Late Alhaji Lateef Jakande

Late Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande was not only an Ilupeju Icon but a national figure. Aside from being the first civilian Governor of Lagos state from 1979 to 1983, he was also a journalist before his forage into politics.

Born in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island on July 23, 1929, Jakande, whose parents hailed from Omu-Aran, Kwara State, had his education in Lagos, Rivers and Osun states. He started his primary education at the Lagos public school, Enu-Owa, Lagos Island, before heading to Burnham Memorial Methodist School, Port Harcourt, 1934–43. He also studied briefly at King’s College, Lagos, in 1943 before enrolling at Ilesha Grammar School in 1945, where he edited a literary paper called ‘The Quarterly Mirror’.

Before his journey into politics, Lateef Jakande was a journalist with the Daily Service in 1949, from where he joined the Nigerian Tribune in 1953. He was appointed editor-in-chief of the Tribune by the publisher, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in 1956. He left the Tribune in 1975 to establish John West Publications and began to publish The Lagos News. He also served as the first President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).

As an author, Jakande’s published books include; The Case for Lagos State; The trial of Obafemi Awolowo; The Problems and Prospects of Free Education, and The Role of the Mass Media in a Developing Country.

His political career started in 1979 when he ran for election as governor of Lagos State under the Unity Party of Nigeria and won. He ruled the state from 1979 to 1983, with his government regarded as the most all-inclusive government that has ever existed in Lagos State.

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As the Governor of Lagos State, his administration was renowned for the growth, planning and transformation of Lagos into a modern city, with massive infrastructural developments in all sectors of the state.

In addition, he introduced housing and educational programmes targeting the poor, building new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools with free education for all pupils in the state.

His government constructed over 30,000 low-cost housing units at Ijaiye, Dolphin, Oke-Afa, Ije, Abesan, Iponri, Ipaja, Abule Nla, Epe, Amuwo-Odofin, Anikantamo, Surulere, Iba, Ikorodu, Badagry, Isheri/Olowu, Orisigun and other areas across the state. Other projects his government instituted include; Lagos State University, Lagos State House of Assembly complex, Lagos State Television, Lagos Radio, and Lagos State Secretariat, which houses all the state ministries.

He also established General Hospitals in different zones all over the state with accessible health care facilities. His administration also established Teachers Training College and the College of Education, among many other projects. He was appointed Minister of Works under the Sani Abacha military regime between 1993 and 1998.

Jakande was charged, prosecuted, and convicted of treason in 1983 by the military government headed by Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon. He was later pardoned.

Popularly known as Baba Kekere, he became a member of different political parties at different times. These include the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Action Party of Nigeria (APN) and, until his demise, the All Progressive Congress (APC).

The former governor passed on around 11 am in his sleep at his Ilupeju residence on February 11, 2021. His body was interred at Vaults and Gardens Cemetery, Ikoyi, Lagos State, on Friday, February 12, 2021.

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Sources

The Biography of Alhaji Lateef Jakande. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateef_Jakande

Achievements of Lateef Jakande as Governor of Lagos state. Retrieved from

Achievements of Lateef Jakande as Governor of Lagos state

Notable facts about Lateef Jakande. Retrieved from https://dailytrust.com/some-interesting-facts-about-lateef-jakande

Notable facts about Lateef Jakande. Retrieved from https://guardian.ng/life/10-quick-facts-about-former-lagos-governor-lateef-jakande/