By Abiola Olawale
Deluge of tributes has continued to pour in for late Chief Lateef Jakande, a former Lagos State governor who took his exit at 91, Thursday.
Jakanke was the first civilian governor of Lagos State, whose works were widely believed to have laid developmental blueprints for Nigeria’s economic nerve centre–Lagos between 1979 and 1983 while he was at the helms.
He was a veteran member of the pen pushing profession, before venturing into politics.
Following his demise, prominent Nigerians have penned down emotional tributes in honor of the late former Governor.
President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-olu, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, among others have commiserated with the family of the deceased, while extoling Jakande’s virtues.
President Buhari, in a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, described the late governor as an individual that lived for the good of the people.
The statement reads, “President Muhammadu Buhari believes former Governor of Lagos State, Chief Lateef Jakande, lived for the good of others, state and country, and his legacy of standing for all that was right for humanity would be long remembered. The President, while condoling with family, friends and associates of the elder statesman, affirms that his imprint on the commercial nerve centre of the country, Lagos State, which was the former National capital, will continue to awe and inspire, reminding everyone of the strength of character and sacrifices of the visionary leader. President Buhari notes contributions of the first civilian Governor of Lagos State and former Minister of Works to the growth of democracy and good governance in the country, describing him as a patriot, whose wisdom will run through generations, especially in putting people first in development plans.”
“The President joins government and people of Lagos State, Nigerian Union of Journalists, and Nigerian Guild of Editors, in mourning the veteran journalist, praying that the almighty God will receive his soul and grant him eternal rest.”
Mourning his passage, Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president of Nigeria described Jakande as an exceptional leader, one who was among Nigeria’s last icons of nationhood.
He noted that the late elder statesman has left an example for the nation on good governance and infrastructural strides.
“It is with a mixed feeling of soberness and joy that I join relatives and admirers to mourn the demise of the late first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande. I am sober because Alhaji Jakande until his passing today remained one of the last icons of our nationhood and in whose life is enormous examples that we can get inspiration from in the much-needed drive in rebuilding our psyche as a people.” Atiku wrote in a statement.
“In the same breath, I am happy that the late Jakande lived a remarkable life by his enigmatic stature as a journalist, an administrator and a politician.
“His legacies in Lagos State, where he was the first civilian governor, remains emblematic of good governance and infrastructure development, not just in Lagos State but in the whole of the country. His works in promoting qualitative public education and welfare in public service will continue to stand for him as glowing tribute of the life of service that he lived. I also join the government and good people of Lagos State to mourn the illustrious individual whose good name shall remain written in gold in our heart.”
Earlier the executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-olu while announcing the demise of the state former Governor said he was a leader with remarkable achievements.
In his words, “With gratitude to God for a worthy life well spent in the service of Lagos State, Nigeria, and humanity, I announce the death of a venerable statesman, outstanding politician, public administrator, and the first Civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande. Baba Jakande’s record of service as a journalist of repute and a leader of remarkable achievements as governor of Lagos State will remain indelible for generations to come. His death is a collosal loss and he will be missed. On behalf of the Government and people of Lagos State, I want to express my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and comrades of Baba Jakande.”
Former Governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel also sent kind words to the family of the deceased and the entire Lagos State Government. According to him, Jakinde did not die as his legacies live on.
In his words, “My disbelief is not connected in any way to the fear for his ripe old age, but for the myth which ‘Baba Kekere’ invoked in many of us young men in the then Lagos state as a great achiever and an astute administrator, which made him near-invincible for death to go near. Of course, Alhaji Jakande did not die; could not have died as his immortal body remained interred in all the visible projects which dotted the landscape of Lagos, then and now.
“He was the ‘builder’ of the new Lagos as he remained a myth in cosmopolitan administration to successive governments in Lagos state years after him. I remember vividly his creative intervention in the chaotic education system in Lagos state, then as soon as he assumed office as governor. Several secondary schools were compelled to run three shifts and his unprecedented efforts to return the school system back to normal with his now-famous “Jakande Schools.
“His intervention in the housing sector was no less ingenious and creative with a Mass Housing scheme for the less privileged. Many of his Low-Cost ‘Jakande Housing Scheme’ still dot the landscape of Lagos State. His famed Metro line project, which he conceived over 40 years ago, clearly defined the character and strength of his vision which would have resolved the chaotic transportation problems in Lagos State. Today, that vision remains a road not taken and the problems persist. His footprints are visibly stamped on almost every sector of the economy; from education to health to infrastructure development. He will be greatly missed and forever remembered each time the history and development of Lagos are told. Indeed, Nigeria has lost one of the hardest working governors in its history. Adieu LKJ, the fabled Strong Man of Lagos Politics. I wish Lagos state and the entire family the fortitude to bear his painful passage, as I pray that God should grant his soul a great repose.” ex-Governor Daniel said.