Chief Rafiu Adeyefa Jafojo, the Second Republic Deputy Governor of Lagos State, has been variously described as a political engineer and a bridge-builder. The civil (building) engineer, who describes himself as a ‘happy- go-lucky’ person, would tell you that he cherishes true friendship and has been able to maintain his large number of friends with God-given wisdom.
There had been insinuations in some quarters that Jafojo might have had unpalatable experience, working with his former political boss in Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande. But he said, “I never had any problem with Jakande while we were working together. He was here at my 80th birthday and stayed for some hours.”
The acclaimed leader of the Awori added, “Bola Ahmed Tinubu tremendously assisted me when he was Governor of Lagos State. He helped me place more than 500 Awori descendants in the state civil service. Some of them are now directors in the service.
“In fact, Mrs. Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire was one of them. I thank my stars that I was able to persuade Tinubu to perform such feat on my behalf and I will never forget that gesture. Nobody can fault Tinubu in my presence; I would tell such a person to go to blazes.”
Jafojo, the Olota of Ikejaland, also noted that he was very active in politics as a student in England. He said, “I was an active member of the West African Students Union and also a member of Egbe Afenifere in England. I had the flair for both politics and engineering, but politics was deeper in me than any other calling. I started as a contractor and I was doing well when late Chief Obafemi Awolowo favoured me to be Jakande’s deputy in 1979.
“In our time, we did what we thought was good for the state and we achieved a lot.”
FALLOUT OF 1983 MILITARY COUP
On what he did after the military truncated their second term in office, Jafojo said, “Well I didn’t go back to contracting because I could not go begging the civil servants for work. So, I had to manage with the little I had.”
The former deputy governor, who is a kingmaker in Ikeja, said most of his people were not well educated. “This has led to the conception that the only thing the Aworis know is to sell land,” he added.
On his son (Adeniyi) going into politics, he said, “He told me and I am supporting him. I support everybody. I always give my children the free hand to do whatever they want to do. If they hit a brick-wall, they would come back to me and if they pass through, I would praise them.”
Jafojo, who joined the octogenarian club on December 5, said he was not a spare tyre during his tenure as deputy governor. He stated, “I created the duties by myself. I created my schedule, took it to the council and it was approved. They described it as a ‘masterstroke’ and things were working very well.
“Contrary to popular conception, I entered politics when the going was relatively smooth and not that stormy. Though there was crisis then, with courage and sagacity, I came, I saw and I conquered. Today, I can beat my chest that I have passed through this, I have passed through that.”
WHY HE LEFT PDP FOR APC
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