A former Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba has mourned first civilian governor of Lagos state, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who passed away on Thursday.
In a statement he signed on Thursday, Osoba likened Jakande’s passage to the fall of “an Iroko tree as well as an elephant,” saying he left giant footprints behind.
Jakande, who also served as a former Minister of Works under the military junta of late General Sani Abacha, died on Thursday at the age of 91.
Citing his remarkable achievements in journalism and government, Osoba said Jakande “will be remembered in history as a personification of the best in journalism and as a political colossus.”
He wrote: “Jakande singlehandedly founded both the Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).
“Jakande was the first black Chairman of the International Press Institute made up of publishers editors all over the world. He was a foundation member of both the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Guild of Editors.”
Osoba, thus, described him as an astute politician, who left giant footprints wherever he had the opportunity to serve at state and federal level.
As governor of Lagos State, according to Osoba, Jakande ran a daily political clinic, where citizens consulted him on issues. In Yoruba parlance – Iroko tree as well as an elephant -has fallen.
Born on July 23, 1929 in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island, Jakande died on Thursday about five months to his 92nd birthday.
He was first civilian governor of Lagos State from 1979 to 1983. He later served under the Abacha regime as the Minister of Work from November 1993 and August 1998.
Under his rule as the governor of Lagos State, Jakande initiated sweeping reforms in education, housing and strategic infrastructure.
Jakande’s polices centred on low-income groups and the middle class. He taxed the rich to take care of the poor. He built 30,000 housing units in estates across Lagos and provided free primary and secondary education.
He founded the Lagos State University and started the metroline project to ease the transportation burden in Africa’s most populous city.
But the project was aborted when the military regime of Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari overthrew the civilian administration of former President Shehu Shagari in 1983.