Nigerians, yesterday, expressed sorrow and paid glowing tributes as Lateef Jakande, the first civilian governor of Lagos State, died at the age of 91.
According to the statement, the burial rites will commence today, with prayers at No 2 Bishop Street, Ilupeju, Lagos State at 9 am. It will be followed by interment at Volts and Gardens, Ikoyi at 4 pm Friday 12, February 2021. Minutes after the news broke, sympathizers trooped to his residence to pay last respect to the legendary politician.
Lateef Jakande is revered for massive infrastructural development recorded during his four-year tenure, especially the numerous Jakande Estates built across local governments and investments in schools. Seyi said his father had revalidated his APC membership on Wednesday before he passed on in his sleep. He said: “He had his breakfast this morning and slept. Around 11 am, his aide noticed he was not breathing. So, medical personnel was invited to examine him and he was confirmed dead.”
Lateef Jakande was born July 23, 1929, in the Epetedo area of Lagos Island. He was a journalist and became the governor of Lagos State from 1979-1983. 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. He later became minister of works under the Sani Abacha’s military regime.
He studied at a Lagos public school at Enu-Owa, Lagos Island, then at Bunham Memorial Methodist School, Port Harcourt. He had a stint 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.
He introduced housing and educational programmes, targeting the poor, building new neighborhood primary and secondary schools as well as providing free primary and secondary education. As a governor, he established 23 local government councils, which were later disbanded by the military.
After the military take-over in 1983, Lateef Jakande was charged, prosecuted and convicted of treason and later pardoned. Following his freedom, he accepted the position of Minister of Works under the Late Sani Abacha military regime, which earned him some criticism. He claimed he accepted the post under pressure from MKO Abiola and other progressive leaders.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his tribute, said Jakande lived for the good of others, state and country and that his legacy of standing for all would be long remembered. The President, while condoling with family, friends and associates of the elder statesman, affirmed that his impact on the commercial nerve centre of the country, Lagos State, which was the former national capital, would continue to inspire visionary leadership.
He noted the contributions of the former governor to the growth of democracy and good governance in the country, describing him as a patriot, whose wisdom would run through generations, especially in putting people first in development plans.