…Hamzat, Ukiwe, Amosun, Durojaiye others pay last respect
By Olasunkanmi Akoni and Yinka Ajayi
The repose of late first civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, fondly called,, “Babakekere” was on Friday, laid to rest at Volts and Gardens Cemetery, Ikoyi, amid eulogies and prayers for the repose.
Jakande, a former Minister of Works and Housing, died in his sleep on Thursday morning, at his residence at the ripe age of 91.
He was committed to the earth at about 5.30pm, after the usual prayers were offered by Muslim clerics, according to Islamic injunction.
Among dignitaries to bid the repose a farewell at the interment include: Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Dr. Femi Hamzat, former Ogun State Governor, Chief, Segun Osoba, Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, members of the state Houuse of Assembly, among other dignitaries.
Earlier, it was a beehive of activities at number 2 Bishop Street Ilupeju, resident when the remains of the deceased was lied- in-state.
Various Islamic prayers were also offered by Islamic clerics to God for the eternal repose of Jakande.
The League of Imams and Alfas from Mosques and several personalities attended the Pre-burial prayers for the late ex-governor.
Chief Imam, Ahmed Olawale, popularly known as Sheu of Prayer Warriors, in his sermon and prayer was full of praises for the deceased saying he lived his life for the masses.
Olawale, who represented the Association of Chief Imams and Alfas in Odiolowo/Ojuwoye, Mushin said: “My message is that whatever you do today, there is going to be reward and recompense whether good or bad.
“If you do good or bad today, definitely it will be rewarded tomorrow. So, for Baba Jakande, he lived a life worthy of emulation.
“He did a lot that the generations yet unborn will never forget. We have seen the traces of incorruptible life and best legacies from him.
“We have lost one that is like a million to us. May Almighty Allah be pleased with him and reward him with Aljanal Firdau,” he said.
“If not for him many wouldn’t have been educated. He was a righteous politician.”
He prayed for the family, friends and all politicians doing the right things like Jakande did.
Subsequently, in no particular order, other clerics took turns to offer prayers for the late politician of note.
Speaking to newsmen, Mr Deji 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. The family will sorely miss Pa Jakande.”
Jakande, a former journalist, was Lagos State Governor from 1979 to 1983, and later served as Minister of Works under the military government of Gen. Sani Abacha.
His administration was a big turn-around in the annals of Lagos as it witnessed massive infrastructure development during his four-year term, especially through numerous Jakande estates built across the state as well as his sterling investment in education, with the launch of “free Education” policy.
Hamzat, who arrived the residence in the early hours during a lying-in state and special “fidau prayers” in honour of the deceased, who was dressed in brownish wooden open-casket, wrapped up in white apparel, described Jakande as an embodiment of all the positives.
While stating that it is a bit tough describing the late executive governor, the deputy governor stated that Alhaji Jakande was a great man who cared and served his people meritoriously when he had the opportunity to serve them.
He said, “Baba Jakande was just an example of what all of us should aspire to be. A great man, humble, selfless, loyal, and dedicated. So, he is an embodiment of all the positives. A great man that served his people when he had the opportunity to serve. A man that cared for the people and a fantastic journalist.”
Signing the condolence register, the deputy governor wrote, “Baba was a great leader in the State of Lagos. The developmental strides put in place is unprecedented and a greater leader in Nigeria. A thorough-bred Awoist, and a man of the people.”
He added that there was a need for political leaders in the country to emulate him by being humble and loyal to the country.
Recalling his personal encounter with the late Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, Hamzat said, he showed up at his graduation at the University of Ibadan in 1986.
Also speaking with newsmen, Commodore Ebitu Okiwe (Retd), described as a gentleman.
“Jakande is a gentleman that cannot be confused. I handed over to him and I related with him often. Throughout the period he ruled, everybody thought he was coming to quarrel and fight but Jakande was too quiet and peaceful with what he wants to do. So he had no quarrel with anybody. He has his values and he keeps to it.”
On his part, Amosu said: “He lived a life well spent. He lived a life that is practically a service to masses. His performance, hard-work showed is an incorruptible leader that left an indelible legacy. What he did while he was governor, many generations will live to emulate him. Many politicians are still struggling to catch-up with what Baba Awolow did and Baba Kekere’s achievements.”
Baba, a workaholic, good family man – Osiyemi
Also sharing his experience working with Baba Kekere, Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Chieftaincy, and former Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to Alhaji Jakande, Prince Bayo Osiyemi, said: “I was 29 years when I started working with him. I have worked with him for over 40 years. I have progress from being a professional protege to a son of Baba Kekere. Baba was a workaholic and a loving family man. Based on his heavy work schedule, he still had time to attend to family issues. Baba was a specially endowed human being.
“To ordinary being, Jakande had left, but as the saying, a person that lives in the heart of the people does not die. Baba was a tasks master. He would drive you crazy at work because he did not spare himself as well. For you to get a thank you from Baba Jakande, you must’ve worked out yourself to the point of death. It was because of his long working hours that some of us had ulcers. We were with him from dusk to dawn.
“When Buhari struck in 1983, Baba was not sleeping. Many of us were aroused from sleep, Baba was on his desk working and when the soldiers came, it took him time to even look up. By the time he looked up, the soldier saluted him and told him there’s a change of government. Baba requested from the soldier to give him time to finish with some files he was working on and the soldiers obliged him to finish before walking him to his car respectfully.
“When you read of his achievements as a governor in four years and three months, some who spent eight years could not achieve a quarter of it. If any politician primary objective is to serve the people, they will always leave to their act”.
Jakande a man who saw tomorrow – Sen. Durojaiye
On his part, Durojaiye described Baba Kekere as a bold and visionary leader.
“Babakekere was a man with good vision and courage. It was his act of good vision that made him recognize the fact that Lagos cannot be the federal capital and at the same time be the State capital. So he shifted the leadership office from Lagos Island to Ikeja.
“So I will refer him as the man who saw tomorrow, he produced the orderliness of traffic and also conceived the idea of low-cost housing. The only thing he was unable to achieve was his inability to construct tram road within Lagos, to ease traffic congestions of Lagos.”
Asked if there’s going to be another selfless Awoist as Babakekere, Durojaiye, said: “The old order has been changed but I believe God will fulfill himself in many ways.”
Also, various groups and individuals who stormed the resident were seen praying and eulogizing Jakande’s good virtues aloud to the admiration of all. Drums and tumbrels were roll out to entertain guests who came out colourful attires. A tent was erected in the premises and the street for guests and well-wishers to sit. Food and drinks were served at intervals.
Roll call of dignitaries
Also present at the special fidau, include; Children of the deceased, relatives, former Governor of Ogun State, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun and his wife Olufunsho, Dr. Hamzat, , Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, former Chairman, Amuwo Odofin Local Government, Comrade Ayo Adewale, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Odejayi,
Other include: Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP, Hakeem Odumosu, the white cap chiefs of Lagos, 57 council chairmen, notable religious leaders and among others.