Alhaji Dr. Lateef Kayode Jakande, fondly called L.K.J. and Action Governor, was born on 23rd, July 1929 to Alhaji Rahmonu Fatola Adeniyi Jakande, and Alhaja Sinota Aduke Jakande, daughter of Alfa Idris Akodu, Chief Imam Quranic Central Mosque, Lagos. For his primary and post-primary education, he attended Lagos Public School, Eni-Owa, Lagos between 1937 and 1939, Banham Memorial Methodist School, Port-Harcourt, from 1939 to 1943; Kings College, Lagos, 1944 and Ilesha Grammar School, Lagos, 1945 and 1949.
His journalism career began at Ilesha Grammar School, Ilesha, where his schoolmates appointed him Editor-In-Chief of their school magazine, the Quarterly Mirror, which he founded. Unlike other school magazines, the Quarterly Mirror was published, edited, and funded by the Boys Literary Society of the school, of which Jakande was President. on leaving Ilesha in December 1949, he was employed as a reporter by the Service Press Limited, publishers of the Daily Service, the official organ of the Nigerian Youth Movement, in the same month. Within eighteen months of his appointment, Jakande was assigned to multiple editorial positions of reporter, proof-reader, sub-editor, features editor, and editorial writer working from 8 a.m of one morning to 5 a.m of the following morning.
In 1952, he was appointed Associate Editor of the Daily Service. In 1953, the Service Press Limited and the African Press Limited, publishers of the Nigerian Tribune, were merged in a restructuring into the Amalgamated Press of Nigeria Limited in partnership with Roy Thompson, a newspaper in Britain.
The Daily Service ceased to exist and was replaced by the Daily Express. After a brief service at the Daily Express, Jakande was appointed Editor of the Nigerian Tribune in Ibadan in 1953. He became Managing Editor of the newspaper in 1954. The appointment marked the beginning of a long and historic association with Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Nigerian Tribune. From 1953 to 1979, Jakande managed the Nigerian Tribune through various vicissitudes and, with very scanty resources, built the newspaper into a formidable national daily. In the process, he took the Nigerian Tribune out of the Amalgamated Press Limited and established the African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc. with full support and encouragement of the founder of the newspaper, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Before establishing the African Newspaper of Nigeria Plc., Jakande had been Managing Director of Allied Newspapers Limited, publishers of a chain of eight provincial newspapers spread all over the country. They were the Midwest Echo in Benin City, the CORA Advocate in Uyo, the Eastern Post in Port Harcourt, the Middle Belt Herald in Jos, the Observer in Onitsha, the Borno People in Maiduguri, the Nothern Star in Kano, and the Nigerian Tribune in Ibadan, with a weekly vernacular newspaper, Irohin Yoruba. Seven of the newspapers were founded on the eve of the 1958 Federal elections which were the prelude to the attainments of Independence on October 1, 1960, by Nigeria.
A professional Journalist of high repute nationally and internationally, Alhaji Jakande was the prime mover and founder of most of the organizations in the journalism profession in Nigeria today. He co-founded the Nigerian Union of Journalists and the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria. He was twice President of the NPAN. In this position, he produced together with his compeers, the National Code of Ethics which is today the professional oath of Nigerian Journalists. He was the founder and the first President of Nigerian Guild of Editors. Under his leadership, the three bodies established the Nigerian Press Organization which is the central forum of the Nigerian Mass Media. Jakande was the first Chairman of the NPO. Jakande was also the first Chairman of the Nigerian National Committee of the International Press Institute (1960-79), the apex organization of editors and publishers from all the countries in the free world.
Jakande became the Vice President of the Internation Press Institute in 1972 and after serving in the capacity for two years, he was unanimously elected President of the Institute in 1974, the first African (and the only African so far) to hold this high prestigious office in the profession of journalism.
It was while serving in the leadership of IPI that Jakande got the Institute to support the creation of the Nigerian Insitute of Journalism by the professional bodies in the mass media in 1973. He was the first Chairman of the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism which has trained thousands of journalists, many of whom today hold top positions in the Nigerian mass media.
Apart from being the prime mover of the institution, Jakande also lectured its students free of charge on Ethics of Journalism and the Management of Newspaper. He had earlier been a consultant to the School of Journalism of the University of Nairobi, Kenya. It is no wonder that the main building of the NIJ is named, “Lateef Jakande House”, and a bust of him is prominently in the premises of the Institute. The NIJ also demonstrated its appreciation of Jakande’s contribution to the growth of the Journalism profession by awarding him the Fellowship of the Institute in 1995.
Aside from the reference books, Jakande had authored the following titles published by John West Publication Limited – The Case for Lagos State, The Action Years (4 volumes). The Problems and Prospects of Free Education at all Levels, The Trial of Obafemi Awolowo, The Role of the Mass Media in a Developing Country. Unpublished papers include the Press in International Relations, Criminology, A call for an Agrarian Revolution, The Case for Full Employment. Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande is a reputable politician. he describes himself as a left-of-center politician, ideologically. In the local parlance of Nigerian politics, be belongs to the Progressive school of thought. He is a populist, with unwavering commitment to the policies and principles of the welfare of the state.
Jakande entered into politics at the same time that he entered Journalism. The newspaper which first employed him, the Daily Service, was a political newspaper, the official voice of the Nigerian Youth Movement, a nationalist anti-colonialism movement seeking the Independence of Nigeria from foreign domination and control. The first modern political party to emerge in the country, as successor to the nationalist movement was the Action Group in Owo in 1952. He subsequently held office at local, state, and national levels of the party. These offices include National Vice Chairman of the Action Group Youths Association (1952-1953), Publicity Secretary of the Association, General Secretary of the Action Group in Lagos Division (1962-1966), a member of the National Executive Council, a member of the Tactical Committee. The successor of the Action Groups was the Unity Party of Nigeria. Jakande was Chairman of the Lagos State Branch of the party in 1978. Jakande won his party’s primaries by 99.7 percent of the votes cast in 1978. In 1979, Jakande contested election to the Office of Governor of Lagos State and defeated his strongest opponent by 559.070 votes out of 707.666 scoring 79% of the total votes cast.
This was a record achievement. At the end of the 4-year term, Jakande canceled his own record of 1979 by gathering 95% of the total votes cast in the election of 1983, to start his second term of office as Governor of Lagos State. All his competitors shared 5% of votes, Jakande is an unrelenting advocate of free education at all levels, free health service, mini-water works, rapid mass transportation, agrarian revolution, full employment, and public housing. Even after over three decades outside office as the Governor of Lagos State, his legacies abound as reference of good governance and selfless service for the common good of the masses. He served as minister under late Sanni Abacha regime.