By Oluwatope Lawanson
A former governor of Lagos State, Sen. Bola Tinubu, says the first civilian governor of the state, Alhaji Lateef Jakande exemplified the best of Lagos and Nigeria.
He also described Jakande, who died Thursday at 91 as the ‘last of the political titans’.
Tinubu made the remark in a condolence statement on Thursday in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jakande died in the early hours of Thursday at 91.
The deceased, was a journalist, an administrator and politician who served as the governor of Lagos State between 1979 and 1983.
According to Tinubu, “Papa Jakande could appropriately be described as the ‘last of the titans’ ranking with the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Adekunle Ajasin and Pa Abraham Adesanya.
Others according to Tinubu include: Chief Bola Ige, Chief Olabiyi Onabanjo, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Alhaji Aminu Kano, among others.“
The All Progressives Congress (APC) National leader said the late Jakande was also a “mature statesman never given to histrionics or fanning the embers of disunity,”
He added that at difficult moments in the nation’s history, such as the struggle against military dictatorship, the deceased took personal painful decisions that cost him a lot, but his integrity was never impugned.
Tinubu’s statement, titled “We Celebrate, Not Mourn Jakande,” said: “Today, we lost a great soul. Pa Lateef Kayode Jakande exemplified the best of Lagos and Nigeria.
“Showing his extraordinary natural ability, Pa Jakande was largely self-educated, yet he rose to become a man of great knowledge and a prominent figure in Nigerian journalism.
“The deceased stood as one of the most incisive and brilliant editorialists of his generation who practiced journalism with the most audacious courage in defence of freedom, liberty and equity even in the thick of vicious military dictatorship.
“As an accomplished journalist, Pa Jakande shone even more brightly as a governor and true leader of Lagos State.
“Whatever we have been able to accomplish in Lagos State is because of the groundwork Pa Jakande set out before us.
“He is the inspirational father of modern Lagos State,” he said.
Tinubu also noted that the late elder statesman left an indelible imprint in housing, education, health care and road construction.
“Thousands of beneficiaries of his free education scheme are accomplished professionals and successful individuals in diverse fields today.
“The Jakande administration conceptualized and actualized the Lagos-Badagry Expressway that opened that whole sector of the state for development.
“His administration conceived the Round Office from which I operated for eight years as governor but he did not occupy the structure even for one day.
“This was characteristic of him, for Papa toiled and worked not for his personal benefit but for the future and the good of others,” the APC leader said.
Tinubu added that the late elder statesman was a fountain of invaluable advice and support throughout his tenure as governor.
He, however, recalled his last memory of the deceased at his 90th birthday when they gathered to celebrate him.
According to him, “The great man sat there, silent, bowed, humble, unaffected – a model lesson of servant leadership.”
Tinubu said that he would miss Pa Jakande, as well as all Lagosians and Nigerians in ways that words cannot fully express for he was a true original.
“He was one of a kind. Yet he would admonish us not to mourn him but to celebrate his life by carrying on in the spirit of compassion to build a more progressive and just society.
“We must thank God that we had the honour to have known him and to have learned so much from him.
“Now we must honour him by emulating the kindness and social vision that made him so special.
The APC leader extended his condolences to the deceased wife, Alhaja Jakande, the children and all others left behind by Alhaji Jakande.
He prayed that Almighty Allah comfort them all.
“We celebrate Papa’s life and his legacy and we must do our best to continue to build on them.
“May Almighty Allah grant Baba Jakande Aljanna Firdaus, Amin,” Tinubu said.
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