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First Civilian Governor Of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande Dies, Aged 91

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Lateef Jakande

The second Republic Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande Kayode has died aged 91.

The former governor died today, Thursday 11 January at about 8am.

He was the governor of Lagos between 1979 and 1983, he also served as the Minister of Works under the Sani Abacha military regime from 1993 to 1998.

His administration was the laying foundation for Lagos State.

He expanded educational facilities, built more schools and capped them all by establishing the Lagos State University, LASU, built hospitals in all local governments in the state.

He also expanded a yet to be matched record in building affordable housing for the people.

Jakande built estates in Ijaiye, Dolphin, Oke-Afa, Ije, Abesan, Iponri, Ipaja, Abule Nla, Epe, Anikantamo, Surulere, Iba, Ikorodu, Badagry and offered 30 year mortgage for apartments sold for between N6,000 and N8,000.

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Jakande also was the governor who opened up many parts of the state, to link them all to form the megapolis that Lagos is known for today.

It was his government that also opened up the Lekki-Epe corridor in his first term, between 1979 and 1983. Hitherto, Epe residents used to go via Ijebu-Ode or Ikorodu to reach Ikeja, the capital.

However, his dream project to give Lagos, what would have been the first metro rail in Africa, was upended by the then military regime of Muhammadu Buhari.

The groundbreaking had been done for the rail line from Ogba to Yaba, passing through Ikorodu Road, work had started and Lagos had paid $80million, its share of the $800million project, when the military overthrew the civilian administration and cancelled the whole project.

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In later years, Jakande ran for the presidential ticket of the Social Democratic Party, during the Babangida administration. But he didn’t succeed as the whole exercise was cancelled by the junta.

Later, Moshood Abiola emerged the presidential candidate of the party. But his election was similarly annulled, leading to protests and the formation of National Democratic Congress, NADECO.

Jakande played a prominent part, until he agreed to serve as works minister in the Abacha administration in 1993/94.

He incurred the wrath of his people when he did not quit the administration in the spirit of the June 12 struggle.

Jakande made equally great marks as a newspaper man.

He started his career with the Daily Service after leaving school in 1949. Then in 1953, he joined the Nigerian Tribune.

In 1956 he was appointed editor-in-chief of the Tribune by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

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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) and was the mastermind of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism.

The man popularly called LKJ, was born in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island on 29 July 1929, to parents from Omu-Aran, Kwara State.

He had his primary education both in Lagos and Bunham Memorial Methodist School in Port Harcourt (1934–43).

He studied briefly at King’s College, Lagos in 1943, and then enrolled at Ilesha Grammar School in 1945, to complete his secondary education.

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