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Contemporary crop of leaders have valuable lessons to be drawn from personal life and leadership qualities of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said on Tuesday in a glowing tribute to his predecessor and first civilian governor of the State.
Sanwo-Olu said Jakande’s legacy in leadership and governance remained a reference point in contemporary history, despite leaving government for more than three decades ago.
The Governor spoke on the occasion of 90th birthday of Jakande which was held at Havens Event Centre in GRA Ikeja.
The event, which was jointly organised by Lagos State Government and Jakande’s family drew high-profile dignitaries which included the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, former Lagos state governor and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his successor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun, Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, former Ogun State Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, former Lagos Military Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, former Lagos Deputy Governor, Mr. Femi Pedro, and Senator Ibikunle Amosun, among others.
Describing Jakande’s personal life as “selfless and exemplary”, Sanwo-Olu said the ex-governor’s achievements became the pathway for progressive governance in the country.
He said: “Lagos, under the Baba Jakande, became a pillar of support not only to neighbouring states, but also to faraway states, including Borno State, where he made landmark contribution. This goes to show that the progressive mind of Alhaji Jakande has been with him ever since.
“It’s something that all of us needs to copy. I wish today’s leaders could borrow from this example, which shows us how states can collaborate for greater development and opportunities. Alhaji Jakande did it 40 years ago as Governor of Lagos State and scored several firsts.”
Sanwo-Olu said Jakande’s name had become a national symbol synonymous with development and progressive politics. Despite his towering achievements in office, Sanwo-Olu said Jakande’s simple life stood him out as “fine politician and selfless leader”.
He said: “Jakande is a national name that is synonymous with development, either in provision of potable water, quality education and housing.”
To honour the former governor, Sanwo-Olu announced that the state government will be naming its 496-flat Igando Garden Estate after Alhaji Jakande.
Asiwaju Tinubu described Jakande as a “foremost progressive in Africa”, saying his loyalty to the cause of progressive politics and his leader, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, earned him “unmatched respect”.
Tinubu said: “Papa Jakande had many firsts at a time it was extremely difficult to govern. One of the key qualities of Alhaji Jakande is his unshakable, non-negotiable loyalty to his leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo go blessed memory.”
The APC National Leader said archive of Jakande’s achievements became the guidance for governors after him when confronted with challenges of service delivery in critical sectors, stressing that the success of progressive politics in Lagos was the best birthday gift to Jakande.
Tinubu said: “Ideologically, Alhaji Jakande has never departed from the progressive path. One record we must accept here, which is the best gift to Alhaji Jakande is that, progressive governance has never failed in Lagos.”
Prof. Osinbajo felicitated with the former Lagos governor, thanking God for sparing his life.
Chairman of the occasion, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, declared Jakande as an accomplished Nigerian by all standards, saying he was already a global brand as a journalist and editor before he delved into public service.
“Our celebrant does not have a deserved national honour when people of lesser contributions strut around the country with national honours. It is my recommendation that Baba Jakande be given decorated with nothing lesser than the Commander of the Federal Republic,” Osoba said.