Lateef Kayode Jakande was born in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island, Lagos State on 29 July 1929. Both parents are from Omu-Aran, Kwara State.
He studied at the Lagos public school at Enu-Owa, Lagos Island, then at Bunham Memorial Methodist School, Port Harcourt (1934–43). He studied briefly at King’s College, Lagos in 1943, and then enrolled at Ilesha Grammar School in 1945, where he edited a literary paper called The Quarterly Mirror.
In 1949, Jakande began a career in journalism first with the Daily Service and then in 1953 joining the Nigerian Tribune. In 1956 he was appointed editor-in-chief of the Tribune by the owner Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
His editorials were factual and forthright, and were treated by the colonial powers with respect. After leaving the Tribune in 1975, Jakande established John West Publications and began to publish The Lagos News.
He served as the first President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).
After the military take-over in 1983, Jakande was charged, prosecuted and convicted of treason, although later he was pardoned.
After being freed, he accepted the position of Minister of Works under the Sani Abacha military regime, which earned him some criticism. He claimed that he had accepted the post under pressure from M. K. O. Abiola and other progressive leaders.
In a later interview, he said he had no regrets about the decision to serve. However, his association with Abacha handicapped his career in politics after the restoration of democracy in 1999.
Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande became a senior member of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) when the UNPP and APP merged. In June 2002, he was “suspended” by a faction of the ANPP loyal to Chief Lanre Razaq.
Jakande was the first chairman of the Action Party of Nigeria (APN) when it was formed in November 2006. In May 2009, he was reported to be engaged a struggle for control of the party with his former ally, Dr. Adegbola Dominic.
Many prominent people attended his 75th birthday celebration. At this event, Governor of Lagos State Bola Ahmed Tinubu said Jakande was worth celebrating for his life of consistent commitment to public service.
Imo State Governor Achike Udenwa said Jakande’s life and times epitomised “resilience, positive audacity, bravery and bravado, and a knack for excellence.”
With the backing of Awolowo, he contested for the position of the executive governor of Lagos State in 1979, which he emerged victorious. During his tenure as Lagos State Governor, he executed the four cardinal UPN’s programs.
The 87-year-old Chief Lateef Jakande set an example of excellence and simplicity during his 4-year reign.
Due to his policy of administration and his personal philosophies, became known as the younger version of Obafemi Awolowo, most especially in terms of wisdom and principle. Consequently, he was widely regarded as “Baba Kekere” (young Awolowo).
He was responsible for introducing housing and educational programs, which focused on building new primary and secondary schools in the neighbourhood, the poor and ensuring free education at the primary and secondary school level.
It was his tenure that founded singular school system and quality free education in the state. However, those who benefitted from this policy are currently holding key positions in every part of the country and world at large.
It was Jakande’s government that increased the Lagos state primary schools to 812 consisting of 533,001 pupils contrary to the 605 primary schools with 434,545 pupils he met in power. Secondary schools were also increased from 105 schools with 107,885 students to 223 schools and 167,629 students.
11,729 classrooms were constructed with forty children maximum per class between March and August 1980 in his government. Afterwards, he had built more than 22,000 classrooms by 1983.
He was also responsible for the establishment of Lagos State University. The currently used secretariat in Lagos State was built by its administration. This secretariat in particular, houses the subsequent governors and all state ministries. The Lagos State House of Assembly complex located at Alausa in Ikeja was built during his administration.
His government was also responsible for the establishment of Lagos State Television (LTV), Lagos Radio, Lagos State University General Hospitals, Teacher Training College, Waste disposal board and College of Education.
The previous governor of Lagos has also contributed greatly to the development of the state: Governor Akinwunmi Ambode transportation projects: A legacy to be remembered.
He was regarded as Baba Kekere and strongly linked to Awolowo in terms of vision, philosophy and wisdom
The Water Management Board and construction Adiyan Water works were established and implemented during Jakande’s regime. This construction led to increase in water supply to 18.16 million liters every day.
Iju Works, which had its first commissioning in 1915, was expanded and modernized by his government. At the time, they were able to generate 204 million liters per day from the usual 159 million liters.
During his reign, the Electricity Board for Rural Electrification, which brought street lights, was established.
In July 1980, the government of Lateef Jakande took over the financing and ownership of Lagos State Printing Corporation. The first State Traffic Management Authority was also founded.
The small scale industries credit scheme, which preceded EKO Bank, was also among the illustrious establishments under his regime. Infact the LASACO Insurance was founded by his administration.
Existing markets were expanded, new ones were built and Traditional Medicine board came into reality. More than 30 houses were constructed, great value and cheaply built for private homes and schools. Low budget houses were built during his administration such as Oke-Afa, Ijaiye, Abule Nla, Dolphin, amuwo Ofin, Epe, Abesan, Ije, Ipaja, Iponri, Surulere, Anikantamo, Iba, Badagry Ikorodu, Isheri/Olowu, Orisigun amog others.
General Hospitals located at Ikorodu and Gbagada were built and completed with additional 20 heath centers in the state.
Although the military disbanded the local government council, 23 of them were founded by Lateef Jakande administration before military coup.
Meanwhile, there remain many traffic laws that need enforcement from current government: 10 Lagos road traffic laws yet to be enforced by the government till date.
Lagos State House Of Assembly (4 of 5) Honours Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande
2.2. Achievements in transportation sector
Check out some of Lateef Jakande achievements in the transportation sector during his administration:
He was responsible for the construction, resurfacing and rehabilitation of popular roads such as Toyin Street in Ikeja, Oba Akran Avenue, Town Planning Way, Epe/Ijebu –Ode Road, Alimosho-Idimu-Egbe Road, Victoria Island Road, New Secretariat road, among others.
Under his administration, the giant car crusher was acquired and commissioned. The intention was to use it to crush derelict vehicles in the state. The giant crusher is capable of crushing 45 cars in a day.
Lateef Jakande administration founded Asphalt factory for the Public Works Department, which is now known as Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC0. It was established to promote consistent maintenance of road.
“Baba Kekere and Itafaji”, two commercial boats were inaugurated by the government in July, 1983. This was to launch the beginning of ferry services in Lagos State.
He was responsible for the establishment of first state Traffic Management Authority (Road Marshal).
He was the first administration to conceive the idea of metro-line system in the State before it was canceled by the then military rule of Buhari after seizing power.
Lateef Jakande modest lifestyle
He led by example living a very modest lifestyle. He refused to stay in the elaborate comfort given by the governor official residence. He lived at Ilupeju, where his private residence was. He also used to drive himself to work in his Toyota sedan.
Till date, he stays in the same private residence in Ilupeju, away from the glamour usually accorded to the status of a governor.
Many consider his achievements as the greatest in the history of the state.
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