News Analysis

Life And Times Of Former Governor Of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande

No one wants to die. Even people who aspire to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. and yet death is the destination we all share.

The death of former governor of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande , came as a rude shock at a time the nation needs the wisdom and advice of this elder statesman to pilot the affairs of the country.

Lateef Jakande was born in Epetedo, Lagos State on July twenty-three, 1929 to parents who hailed from Omu Aran in Kwara State. 

The young Jakande attended a public school at Enu-Owa in Lagos Island. He later attended Bunham Memorial Methodist School, Port Harcourt, between 1934 and 1943.

He also studied briefly at king’s college, Lagos, in 1943 before enrolling in Ilesha Grammar School in 1945 in the present day Osun State.

The young Jakande first showed his innate writing skills at Ilesha grammar school when he edited a literary paper in the school, the quarterly mirror.

In 1949, Alhaji Jakande started a full time career in journalism with the daily service. within four years, he had caught the attention of more prominent newspapers, including the Nigerian Tribune which was established by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

He rose through the dint of discipline, hard work, commitment and perseverance to become the editor of tribune newspaper and later founded the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Guild of Editors.

As a Politician, Baba Kekere, as he was popularly called was elected the first civilian governor of Lagos state on the platform of the  Defunct Unity Party of Nigeria on October 1, 1979 and just five months after his inauguration; he built Eleven Thousand, Seven Hundred and Twenty Nine Schools.

Alhaji Lateef Jakande’s giant stride is evident for younger generation to see and a pointer to Nigerian politicians to imbibe the spirit of patriotism for the betterment of the nation.  

Baba Kekere was a visionary and incorruptible leader who saw tomorrow and was prepared to carry his people along with him into it.

He changed the lives of his people through genuine developmental strides, establishing the Lagos State University, Radio Lagos and Television, Lagos State Secretariat, Alausa, numerous housing estates, genuine free education and opening up Ikotun, Ajah and Jakande never named any of his landmark achievements after himself.

Baba Kekere only wanted to live in the minds of his people forever. his children attended the public schools he built. His wife, Abimbola, neither operated as first lady nor spent taxpayers’ money on personal whims called pet projects. While in power, he never travelled out for medical check-ups or vacations.

For him, no state assignment was so urgent to make him fly a helicopter though Lagos was rich enough to buy ten helicopters. He never needed to buy bulletproof SUVS nor built a mansion on the Island. Jakande lived among the people in Ilupeju with Oshodi as his next-door neighbour.

Alhaji Jakande embarked on the construction of a metro line before the khaki boys struck and terminated the monumental project. He was subsequently probed and cleared of corruption charges.

It is necessary for leaders to key into developmental programmes of their founding fathers for the country to be at par with developed nations of the world.

Politicians should have it at the back of their minds that history will judge them whether good or bad.

As the sun sets on the life and times of Lateef Kayode Jakande on Thursday twelfth February, one thing is certain; his memory and achievements will continue to linger in the minds of all and sundry.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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