By Fidel Ozugha
Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, religion, political affiliation, social status or education background trouped out enmass on Tuesday in redemption (Fidau) prayers for the repose of the soul of former Lagos State Governor and Fderal Minister of the Republic of Nigeria, late Alhaji Lateef Jakande (Baba Kekere). The venue for the 40 days final burial ceremony was the field of Police College, Ikeja, Lagos.
Many people: politicians, civil servants, traders, top government officials, business tycoons, security agencies, the clergy and religious bodies, every tribe – Igbo, Hausa, Urhobo, Ijaw, Fulani, artisans including the unemployed were all there to celebrate him, his legacies, his life style, his achievements, his principles, beliefs and values.
As the host state, Lagos outnumbered other states in attendance. The bereaved Lateef Jakandee family, especially the widow, the children, cousins and other related members of the family were very much around . The State Chief of Staff, Special Adviser to the Governors Wastes Management, Engr. Joe Igbokwe, Speaker and members of the State House of Assembly, etc were all there. Civil servants of different Ministries of Lagos State came in large numbers. There were many uniformed groups. Different security agencies made the event a serious one.
From the Igbo nation, were Ohanaeze President, Chief Solomon Aguene, Igbo Speaking Community in Lagos large family. They were led by the President General, Chief Sunday Udeh. The woman leader, Chief Mrs Kate Ugoka, Secretary, Engr. Chuks Odimegwu,Eze Ndigbo of Apapa, Eze Gabby Dimude, Chief Tony Okereke, Chief John Nzekwe, Elder Chima Akomas, Chief Francis Obiadika, Chief Calistus Umeh, Hon. Chika Ononiwu, Chief Mrs Jesssica Ndupu, Mrs Amaka Agbedo, Mrs Nnenna Eluwa, Mazi Ifeanyi Okereke, Mrs Cynthia Aguzie, among others.
Sokoto State, led by the Governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal was dignitary represented. Those in the Governor’s entourage included; Senator Ahmad Maccido, State Commissioner for Water Resources, Hon. Umar Bature, and Hon. Akibu Dalhatu, a Special Adviser to the Governor on Sokoto State Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency, (SOSMEDA)
Expressing his opinion, the Governor Alhaji Tambuwal called on Nigerian leaders to emulate the life and times of the late icon. As in Islamic religion, redemption (Fidau) prayers for the repose of his soul was the final rite done at 40 days of his death. Both Moslem and Christian clergies preached to the living and prayed for the repose of his soul.
Governor Tambuwal said if the sterling qualities, credentials and passion for service of the late Jakande were followed Nigeria and Nigerians would not find it difficult surmounting the current challenges of insecurity, economic uncertainties and corruption. He observed that politicians in the country have a lot to learn from late Alhaji Jakande, who “served creditably and passionately” as a Governor in Lagos state and Minister of the Federal Republic, stressing that his role in the politics of the military junta of late Gen. Sani Abacha is a notable lesson.
Alhaji Tambuwal, who also described the deceased as a visionary leader, recalled that his foresight helped in the transformation of Lagos State to what it is today. He, therefore expressed his condolence and that of the good people of Sokoto State to the family of the deceased, pointing out that “the impact of his years “as the Governor of Lagos state and Minister of the Federal Republic,” on the lives of the people of the State and country cannot be over-emphasized. He thereafter prayed for the repose of the late politician, asking God to grant him Aljanna Firdaus.
In describing the late former Governor during an interview with The NationGuardNews.com, President General of Igbo Speaking Community in Lagos, Chief Sunday Udeh said that Lateef Jakande was a hero in politics for he ”brought out the best side of him for the led to enjoy. He added rich values to human existence and improved Lagos State tremendously.
”He made education easily accessible and affordable both for the rich and the poor by making it free too the university level. Look at his housing policy. Jakande Estates are in every nook and cranny of the State especially in rural areas where the dregs of the society reside, and he made them very low in cost so that majority could afford the payment. He was master in infrastructure provision. His legacies are many and everlasting. May his soul rest in the bosom of the Almighty God.”
Chief Udeh while paying his condolence to the widow and the entire family, enjoined the children to hold dear and maintain their late father’s rich legacies.”His type is rare to find,” he emphasized.