By Deji Elumoye
Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, has described the late second republic governor of Lagos state, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, as a political titan.
In a tribute on Friday entitled “Fare Thee Well, LKJ”, the former Federal Commissioner for Information stated that Jakande succeeded in carving a pristine niche for himself, on the Nigerian social and political landscapes.
He described Jakande as a notable journalist, who rose to the Position of Editor of the Tribune Group of Newspapers, in its glorious days.
According to him, “in Politics, he held the Lagos Constituency for his Leader and Party, in a vice-like grip, before emerging as the First Civilian, and only Second Republic Governor of Lagos State, in 1979, re-elected in 1983.
“He had a great romance with the media and public, because of his populist Projects, like the massive expansion of primary and secondary classrooms, and residential facilities, generally referred to as “Jakande Schools”, and “Jakande Estates”, respectively, though derisively by political rivals. That the Schools and Estates have, with inevitable modifications, survived for more than four decades, speaks volumes for his foresight in those areas of human development indices. I was not in his political camp, but respected his calm and brave reactions to criticisms”.
Pa Clark reminisced that the last time he met Jakande face-to-face about forty years ago during the Second Republic “when my Apapa GRA, Lagos, neighbour, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, invited me over, to his residence, to ask me to join their party, UPN.
“Chief A. Y. Eke, Chief Bisi Onabanjo, and …, most now deceased, are some of the faces I still recall as present at that meeting. I politely declined, giving reasons of my commitment to my own National Party of Nigeria, NPN, and hazy jigsaw of the UPN in my State and trado-cultural Constituences.
“In all, I always found LKJ to be as genial and pleasant, as he was implacably firm in his Cultural and Political roots”.