Lagos State will set up a Leadership and Fellowship academy to immortalize the late Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, the state’s first civilian governor who died on February 11. He was 91.
There was applause on Wednesday as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu broke the news at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan on Lagos Island where eminent citizens and ordinary folks gathered to bid the foremost politician a final farewell.
The Lateef Jakande Leadership and Fellowship Academy will be backed by an Act of the House of Assembly. It will be a tertiary School of Leadership and Governance for young people in public service and private sector to learn the art of leadership through qualities and values bequeathed by the late Jakande, who governed Lagos from 1979 to 1983.
The Day of Tributes organised by the State Government to celebrate the life and times of the late Jakande brought together his political associates, senior government officials and leaders from various sectors, including the royalty.
The late Jakande’s widow, Alhaja Abimbola, and children were at the event. Primary and secondary school pupils drawn from various schools across the State attended the event.
Sanwo-Olu described Jakande as “a titan of progressive politics and leadership”, who also built an “outstanding” reputation for himself as a journalist.
The Governor said Jakande had etched his name on chapters of history, given his “unrivaled” achievements in governance.
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 our State, architect of modern Lagos, and one of the leading disciples of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, ‘Baba Kekere’, a sobriquet he earned for taking after the late sage. He was a man who led a life rich not in material things but in the things that truly matter – integrity, honour, service and character.
“Alhaji Jakande’s tenure will continue to be remembered by generations as a reference point in good governance, welfarism, visionary leadership, selflessness, transformational leadership and leadership by example. In recognition and appreciation of his outstanding achievements, and as a way of immortalising his name, we are setting up an endowment to be known as Lateef Jakande Leadership Academy. The institute will be supported by enabling Act of the State House of Assembly.”
The Governor said the decision to establish the Academy to immortalise Jakande was thought-through, given that there have been several public monuments already named after the former Governor.
Sanwo-Olu said apart from being a personal beneficiary of Jakande’s visionary leadership, his administration is also pushing forward the legacy of the ex-Governor through the involvement of children of key progressive politicians who served under the late Jakande in the State’s Executive Council.
He said: “Baba Jakande 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. The highest honour we can pay him is to continue to strive to live up to his leadership ideals and to deliver the full dividends of democracy to the people of Lagos.”
The Governor submitted that the children and widow of Jakande would continue to walk with their shoulders high, because their father led a life worth emulating.
The Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, recalled his personal encounter with the Jakande, noting that the late former Governor personally attended his convocation at the University of Ibadan (UI) in 1986.
He observed that his family and Jakande’s shared a long history, which was further accentuated by the appointment of the late Oba Olatunji Hamzat (Deputy Governor’s father) as Commissioner for Transportation in the first civilian rule in Lagos under the late Jakande.
The Deputy Governor said: “The late Baba Jakande was a man of many parts. A journalist of repute, a great politician, an accomplished administrator and a devout Muslim. He was a detribalised Nigerian. He is the unfallen Iroko tree long after his days; it’s roots reach deeper and deeper.
“When the story of Lagos is told and when the geniuses of history pen indelible words of great and little actions of men, a page will be penned in gold of a man, who envisioned and translated the desires of many of his people to reality.”
Dr. Hamzat urged politicians to imbibe values bequeathed in governance by Jakande and reflect on his leadership style.
Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun, who was Secretary to the State Government under Jakande, extolled the visionary leadership of the deceased, stressing that the late former Governor made indelible impression on the State and the people.
He said the late Jakande declared education free at all levels on the day he was sworn in as first civilian Governor. Basorun said the first four years of the late Jakande recorded enduring achievements, including development of 30,000 units of low-cost housing schemes, 10 mini-water works, introduction of metro line, and establishment of Lagos State University in Ojo, among others.
He said: “Alhaji Jakande was friendly with the public servants of Lagos and won their hearts by his regular public acknowledgment of their loyalty and dedicated service. He took the significant action by his insistence that career grade level in the State’s civil service should end at Level 17, bringing period of service on par with federal service.”
All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart and leader of Governor’s Advisory Council (GAC) Prince Tajudeen Olusi described Jakande as “a cerebral and complete gentleman”, who transmitted his wisdom to others through his series of newspaper articles and books.
“Alhaji Jakande was prudent in the management of the State’s resources and he never gave in to flamboyant lifestyle all through his tenure,” Olusi noted.
Jakande’s first son, Deji, accepted the honour on behalf of the family, thanking the Governor and members of the State’s cabinet for immortalising their patriarch.
Dignitaries at the event included APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, represented by Commissioner for Environment Mr. Tunji Bello; former military administrator of Lagos and chairman of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Brig-Gen. Muhammed Buba Marwa (rtd); Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele and her husband, Chief Bode Oyedele; former Deputy Governors of Lagos, Mrs. Kofoworola Bucknor; Prince Abiodun Ogunleye and Mrs. Adebisi Sosan, members of the State Executive Council and members of the Lagos House of Assembly.
Others are the Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Kazeem Alogba, represented by Justice Latifat Abdullahi Oyekan; former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba; Lagos APC chairman, Hon. Tunde Balogun, GAC members and white-cap chiefs, who represented Oba of Lagos.