By Dayo Benson, Okey Ndiribe, James Ezema, Chukuma Nwakama
LAGOS – Family, friends and political associates gathered yesterday in Lagos to launch a book in celebration of the first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who turned 80.
The event which held at the Shell Hall of Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, witnessed currents of tribute poured on Jakande who called on elected political officers to put the people first in their service to the nation.
It was an opportunity for his old political associates to put the record straight and justify why Jakande served as Minister of Works under the late General Sani Abacha government.
Among those present on the occasion were the first military governor of Lagos State, Brig.-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd), whom Jakande described as the father of Lagos; Rear-Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (rtd), second republic governor of old Borno State, Alhaji Mohammed Goni, Jakandeâ€™s deputy, Alhaji Rafiu Jafojo and Senator H. A. Fashinro.
According to Jakande, popularly called â€˜Action Governorâ€™ during his regime, â€œPublic officers have a duty to serve their conscience.Â My life is a lesson to all public officers that it is better to serve our people, whether you are elected or appointed so that you might be given due honour.
”The honour they have given me today is far more than anything I could have made by way of money. Iâ€™m very grateful to God.
Speaking on Gen. Johnson, who was the chairman of the occasion, Jakande said: â€œwe are grateful to our chairman who is the father of Lagos State. It was because of his presence in General YakubuÂ Gowonâ€™s government that it was possible for us to have a Lagos State. It was a real honour for his own performance under the government.â€
Also speaking, AlhajiÂ Goni said â€œhis friendship withÂ Alhaji Lateef Jakande was strengthened by the principled role they played as members of the opposition Progressive Parties Alliance ( PPA) during the second republic.â€