Alhaji (Dr) Lateef Kayode Jakande, former Governor of Lagos State and Asiwaju Olorunfunmi Basorun, former Secretary to the Lagos State Government.



“One mark of a great man is the power of making lasting impressions upon people he meets. Another is to have handled matters during his life that the course of after events is continuously affected by what he did.” Sir Winston Spencer Churchill

The quotation above ably represents the life and time of Alhaji Dr. Lateef Kayode Jakande, the charismatic Governor of Lagos State between 1979 and 1983, hereinafter referred to as LKJ.

To become the First Civilian Governor of Lagos State, LKJ won the primary election of his party, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), at Mayflower Hotel, Olorunsogo, Mushin in 1979; and went on to win the general election in August 1979. He was sworn-in on Monday, October, 1 1979.

While planning to be Governor, LKJ had set up committees on various subjects which resulted in production of fourteen position papers, among which were:

✓           Education

✓           Health

✓           Land Matters

✓           Creation of new Local Government

✓           Revenue Generation

✓           Housing

✓           Agriculture and Cooperatives

✓           Water Supply

✓           Waste Disposal

✓           Lagos State University

✓ Road Development

All in accord with the four cardinal programmes of his party UPN —

•             Free Education at all levels

•             Free Medical Services for all

•             Integrated Rural Development

•             Full and Gainful Employment

Immediately after the swearing-in, LKJ went into action. He made a live broadcast on the State Radio in the evening of October 1st, 1979 declaring Education free at all levels. On October 2, 1979 he made two appointments: Prince Bayo Osiyemi, 29-Year-Old versatile journalist, was made his Chief Press Secretary and Mr. Olorunfunmi Basorun appointed Secretary to the State Government (SSG). While first informing Mr. Basorun about his appointment on September 27, 1979, he requested him to arrange for the first Cabinet meeting to take place on Thursday October 4, 1979.

List of 13 Commissioners was approved on October 3, 1979 by the State House of Assembly and they were sworn-in with the SSG that same day.

The first Cabinet meeting of October 4, 1979 was arranged with the assistance of Tunde Fanimokun, K.A Banmeke (late), and Tola Odukomaiya (late), all of who were introduced to me by Adeseye Ogunlewe. They were later top Permanent Secretaries in the Government. The meeting considered and approved the 14 position papers mentioned above and they were adopted as Government policy of the Administration.

Landmark Achievements

The first four years recorded achievements that met the objective of LKJ: abundant benefit for majority of our people. Some notable ones were:

             Eradication of three shifts in primary and secondary schools with the massive construction of functional classrooms

             Low-Cost Housing (Heavily Subsidized) – the first blocks of flats of the houses made with red bricks were at Amuwo Odofm. The target set for 4 years was 50,000 units, but the administration was able to achieve over 9,000 units — a feat by National Standard.

             Expansion of Health Services – through completion of unfinished health centres, building of new ones and new General Hospitals.

             Road Development— Massive construction of roads and resurfacing of many throughout the State. “No Drainage, No New Road” was the mantra.

             Land Policy — This facilitated acquisition of land for Government projects, especially construction of School Classrooms and the Low-Cost Housing programme. Land Policy of the New Order turned Victoria Island and Ikoyi to goldmine for Government.

             10 Mini Water Works — To complement Iju Supply and the then incoming Adiyan Water Scheme.

             Water Transportation — three big passengers Boats were launched — Baba Kekere. Ehingbeti and Ita-Faji.

             Onikan Stadium (Now Mobolaji Johnson Stadium) was built through direct Works Management Board whose General Manager was Mr. Adeseye Ogunlewe.

             Lagos State University (LASU) — Process to establish Lagos State University at Ojo was completed. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folabi Olumide (Late) had been appointed and a Governing Council headed by the then Commissioner for Education, Mr. Olorunfunmi Basorun, had been put in place.

             Construction of Metroline — light rail to run from Yaba to Marina (Passing through Herbert Macaulay and Iddo) had taken off before the coup of December 31, 1983 stopped it. In fact, the then President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the Vice-President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme (both late) the Senate President, Dr. Joseph Wayas and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Edwin Ume-Ezeoke (late) were at the ground-breaking ceremony of the Metroline in Yaba.

The Public Service

LKJ was very friendly with the public servants of Lagos State. He won their hearts by his regular public acknowledgement of their loyalty and dedicated service. One significant action he took which further endeared him to the workers was his insistence that the career grade level should end at level 17 like Federal Workers and not level 16 like in other States. This was apart from other enhanced fringe benefits which he extended to them. LKJ encouraged further training and re-training for the workers.


Alhaji Dr. Lateef Kayode Jakande was an epitome of discipline, especially as regards the Party (UPN), a passionate progressive, a lover of his people and, above all, a person who pursued whatever he believed in with commitment and determination: an attribute that made it possible for him to cross all the obstacles on his way while he was Governor of Lagos State.


MARCH 17, 2021,

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