By Samuel Ohwovoriole
The Action Democratic Party ADP, has joined other Nigerians to mourn late Lateef Jakande the first elected executive Governor of Lagos state who passed away few days ago. The party said the former Governor of Lagos state should be celebrated for his foresight and progressive disposition.
In a statement signed by its National Chairman, Yusuf Yabagi, the ADP said, they join others to mourn the exit of a true progressive politician
“The Action Democratic Party, ADP, joins the multitude of Nigerians in all parts of the country and beyond, friends of Nigeria and progressives in countries of the world in mourning the passage of our iconic, progressive and patriotic Lateef Jakande.
“Late Jakande died at the ripe age of 91 years and so, we mourn him not because he took his exit too early, but because with his demise, we have lost yet one of the rare breeds of leaders who exhibited extraordinary attributes of selflessness, incisive intelligence, vision, courage and uprightness when he had the opportunities of the centre-stage in governance.
“As the first democratically elected Executive Governor of Lagos State, 1979 – 1983, Alhaji Jakande innovatively boosted the revenue profile of the state and went on to erect people-centred projects in the strategic sectors of health, education, housing and infrastructure. A few of the enduring legacies of LKJ in these sectors are the coterie housing estates in all parts of the state such as those at Dolphin, Iporin and Gbagada, among others.
“In the area of education, having ushered in universal free education, Lagos State under him, witnessed an unprecedented expansion in the number of public primary and secondary schools and to cap it all, the Lagos State university, one of the most outstanding state-owned centres of academic excellence, was a product of the dynamic Jakande. The administration of the late nationalist had also initiated a metro rail network to ease transportation in the sprawling Lagos city. Sadly, that ingenious project was aborted by the retrogressive, reactionary anti-democratic elements in the military who scuttled the second republic in a coup in 1984.
“For accepting to serve as Minister of Works and Housing (1993-1995), where he gave a good account of himself with great housing projects initiatives at Gwarinpa and Lugbe estates, under the military regime of Gen. Sani Abacha, Lateef Jakande inadvertently incurred the wrath of some people in a section of the country and that resentment appeared to have dogged his life till the end.”
To us in the ADP however, that political ‘missteps’ should not be allowed to becloud LKJ’s landmarks that today stand him out as the greatest governor of Lagos State who laid the foundation on which latter-day administrators built upon. Not the much celebrated and orchestrated tenures of his successors who became inexplicably stupendously rich after their tenure as governors of Lagos State can compare to the indelible footprints of Jakande in the sands of time.
He was a colossus, an unassuming genius, a bridge-builder, a humanist and quintessential patriot who believed and worked for the unity and oneness of Nigeria. Alhaji Jakande was an Awoist who single-mindedly believed in the entire gamut of the philosophy of the sage, the great Chief Obafemi Awolowo without pretenses, unlike many self-acclaimed Awoists.
It is a sad fact that humans tend to forget the positive deeds of the departed but rather, remember their shortcomings. In the words of Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony: “The evil that men do, lives after them; but their good (deeds) are oft interred with their bones”.
That must not be the fate of Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande because, his good deeds by far outweigh his shortcomings while alive. The ADP is calling on the Federal and Lagos state governments to immortalize through appropriate and befitting monuments, this exceptional Nigerian, who exemplified the ideal leader of our time.
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