someone else would take a decision, and then ask his Nigerian subordinate to implement it.
So when the colonial masters left governance to these people who were used to taking orders, they were still waiting for people to give them guidelines. There was no one, of course, to give them the guidelines, because they were the leaders on whose desk the buck stopped. And
Some are of the opinion that Nigeria's problem is not necessarily that of leadership, but mainly followership; people are not politically aware, and so those in power have been able to get away with bad leadership. __
The followership was unable to monitor what the leaders were doing, the majority, unfortunately, not being educated enough. So the basic strategies needed for leadership were not present. The colonials created a gap between those supposedly being trained to be heirs apparent to power and others. And those who were followers did not know what to expect of their leaders. All these years, it's been a recycling of the same group of people, so, we will only have a good leader if we remove all those who have been in office since independence.
This was the exact opinion of a market leader we worked with in recent times, and she's right. They are the same people who had this training that was simply not good enough, and unless we remove that set of people and bring in fresh candidates with sound initiatives, we will go on having bad governance.
On corruption in Nigeria
Corruption is such a big problem in Nigeria; it is so deeply rooted that people often say we cannot get rid of it! In spite of the steps that President Olusegun Obasanjo is taking now, corruption will be with us for a long time to come. And the reason is this; corruption is not as a result of poverty, but greed. Many Nigerians are greedy, even when they have material wealth you find them still trying to cut corners. So, it's not poverty, it's greed. People are poor; I'm not disputing that, and they are not satisfied being poor. Yet those who are rich still want what does not belong to them. This encourages corruption. Take the rural areas as an instance. Once a man from there comes to the urban centre he is not expected to return to the village a poor man. He must become rich, in whatever manner.
Then take the Niger Delta. For a very long time, some members of the community received money from the oil companies on behalf of their communities; but because of corruption, the monies were siphoned by a handful of individuals so that the majority of the people did not benefit from it. The politicians are given all kinds of allowances as soon as they are elected into office, whereas the civil servants are poorly paid. The minimum wage ought to be considered when money is being allotted to politicians. So, you see a lot of people in the civil service trying to amass wealth to make up for the little they earn, and also to be able to take care of life after retirement. It is well known that there is so much corruption in the civil service, and it is all because they want to prepare for the raining days, as they have no other means.
On the Bola Ige's assassination and the unfinished work of her eminent late husband, Debo Akande
I will just repeat what my children said: 'we leave everything in the hands of God, because he is the ultimate judge and He knows all that happened.' But let me point this out; somebody was arrested, indicted and prosecuted. He was elected to the highest body of legislature while he was in prison. The same fellow is now fighting the governor of his state. Better watch out before someone else is killed in the same way. This same person is now involved in violence, and seems to be following the same pattern; the opponent he is fighting was attacked in the Ooni of Ife's palace, and up till now, none has said anything. And they seem unable to arrest him. So, is it when there is another murder that it will be said they are looking for the killers?
The Ige case was not properly dealt with. The police arrested some people, but the court discharged them on the grounds that there was not enough police evidence. So if the police had done their job thoroughly, why would the court say it does not have enough evidence? It means they did not do their job thoroughly. And I will tell you an instance where they did not appear to have done their job thoroughly; they arrested an eye witness, who as soon as he was arrested told them, 'Yes, I can identify those who did the job. They now took the man into police custody, put him in the same cell as those who were being prosecuted, and said the man was under protective custody. Of course, anything could have happened in there, and when he was interrogated again, the man said he could no longer recognise anybody. Yet, the police claim that they did a thorough job; but what is thorough there? And understand that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom; if they fear God they will know that they are not saying the truth.
I would like us to turn to the PRONACO Conference; are you satisfied with how it went?
I'm very satisfied. People misunderstand PRONACO; PRONACO is not a political party, but a pressure group to ensure that there is constructive change in Nigeria. One of the main things, which PRONACO wanted is to push for a new constitution. This new constitution has been drafted. Once this happens, the work of PRONACO is finished. The next step would be to find an acceptable political party to take the process forward by accepting it as the Nigerian constitution. So PRONACO has not failed at all.
PRONACO wants a new and united Nigeria. And it is the most thoroughly debated constitution in Nigeria as it brought together all the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. All of them were represented and came to say what it was they wanted for Nigeria. So what Nigerians want for Nigeria, is a return to the parliamentary system of government. Secondly, Nigerians want more emphasis on the regions rather than on the federal. In this way, authority will rest with the regions, and not the federal, as it is now. Thirdly, they are putting more emphasis on the participation of women; that women should be able to occupy at least, 30 per cent of all the positions; elective, appointive or whatever.
Fourthly, we are making plans to make education free. All this talk that 'there is no money' is not true. There is enough money to make education free and education is the bedrock of any development. Therefore we are aspiring to make education free up to the university level. Fifthly, we are upholding the issue of resource control not because oil is a big market, but from the point of view of developing our agriculture and other mineral resources and helping to develop it. And in the end, only a percentage is given to the federal government, not the other way round.
Finally, in the case of criminal laws that say a person shall be innocent until proven guilty, there are certain issues where we have said one must also prove one's innocence. Also, anyone who took over government by force has committed treason; anything through arms. And even if such illegal administrations spend 20 years, whenever they leave power they will be tried for treason. This will permanently end military participation in governance. We expect that if we truly want a change in this country, then we should adopt this constitution.
On whether the present crop of leaders are at home with the contents of the PRONACO constitution
The present crop of leaders is going to be wiped away; they are not relevant. They are there now, they are going to contest elections, but we are hoping that whoever wins the next election is going to say let us take on the revised constitution and begin to implement it. In the next few years therefore, we will have a different leader, a different country, a different constitution, and younger people with better ideas coming on board.
When PRONACO first started out, there were disagreements among some leaders of the group and a lot of people were disappointed. But that is the beauty of democracy; everyone is allowed to say what he has to say; it is a right to be heard. In democracy, you do not have to agree, but you can dialogue to reach a compromise, and that was what happened.
Sometimes, I just get tired thinking of Nigeria's problems that seem never to end. Other times, I take solace in the fact that other countries have their own problems too. But really, one has to be optimistic because that is the only way you can be happy to be Nigerian.
• Culled from the Chinua Achebe Interview Series Website
May her soul rest in peace. This is unbelieveable....hmm.
The thing tire me no be small.....
She was a woman of intergrity and a role model. May her soul rest in peace.
This is a big blow... kai, I confirmed it minutes after you posted it VOR. Everyone in the family is shocked and speechless, because no one saw it coming
They seem to be exiting one after one another - those Nigerians, who lived when there was a bit of connect between them and the concept of a country....
I wonder who will truly empathise with Nigeria, in 10 - 20 years time.
RIP Madam J, you were many peoples' heroine. And if we ever find the grace, to remember those that stood, for the many of us, honourably in times of pain war & peace, we will remember you.
As part of their 5th Anniverssary Programme, would NVS consider creating a genuine hall of fame for the Nigerians that truly meant something to the people? those who can be shown with evidence to have made demonstrable impact, not just held positions of power or were made popular through imaginative use of publicity.
Jadesola Akande would make it into that hall of fame.
...[URL=http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=9090]Read the full article.[/URL]
Goodnight, Prof. Jadesola Akande...
May God in His infinite mercies grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
The strife is o'er
The battle done!
O death, where is thy sting?
Where is thy victory oh grave?