Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly during the aborted Third Republic, Abayomi Kiyomi has described the late Lateef Kayode Jakande, the first civilian governor, as a conscientious and meticulous administrator. Kiyomi said during his days in government, anybody who wished to discuss any issue with the late governor must come with facts.
The elder statesman made the remark when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased. He said: “You can’t just come and be telling him your story; you must know exactly what you are saying because before you come to tell him the story he would have guessed what you are up to, you can’t come and be telling lies.”
He said Jakande was a very hardworking man. He said: “I was one of the engineers when he started the low-cost housing. He used to connect all of us together, from commissioner to engineer, on the field and permanent secretary. We then go to a hall at Alausa and start to speak on the progress of the work. You can see how Baba was so thorough in his work. He is a very thorough man. He doesn’t do bad jobs. Baba was a great asset to Lagos State. Baba was a core Omo Isale Eko (Lagosian).
“He does not look out for financial benefit or pecuniary gain in anything he was doing. He wants to do it to uplift the lives of many people. Baba was a social welfarist; he was indefatigable and believed in grassroots politics – how to lift the lives of common people. If Baba had ruled Nigeria, we will not be in the position we are today. He was an organiser. He will organise in such a way that everybody will benefit; the rich, the middle and the poor. One thing is that you will pay tax. He introduced value added tax (VAT) before the Federal Government.”
Kiyomi, the third Speaker of the Assembly, said the Jakande laid the foundation that Lagos State is benefitting from today. His words: “The foundation for the prosperity being enjoyed in Lagos today was laid by Alhaji Lateef Jakande. It was on this foundation that other governors built on. Baba is second to none, a great man.”
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He said the late Jakande aided his election as speaker “because he was sure I had the ability to control the house”. He said everyone had to go their separate ways when military Ibrahim Babaginda dissolved the house, following the annulment of June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was won by MKO Abiola.
Kiyomi advised the youth and everyone aspiring to lead to be humble. He said: “If you are in government, you must learn humility which is the hallmark of Baba’s character. He is such that he doesn’t discriminate.”
The former speaker, a civil engineer by profession, said the departed elder statesman will be sorely missed by all those who know him because he was a good person to relate with. He said: “If you are a good member of the party and you don’t show up for a long time, he will ask after your health, your family and work. He knows everybody, he respects everybody and he doesn’t discriminate. Unfortunately, our present day leaders admire that, but cannot replicate such good conduct.
“I remember when I became the speaker of the house, he invited and advised me to stay clear of the treasury and not indulge in taking government’s money because good name is better than gold. He advised that I should do my job thoroughly and with sincerely.”
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