By Lukman Olabiyi and Vera Wisdom-Bassey
The remains of first civilian governor of Lagos state, Alhaji Lateef Jakande was interred yesterday as more prominent Nigerians continued to pay glowing tributes in loving memory of the elder statesman who died on Thursday aged 91.
Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, former governor of Ogun State, Sen. Ibikunkle Amosun and the state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu were among the dignitaries that attended the pre-burial Islamic prayers of the late former governor yesterday.
The event which was held at the residence of the deceased at number 2 Bishop St., Ilupeju on Friday morning , also gave opportunity to different Islamic clerics to urge politicians to emulate the deceased’s lifestyle and philosophy. The clerics took turns to offer prayers to God for the repose of the late Jakande. The Islamic prayers preceded the interment of the deceased which held by 4pm at Volts and Gardens cemetery, Ikoyi.
Chief Imam, Odiolowo/Ojuwoye, Mushin, Ahmed Olawale, popularly known as Sheu of Prayer Warriors, in his sermon and prayer said that Jakande lived his life for the masses.
Also in his prayers, Alhaji Sheilk Mustaphar Al-Mubarak from Surulere Central Mosque, said that the good Jakande did made his life long. Other Imams and Alfas came at different times to offer prayers for the late ex-governor of Lagos.
Speaking to newsmen, Mr De ji Jakande, one of the children of the deceased, said that their father lived his life for the good of others selflessly. “We still don’t believe he is gone, it is as if he is still sleeping. All the guidance he has given to us will remain with us. I will miss him for being our father. If I have a million opportunities to come back to the world, I will still choose him to be my father. He was a wonderful and contented father.”
Former Military Administrator of Lagos state and Chairman/ Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) , Brig. General Mohamed Buba Marwa (rtd) ,and other eminent Nigerians including a former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Major-Gen. Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu (rtd), former military governor of Lagos state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola have commiserated with the family of Jakande.
While describing Jakande’s death as a big loss not only to Lagos state but the entire country, Marwa recounted how the deceased supported him when he was the Military Administrator of the state.“He was always at our events and ever willing to give advice and support at all times,” he said in a statement by his office on Friday.
He further noted that decades after Jakande served as governor, that his achievements and legacies in the areas of affordable mass housing , free education, quality healthcare and infrastructure development are still visible in the state’s landscape till date. He described his selfless service to humanity as worth emulating just as he called on the Almighty God to grant him eternal rest and comfort his family. He extended his condolences to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his government and the people of the state.
Nwachukwu in his tribute described Jakande as an icon who showed the way for others to follow. He recalled how he met him when late Alhaji Alade Odunewu recruited him on the Staff of the defunct The Daily Service, which later became Daily Express newspapers.
Oyinlola, on his part described the death of Jakande as the end of an era.
He described the deceased as a true definition of progressive who was honest to the values he espoused. “Alhaji Jakande was the father of Lagos State as we know it today. He represented the very best in humility, patriotic service and was a total Yoruba man in conduct and carriage.His death marks the definite end of an era. We have been made poorer by this death.. I pray for the repose of his great soul’’, he declared.
In the same vein, Gov Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Friday said that the late Jakande, lived a great and exemplary life. According to the governor, the commitment and diligence Jakande and his contemporaries put into governance will continue to remain a high point in Nigeria’s history.
Makinde said that Jakande left indelible marks that still define Lagos State “as we know it today.” He said that the good works of Jakande as governor of Lagos State would never be forgotten.
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, expressed his condolences on the death of Jakande. He described Jakande as a leader with uncommon accomplishments, one of the founding fathers of progressive politics in Nigeria and a committed Awoist who elevated service to the people above other consideration.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige says with the demise of the elder statesman, Nigeria has lost “ a true Awoist with an unbending tenacity for the welfare and the upliftment of the masses .”
A former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, described the late Jakande, as a hard working person and an incorruptible leader. According to him, he left a very indelible legacy that the youths will live to remember.