It is a moment of celebration as the first Civilian Governor of Lagos State Alhaji Lateef Jakande celebrated his 90th birthday on Tuesday 23rd July, 2019.
Jakande became governor of Lagos State from 1979 to 1983 on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN.
He was also the Minister of Works under the Sani Abacha military regime from 1993 to 1998.
Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, National leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu and former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba were amongst the dignitaries that graced his 90th birthday party which held at the Haven Event Centre, Ikeja area of Lagos.
It was attended by His Excellency the the current Lagos Governor Sanwo Olu, Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun,
The trio spoke at Jakande’s 90th birthday celebration held at The Haven Event Centre, Ikeja, Lagos State.
Speaking at the event, Osinbajo described Jakande as a revolutionary and transformational figure in the political history of the nation, saying that it was a special honour and privilege to be here to celebrate with “our father and leader, Alh. Jakande.”
“This is a man who by share grate and vision was able to do several revolutionary things beginning with the change of the education system in Lagos State that is home of the country. The free education policy in Lagos during his tenure was transformational in the sense that it stopped the shift education system which was morning and afternoon and became the single system.
“And through this policy, thousands of children in the state had the opportunity of going to school. More importantly was in the housing sector which he made effectively. He built the largest number of housing projects by any state government in one circle, including that of the federal government, which was built under the Jakande administration and that has remained to this day. “So Alhaji jakande has shown that governance with the people in mind, with the common man in mind is possible and that it is possible to impact the lives of all our people if we are dedicated and committed. His life and times have shown that dedication to public service can have its own rewards, especially the rewards of so many of us who are here. I do not know of anyone here who has held a leadership position that was not influence by the Jakande administration,” he stated. According to Osinbajo, “God will give you (Jakande) more years ahead in good health and joy so that you will see the country that you have in mind many years ago and see all the fruits of your labour.”
Speaking, Tinubu described Jakande as the foremost progressives that anyone could find in the continent as he had achieved many first at a time it was extremely difficult to rule Nigeria.
“Many of us in Nigeria, especially Lagos are very happy today. Papa is the foremost progressives that anyone can find in the continent. He has achieved many first at the time it was extremely difficult to rule in Nigeria. One of the key, not excluding others, was his unshakable and absolute loyalty to his leaders.
“At the very crucial time in the history of politics in the country, he was extremely loyal to former Premier of the Western Region, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Ideologically, he has never departed from the progressives’ path. He is always with the progressives.
“There are too many historical things that so many of us who governed the state after him had to dust up from the archives and ask ourselves what Jakande did when he was confronted with such challenges. And so many of the schools are testimonial for Alhaji Lateef jakande.
“We are extremely proud that we see him to be 90 and one record that we must equally accept here as a gift was that progressive government has never failed in Lagos. It is not easy to attain such height in life,” Tinubu said.
Former Governor of Ogun State, Osoba, in his remark said following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections and attendant political crisis, Jakande was enjoined to join the cabinet of former head of state, late General Sani Abacha as works minister.
“The thinking was that Pro-June 12 supporters should have a foot in the government. Many may not remember that Alh. Jakande, alongside Dr. Olu Onagoruwa and Alex Ibru were in the vanguard of those who worked for MKO Abiola’s bail, which, unfortunately, he was prevailed upon by his lawyers not to accept at the last minute. We will never know what course history would have taken if Abiola had taken that bail. “It is important for us to note that for Alh. Jakande, the appointment was just another opportunity to serve the public; not for any personal aggrandizement. he has, unfortunately, been maligned for this by members of the old political family, forgetting that much earlier in 1966, he had rejected invitation to serve the military government of the day. the failure to understand the context of some of the political developments post-1993 still underpins the political tendencies in South West politics today,” he said. According to Osoba, “two things pain me when the subject touches Alh. Jakande. The first is that he had not written his memoir. How wonderful it would have been to hear first-hand account of his journalistic and political exploits; how he successfully implemented the four-cardinal points programmes of the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN in the second republic, which many thought was political sloganeering and how younger Nigerians would have been able to draw from his wellspring of wisdom. “The second is that our celebrant does not have a deserved national honour when people of lesser contribution strut around the country with high honours. It is my recommendation that Baba Jakande should be given nothing lower than the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic.”
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his remark, promised that the Igando Housing Estate currently under construction which consists of 496 flats would be commissioned by August named as Alhaji Lateef Jakande Estate. The Governor commended the State’s transformation and legacy during Jakande’s tenure as governor, wishing the celebrant many more years.
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