Jakande, Tinubu, others extol Adesanya.
By Emmanuel Oladesu
The Lagos State House of Assembly was alive yesterday as former Goevrnor, Lateef Jakande and Bola Tinubu, among others, joined members at a valedictory session for the late Chief Abraham Adesanya.
Others at the ceremony where encomiums were showered on Adesanya were former Osun and Ekiti states governors Bisi Akande and Niyi Adebayo; Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, Senator Anthony Adefuye, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, and Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola.
They also included Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Chief Ayo Opadokun.
Describing the life of Adesanya as an open book to be read and understood by all, the Speaker, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji said the House decided to honour the late Adesanya because he was a man who left an indelible mark in the sands of time.
"What can be done to make him happy wherever he is now lies in our resolve to do justice at all times. There are signs that our democratic process is being threatened by electoral fraud and intolerance of the opposition. The battle of the government in power to win election at all costs has cast a shadow on our elections throughout the federation," Ikuforiji said.
He went on: "We need to move a step forward towards reviving our electoral process. There is also the urgent need to sincerely reshape our politics and as well utilize the great opportunity provided by the setting up of the National Electoral Reform Committee in preparing an enduring electoral system for our democracy.
"This is exactly what Papa Adesanya worked for all his life."
Also speaking on the life and times of Adesanya, Hon. Babatunde Ogala com-mended his principled opposition to dictatorship even in the face of threats to his life.
The session also drew kind words from members of the House who all agreed that Adesanya was one man whose life is worth celebrating, calling on both the Federal and the Lagos State government to immortalise him.
Speaking on the late Adesanya, when the House granted privilege to some prominent Nigerians to speak on the man Adesanya on the floor, immediate past governor of the state, Tinubu called for justice and fair play in the nation’s political system, noting that the only way to immortalise Adesanya is for the political class to uphold the truth at all times.
He said: "Here you find a man that has worked so hard for the truth. He is more of our own Abraham Lincoln, the liberator, because it was Abraham Lincoln who ended the slave trade in America.
"He fought to ensure that our votes count, for the need that constitutional democracy must prevail, the need that ballot must play a significant role and must be the only way to elect our people, not the way we had it in the other states of the South-West.
"That the votes of our people must be respected and that the ballot paper must be the only authentic means to validate a democracy. For Abraham Adesanya he said the fact is you are not a democrat unless you can take a free and fair election."
Rauf Aregbesola, the Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate for Osun State in last year’s election, appealed to the House of Assembly to choose either Adesanya’s birthday, or his death day as a special session in the House when the proceedings of will be conducted in Yoruba language, because, according to him, Adesanya was the first man in 1999 to stand on the floor of the state Assembly to move the idea of using Yoruba to run the House.
Aregbesola described the Yoruba as a race that has been in perpetual struggle with those who are desirous of changing its history, arguing that those who advocate a unity without demarcation in the Yoruba nation need to be careful.
"We don’t want unity of compromise; we want only the unity of progressive minded Yoruba people," he said.
At the tribute session organised by the Pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, chaired by Chief Reuben Fasoranti speakers took turn to enlogise Adesany.
At the event were Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel, Olaniwun Ajayi, Ayo Adebanjo, Supo Sonibare, Jimi Agbaje, Cornelius Adebayo , Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd) and Chief Solomon Asemota .
Other dignitaries were Chief Olu Falae, Lanre Rasaq, Senator Bode Olajumoke, Mrs Jumoke Anifowose, Tokunbo Ajasin, Tunde Odanye, Rita Lori Ogbiebor Babs Oduyoye, Dapo Sarumi, Gbenga Kaka, Dr. Femi Okurounmu, Chief Moji Akinfenwa, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi,
Other at the venue were Bisi Adegbuyi, Yinka Odumakin and Dr. Reuben Abati who was the master of ceremony.
Others were Kenny Martins, Mike Orobator, Dayo Adeyeye, Tunde Onakoya, Senator Salaudeen, Dr. Tunji Otegbeye, Mrs.Rewane, Babs Odunoye, Hon. Dipo Olaitan, and Erelu Abiola Dosunmu.
Welcoming the guests, Fasoranti who first met Adesanya in 1962 during the Awolowo Treasonable trial describd him as a man of integrity and leader-in-progress.
He implored Afenifere members in government to maintain a high degree of integrity, selflessness and accountability .
Fasoranti said after 57 years of membership of the political family, the elders were a willing to step down.
" We are very much interested in performing the most vital role of the custodians, that is handing over. We are interested in our successors.
Anyone who wants a job description for this most weighty of roles need to look no further than the life we are gathered to memorate, The life of Senator Abraham Adesanya" he added.