A former Commissioner for Home Affairs in Lagos State, Dr. Abdul Hakeem Mobolaj Abdul Lateef, who recently parted ways with the All Progressives Congress (APC) because of his governorship ambition in 2023 is not unknown to many. Though a Lagos-based politician and cleric, he is also known outside the Center of Excellence for many reasons.
Many who have interacted with him in one way or the other described him as a selfless, focused and hardworking personality who is unique in many perspectives.
Prior to his resignation from the ruling party, Honorable Iyepe as fondly called by his admirers had formally declared his intention to throw his hat in the rings in the 2023 general elections. In his “Independence Day Message, AbdulLateef explained that his decision to resign from the ruling party is due to the rejection of his governorship ambition by some “close leaders” in the party who he held in high esteem.
AbdulLateef, aged 53, is an administrator, an academic, a legal practitioner, a politician, an educator, a school proprietor, and an Islamic cleric was born on the 21st August 1967 to the royal Awori family in Ejigbo, Oshodi-Isolo Local Council Development Area of Lagos State. The former commissioner was educated at the University of Lagos where he bagged a Bachelor degree be in Law (LL.B), and a Masters of Law (LL.M) degree (2002); also in the same prestigious university.
The resourcefulness in the most outstanding lawmaker during his sojourn in the Lagos State House of Assembly led him to earn a Masters in Public Administration MPA from the Lagos State University and Masters in Business Administration MBA from the Business School of Netherlands. He later bagged a doctorate degree, PhD in Law and Legislative Drafting from the Nigeria Institute of Advanced Legal Studies 2015.
Hon. Iyepe appeared on the Lagos political scene when he got elected as a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Oshodi Isolo Constituency II where he acted in varying capacities. He was Chairman, House Committee on Education; Chairman, Local Government Administration; and Chairman Judiciary and Human Rights and Public Petitions.
After four years as a lawmaker in Lagos State, He was appointed by Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola as Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Legislative Powers Bureau. A position he held till 2011. In that capacity, he served as the bridge between the executive and the legislative arms to ensure harmonious relationship between them for the betterment of citizenry.
Dr AbdulLateef was appointed as Chairman and Amirul Hajj by the Lagos State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, between 2011 and 2017. His sterling performance, made Lagos State, hitherto known for its notoriety, to become the first among equals, as it clinched seven out of the eight awards of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON), emerging as the Most Outstanding State in Nigeria in 2016 Hajj operations. He is also the Chief Imam, Lagos State House of Assembly Central Mosque.
Ahead of the 2015 general election, Dr AbdulLateef was initially tipped as the probable Deputy Governor to Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode who went ahead to emerge as Governor in 2015. Mr. Ambode later appointed him as the Commissioner for Home Affairs. AbdulLateef enjoyed worthy working relationship with Governor Ambode throughout his four-year tenure.
During the pre-election politicking between Sanwo-Olu and Ambode. AbdulLateef practically disappeared from the scene, only to emerge few days to the routine primary, pledging his support to the party, as he worked assiduously as the Director of Conflict Resolution, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-olu Independent Campaign Group. Reliable information has it that his name was initially penciled down as commissioner, but he lost out in the game of wits.
Subsequently, due to his outstanding performances in the previous administrations as a lawmaker, a commissioner, Amirul Hajj and as an exceptional crisis manager, many political observers had expected AbdulLateef to make the commissioner list under Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, believing that if any name would be missed out, it shouldn’t be his, but of course, they were dead wrong.
The former Amirul Hajj emerged the winner of the 2018 Lagos Man of the Year (LASMAYA) award. He won the contest, polling 41,415 votes of the 53,893 valid votes cast, representing 76.85 per cent – a feat unprecedented in the history of award.
The outcome of the 10th edition of the award which commenced in 2008 was undoubtedly unprecedented. The highest number of participants before the 2018 edition was 16,181 in 2017. The award was clinched by Dr. Adebola Ismail Akindele with 3,324 votes. Many of those who commented in many interviews after the release of the result indicated that AbdulLateef was truly deserving of the award.
AbdulLateef is well read and roundly exposed. This is evident in his fellowships with many Professional bodies. He is a Fellow, Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria, Chartered Institute of Administration FCIA, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators FCIArb, Chartered Institute of Mediators and Conciliators, Certified Public Administrators of England and Wales FCPA, Institute of Credit Administration, Association of Corporate Governance Professionals of Nigeria, Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria, Chartered Institute of Public Management of Nigeria, Institute of Information Management, Institute of Islamic Finance Professionals of Nigeria, Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria, Institute of Policy Management Development, Institute of Corporate Governance of Nigeria, Civilian Institute of Democratic Administration Ghana, Fellow, Institute of Management of Specialists United Kingdom FIMS and a Doctoral Fellow, International Certified Risk Management Professionals, United Kingdom Dr. ICRMP among others.
He is the Founder and Chairman, the Straight Path Initiative for the Welfare of Prisoners and Patients; President, Human Rights Initiative and Development Projects, President, Centre for African Resources Research and Development, Chairman Board of Trustees, Women Cancer Prevention Support Africa, WOCAPSS-Africa and Chairman Board of Trustees, Itesiwaju Ipinle Eko Foundation.