•Atiku, Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu, NPAN, IPI mourn To be buried today
Deji Elumoye, Chuks Okocha, Udora Orizu in Abuja and Segun James in Lagos
Tributes poured in yesterday as the death of the first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, was announced. He died in Lagos at 91.
Leading the pack of sympathisers, who paid glowing tributes to the former governor was President Muhammadu Buhari who said Jakande lived for the good of others.
Others were President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; former Vice President Atiku Abubakar; former Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu; Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), and International Press Institute (IPI).
Jakande, a foremost journalist, was the governor of Lagos State from 1979 to 1983 during the Second Republic.
He was also reputed to have built the Lagos State Government Secretariat at Alausa after the state capital was moved from Lagos Island to Ikeja.
After the overthrow of the civilian government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, he went into newspaper and books publications until he was made Minister of Works by late General Sani Abacha.
Jakande’s death comes just about a month after a former military governor of the state, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, also passed on.
Sanwo-Olu, who confirmed Jakande’s death yesterday, said: “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 colossal 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.”
Buhari in a statement issued yesterday by his Media Adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, said Jakande’s legacy of standing for all that was right for humanity would be long remembered.
The president, while condoling with the family, friends and associates of the elder statesman, affirmed that his imprint on the commercial nerve centre of the country, Lagos State, which was the former nation’s capital, will continue to awe and inspire, reminding everyone of the strength of character and sacrifices of the visionary leader.
Buhari noted the contributions of the first civilian governor of Lagos State and former minister of Works and Housing 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 his development plans.
He joined the 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.
Atiku described Jakande as one of Nigeria’s icons of nationhood.
He said in his tribute: “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.”
Gbajabiamila described Jakande’s death as a monumental loss.
The speaker, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Lanre Lasisi, said he was personally touched by the death of Jakande, whom he said was a man of peace, who lived all his life serving humanity.
He said the former governor would be sorely missed by the people, especially Lagosians, and that he would be remembered for his developmental strides in the state.
Lawan said Nigeria has lost one of its exemplary political leaders and administrators.
According to him, Jakande lived a long and inspirational life that found fulfillment in the service of humanity, adding that he made sterling contributions to the development of journalism in Nigeria before replicating his indelible footprints on the political and economic development of Nigeria with his landmark achievements as the first elected governor of Lagos State.
“His feats and carriage as governor made Alhaji Jakande a permanent face of progressive politics which primary concern is the welfare and well-being of the people. Throughout his tenure as governor, he faithfully implemented the four cardinal programmes of his party, the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria,” Lawan said.
NPAN in a statement issued by its President, Mr. Kabiru Yusuf, and General Secretary, Mr. Mohammed Idris, said it was with great shock that it learnt of the passage of Jakande.
The statement described him as the pioneer President of NPAN, from where he was loaned to politics in 1979.
It said: “Between 1969 and 1979, Alhaji Jakande, midwife the association from infancy and it is to his eternal glory that NPAN became the octopus that it is today.
“Austere, selfless, people-oriented, Alhaji Jakande transferred these core values from newspapering / newsroom into politics and acquitted himself.
“He became a reference point for performance not just in Lagos State, which he served as a governor but across the country. He was also Minister of Works under the Abacha administration
“It is on record that Alhaji Jakande throughout his tenure lived in his personal house in Ilupeju area of Lagos and also used his personal car, apart from other landmark projects consummated by his administration.”
The association commiserated with members of the pen fraternity, his immediate and political families as well as the Lagos State Government.
“We could not but ask our today’s politicians to learn from the life and politics of Jakande and emulate his modesty, selflessness and passion for the people,” NPAN said.
IPI has also mourned Jakande, who was its former President.
In a statement by the Chairman of IPI Nigeria, Mr. Kabiru Yusuf, and the General Secretary, Mr. Raheem Adedoyin, the association stated that Jakande was not only a celebrated editor in Nigeria but also a devoted member of IPI and President of IPI Executive Board.
Tinubu described Jakande as the last of the political titans.
According to a condolence message he issued yesterday, Tinubu said: “Jakande could be appropriately described as the last of the titans ranking with the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Olabiyi Onabanjo, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Alhaji Aminu Kano, among others.”
He said Jakande was also a “mature statesman never given to histrionics or fanning the embers of disunity,” adding that “at difficult moments in the nation’s history, such as the struggle against military dictatorship, he took personal painful decisions that cost him a lot, but his integrity was never impugned.”
Tinubu said: “Showing his extraordinary natural ability, Pa Jakande was largely self-educated, yet he rose to become a man of great knowledge and a preeminent figure in Nigerian journalism who stood as one of the most incisive and brilliant editorialists of his generation. He practiced journalism with the most audacious courage in defence of freedom, liberty and equity even in the thick of vicious military dictatorship.”
Jakande to be Buried Today
Meanwhile, Jakande will be buried today according to a statement issued by the Committee of Friends of the ex-governor.
According to the statement, there would be pre-burial prayers at the deceased’s residence at the Ilupeju area of Lagos State.
The statement was signed by a former Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University, Prof. Abisogun Leigh, Kamal Giwa, Prince Bayo Oshiyemi, Alhaji Gani Owolabi Dada, Mrs. Omolara Abeke Vaugh, and Alhaja Latifat Gbajabiamila.
The statement read, “The committee of friends LKJ first civil Governor of Lagos State wishes to announce the passing of our dear leader the Baba Kekere of Lagos, Alhaji Chief Lateef Kayode Jakande, at the age of 91 years which sad incident happened on Thursday, February 11, 2021.
The burial arrangements are as follows – Pre-Burial prayers at number 2 Bishop Street Ilupeju, Lagos State on Friday, February 12, 2021, at 9 am.
“Interment at Volts and Gardens Ikoyi at 4 pm, on Friday, February 12, 2021.”