Elder Statesman and first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, who clocked 90 years on Tuesday, has said the best gift he got from God was the opportunity to serve Lagos State Jakande was the governor of Lagos State between 1979 and 1983.
He won a second term in 1983 but it was truncated through a coup by the present Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.
Jakande, who spoke on Monday at his Ilupeju home, expressed gratitude to God for sparing his life to reach the age of 90.
He said, “I thank God for giving me the opportunity to serve Lagos. No better gift will one have than the opportunity to serve his people. I thank God for that.”
Jakande said those who governed Lagos State after him did well too.
He urged young politicians to get good education in order to be able to serve effectively.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has praised Jakande for his “progressive and liberal policies, especially in education, while in office.”
Buhari, in his goodwill message to Jakande, commended him for leaving a “lasting legacy in politics and governance.”
The President said this in a message to Jakande by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
“President Buhari joins family, friends, professional and political associates in celebrating the milestone with the former governor and Minister of Works, whose sacrifice and large-heartedness saw the implementation of many developmental projects in Lagos like free education and low-cost housing, with many beneficiaries.
“The President extols Alhaji Jakande for his liberal and progressive policies in education and health, which culminated in the establishment of the Lagos State University and general hospitals in Gbagada and Ikorodu, and health centres that catered for the poor and underprivileged, noting that his leadership style was truly people focused and divinely inspired to bring succour to many,” the message read in part.
Similarly, the Chief Organising Secretary of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria, Alhaji Kola Oseni, hailed Jakande for “laying the foundation of the modern-day development of Lagos.”
In his good goodwill message to Jakande, Oseni argued that apart from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, other successive governors were not prepared for the task of governance.
Oseni said, “Governance is not about having flashy cars or building personal houses. It is, according to Jakande, about working for the greatest good of the greatest number of our people. That has been his mission, even as a journalist.
“It is pathetic that after he left office in 1983 following a military coup, there is nothing that has been done in Lagos State that the foundation had not been laid by Alhaji Jakande. The only thing that I can point my fingers to is that the world kept on moving, we got to the computer age, ex-governor Bola Tinubu took advantage of that and added the ‘oracle’ by computerising all the areas of revenue generation.”
Also, the Senator representing Lagos West at the National Assembly, Olamilekan Adeola, said Jakande was the architect of modern Lagos.
Adeola, in a statement by his media aide, Chief Kayode Odunaro, on Monday, added that, “Alhaji Jakande’s footprint as a foremost journalist, democrat and first civilian governor of Lagos State remains indelible in the annals of Nigeria’s history.”