By Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
The past few months could have been quite traumatic to all of us. There is practically no one who has not had to wail and mourn the passage of a loved one, an acquaintance, associate or someone that one considered very important. I have had to write tributes to mourn and celebrate some people very dear to me and are simply unforgettable and irreplaceable. But I take solace in the words of Rossiter W. Jordan who wrote that “Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight”.
We mourn the departure of our loved ones because of the limit of our sight since they never really left us.
It is therefore with extreme reluctance and a heavy heart but submission to the will of God that I write to pay tribute to the Balogun-General of Epe Division, a leader of our party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and generalissimo of politics in Epe Division of Lagos State, Chief Kamorudeen Lanre Mabinuori Razak aka KLM, who passed on to the great beyond on August 15, aged 74. The political juggernaut of Epe Division is gone.
Chief Kamorudeen Lanre Mabinuori Razak, aka KLM, burst unto the Lagos political scene which he bestrode like a Colossus in the Second Republic. He assiduously worked for the victory of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the emergence of the administration of Alhaji Lateef Jakande between 1979 and 1983. He was the arrow-head of UPN’s domination of the Epe Division where he held sway as a stormy petrel grassroots mobiliser, undisputed and unrivalled. He was a young man then. He later served as Commissioner in a military administration.
If I may not be able to fully tell the story of that era very well, at least I know the havoc he wreaked as opposition to our then party, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in that division at the advent of this present dispensation. We had to employ innovative strategy to be able to destabilise and then defeat him, but not before he had bruised us.
Though a progressive, rather than joined us, he was in APP/ANPP and later PDP where he held Epe Division tenaciously for his party. He won that division in a landslide in 1999. But to the glory of God, we were able to demobilise him with an innovative strategy perfectly deployed. We then weakened him so much that in subsequent elections, he could no longer constitute a threat, before he finally joined us.
Let me say without equivocation that Chief Kamorudeen Lanre Mabinuori Razak KLM was a monstrous political tactician of unparalleled hue and a deadly political opponent. We had our adversarial engagements through the first two terms of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and most part of the first term of Babatunde Raji Fashola. He was a strong and worthy adversary before he was ultimately wooed and persuaded to join our party.
As a party man and leader, he was particularly close to our Apex Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and myself. He was absolutely loyal, dedicated and committed to our cause, until his demise.
He was an ally of irreplaceable value. He took so much interest in me, such that he was with me for four weeks, preparatory to my re-election as Osun governor in 2014. His support for me was total. He was a Master Politician of Politicians.
He was a generous man – generous of spirit and materials. He had the gift of charisma and therefore able to connect with the people. He was a devoted Muslim, but unobtrusively practiced his faith.
As we bid him farewell, my deepest condolences to the family, particularly his wife and children, the APC family in Lagos and the entire people of Yoruba and the South West. I pray that God will give them His comfort and peace and the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
We are going to miss him, no doubt. May Allah SWT forgive him and accept him to Aljannah Fridaous. Aamin.
Ogbeni Aregbesola is the Minister of Interior