By David Royal
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos Chapter, on Thursday mourned the demise of Lagos state’s first civilian governor, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande.
Jakande who died at the age of 91 according to the Union was “an erudite journalist, publisher, administrator par excellence and a political giant”.
A press statement jointly signed by NUJ Lagos Chapter’s Chairman (Adeleye Ajayi) and Secretary (Tunde Olalere), noted some of his achievement thus; “he recorded massive infrastructure development during his tenure, especially in the areas of housing and education (building of schools)”.
The statement also reads; “It is on record that he made it possible for people to attend schools and had shelters.
“He made indelible marks in Nigeria’s political history dated back to his days in Action Group and UPN. Nigeria’s political history cannot be written without a mention of Jakande (Baba Kekere).
“Rest in Peace Sir.”
In a list of quick facts about the late Lagos state ex-governor, Jakande, Vanguard compiled:
- He studied at a Lagos public school at Enu-Owa, Lagos Island, then at Bunham Memorial Methodist School, Port Harcourt. He studied briefly at King’s College, Lagos in 1943.
- He 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 in
- Daily Times before he joined the Nigerian Tribune in 1953 where he was appointed editor-in-chief by the Publisher, Obafemi Awolowo.
- The journalist became the governor of Lagos State from 1979-1983. As a governor, he established 23 local government councils which were later disbanded by the military.
- After the military take-over in 1983, Jakande was charged, prosecuted and convicted of treason, although later he was pardoned.
- Encouraged by Awolowo, he ran for election as Governor of Lagos in 1979 on the platform of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) defeating his opponents Adeniran Ogunsanya of NNP and Sultan Ladega Adeniji Adele of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and was subsequently sworn in as Governor. 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).
- He introduced housing and educational programmes targeting the poor, building new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools as well as providing free primary and secondary education.
- After being freed, he accepted the position of Minister of Works under the Late Sani Abacha military regime, which earned him some criticism.
- He claimed that he had accepted the post under pressure from MKO Abiola and other progressive leaders. He was happily married to Alhaja Abimbola Sikirat and survived by children.