Late Lateef Kayode Jakande; a renowned journalist who became an outstanding political voice following a spectacular four year performance as the first civilian governor of Lagos state from October 1 1979 to December 31 1983.
Baba Kekere as he was fondly called was born to Omun Aran Kwara State parent who were resident in Epetedo area of Lagos state at the time of his birth on the 29th of July 1929
Growing up, Jakande studied at the Lagos public school, Enu-Owa, Lagos Island, and later attended Bunham Memorial Methodist School, Port Harcourt in 1934.
He also studied briefly at King’s College, Lagos before enrolling 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 late sage 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).
As the governor of lagos state between 1979 and 1983, Jakande served the state for a total of 4 years and 3 months before the Military Government led by hen major general Mohammad Buhari truncated the civilian administration.
Within the period, His government turned the state around on all fronts.
In a period of four years, his administration flagged off and commissioned the current Lagos State Secretariat which houses all the state ministries including the round house which is the current office of the Deputy Governor of the state.
The Lagos State House of Assembly complex, Lagos State Television complex, Radio Lagos, Adiyan Water Works were all delivered to the state by his government.
Jakande established General Hospital in zones all over the state, With the famous low cost houses scheme in Ijaiye, Dolphin, Oke-Afa, Ije, Abesan, Iponri, Ipaja, Abule Nla, Epe, Amuwo-Odofin, Anikantamo, Surulere, Iba, Ikorodu, Badagry, Isheri/Olowu, Orisigun etc.
His government established the Water Management Board and Waste Disposal Board on the 18th of August, 1980 and in addition, modernized and expanded the Iju Water Works which was first commissioned in 1915.
In the education sector, late Jakande’s administration literarily left no stone unturned as it addressed bugging issues at the time from primary to the tertiary levels of education.
First, it raised the primary schools in Lagos State from 605 to 812 with 533,001 pupils and secondary schools to 223 with 167,629 students , against 105 schools with 107,835 students in 1979.
His government constructed 11, 729 classrooms with the maximum of 40 children per class between March and August 1980, by 1983, he had constructed over 22,000 classrooms.
At the tertiary education level baba Jakande also bridged the gaps he met on ground as he saw to the establishment of the Lagos State University, the Teacher Training College and the College of Education.
In the area of infrastructure development, Baba Jakande delivered tangible projects that still stand tall decades after.
His government constructed Victoria Island/Epe Road and expanded Onikan Stadium in 1982. He also established Asphalt Plant for the Department of Public Works and resurfaced Epe/Ijebu-Ode Road, Oba Akran Avenue, Toyin Street, Town Planning Way, Alimosho-Idimu-Egbe Road, Idimu-Iba-LASU Road, the new secretariat road among others.
His government established the Electricity Board for Rural Electrification with provision of street lights.
In July 1983, he commissioned two commercial passenger boats christened “Baba Kekere and Itafaji” to run the Mile 2 – Marina (CMS) route via the lagoons which marked the official launch of the Lagos State ferry services.
After the military take-over in 1983, Jakande was charged, prosecuted and convicted of treason, although later he was pardoned.
Jakande became a senior member of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) when the UNPP and APP merged. Jakande was also the first chairman of the Action Party of Nigeria (APN) when it was formed in November 2006.
A colossus has Indeed gone, Nigeria has lost an era in the person of late Lateef Kayode Jakande. May his gentle soul rest in peace.