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Jakande laid to rest in Lagos

By Gbenga Salau, Gloria Nwafor, Eniola Daniel and Silver Nwokoro
13 February 2021   |   4:31 am
The remains of the late elder statesman and first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, was yesterday interred at the Vaults and Gardens private cemetery, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat condoling Mrs. Abimbola Jakande, the widow of the late Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, first civilian governor of Lagos State and former Minister of Works, at his residence in Ilupeju, Lagos…yesterday. With them are relatives of the Jakandes. PHOTO: NAN

• Sanwo-Olu, Osoba, Amosun, Marwa, Others Pay Tributes

The remains of the late elder statesman and first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, was yesterday interred at the Vaults and Gardens private cemetery, Ikoyi, Lagos.

This is as many eminent Nigerians have continued to commiserate with the family of the deceased through condolence messages and visits.

Islamic scholars and clerics from different communities and mosques in the state, who prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased, conducted the funeral service.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led the Lagos State Government delegation to the funeral. He was accompanied by his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola and other members of the State Executive Council.

The body of the late Jakande, escorted by his wife, Abimbola; children, Deji and Seyi, among other family members, associates and eminent personalities, was brought into the Vaults and Gardens Ikoyi at 5:19p.m. It was conveyed by TOS Funeral Ambulance in a MIC Funeral Casket guarded by six pallbearers.

Sighting the ambulance from far, security agencies and sympathisers who were standing outside the cemetery sang the National Anthem and other renditions for several minutes. Many sympathisers also shouted the name of the deceased repeatedly to bid him farewell.

Some of the dignitaries that attended the funeral service were former governors of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Senator Ibikunle Amosun; former deputy governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu and many All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains, among others.

Speaking earlier during a special Fidau in honour of the former governor at his Ilupeju residence, Sanwo-Olu described late Jakande as an embodiment of all the positives.

Hamzat, who represented Sanwo-Olu at the event, said the former governor was a great man who cared and served his people meritoriously when he had the opportunity.

“Baba Jakande was just an example of what all of us should aspire to be. A great man, humble, selfless, loyal, and dedicated. So, he is an embodiment of all the positives; a great man that served his people when he had the opportunity to serve. A man that cared for the people and a fantastic journalist,” he said.

Hamzat, while paying tribute to the late Jakande, stressed the need for political leaders in the country to emulate the former governor by being humble and loyal to the country.

Relieving his last moments with his late father, his son, Seyi Jakande, said he was with him during the weekend before his demise.

“Nothing was different or unusual from every other day of his life. Baba would always ask, ‘how are you doing, how is your family?’ He will ask about your welfare. I visited him on Thursday and came back on Saturday to visit him again, and he said to me, ‘Seyi, o to ojo meta (it’s been a while)’ and I responded, ‘Sir, I was here two days ago, and he responded, ‘don’t stay away for too long.’

“Baba had a fantastic health; he was never on any drug despite his age, no high blood pressure or other ailments.

“I will remember him for everything. There is nothing I can take away; he was very disciplined.”
Former Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Sen. Durojaiye Olabiyi, described the deceased as “a direct follower of Obafemi Awolowo.”

He added: “We were the younger elements behind him. He was a man of good vision and courage. It was part of his vision that he recognised the fact that Lagos would not be federal capital and state capital at the same time when Lagos was created. So, he separated and moved the seat of government from Lagos Island to Ikeja. That shows foresight of a man who saw tomorrow. He also conceived the idea of low cost housing for the less privileged. This was a man who saw the importance of education and built schools to be able to get more children into schools. All these are remarkable feats. The only thing he was not able to achieve was the building of railway to ease the congestion of traffic in Lagos.”

To former House of Representatives member, Lanre Odubote, who represented Epe Federal Constituency, “I’m grateful for the life he lived.”

On his part, Special Adviser to the governor on Islamic Matters, Jebe Abdullahi, said the late elder statesman laid a solid foundation for the state in the areas of education, human management, resources management and other aspects.

“Lagos witnessed infrastructural development during his time as governor, which leaders after him have also been emulating. My message to our politicians is that everybody should go back to the archive and read more about him,” he advised.

Director General, Eternal Care Foundation (ECF), Galadim Olabode, said he was among the founding students of the Lagos State University (LASU), which the late Jakande created. “If not for the opportunity he gave us, probably I will be in Oshodi Park collecting illegal tolls. But today, I am what I am and not just me but many others,” he stated.

Among those who sent their condolence messages to the family yesterday were former Military Administrator of Lagos State and Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), who described his death as a big loss not only to Lagos State but also the entire country.

Marwa recounted how Jakande supported him when he was the military administrator of the state.

“He was always at our events and ever willing to give advice and support at all times,” he said in a statement by his office.

He noted that decades after Jakande served as governor, his achievements and legacies in the areas of affordable mass housing, free education, quality healthcare and development of infrastructure were still visible in the state’s landscape.

Also consoling the family, a political activist and national secretary of Project Nigeria Movement, Olawale Okunniyi, said Jakande was an unforgettable political mentor and benefactor.

In a statement signed by his media assistance, Mr. Olubori Obafemi, he said the deceased always made sure he attended every invitation received from him.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, Lagos State Council, has urged politicians to emulate Jakande’s selfless life style and visionary leadership, which the group said was dwindling in Nigeria’s political space.

A statement yesterday by its chairman and secretary, Gbega Ekundayo and Abiodun Aladetan, respectively, said emulating Jakande’s leadership style would help bring the dividends of democracy to those they represent.

“We thank God for the life of a man whose administration is famously remembered by workers for all that he did for them in Lagos State. Baba Jakande was indeed labour friendly because he ensured that all those issues giving workers challenges such as housing, health, education and transportation, among others, were addressed and made affordable to the poorest of the poor,” the statement said.