Sanwo-Olu mourns as Lateef Jakande dies at 91

February 11, 2021
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Lagos state governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has commiserated with the family of late Alhaji Lateef Jakande, former governor of Lagos state over his death.

Sanwo-Olu on his official twitter handle on Thursday announced the death of the venerable statesman, public administrator and the first civilian governor of Lagos state.

Jakande died on Thursday morning in Lagos at 91.

He later emerged Minister of Works under the Sani Abacha military regime (1993–98).

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.

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).

Encouraged by Awolowo, he ran for election as executive governor of Lagos State in 1979, on the Unity Party of Nigeria platform. He defeated his opponents, Adeniran Ogunsanya of NPP and Sultan Ladega Adeniji Adele of National Party of Nigeria and was subsequently sworn in as governor.

His administration was effective and open and implemented the cardinal policies of his party. He introduced housing and educational programs targeting the poor, building new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools and providing free primary and secondary education.

He established Lagos State University. Jakande’s government constructed over 30,000 housing units. The schools and housing units were built cheaply, but were of great value.

Some of the housing units include low cost estates in Amuwo-Odofin, Ijaiye, Dolphin, Oke-Afa, Ije, Abesan, Iponri, Ipaja, Abule Nla, Epe, Anikantamo, Surulere, Iba, Ikorodu, Badagry.

To fund some of the projects, Jakande increased the tenement rates and price of plots of land in affluent areas of Victoria Island and Lekki Peninsula and the processing fees for lottery, pools and gaming licenses. He also completed the construction of the General Hospital in Gbagada and Ikorodu and built about 20 health centres within the state.

As a governor, he established 23 local government councils which were later disbanded by the military. He also started a metroline project to facilitate mass transit. The project was halted and his tenure as Governor ended when the military seized power on 31 December 1983.

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 have engaged in a struggle for control of the party with his former ally, Dr. Adegbola Dominic.

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