Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu,
Executive Governor of Lagos State,
Demise of Alhaji Kayode Jakande: My Condolences*
I received the shocking news of the death of first civilian Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande with the greatest disbelief.
My disbelief is not connected in any way to the fear for his ripe old age, but for the myth which ‘Baba Kekere’ invoked in many of us young men in the then Lagos State as a great achiever, an astute administrator which made him near invincible for death to go near.
Of course Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande did not die; could not have died as his immortal body remained interred in all the visible projects which dotted the landscape of Lagos, old and New, then and now. He was the ‘Builder’ of the new Lagos as he remain a myth in cosmopolitan administration to successive governments in Lagos state years after him.
I remember vividly his creative intervention in the chaotic education system in Lagos State then as soon as he assumed office as Governor. Several secondary schools were compelled to run three shifts and his unprecedented efforts to return the school system back to normal with his now famous “Jakande Schools”.
His intervention in the Housing Sector were no less ingenious and creative with a Mass Housing scheme for the less privileged. Many of his Low-Cost “Jakande Housing Scheme still dot the landscape of Lagos State.
His pioneering efforts in founding the Lagos State College of Science and Technology (now the Lagos State Polytechnic) where I was a pioneer Lecturer at the School of Engineering, redefined the concept of Higher and Vocational education in Lagos State.
His famed Metroline project which he conceived over 40 years ago clearly defined the character and strength of his vision which would have resolved the chaotic transportation problems in Lagos State. Today, that vision remains a road not taken and the problems persist.
His footprints are visibly stamped on almost every sector of the economy; from education to health to infrastructure development.
He will be greatly missed and forever remembered each time the history and development of Lagos is told.
Indeed, Nigeria has lost one the the hardest working Governor in its history. Adieu LKJ, the fabled Strong Man of Lagos Politics.
I wish you and the entire family the fortitude to bear his painful passage, as I pray that God should grant his soul a great repose.
His Exc. Otunba (Engr.) Gbenga Daniel, FNSE, FNAEng,
Governor of Ogun State (2003-2011).