By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has announced plans to set up the Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy to honour the first Civilian Governor of the state, late Lateef Kayode Jakande.
Sanwo-Olu stressed that the foundation will be supported by an Act of the State Assembly to give it legal backing.
The governor made the remarks on Wednesday, at “A Day of Tributes” held in honour of late Jakande at rehabilitated Mobolaji Olufunsho Johnson Stadium Arena, formerly named, Onikan Stadium.
The day of tributes organised by the State Government was attended by the deceased’s family led by the widow, Alhaja Jakande, former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, represented by Mr Tunji Bello, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, represented by his deputy, members of the State Executive Council, members of the state House of Assembly, former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, former deputy governors in Lagos, Governor’s Advisory Council of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos, top government functionaries, captain of Industries, religious leader, market leaders, school pupils, among others.
Jakande, fondly called “Baba Kekere,” died at the age of 91, precisely, Thursday, February 11, 2021at his residence.
Sanwo-Olu described “Baba Kekere” as an erudite journalist, publisher, administrator par excellence and a political giant, “an epitome of what we stand for today.”
The governor who recalled the effort of LKJ in creating a metro rail line during his tenure added that the blue and red rail lines would be ready by 2022 to honour Jakande and to bring to life his plans for transportation in the state.
He said: “Today, we celebrate a great man, a selfless leader, a rare gem, a quintessential politician, an administrator par excellence, the first civilian Governor of Lagos State, architect of modern Lagos. A man who lived a full life; a life rich not in material things but in the things that truly matter: integrity, honour, service and character.
“Through his outstanding and unequalled achievements, Alhaji Lateef Jakande has written his name in gold. He will continue to be remembered by generations as a reference point in good governance, welfarism, visionary leadership, selfless leadership, transformational leadership and leadership by example.
“He was never one to throw his greatness and clout around; he stayed simple and humble even at the height of his achievements and until the very end. Jakande’s achievements as governor of Lagos State within four years and three months (1979-1983) are well documented for posterity.”
“A careful analysis of the achievements whether in education, health, housing, transportation, environment, road infrastructure or agriculture, would reveal a leader shrewd in the management of resources, visionary, altruistic, selfless, disciplined, passionate and accountable.
“Baba was a transformational leader, who led by example. His commitment and dedication to building the Greater Lagos of our dream, a Lagos that works for all, was unequalled. He served the people with all his heart and never saw his position as a route to personal enrichment. He demystified public office through his simple and Spartan lifestyle.
“He set a standard that successive administrations will continue to strive to live up to and maintain. I can say without any fear of contradiction that Baba died a happy and fulfilled man because he was able to witness the progress that successive administrations, especially civilian governments, made with regards to actualising the Lagos of his dream: a Lagos where all citizens are catered for regardless of social or economic class, ethnic origin or religious outlook.
“The highest honour we can pay him is to continue to strive to live up to his leadership ideals and deliver the full dividends of democracy to the people.”
Earlier, in a welcome address, Hamzat urged Nigerians and residents to celebrate the late LJK, by their way of life and not by mere words and eulogies. Hamzat described late LKJ as an accomplished Democrat, selfless leader, a man who defined the essence of leadership.
“He was a detribalised Nigerian; he didn’t take his wisdom to heaven. He had a blueprint and left a template.”
“He made indelible marks in Nigeria’s political history dated back to his days in Action Group and UPN. Nigeria’s political history cannot be written without a mention of Jakande (Baba Kekere),” Hamzat stated.
Deji Jakande, who responded on behalf of the family, urged the people to keep praying for the children and larger family, not to derail and keep the legacies of their late father alive and honour the name.
Others who paid glowing tributes to LKJ include Prince Tajudeen Olusi, Asiwaju Oluwafunmi Bashorun ( Baba Aladura), a historian, Adekunle Ali, Bayo Osiyemi, Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to Jakande, among others.