Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday paid glowing tribute to the first civilian governor of Lagos, Lateef Jakande.
Jakande fondly called Baba Kekere, died in the early hours of Thursday at the age of 91.
In their separate tributes to the late journalist, Atiku, Gbajabiamila and Sanwo-Olu described him as a true patriot who worked effortlessly for the development of Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre.
“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,” Atiku began in his tribute to the late Lagos leader as posted on his official Twitter handle.
“His works in promoting qualitative public education and welfare in public service will continue to stand for him as a 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. I pray that the Almighty Allah accepts his soul and grant him Aljannah Firdaus.”
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 Abubakar (@atiku) February 11, 2021
‘A Father To All’
For the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jakande’s death is a “monumental loss” to the country, describing him as a “man of peace, who lived all his life serving humanity.”
“Lateef Jakande’s death is a personal loss to me, because he was a father to us all. A strong political ally to my mother, Alhaja Lateefat Gbajabiamila,” the speaker’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi quoted him to have said in a statement issued on Thursday.
“We will never forget the role he played in the economic and political existence of Lagos State, especially when he served as governor between 1979 and 1983.
“Baba Jakande touched the lives of many people in different ways. His major preoccupation was the peace and unity of his people, and he lived by that example.”
While describing the late Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) stalwart as an outstanding politician, Sanwo-Olu in his tribute said Jakande’s marks in the state will remain indelible.
“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,” the governor tweeted.
“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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/QAVuQZtk1f
— Babajide Sanwo-Olu (@jidesanwoolu) February 11, 2021
Jakande made impacts in the areas of housing, education, health, and rural development.
One of his popular achievements is the development of low-cost housing estates in various parts of Lagos State.
He was responsible for the introduction of housing and educational programs, which focused on building new primary and secondary schools in the neighbourhood and ensuring free education at the primary and secondary school level.
As a journalist, he first worked with the Daily Service and then in 1953, joined the Nigerian Tribune where he rose to become the Editor-in-Chief. He left Tribune in 1975 and established John West Publications on whose platform he published The Lagos News.