By Lanre Ogunyemi
Papa Lateef Kayode Jakande, you came, saw, lived, impacted and conquered. You were an administrative colossus who etched his name in gold in strengthening the foundation upon which Lagos stands today and your records speak volume in Education, Housing, Health, Road Infrastructure, Transportation and overall Good Governance that still leaves tongues wagging.
Your astonishing development strides in Lagos earned you the appellation ‘baba kekere’, an apparent reference to the fact that you were a smaller father in the replica of Chief Obafemi Awolowo whose indelible political footprint in South West Nigeria also remains indomitable.
It was a great honour to be by your side when at the 36th, 37th and 38th joint convocation of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education in 2019, we were both recipients of special awards from the institution.
I recall with nostalgia the question you quietly asked me about what earned me the award of Distinguished Alumni (I sat next to you on the left hand side and Mama Jakande to your right).
My simple response to the unexpected but very intelligent question from you was “I presume sir that apart from being a product of the college who has given scholarship support to students, I was privileged to be Chairman of the prestigious Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Education and I was able to substantially push for increased subvention, government support on accreditation and provision of more infrastructure for all our tertiary institutions in the state”.
Your next question was “which constituency do you represent ?”. To that, I said Ojo Constituency 2 and your final response to close the discussion was “Keep your focus on love for humanity and you will go places”.
Now, I vividly remember your very sharp intellect and in-senility as you uttered those words even though I had to watch your lips and draw my ear closer to you.
It’s unfathomable that you are no more but we take solace in the significant, impactful and useful life you lived to the glory of Almighty God and benefit of humanity.
ADIEU, PAPA LKJ. You will be sorely missed.
Lanre Ogunyemi is the Secretary of the Lagos State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC)