FORMER Lagos State governor Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande credited with developing the state’s infrastructure during the Second Republic has passed away this morning at the ripe old age of 91.
Popularly known as Baba Kekere in reference to him being Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s most loyal disciple, Alhaji Jakande received numerous plaudits for his administration when he was governor between 1979 and 1983. Modest and a man who shunned ostentation, throughout his tenure in office, Alhaji Jakande drove his own car and lived in his own private residence.
He is credited with all forms of infrastructural development, including building water plants, opening a ferry service, founding the Lagos State University and expanding the number of secondary schools dramatically. Alhaji Jakande’s plans to build an urban railway metro service were truncated by the termination of civil rule by the military in 1983.
Later on in life, Alhaji Jakande served as the minister of works under General Sani Abacha’s military regime between 1993 and 1998. Tributes have been flooding in for Alhaji Jakande, with incumbent Governor Babajide Sanwoolu describing his death as a colossal loss to both Lagos State and Nigeria in general.
Governor Sanwoolu said: “With gratitude to God for a worthy life well spent in the service of Lagos State, Nigeria and humanity, I announce the death of a venerable statesman, outstanding politician, public administrator and the first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande. His death is a colossal loss and he will be missed.
“On behalf of the government and people of Lagos State, I want to express my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and comrades of Baba Jakande.” He added that Alhaji Jakande’s record of service as a journalist of repute and a leader of remarkable achievements as governor of Lagos State will remain indelible for generations to come.
Former Gombe State governor Ibrahim Dankwambo sent condolences to Lagos State over the death, describing Alhaji Jakande as an exceptional leader, a true patriot and statesman who dedicated his long and distinguished life to promoting peace. He added: “My sincere condolences to the government of Lagos state and the immediate family of Pa Lateef Kayode Jakande over the loss of their patriarch.”