First Civilian governor of Lagos state, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, is dead.
He died in the early hours of Thursday at the age of 91.
Alhaji Jakande popularly known as “Baba Kekere” was governor of the state between October 1st 1979 and 1983.
Below is the inaugural address delivered by Alhaji Lateef Jakande as the first executive governor of Lagos state and when he was re-elected in 1983.
INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF GOVERNOR JAKANDE TO THE PEOPLE OF LAGOS STATE — 1ST OCTOBER, 1979.
FELLOW Citizens of Lagos State,
On Saturday, 28th, July 1979, you elected me, by 559,070 votes to 126,805, the first Executive Governor of Lagos State. Today, as a result of that election, the Chief Judge of this State, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, has invested me with the office. This is an inestimable honour of which I am very conscious. It is a call to service that I take very seriously in all humility. And I want to assure you that I shall spare no effort to justify the confidence which you, the good people of Lagos State, have demonstrably reposed in me.
God moves in a mysterious way, says William Cowper, His wonders to perform. His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour.
The creation of Lagos State, like all great events, is not the achievement of one single person. The territory now known as Lagos State is the former Colony Province created by the British Administration for their own administrative convenience. Following the cession of his sovereignty to the British Crown by King Dosunmu in 1861, Eko was administered independently by a Governor of the Settlement of Lagos. Under the Commission of 19th February-1866, the Settlement of Lagos was governed by an Administrator and a Legislative Council responsible to the Governor of the West African Settlements residing in Sierra Leone. This continued until 1874. By Letters Patent dated 24th July, 1874 the territory was administered by a Lieutenant Governor subject to the Governor of the Gold Coast Colony.
Nine years later, by Letters Patent of 22nd January 1883, Lagos was administered by a Deputy Governor responsible to the Governor of the Gold coast Colony.
In 1886, Lagos was again set up as a separate colony in response to a petition by the people of Lagos who resented being governed from the Gold Coast. It was administered by a Governor of the Colony of Lagos under Letters Patent dated 13th January, 1886. This was the first time that the territory now known as Lagos State came under one administration. The administration continued under various constitution until 1954, when Lagos was separated from the rest of the Colony and constituted Federal Territory, that is to say a No-Man’s Land.
Thus, it is evident that, for 89 years from 1862 to 1951, Lagos (with or without the rest of the Colony) enjoyed a separate and distinct existence as a unit of administration with its own Governor, Deputy Governor, Lieutenant-governor, Administrator or Commissioner as the case may be. For 68 years from 1886 to 1954, the Colony of Lagos (i.e. the present Lagos State) was administered together as a unit, an inseperable whole. From 1914 to 1923 the Colony of Lagos had its own Legislative Council while the rest of Nigeria had another Council.
Thus the foundation for a Lagos State had been well and truly laid by history. But, in the circumstances of our dear country, it still had to be fought for. And two of the earliest fighters for a Lagos State must be remembered with gratitude on this occasion. They are Chief Theophilus Adebayo Doherty and Prince Ibikunle Akintoye. They dreamt of a Lagos and Colony State. It was left to a later generation to make their dream a reality.
In 1964, while I was serving a seven-year sentence for treasonable felony and conspiracy in the Maximum Security Prison at Kirikiri, Apapa, I came to the conclusion that the time had come to put forward a reasoned case for the creation of a Lagos State. With the assistance of my friends outside the prison walls, and deliberately breaking prison regulations, this conclusion resulted in a booklet published in 1966 with the meaningful title of “The case for a Lagos State”.
In the preface to the book I said inter alia: “It seems now to be generally agreed that if Nigeria is to survive as one organic whole one of the conditions precedent to such survival is the creation of new states. I have endeavoured to argue the case for a Lagos State in the following pages as objectively as possible and without emotion. One is bound to recognise that this case rests almost entirely on historical circumstances and moral principles. But this does not detract from its validity. A series of historical circumstances have culminated in neglect and injustice such as can only be effectively removed, in a Nigerian Federation, by the creation of a Lagos State”.
In August 1966, the then Administrator of Lagos, Major Mobolaji Johnson, summoned a Conference of Young Indigenous Lagosians to deliberate on the place of Lagos in a future constitutional arrangement.
This book formed the basis of a memorandum submitted to the conference. The conference, among other things, decided that a Lagos State comprising the Federal Territory and the Colony Province of Western Nigeria should be created in a Nigerian Federation.
On September 12, 1966, the then Head of the Federal Military Government and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Yakubu Gowon, established an Adhoc conference on Nigeria’s future. The Lagos Delegation was led by Doctor Taslim Elias until he became Attorney General of the Federation when the mantle of leadership of the delegation fell on me. But it was under Doctor Elias’s leadership that the Lagos delegation submitted to the Adhoc Conference a memorandum for the creation of Lagos State. That memorandum was substantially a reproduction of “The Case for A Lagos State”. And it was that memorandum, no doubt, which enabled the Federal Military Government to reach the decision to create a Lagos State in 1967.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson for his invaluable contribution to the creation of this State.
Throughout the period of the 1966 Adhoc conference he was unwavering in his conviction and unsparing in his endeavours for the creation of a Lagos State. It was his lot to become the first Military Governor of the State. And he made a good job of it, all things considered. May I also thank the last of the Military Administrators, Captain Ebitu Ukiwe, for the voluminous handing-over notes he has given me and in particular for his physical presence this afternoon. It is a kind gesture which I greatly appreciate.
It is now our historic duty to take off from where the military left. In doing so; I have no illusion whatsoever. When on Saturday November 4, 1978, I was nominated by my party, the Unity Party of Nigeria, to contest the gubernatorial election for this State, I said inter alia in my acceptance speech: “I am conscious of the problems and the opportunities that abound in Lagos State. I know that the citizens of Lagos State are the most sophisticated in the country. I know that every tribe and every ethnic group, in Nigeria are represented in Lagos State. I know that for most Nigerians Lagos is the El Dorado, with matchless opportunities for prosperity.
I know that the indigenes of Lagos State have a natural right to the services provided by their state. I know that the non- indigenes of Lagos State have an indisputable right to the services provided by their State of residence. I know that Lagos State is said to be the most developed part of the Federation. But I also know that below the majestic flyovers, the mystifying ring roads, and the spiralling skyscrapers there is abject poverty in this State. And I know that there are in Lagos State some of the worst living conditions that can be found in any part of the Federation.
I am sure that it will surprise many Nigerians in other states to be told that Lagos State is as much in need of development as any other State.
Perhaps our need is greater. Because of the pressure of population, which is the highest in the country, the demand for services is extremely severe. Besides, Lagos State is Nigeria’s shop window.
These, problems are enormous. But the consolation is that the opportunities for solving them are there. And they are exciting and challenging”. I can only underline that statement on this occasion of assuming office as Governor of Lagos State.
We shall model our government after the Government of the Western Region of Nigeria, from 1952 to 1959, headed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. That Government was the most efficient, the most dynamic, and the most responsive of all the governments of the Federation. That Government was the country’s pace-setter — the first to do all good things that others later copied. There has never been a government like it in Africa before or since. And we know that in giving us their massive vote, the good people of Lagos State were influenced by their memories of the good old days of the Awolowo Government. We shall live up to their high expectations, especially as Chief Awolowo is still very much around and will continue to be our source of inspiration for many years to come.
In this connection, I am glad to affirm that free education at all levels, of which he is the greatest advocate in Nigeria, will become operative in Lagos State with immediate effect from today. On September 15, 1979, I issued an appeal to all school headmasters and all principals in this State not to demand or accept fees from school children in primary and secondary schools. I am grateful to all those who heeded this appeal, although it had no force of law. Now that I have been sworn in as Governor of Lagos State, I direct that education shall be free at all levels in this State. For the avoidance of doubt, no fees should be collected from any pupil or student for anything whatsoever.
Where fees have been collected immediate steps should be taken to refund them to their payers. In all Boarding Schools Parents/Teachers Association shall take over the management of boarding facilities, and they will be given all possible assistance by the education authorities until boarding is completely phased out. Arrangement have been made to enact the necessary legislations for this purpose.
The Unity Party of Nigeria is irrevocably committed to change things and to bring about a new order. We have come to serve the common people of this State. We have clear-cut programmes for which we have received your mandate. I want to assure you that we shall do everything that is humanly possible, under God’s unfailing guidance and protection, to execute these prorammes and honour the solemn pledges we made to the electorate.
In implementing these programmes we shall be scrupulously fair and just to every citizen, be he high or low; we shall seek at all times and on all occasions the greatest good of the greatest number. We shall be guided by the timeless principle that the will of the people is the supreme law.
There will be no discrimination against anyone on the ground of political affiliation, religious belief, ethnic or state origin, sex or social status. But we can do all of these things only if all sections of the community cooperate fully with the Government they have elected.
We need the absolute loyalty and cooperation of the public service. We are going to move much faster than perhaps the public service is used to. We are bringing to the Service a new sense of direction. At the same time we shall ensure that every public servant in this state is adequately rewarded for his labour. Merit will be recognised regardless of language, colour or creed.
We need the support and cooperation of all ratepayers and all tax- payers in this State. We are prepared to serve. But service can be provided only to the extent that the finances of the State permit. I believe that this state is quite capable of generating the necessary funds to make life better for all citizens. I, therefore, call on all adult citizens to make their own contribution to the common good by paying their rates and taxes as they fall due.
We need the support of the law enforcement agencies. We are aware of their deplorable conditions of operation. And we shall, within the limits of our constitutional powers, help to improve those conditions. For it is only in an atmosphere of peace that progress and development can take place.
We need the co-operation of the judiciary. I am a firm believer in the independence of the judiciary, and I am happy that independence has been enshrined in our constitution. We shall do everything possible, within the limits of our constitutional powers, to remove any obstacle in the way of speedy and efficient administration of justice in this State.
We need the vigilance and patience of all citizens. The problems which we have inherited from the military — extremely bad roads, poor drainage, inadequate water supply, deplorable housing, neglected agriculture and the lack of markets for example will not disappear in one day. But they certainly will disappear during our tenure of office by the grace of God. We shall start solving these problems from today and from now to the end of our term we shall do nothing else.
I ask you to pray constantly for us. More things are wrought by prayers than this world dreams of. We are embarking on a war against poverty, against community neglect, against reaction, against disease in Lagos State. And, by the grace of God Who loves us, we shall win.
ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR OF LAGOS STATE, ALHAJI LATEEF KAYODE JAKANDE, AFTER BEING SWORN-IN FOR THE SECOND TERM OF OFFICE ON OCTOBER 1. 1983 AT 10.00 A.M.
Fellow Citizens of Lagos State,
I have just been sworn-in for the second term of office as your Governor by the learned Chief Judge of Lagos State, Mr Justice Adetunji Adefarasin. The Swearing-in is the direct result of your own decision on August 13, 1983, when you elected me Governor by an overwhelming majority. By this decision, you have done me a very great honour.
I accept this honour in all humility and with a sense of responsibility. I am grateful to you for the opportunity you have thus given me to serve you for another four years. I am particularly impressed by the size of the majority with which you have elected me for a second term of office.
In 1979, you elected me to office with 559,070 votes. This represented 81.98 per cent of the total votes cast. You gave my nearest opponent 10.55 per cent of the total votes cast. This time, my nearest opponent collected only 4.64 per cent of the total votes cast. You have also increased my vote by over one million. And you have given me a mandate which is 90.99 per cent of the total number of votes cast in the election of August 13, 1983.
I confess, fellow citizens that nothing can be more inspiring than this wonderful demonstration of your affection for me and my party, the Unity Party of Nigeria, and your constant expression of appreciation for the services which I was able to render in my first term of office. On this occasion of my acceptance of your decision to elect me for a second term office, I want you to know that I love you very much. I love Lagos State.
For this reason, I have rededicated myself anew to the service of the people of Lagos State. From dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn, in any human condition or circumstance whatsoever, I shall devote my life to the selfless and impeccable service of all of you who inhabit this State. Nothing on God’s earth will deter me at any time from seeking the greatest good of the greatest number of our people. That is my mission.
I ask for your support; your understanding; your cooperation and, above all, I ask for your prayers. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of”. I pray that the Almighty God, King of kings, may make this my second term of office a happy and prosperous one for every one of you.
The next four years will be difficult years. In the first place, we are in the throes of a grave national economic crisis. In spite of the recent loan to the Federal Government by certain European commercial banks, the situation remains bleak. It is reported that Nigeria is to borrow N1.4 billion from the International Monetary Fund. We know that the standard conditions of the IMF to all borrowers of its money are:
(a) devaluation of currency;
(b) reduction in public expenditure, and (c) suspension of food subsidy.
If the Federal Government succeeds in raising this loan from the IMF, it is almost certain that these conditions will be imposed on our great country. What does this imply? It implies that the value of the naira will be reduced by about 40 per cent. Since we rely on imports for the bulk of our raw materials, machinery, spare parts, vehicles, plant and equipment, devaluation means that these imported items will cost at least 40 per cent more. It will then follow that locally manufactured goods will cost more by at least 40 per cent. If that happens, then all other prices will move up in sympathy. Thus, life will become more burdensome for millions of the masses of our people. And yet the purchasing power of these people has been reduced drastically already by the present austerity measures. How will they survive the threatening gloom?
In the second place, many companies in the distributive trade have closed down. Many factories in the manufacturing industry have also stopped producing. By so doing, they have thrown thousands of Nigerians into the labour market. And yet, several thousand students are graduating annually to search for employment opportunities. Where will they find such opportunities? I am informed that some graduates are turning to menial jobs and that some are now taxi drivers. Is this what Nigeria wants?
In the third place, we have just experienced a gruesome national election. The nation is not rejoicing. It would be more correct to say that Nigeria is mourning. How long will the mourning last?
In the fourth place, we are in an era of godlessness when acts of corruption, robbery, brigandage and wickedness are committed in high places with wanton disregard for the very existence of God Almighty.
A State like Oyo State is stolen in broad daylight without any sense of shame whatever. A state like Bendel State is captured by armed robbers with unbelievable braggadocio. A State like Borno State is brazenly deprived of a Government so clearly desired by the people of the State. A State like Gongola State, whose beliefs and sympathies were never in doubt, is conquered in a manner reminiscent of the primitive wars of the eighteenth century. A State like Cross River State freely and openly changed its political leaning for good reasons. But, the masters of the day, like King Pharaoh of old, would not let our people go. A State like Ondo State, for doing no more than voting for candidates of its choice in a supposedly free election, was turned blatantly into a battle ground. Only the instant, spontaneous, violent and bloody reaction of the good people of Ondo State regained that State from the clutches of power grabbers. A state like Kwara State was only grudgingly conceded because of internal quarrel among the local chieftains of the party in power.
We went to bed one night at 12 o’clock with a Presidential Candidate leading another with 7 million votes to 6 million. We were woken up at 2.00 a.m. to be told that the losing, candidate had won by 12 million votes. We are asked to believe this miracle.
All the basic assumptions of society are destroyed in a way that leaves millions of our people dazed and agape with wonder. They had never seen anything like that in their lives.
For instance, we are asked to believe that a party that gave the people free education at all levels, free health service, cared for the common people of the States it governed, is rejected in an election in favour of a party that has done nothing for them in four years and which at election time has brought them austerity measures.
We are asked to believe that states which voted for the UPN in the Presidential election on August 6, miraculously changed their minds a week later to vote for the NPN by a wide margin.
We are asked to believe that when voters turn out in large numbers, a presidential candidate can have 2 million votes but when the same voters fail to go out to vote, a gubernatorial candidate can win 3 million votes.
That is not all. What about the impartiality of officials? What about the non-partisanship of the Police Force at National Headquarters and in certain formations? What about the independence and fairness of judges in certain parts of the country? Above all, what about he fear of God?
The Psalmist says in chapter 14 of his book:
“The fool hath said in his heart,
There is no God.
They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that doeth good…
Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge?
Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And call not upon the Lord; ….
When the Lord bringeth back the captivity of his people, Then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad”
Those who perpetrate these deeds must have forgotten verse 12 of the 65th Sura of the Holy Quran:
God is He Who Created seven Firmaments And of the earth
A similar number.
Through the midst
Of them (all) descends.
His command; that ye may Know that God has power Over all things and that God comprehends all things IN (His) knowledge “.
But, let me assure everyone in the words of the Psalmist once again,
“Awon elomiran—gbekele keke-ogun.
Sugbon awa o ranti oruko Oluwa Olorun wa: “Nwon wole, nwon si subu:
Sugbon awa dide awa si duro sinsin”.
I want everyone to believe in the Supremacy of God Almighty. God is not mocked, or deceivable, or bribable. He is a God of good. And good will triumph over evil.
The Government and people of Lagos State are totally committed to the democratic way of life. We support unequivocally the people of Oyo, Ondo, Bendel, Borno, Gongola, Cross River and Kwara States in their grim determination to resist oppression and to defend their civic rights in every constitutional way. We are brothers and sisters with a common cause. The Government and people of Lagos State also support all progressive elements in every part of the country. They can count on our cooperation at all times.
Fellow Citizens of Lagos State,
In spite of the difficulties of today and the problems of the future, I shall ensure that this second term of office brings greater joy and happiness to all the citizens of this State. In the words of the Holy Prophet Mohammed, on Whom be peace and blessing, “to gladden the heart of a human being; to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured” will be my daily assignment.
In the first term of office, we moved very fast in the implementation of our programmes, In this second term, we shall move a little faster. First, we shall strive to complete all on-going projects in the quickest possible time. Second, we shall do all that is within our power to consolidate the achievements of the first term of office. For example, we, have laid a sound foundation for our programme of free education at all levels. We have erected on that foundation, a great super-structure of which anyone must be proud. In this second term of office,we shall produceablueprintwhichwillspell out in every detail how this programme can be financed, managed and maintained in the next 17 years up to the year 2,000. By so doing, we shall have ensured that free education at all levels will continue for ever in this State. That will also be done in respect of other Programmes.
Third, we shall introduce a few new things for the benefit of our people. Two of them are worth mentioning the creation of a Lagos State University, which will be the apex of our educational system, and the construction of a road from Lagos through Eti-Osa to Epe. This road will open up a vast area of our State to physical, economic and social development. It will also lead inevitably to the decongestion of the Lagos Metropolis which is at present terribly overcrowded.
Fellow Citizens of Lagos State, we plan to introduce in this term of office, a system by which the State can recognise the services of its citizens who from time to time deserve such recognition.
As you know, the President of the Federal Republic has power to award National Honours. Each State government normally recommends five persons to the President every year. In addition, the President makes his own selection of beneficiaries from every part of the country. We have had our fair share of these national awards and we shall continue to co-operate with the President in the selection of suitable candidates.
However, there are several persons who render extraordinary service to the State at various levels but who may not be accommodated on the National Honours List: And it is in the overall national interest that the State should acknowledge the services of such persons.
We have, therefore, decided to introduce a system of State Honours for extraordinary services rendered to this State.
There would be three categories of State Honours:
1. Outstanding Service Award
2. Distinguished Service Award
3. Meritorious Service Award.
The Outstanding Service Award
Will be the highest form of award. It will be in recognition of a notable service rendered to the State by a Citizen of Nigeria resident in Lagos State. The award will consist of a Medal in Gold with a red ribbon attached. The stud will be in red colour.
Will be for persons whose individual achievements have had a tangible impact on the State. There will be two classes of this award. The class I award will be a medal in silver with outer serrated circle and inner ridge in gold with yellow ribbon. The class II of this award will consist of a medal in silver with the outer serrated circle only in gold with yellow ribbon.
The Meritorious Service Award
Is for long service officers and others who have served the State in their respective callings. The award will have two classes. Class I award is a medal in silver with the Inner circle in gold and a blue ribbon attached. Class II is a medal in silver and a blue ribbon attached.
The stud for the Distinguished Award is yellow while that of the meritorious Award is blue. In addition to these three honours, there will be provision for the presentation of Certificates of different grades for various services. There will also be ex-gratia awards to public officers.
I intend to set up a State Honours Committee to administer this subject. The chairman of the Committee will be the Deputy Governor of the State, Chief R. B. A. Jafojo. The other members are the Chief Judge of Lagos State, the Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, the Secretary to the State Government and the Head of State Civil Service. The Committee will serviced by a Technical Committee made up of the Head of State Civil Service, as chairman, the Commissioner of Police, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Head of Local Government Service, Permanent Secretary (Cabinet) and four ethers who are not public officers but who have integrity. The first awards will be made in January 1984.
I congratulate you, on the resounding success of the first civilian administration of Lagos State since it was created in 1967. I thank each and everyone of you for your individual contribution to that success. I pray fervently that Allah; the Beneficient and the Merciful, will bless our efforts in this second term. I pray that our State, Lagos State, may have greater glory in this second term of our service. May God grant that every citizen of this State prosper in every way during this term.
I thank you all.
Credits: The News