Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, former Governor of Lagos State is 90 today, 23rd July 2019. Jakande was the first democratically elected Lagos State Governor between October 1979 and December 1983. He was in the third month of his second term when that democratic experience was truncated by the military coup of 31st December 1983 which brought General Muhammadu Buhari to power.
Before becoming Governor, Alhaji Jakande was a renowned journalist, editor and politician whose mentor was the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Jakande’s nickname, Baba Kekere or Small Baba (young Awo) was therefore a fond name for him by those who knew him in terms of his vision, philosophy and wisdom that were aligned with those of Awo who was the original Baba Agba or Big Daddy. Apart from being the Editor-in-Chief of the Nigerian Tribune stable owned by Chief Awolowo, Jakande was Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, NIJ when the pioneer journalism school was funded by the International Press Institute and run the Swiss professional journalists to develop the core of trained journalists who flew the profession’s flag from the 70s. As a graduating student in 1978, I had the honour of being the recipient of the Chairman’s prize – Jakande’s Prize – for the Best Graduating Student from LKJ himself and he has been a man I have looked up to in the last 40 years.
His Press Secretary when he was Governor was my brother and friend, Prince Bayo Osiyemi who has chronicled this list of achievements by Baba Kekere – the Action Governor – when he was at the helm of affairs in Lagos State – the Centre of Excellence – in only 4 years and three months! Of course the ever popular Jakande Housing Estates spotted all over the State are some of his legacies.
Here is Bayo’s chronicle of Jakande’s achievements:
* His government built the current Lagos State Secretariat which houses all the state ministries as well as the popular round house hitherto occupied by all subsequent governors of the state.
* His government built the Lagos State House of Assembly complex.
* His government built the Lagos State Television
* His government built the Lagos Radio
* His government built Lagos State University
* His government established General Hospital in zones all over the state with assurance of free health care.
* His government established Teacher Training College and the College of Education.
* His government built low cost houses 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.
* His government constructed the Adiyan Water Works to increase water supply in the state to 18.16 million litres per day.
* His government modernized and expanded the Iju Water Works which was first commissioned in 1915. This increased daily capacity from 159 million to 204 million litres per day.
* His government purchased and commissioned the giant car crusher equipment at Shale near Epe.. The equipment was designed specifically to crush derelict vehicles in Lagos State. It had the capacity to crush 45 vehicles per day.
* His government constructed, rehabilitated 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 and several others.
* His government constructed Victoria Island/Epe Road and thereby creating an ‘oil rig’ for Lagos State.
* His government established Asphalt Plant for the Department of Public Works at Ojodu-berger.
* His government established Electricity Board for Rural Electrification with provision of street lights at the Old Secretariat Works yard opposite Air Force Base, Ikeja.
* His government modernized, expanded and commissioned Onikan Stadium in 1982.
* His government established a singular school system and ensured genuine free education in Lagos State and the beneficiaries of this policy are in different positions of eminence in the country and around the world today.
* His government raised the primary schools in Lagos State to 812 with 533,001 pupils (against 605 primary schools with 434,545 pupils he met in 1979) 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.
* In July 1983, two commercial passenger boats christened “Baba Kekere” and “+Itafaji” to run the Mile 2 – Marina (CMS) route via the lagoons were inaugurated by his government to mark the official launch of the Lagos State ferry services.
* His government took over the ownership and financing of Lagos State Printing Corporation in July 1980.
* His government established the first State Traffic Management Authority (Road Marshals).
* His government established small scale Industries Credit Scheme which preceded the EKO bank.
*His government established LASACO Insurance.
*His government expanded existing market and built new ones.
*His government established Traditional Medicine Board.
WHO SAYS 4 YEARS IN OFFICE IS NOT ENOUGH FOR MEANINGFUL ACHIEVEMENTS?