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Lagos plans leadership academy to immortalise Jakande

The Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo- Olu has announced plans to establish a leadership and fellowship academy to immortalise Lateef Kayode Jakande, the first civilian governor of the state, who died on February 11 at the age of 91.

Sanwo-Olu broke news at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan on Lagos Island, where the people of the state gathered to bid the foremost politician a final farewell.

The Lateef Jakande Leadership and Fellowship Academy would be backed by an Act of the House of Assembly. It would be a tertiary school of leadership and governance for young people in public service and private sector to learn the art of leadership through qualities and values bequeathed by the late Jakande, who governed Lagos from 1979 to 1983.

The day of tributes organised by the state government to celebrate the life and times of the late Jakande brought together his political associates, senior government officials and leaders from various sectors, including the royalty. .

Jakande’s widow, Abimbola, and children were at the event. Primary and secondary school pupils drawn from various schools across the state were also in attendance.

Sanwo- Olu described Jakande as “a titan of progressive politics and leadership”, who also built an “outstanding” reputation for himself as a journalist.

The governor said Jakande had etched his name on chapters of history, given his “unrivalled” achievements in governance.

“Today, we celebrate a great man, a selfless leader, a rare gem, a quintessential politician, an administrator par excellence, the first civilian governor of our state, architect of modern Lagos, and one of the leading disciples of the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, Lateef Kayode Jakande, “Baba Kekere”, a sobriquet he earned for taking after the late sage. He was a man who led a life rich not in material things but in the things that truly matter – integrity, honour, service and character, said SanwOlu while addressing the gathering.

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Also speaking, Olorunfunmi Basorun, who was secretary to the state government under Jakande, extolled the visionary leadership of the deceased. He noted that the late former governor made an indelible impression on the state and the people.

Jakande’s first son, Deji, accepted the honour on behalf of the family, thanking the governor and members of the state’s cabinet for immortalising their patriarch.

Businesses in Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub can look to some relief, as the organised private sector (OPS) has agreed to walk the same path with the state government on issues bordering on the regulation of water extraction, licensing and permits following the resolution of their long-drawn impasse.

The resolution of the over three-year disagreement came after both parties agreed to some concessions. For instance, the state government, Businessday gathered, agreed to waive five-year arrears for companies, and 75 percent cut on the rates charged private businesses for drilling boreholes in their premises.

The OPS had opposed the aspect of the Lagos State Environmental Management and Protection Law (2017), which empowers the Lagos State Water Regulatory Commission (LSWRC) to impose ‘high charges’ on private businesses for drilling boreholes in their premises. The LSWRC is charged with regulating, controlling, and monitoring abstraction, production, distribution, consumption, supply and use of water, quantity as well as the quality of service in Nigeria’s biggest economy state.

The Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN), Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association(NECA), Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) had contended ‘high charges’ on companies for sinking boreholes, saying it was akin to overkill given that companies already face multiple taxation in Lagos. MAN in 2017 raised the concern that the LSWRC slammed member companies with as high as N800,000 annual borehole charges.

However, after a series of protracted meetings and concessions, the group has resolved to collaborate with the state government.

“Yes, we have resolved the differences. The government has agreed to waived five-year areas for our members and slash the rates by 75 percent,” Timothy Olawale, the director-general of NECA told Businessday.

Funke Adepoju, the executive secretary, LSWRC, said on Wednesday that with the development, the commission has been strategically positioned to enforce the provisions of the law to ensure the safety of residents in terms of water consumption and the protection of the environment.

Adepoju acknowledged the role played by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu towards the amicable resolution of the impasse, and also praised the leadership of NECA, MAN, and NACCIMA.

“Governor Sanwo-Olu recognises the huge contribution of the OPS to the economy of Lagos and thus to encourage businesses, he has granted concessions as requested by the OPS on charges relating to water abstraction, licensing, and permits.

“This is a clear demonstration of the commitment of Mr Governor to protect businesses and encourage them to thrive, especially with post- COVID-19 and the attendant effect on the economy.

“Big credit also goes to MAN, NECA, NACCIMA, and other associations under the umbrella of the OPS for agreeing to support the state government’s quest to sanitise the water industry in the state and facilitate the improvement of integrated water resource management.”

Going forward, Adepoju said all issues around water abstraction, collection of licenses and permits for all stakeholders in the water sector, especially those using water for in-process, those abstracting more than 10,000 litres per day, housing estates/facilities with more than tenement of 50, bottled and sachet water producers, commercial premises, among others, have now been amicably resolved.

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