Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos has said the first civilian governor of the state, Lateef Jakande, remains a reference point for governance.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said this on Wednesday at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan Stadium, during a Day of Tributes in honour of the first civilian governor of Lagos.
Mr Jakande died on Feb. 11 at the age of 91.
He said Mr Jakande, popularly called ‘Baba Kekere,’ was a man who lived a full life; a life rich not in material things but in the things that truly matter – integrity, honour, service and character.
According to him, late Jakande truly demonstrated that the real essence of power is for the advancement of the welfare and empowerment of the greatest number of people.
”He understood the power of education as the most potent weapon that can break the vicious cycle of poverty. He deployed it in a unique manner.
”Today, we celebrate a great man, a selfless leader, a rare gem, a quintessential politician, an administrator par excellence, the first civilian governor of Lagos State, architect of modern Lagos.
”Through his outstanding and unequalled achievements, Alhaji Lateef Jakande has written his name in gold.
”He will continue to be remembered by generations as a reference point in good governance, welfarism, visionary leadership, selfless leadership, transformational leadership and leadership by example.
”Baba was a transformational leader, who led by example. His commitment and dedication to building the Greater Lagos of our dream, a Lagos that works for all, was unequalled,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said the first civilian governor served the people with all his heart and never saw his position as a route to personal enrichment and demystified public office through his simple and spartan lifestyle.
He said Mr Jakande had set a standard that successive administrations would continue to strive to live up to and maintain.
In his remarks, the Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat, said the late Mr Jakande lived the life of what he believed and preached.
The deputy governor said his late father, Olatunji Hamzat, served as Commissioner for Transportation in Mr Jakande’s cabinet, which afforded him the opportunity to learn from the late Mr Jakande’s administrative qualities.
”He was a leader and a team leader. Lagos State will remember his free education which gave many Lagosians opportunity to go to school.
”LKJ was a man of many parts, renowned journalist, detribalised Nigerian. He had a blueprint, he left a template,” Mr Hamzat said.
While eulogising his late former boss, Bayo Osiyemi, who served as Chief Press Secretary to Mr Jakande, said the late governor was a man of honour, who kept to his promises.
Mr Osiyemi said the late Mr Jakande implemented the four cardinal programmes of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the party under which he governed Lagos.
The Secretary to the State Government during Jakande’s administration, Olorunfunmi Basorun, said Mr Jakande created a lasting impression on the people he led.
”He was an epitome of discipline, a lover of his people, a passionate progressive who pursued whatever he believed in,” Mr Basorun said.
Mr Jakande served as the first civilian of Lagos State from 1979 to 1983.
Some of his achievements during his four-year tenure were building the General Hospital, Gbagada; Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja; Lagos State University, Ojo; Lagos Television (LTV); and 13 low-cost housing estates.
He also opened up the Lekki-Epe road axis, built the Alausa Round House which served as the office of the governor for several years.
Mr Jakande established the Nigerian Institute of Journalism and gave free education at all levels.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said his government will establish the ”Lateef Kayode Jakande Leadership Fellowship Academy” to immortalise Mr Jakande.
He said the academy, to be backed by law, would help to build future leaders, in tandem with the aspirations of the late first civilian governor.
”It is difficult to pass on anything in the name of Baba Jakande, because while he was alive, everything around this state has the emblem of Jakande on it.
”Do you want to begin to rename schools? Do you want to begin to rename hospitals or do you want to begin to rename public estates that are already Jakande Estates?
”So, to immortalise Alhaji Jakande is an everyday activity for us as a government.
”But for me, is to say that we are going to set up an endowment that is going to be called the Lateef Kayode Jakande Leadership Fellowship Academy.
”This is what we believe that the transformational leadership that Alhaji Jakande stood for that indeed, we can create leaders of tomorrow on a year-on-year basis.
”That we can have leaders that can stand and lead in the spirit and aspirations of Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande.
“And that would be backed up by the enabling law, and we give it a state that generations coming behind us will not be able to reverse,” Mr Sanwo-Olu said.
The governor also said the Red Line Metro Rail being constructed would be completed in the next one and half years.
He said the Lagos metro rail, which the Jakande’s administration conceptualised, but could not be implemented, would be achieved by his administration.