by Eniola Opeyemi
“…there are opportunities everywhere, you can see what others don’t see if you open your eyes and your brain” – Alhaji Lateef Oludare Raji
My first encounter with this great man, Hon. Lateef Raji was at the first Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola led state executives retreat at Golden Tulip, FESTAC when he served as the special adviser to the governor on information and strategy. Lati, as fondly called by his close friends, was so humble that one mistook him for an errand boy, not knowing he is a member of the state executives. When I approached him as the then Coordinator of National association of Nigerian students (NANS) in the south-west, he listened like a comrade and invited me for extensive discussion at his hotel room where he lodged. After such a memorable event, the insignia of excellence chose me as a friend and I was glad to have him as a senior friend.
Checking through his achieves, despite serving at various top positions in and outside the country, the erudite scholar would challenge you to an intellectual debate with an intention to learn at every moment from everyone he came across. This is one of the reasons we’d always see him in class, and the last time I checked, he was rounding up with his doctorate degree at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
His struggle to always impact on young ones can’t be measured, as he found his way to youths and students programmes even some minutes before important meetings and appointments. Raji was no doubt a workaholic that deprived himself of so many things to serve Lagos state, Ondo state and the country at large.
As a seasoned media strategist, even on his sick bay, he would tweet and send in articles to contribute to the nation’s development. Nothing defines what loyalty means better than the exemplary life Alhaji lived. He was loyal to God, his conscience and the cause he served. As a mentor, Hon. Raji would tell you to start with little and grow bigger. This great man impacted on me and so many youths across the world. He once challenged me to fetch out opportunities where I expressed there was none. I followed his instructions and I excelled. I visited him and named him, THE ORACLE.
Alhaji Lateef Oludare Raji was an oracle to many. He would advise you and even work hard to make you successful without demanding a penny. As a close ally to top politicians, he was always consulted for advice and praised for his highly exalted intellectual capacity.
But on Monday, the 14th day of August 2017, the sad news broke that the oracle could no longer speak, the boss and friend many looked up to could no longer answer them. However, the struggle he fought to live and to make others live will definitely continue even after this great man. His legacies will be sustained and his drive for a better Nigeria will be upheld.
Adieu Alhaji Oludare Raji, the struggle continues…
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija