Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has described the demise of the first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, as a colossal loss to Nigeria and journalism practice globally.
Elder statesman, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, died on Thursday, aged 91 in Lagos.
“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,” Gov Abiodun said in a condolence message issued by Kunle Somorin, the Governor’s Chief Press Secrtary in Abeokuta on Tuesday.
The statement further quoted Gov Abiodun as eulogizing the deceased elder statesman 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.
“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. Everybody attests to his modesty and exceptional skills in managing the affairs of Lagos State even in the period of austerity measures.
“He simply was the best in his generation of Governors and held in high esteem by succeeding generations of Governors. To live in the hearts of millions even when we are no more here is not to die,”
“Papa LKJ was a great fighter who lived a great and exemplary life. He fought a triumphant battle against dictatorship and tyranny, especially in the colonial era and immediate post-colonial period as a journalist and politician. Many will remember him as the best governor in the second Republic, renowned for his investment in education, housing and public infrastructure”, the statement continued.
LKJ was the last of the Unity Party of Nigeria-led LOOBO (Lagos, Ondo, Ogun, Bendel and Oyo), as the states were called when the country had a 19-state structure.
“While his role in the days following the annulment of June 12 election can never be forgotten, his achievements as Minister of Works between 1993 and 1998 still stand out till today. He was consistent in standing for truth and integrity throughout his sojourn life on this side of the divide.
“I recall that he stood like a rock of Gibraltar with the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and there is no way the history of democratic struggle in Nigeria can be written without his name not be emblazoned in gold. He may no more be with us physically, but his example of honour and dignity will continue to inspire future generations”, Gov Abiodun further stated.
The governor surmised that: “Baba Kekere (Junior Awo), truly fought a good fight all round. Glory to the Almighty for your life and for all that you stood (for). The entire country, Africa and the whole world will never forget your footprints on the sand of democracy
“It is my prayer that Almighty Allah grant Mama, the LKJ family, the government and people of Lagos State the fortitude to bear this great loss”, the statement concluded.