Senators from Lagos State have asked President Muhammadu Buhari to name the Gwarimpa Estate in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory after the late former Lagos State governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Lagos West), noted in a motion on the demise of Jakande on Wednesday on the floor of the upper legislative chamber that as a Minister of Works and Housing, the deceased conceptualised the construction of the estate, considered to be the largest in West Africa.
Senator Adeola, who came under Order 43 of the Senate Standing Orders, 2015 (as amended) which has to do with personal explanation described former governor as “a great man, an elder statesman, a true progressive and a nationalist” who passed away at the ripe age of 91 on February 11, 2021 and has since been buried according to Muslim rites.
“There is no doubt that Lagos State and indeed Nigeria lost an illustrious son that contributed in great measure to the development of the society in his earthly sojourn,” he said.
He added that the man popularly called LKJ or Baba Kekere by his admirers and supporters was a journalist and media organizations’ manager, who founded the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, NIJ where many Nigerian journalists received professional training.
The lawmaker went further that the late Jakande was elected the first executive governor of Lagos State on the platform of Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN in the Second Republic at a time Lagos was also the federal capital with “huge population on a small space with housing deficits, poor road network, traffic congestion, poor health care system and paucity of recreational facilities with school system being ran on shifts with morning and afternoon sessions.”
“LKJ ran an effective administration that implemented the cardinal policies of his party, UPN targeting the poor. He constructed 30,000 housing units in places like Amuwo-Odofin, Ijaiye, Dolphin, Oke-Afa, Ije, Abesan, Iponri, Ipaja, Abule Nla, Epe, Surelere, Iba, Ikorodu and Badagry.
“He constructed neighbourhood primary and secondary schools all over the state. Under him primary schools increase from 605 to 812. Secondary schools more than doubled increasing from 105 to 223. He implemented his party Free Education policy to the fullest and brought the shift system to an end,” he stressed.
Senator Adeola listed some other achievements as the establishment of Lagos State University, construction of Gbagada and Ikorodu General Hospitals, 20 health centres, Lagos State Secretariat at Alausa, Ikeja including the Government House as well as Lagos Television, LTV and Radio Lagos FM among other government agencies needed for a growing mega city.
He added that Jakande also started the metroline project to assist in mass transit which was truncated by the military administration.
The lawmaker also informed that as the Minister of Works under the late General Sanni Abacha military regime, he constructed the Gwarimpa Housing Estate and Lugbe Housing Estate in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“I graciously request the Federal Government of Nigeria to immortalize him with a national monument like renaming of the Gwarimpa Estate after him or anyway the Federal Government deemed fit,” he said.
In his remarks, the Senate President Ahmad Lawan described Jakande as a true progressive who used his position to change the lives of the people, adding that he was a political leader and elected official that must be emulated by every leader in the country.
“And that is the lesson we have to take from him that when we have opportunities to be in any office, whether elected or appointed, we should optimally maximize the opportunity to serve our people,” he said.
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