Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun yesterday described the death of the first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, as a colossal loss to Nigeria and journalism practice globally.
Abiodun in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin described Jakande as “a profound protégé of Papa Awo, an excellent welfarist, democrat and diplomat of the finest pedigree” who was not found wanting in character and disposition throughout his professional and political career.
“Papa Jakande was a statesman of statesmen. He was not just a great disciple of the legendary Obafemi Awolowo, he carried the Awoist traits everywhere he went. Lagos has lost a visioner. The Awoists family has lost a great inheritor and practitioner of the great legacy and Nigeria’s progressive politics has been weaned of a model.
“There is no way good governance will be mentioned in Nigeria without a reference to the cerebral journalist and administrator, Alhaji Lateef Jakande. He was selfless; an embodiment of in excellence in prudent management of men and resources both as a newspaper man and as governor of Lagos State.
Similarly, former governors, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel have extolled the virtues of Jakande.
Osoba described Jakande as “an astute politician who left giant footprints wherever he had the opportunity to serve at State and Federal level.
Osoba said, the elder statesman would be remembered in history as a personification of the best in Journalism and a political colossus.
The national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), said, “He (Jakande) singlehandedly founded both the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).
“He was the first black African Chairman of the International Press Institute made up of Publishers and Editors all over the world.
“He was a foundation member of both the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Guild of Editors”.
He added that as the Governor of Lagos State, Jakande ran a daily “Political Clinic”, where citizens committed him on issues.
On his part, Daniel said, Jakande will be remembered for his great works and as the “builder” of modern Lagos.
Daniel in a condolence letter addressed to the Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, described Jakande as “a great achiever and an astute administrator”.
He noted, Nigeria had lost one of the hardest working governors in the history of the country.
“Of course Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande did not die; could not have died as his immortal body remained interred in all the visible projects which dotted the landscape of Lagos, old and new, then and now.
“He (Jakande) was the ‘Builder’ of the new Lagos as he remain a myth in cosmopolitan administration to successive governments in Lagos state years after him.
“I remember vividly his creative intervention in the chaotic education system in Lagos State then as soon as he assumed office as Governor. Several secondary schools were compelled to run three shifts and his unprecedented efforts to return the school system back to normal with his now famous “Jakande Schools”.
“His intervention in the Housing Sector were no less ingenious and creative with a Mass Housing scheme for the less privileged. Many of his Low-Cost “Jakande Housing Scheme still dot the landscape of Lagos State.
“His pioneering efforts in founding the Lagos State College of Science and Technology (now the Lagos State Polytechnic) where I was a pioneer Lecturer at the School of Engineering, redefined the concept of Higher and Vocational education in Lagos State.
“His famed Metroline project which he conceived over 40 years ago clearly defined the character and strength of his vision which would have resolved the chaotic transportation problems in Lagos State. Today, that vision remains a road not taken and the problems persist.
“His footprints are visibly stamped on almost every sector of the economy; from education to health to infrastructure development.
“He will be greatly missed and forever remembered each time the history and development of Lagos is told”, Daniel said.