Friday, January 13, 2017 12:46 pm
A veteran journalist and a dogged human rights activist, Mr Alfred Ilenre, died in Ikorodu, Lagos State, yesterday. He was 77. He campaigned for true federalism, resource control and minority rights along with several organisations and many people including Chief Pa Anthony Enahoro, Ken Saro–Wiwa and Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti.
In November 2015, Ilenre who just returned from a medical trip abroad was at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa Secretariat to express his gratitude Governor Akinwumi Ambode assisting in the medical expenses.
According to him, the Governor took note of his unhealthy condition during the 2015 commemoration of June 12, 1993 Presidential Election at the Blue Roof, Lagos Television. As Ilenre explained: “When it was time to read my goodwill message, as I stood up, my legs started wobbling and I just blacked out. It was noticed, but we quickly beckoned on one of our very resourceful activist, a lady called Titilope Akosa, who is a member of the June 12 Coalition. She read my statement eloquently and then we outlined our tablet of issues that the government should look into.”
Three days after the event, he told journalists, a call came from a doctor informing Ilenre that the Governor had directed that his health be monitored and appropriate steps taken to ensure that I was back to good health. “I was surprised, for an Executive Governor of a very busy State like Lagos to have time to look into such issues that certain people will look upon as very minor. The following day, I was given a letter to go to a diagnostic centre and they did about 12 investigative tests on my body including the kidney, heart and then sent the result to the doctor”, he recounted.
The investigations according to him, revealed a disorder in his left lung, which he said was as a result of a fatal accident he had sustained in Ghana in 1998 during the NADECO crisis, which was life threatening. “Now, here is the Governor, coming down from his position to say that my health should be looked after. It’s a big token which I appreciate greatly. At a Chinese hospital in Ghana, I was given extensive and prolonged treatment. Now I feel much better than I used to be. If it was in those days, I would not be able to speak for more than 10 minutes. I may not be as eloquent as I used to be when I was in my 30’s and 40’s,” Ilenre said
He added: “Prior to the June 12 event, I had not known Ambode, but he did a very resourceful job in the public service in Lagos State and many people speak well of what he did. They said he is a detailed man who takes note of details.
“I don’t think it was because of personal relationship, because the June 12 event was only the second time he saw me. I think it was basically that he is a thorough person that looks into minor details of what happens around him. That is the basis on which I thank and owe him gratitude”, he said.