While reflecting on the debacle over the demolition of J.K. Randle Memorial Hall and whatever Femi Majekodunmi did (or did not do), I cannot in all fairness draw any conclusion until I engage in further discussions with Femi Adeniyi-Williams, my fellow Trustee in case I am guilty of false recollection (or faulty memory). It was late Chief (Dr.) Moses Adekoyejo Majekodunmi who handed over the care and custody of the hall to Chief Olufemi Majekodunmi (Chairman); Chief Olufemi Adeniyi-Williams; and Bashorun J.K. Randle.
Out of the blues, Femi Majekodunmi now claims that he is the sole Trustee !! It beggars belief. However, we must check with Femi Adeniyi-Williams whether he is complicit in all these antics and shenanigans.
The Police; The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC]; the Serious Fraud Unit [SFU]; Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission [ICPC] etc are all hovering over the stench, ready to swoop, just to get to the bottom of the cauldron of betrayal and treachery. Why would anyone expose himself to the double jeopardy of receiving money from Lagos State Government under false pretences that he was vested with the powers of Sole Trustee (which is not recognised by law) and then proceed to spend part of the money in paying N15 million as legal fees; and investing a significant amount in 4.5 million units of the shares of Access Bank Plc without the approval of his fellow Trustees. What was Femi Majekodunmi’s motive ? It makes no sense whatever. Considering he is already the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of his father’s vast Estate and Foundation, why would he be so adamant in his fierce determination to frustrate and eventually extinguish the Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall Trust ?
I spent almost a week with Femi Majekodunmi in Vomperberg, Austria just to get to the bottom of his problem with the J.K. Randle family. It was to no avail. A complete waste of time.
At a subsequent meeting at the Lagos Motor Boat Club, I asked him point blank:
“Femi, I never would have believed that you could be so devious and mischievous.”
His response was:
“It means you don’t know me.”
The meeting dragged on for almost three hours but achieved nothing.
Another meeting was fixed for Femi Majekodunmi’s office at St. Nicholas House, Catholic Mission Street, Lagos. This time around Femi Adeniyi-Williams joined us. Also in attendance were two lawyers Mr. Supo Sashore S.A.N. and Mr. Kofo Coker who gave us perfectly sound advice regarding how to tackle the demolition of Chief J.K. Randle Memorial Hall by the government? Femi Majekodunmi was never mandated to negotiate compensation for what was clearly a blatant abuse of power by Lagos State Government.
Incidentally, I had alerted Femi Majekodunmi on the morning of the meeting that I was so perplexed by his hostility and antagonism towards the J.K. Randle family that I had visited my father’s tombstone at Ikoyi Cemetry, Lagos and that I was on my way to Abeokuta to visit the tombstone of his own father, Chief (Dr.) M.A. Majekodunmi. The purpose of my visit to the tombstone of the two great friends was to seek their guidance and supplicate their assistance to dissuade Femi Majekodunmi from what appeared to me to be a most vindictive and destructive enterprise. The rest must be saved for another day. I just pray that the two friends will continue to rest peacefully in their respective graves.
The real challenge is how to manage a most devastating situation whereby the government has completely outmanoeuvred the Trustees of Chief J.K. Randle Memorial and treated us with contempt – as if we are morons.
The stench of bad faith is overpowering and overwhelming. The government has lost the plot in total disregard of the dictum of the Spanish philosopher Baruch de Spinoza [1632-1677].
“The ultimate aim of government is not to rule, or restrain, by fear, nor to exact obedience, but contrariwise, to free every man from fear, that they may live in peace and security.”
My father believed in friendship and goodwill. Everybody was his friend !! At least so he thought. Anyway, I cannot but recollect that he was not materialistic. He was generous to a fault. On numerous occasions, he would empty his pockets and hand over huge bundles of cash to complete strangers who were clearly in distress. He genuinely cared for the poor and underprivileged. He made a great deal of money from his business but gave much of it away during his lifetime and thereafter – scholarships, donations, etc. He genuinely believed that by leaving me a huge inheritance he would be saddling me with an unnecessary burden. He really believed that it would just serve me as a paving stone or ladder to joining the idle rich with NO FUTURE AMBITION [NFA].
As far as my dad was concerned, what mattered most is to have education and integrity – and be ready to turn up at the starting line in any competition without any claim to special privilege or entitlement. He told me bluntly:
“What is really yours is what you have earned through your own honest endeavour – by sweat and toil.”
To quote Count Axel Oxenstterna [1583-1654].
“Do you know my son, with how
little wisdom the world is governed ?”
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Anthonio Guterres has consistently advocated the sanctity of land which by definition recognises that land is circumscribed by ancestral rights and ownership. The spiritual connection belong to the true owners. We have to separate the trees from the forest in order to establish cohesion.
What the government has inflicted on the Dr. J.K. Randle family is psychological damage and fatal injury without ever acknowledging the collateral moral debt or consequential abbreviation of human rights. Whatever testament we provide will nevertheless remain an understatement of the atrocities committed and the insufferable arrogance of the government. What should follow deliberate imposition of grief is atonement and penitence. The alternative is insurrection or revolt.
We are entirely in agreement with the current Secretary-General of the United Nations who has protested in dealing with global crisis / crises all over the world:
“Human beings cannot be reduced to pawns.”
However, government did not reckon with the residual spiritual powers of our ancestors. The demolition of our property must of necessity incur wrath and reprisal.
James Monroe [1758 – 1831] was right on the button when he deposed that:
“The best frame of government is that which is most likely to prevent the greatest sum of evil.”
Alas, the Babarians are on a wrecking spree. They have destroyed the greenery and ECO (Eko) System of Lagos. All they have on offer are grief, perfidy, and more atrocities. Nothing, absolutely nothing is sacred.
The mask is off. Everyday is a battle between hope and expectation. Trust has crumbled or is crumbling fast. Our lives are no longer about living but about endurance. The government has become a dragon. The monumental desolation is suffocating and we are compelled to ask: How did we get here ?
On CNN, it was former American President Bill Clinton who as a prelude to the conference being hosted by the Bill Clinton Foundation delivered a bombshell.
“CLINTON: They do. They tend to accrue. So you need public policy and private action. Businesses, NGOs, to figure out how to take advantage of the good things about the modern world and extinguish the bad. I’ll give you an example. One of our partners who sadly just passed away, founded BRAC. And BRAC and another one of our partners, Muhammad Yunus, and the Grameen Bank they’re the biggest microcredit banks in the world. And they’re both — they started in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has had terrible political problems, as you know. It’s been deeply divided between two dynasties, headed by two women, one lost her father, one lost her husband in political violence, and then their successors.
So for years, there were six years in a row where, in effect, they had no government. What happened in Bangladesh? It grew at six per cent a year, six per cent a year.
Why? Because they proved that if the ground was thick enough with small loans to people who had talent and the willingness to work you could still build an economy that worked. That’s the most successful example in the world I’m aware of. But I can give you lots of other examples.”
For six years, Bangladesh had no government. Nevertheless, the economy grew by 6 per cent annually.
For those who believe that government is beyond redemption, this is the time to think again and redefine / recapitulate what our expectations are against what we experience on a daily basis. Government appears to have abdicated – and abandoned its responsibilities and thereby left us in the lurch. Each of us is now his/her own “Local Government Area” with unsolicited responsibility for providing our own water, (borehole); electricity (generators); security (huge fences/massive walls with private guards); and roads (built by communal efforts).
Some problems have remained intractable for several decades. Way back when Victoria Island was conceived, Lagos was short-changed. The drainage was inadequate and remains so till today. The reason being that the government officials were more focused on what they could extort from the engineers than ensuring that the drainage was in accordance with the engineering design as well as safety regulations. Sadly, the same malevolence was inflicted on the Lekki/Ajah axis where the water seeping through is gradually causing the land to develop “shifting” and “sloping” which God forbid may lead to collapse of buildings on a massive scale in future.
Regardless of our determination not to give way to despair, we need more hands and hearts on deck in recognition of the African proverb:
“If you want to go fast, go alone;
but if you want to go far, go together.”
What we are dealing with is a gaping hole. In the meantime, we are bleeding. A lot of blood has been lost. So have lives and property – victims of vandalism, treachery and betrayal.
We see no reason for being anything other than to be defiant and consistent. We will never surrender to tyranny or gangsterism. Grief is the price we pay for love. Our hitherto bustling city has been turned upside down by the merchants of mendacity and dupliticiousness. What we are left with is our growing rebellion or revolution. Regardless, we must do justice to our nagging feeling of sense of helplessness, consternation and bewilderment.
Nothing in our entire existence, stretching back to when our ancestors bestrode the tiny island which the Portuguese adventurers and explorers named Lagos, prepared us for the shock and trauma of becoming IDP’s [Internally Displaced Persons] on our own land.
The only time my late father was ever cross with me was when as a child I asked him to buy me a bicycle. He wanted to know why I wanted it. I gave the worst reason: because a boy next door had one !! My Dad was furious. He severely reprimanded me and laid down an injunction that has served me well ever since — one must never covet what belongs to others.
By the same token, he made it clear that he had no plans to leave me a huge fortune which would be my passport to resentment and envy by those less fortunate. Indeed, it might propel me to doom driven by pernicious arrogance, false sense of superiority and precipitate sense of entitlement. He preferred to share his wealth and abundant good fortune with the poor and underprivileged who would hopefully reciprocate with goodwill and appreciation. He insisted that I must be prepared to line up at the starting point like everyone else for the commencement of the race. He was absolutely right. I can truthfully attest to that.
Even when we complain that we have been overwhelmed with debts and trash, nobody is listening. All appeals to turn trash into treasure which is what most cities (e.g. Vancouver, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Singapore) are vigorously pursuing, we may just as well be talking to the deaf. They are perfectly satisfied with their half-hearted exertions combined with subversive inertia. Perhaps we should just come to terms with harsh reality – we have done our best. It is time to leave the rest to history to judge. Life is all about first encounters and final goodbyes.
The dichotomy is complex and the gulf is elastic. In Lagos, we speak at least four languages – “Inago”; “Egun”; “Yoruba” and Hausa but the government speaks only one the language of terrorism and tyranny.
This was recently demonstrated in all its awefulness and brutality when we saw on television those who had served jail term or had been locked up for involuntary psychiatric treatment for traffic offences were compelled to go through the horror of witnessing their impounded cars being sold off at auction at ridiculous prices for the benefit of the cronies of those in power and authority.
In Lagos, when one is dumbfounded all you can exclaim is
Alas, there is no English translation what would do.