The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), and the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, among others, on Thursday, mourned the death of the first civilian governor of the state, Lateef Jakande.
Jakande died earlier on Thursday at the age of 91 in his Lagos residence.
One of his children, Seyi, who confirmed the death, added that Jakande, also a former Minister of Works, would be buried today (Friday).
How Jakande died – Son
Seyi explained to our correspondent during a visit to the deceased’s residence in Lagos that Jakande died in his sleep around 11am.
According to the son, it was the deceased’s aides who discovered that he was not breathing.
Seyi said, “He had his breakfast this morning as usual and went back to sleep; his aides noticed that he was not breathing; so basically, he died in his sleep.
“We called in medical doctors and after examination, they said he was gone.”
Another child of the deceased, Ganiat, said, “It’s a great loss; I’m just trying to put myself together.
“My dad was a caring, loving father and a disciplinarian; he does not take any nonsense from anybody.”
The deceased’s younger sister, Omololu Osinuga, said she was going to miss him as he was like a demigod to the family.
She said, “He was a kind brother, presently, we miss our demigod. I will advise today’s politicians to emulate his sincerity, honesty and dedication.”
Jakande lived for others, says Buhari
Meanwhile, Buhari on Thursday joined others to mourn Jakande.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, titled, ‘President Buhari pays tribute to Lateef Jakande, says he lived for others,’ the President noted that the former governor of Lagos lived for the good of others.
The statement read in part, “President Buhari notes contributions of the first civilian governor of Lagos State and former Minister of Works to the growth of democracy and good governance in the country, describing him as a patriot, whose wisdom will run through generations, especially in putting people first in development plans.
“The President joins government and people of Lagos State, Nigeria Union of Journalists, and Nigerian Guild of Editors, in mourning the veteran journalist, praying that the almighty God will receive his soul and grant him eternal rest.”
Lawmakers eulogise Jakande
Also, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in a statement said Nigeria had lost one of its exemplary political leaders and administrators.
Lawal said, “Jakande lived a long and inspirational life that found fulfilment in the service of humanity.
“Alhaji Jakande made sterling contributions to the development of journalism in Nigeria before replicating his indelible footprints on the political and economic development of Nigeria with his landmark achievements as the first elected governor of Lagos State.
“Alhaji Jakande took his Midas touch to the federal level when he served briefly as the Minister of Works, where he left his marks, especially on the landscape of Abuja.”
Likewise, the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and the senator representing Lagos West, Solomon Adeola, described the death of the late former governor as a huge loss.
In the same vein, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, described Jakande’s demise as a monumental loss.
Gbajabiamila, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Lanre Lasisi, said, “Lateef Jakande’s death is a personal loss to me. He was a strong political ally to my mother, Alhaja Lateefat Gbajabiamila. We will never forget the role he played in the economic and political existence of Lagos State.”
Also, the minority caucus in the House of Representatives expressed sadness over the death of the ex-minister of works.
The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement said, “As a state governor and later minister of the Federal Republic, Alhaji Jakande was an exemplary leader who demonstrated that leadership is not about acquisitions but service to the people.”
Sanwo-Olu, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, described Jakande as one of the best public office holders in the political history of Nigeria, adding that said the deceased left the state with impeccable records and till date remained a reference point for governors in the state and other parts of the country.
He said, “No doubt, the death of Alhaji Jakande is a colossal loss to Lagos State and Nigeria. He made lots of positive impact and contribution during his lifetime to the growth of our dear state by introducing housing and educational programmes that targeted the poor, building new neighbourhood, primary and secondary schools and providing free education for all.”
Also, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, said Jakande was a professional and respected journalist, progressive politician, distinguished public servant and an outstanding leader, who demonstrated strong concern and commitment to the welfare of the people he served.
“With his focus and people-centric leadership, Baba earned the trust and respect of the people of Lagos and Nigerians from diverse political, social and religious leanings. He will be long remembered for his legacies and impacts,” Oyetola said.
The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, said Jakande’s death was a loss to Nigeria’s democracy.
The governor, in a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Muhammed Onogwu, said, “Although Alhaji Lateef Jakande died at the ripe age of 91, his wealth of experience and fatherly counsels would be greatly missed by the government and people of Lagos State and the country at large.”
Likewise, Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Rafiu Ajakaye, said, “On this remarkable exit of the statesman, we find enough consolation in the footprints that Pa Jakande left in affordable education, housing, and transport system which stood out his administration as governor.”
Also, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, described Jakande as a selfless leader.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, said, “Baba was humility and simplicity personified; a pacesetter, torchbearer, trailblazer and a servant leader, who served Lagos State and Nigeria to the best of his ability.”
In the same vein, a former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwakwanso, in a statement by his media aide, Mallam Suleiman Abdulmalik, said Jakande lived a Spartan life of service, which should be seen as constituting the right moral compass to both current and future generations of leaders in the country.
Also, the immediate past governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, in a statement by his Executive Assistant, Hunsu Peter, said, “This is a big loss to Lagosians and Nigerians in general. But we take solace in the fact that he left huge footprints that will remain indelible in the minds of progressive Lagosians.”
Similarly, a former Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, in a statement he personally signed, said, “There are few who have passed through this line who we can point to have done this much as baba did for Lagos. Baba laid a solid foundation for Lagos to take off and he touched the lives of all Lagosians in virtually every aspect of living.”
Jakande was a fine journalist – Obasanjo
Likewise, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said Jakande would be remembered as a fine journalist.
Obasanjo in his condolence letter to Jakande’s widow, Alhaja Sikirat Abimbola, which was made available by his Media Assistant, Kehinde Akinyemi, said, “He (Jakande) served this nation principally through journalism and through newspaper management before becoming an active politician.
“He would be remembered as a fine journalist and one that was greatly admired by the general public and his peers as a straight-forward and complete gentleman majorly.”
Jakande, last of the titans, says Tinubu
Also, a former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described Jakande as the last of the political titans.
Tinubu, in a condolence statement he personally signed, stated, “Papa Jakande could appropriately be described as the last of the titans ranking with the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Pa Abraham Adesanya, Chief Bola Ige, Chief Olabiyi Onabanjo, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Alhaji Aminu Kano, among others.
“The late Jakande was also a mature statesman never given to histrionics or fanning the embers of disunity.”
NPAN mourns pioneer president
Also, the Newspaper Proprietors ‘ Association of Nigeria, described its pioneer president’s death as shocking.
In a statement jointly signed by its President, Kabiru Yussuf; and General Secretary, Mohammed Idris, NPAN said, “Alhaji Jakande, journalist, publisher and politician, was the pioneer President of our esteemed association, the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria from where he was loaned to politics in 1979.
“Between 1969 and 1979, Alhaji Jakande mid-wifed the association from infancy and it is to his eternal glory that the NPAN became the octopus that it is today.”
In its statement, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, said Jakande exemplified selfless service.
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said, “He never lived in government house or drive a government car throughout his service to the state. Jakande developed the Lekki area and never took a plot for himself. His life was all about service.”