By Henry Umoru
FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South Leader, Chief Edwin Clark said Friday that with the death of first Civilian Governor of Lagos State, Chief Lateef Kayode Jakande, Nigeria has lost a titan.
In a statement in Abuja, Chief Clark who noted that he was mourning the demise of Jakande with respect said that he always found the former Lagos State Governor as genial and pleasant and was implacably firm in his Cultural and Political roots.
The statement titled, ” Farewell LKJ, read, “Sobered by its very sudden, sad impact, yet buoyed by good memories of a life well lived, I join millions of Nigerians in mourning a Titan of our time, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, LKJ, whose demise, yesterday, has just been announced.
“Widely referred to as the “Baba Kekere” of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Political Dynasty of First Republic’s, Action Group, AG, and Second Republic’s, Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, respectively, LKJ, nonetheless, carved a pristine niche for himself, on the Nigerian social and political landscapes!
“He was a notable journalist, who rose to the Position of Editor of the Tribune Group of Newspapers, in its glorious days.
“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 pilitical camp, but respected his calm and brave reactions to criticisms.
“The last time I met LKJ, face-to-face, was on an evening, when my Apapa GRA, Lagos, neighbour, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, invited me over, to his residence, to ask me to join their UPN Party. 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.
It is with the same respect that I mourn his passing away; thank GOD, at a good age. May his gentle soul find eternal peace, by GOD’s mercy. Amen!”