Thursday, 30th November 2023

For Jakande, Editors institute annual memorial

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
06 August 2023   |   3:10 am
As part of moves aimed at nurturing a culture of appreciation, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has instituted a yearly memorial lecture in honour of its pioneer President and former Governor of Lagos State, late Alhaji Lateef Jakande

President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Eze Anaba (left); wife of the late Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Alhaja Sikirat Jakande; and son, Seyi Jakande, during a courtesy call on the family… last Monday.

.Hold maiden lecture tomorrow

As part of moves aimed at nurturing a culture of appreciation, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has instituted a yearly memorial lecture in honour of its pioneer President and former Governor of Lagos State, late Alhaji Lateef Jakande.

While the maiden edition takes place in Lagos, tomorrow, the memorial lecture in successive years will hold on every July 23, being the birthday of the late sage, considered by many as a consummate journalist.

It was learnt that the two-week delay was due to the late approval by the Lagos State Government, hence from next year, the lecture will be used to commemorate his posthumous birthday every July 23.

According to a statement, jointly signed by its President, Eze Anaba and the General Secretary, Dr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren, in Lagos, the professional body of editors in Nigeria said the lecture will interrogate developments affecting the media and society.

“As part of nurturing a culture of appreciation, the NGE is instituting an Annual Lecture in honour of its late pioneer president, Alhaji Jakande, which will interrogate developments affecting the media and society.

“It is both a testament to the cherished service rendered by Alhaji Jakande and an acknowledgement of the importance of having such a dialogue for the overall good of our media and our country, Nigeria. The First Annual Lecture is slated for tomorrow, August 7, 2023, at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers, Ikeja, Lagos, at 10am,’’ the statement stated.

With the theme, “Lateef Jakande: The Man, His Journalism, His Politics,’’ the lecture is expected to be delivered by a seasoned veteran journalist and Fellow of NGE, Chief Felix Adenaike. The keynote address will be delivered by a former Director, Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Ogba, Ikeja, Lagos, Dr. Dayo Duyile, while former Nigeria Ambassador to Brazil and celebrated columnist, Amb. Patrick Dele Cole, will chair the event.

The Guild added that important personalities, including publishers, state governors, captains of industries in the private sector, journalism students, members of the political class and others, are expected at the event – with the state Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as Special Guest of Honour.

Giving a background to the yearly memorial lecture, the editors said the NGE was born on May 20, 1961, to serve as an elite club of editors through which editors – as professional heads of their publications, could advance their professional interests by networking to discuss common challenges and developing relationships with their various audiences in the media itself, government, and professional/trade associations.

“Originally named as the Guild of Newspaper Editors of Nigeria, it was later renamed Nigerian Guild of Editors to accommodate colleagues in the broadcast media.

“The NGE’s Founding President was Alhaji Lateef Jakande (1929-2021). He had rallied his colleagues to form the body that was conceived to occupy the strategic middle ground of editorial managers between media owners and the general workforce of journalists,’’ the statement said.

After discharging ‘’sterling duties’’ to the Nigerian media, the NGE explained that Alhaji Jakande went on to render ‘’commendable service’’ as the first civilian governor of Lagos State, and as federal Minister of Works and Housing.

According to the editors, 62 years after, the NGE remains a respected professional body in the media, credible force among professional bodies, and leader in civil society, while Alhaji Jakande’s name remains treasured – whenever committed service is mentioned in the media and public service.

Born in Epetedo area of Lagos Island, Lagos State on July 29, 1929, late Jakande
studied at the Lagos Public School at Enu-Owa, Lagos Island, then at Bunham Memorial Methodist School, Port Harcourt (1934–43). He studied at King’s College, Lagos in 1943, and then enrolled at Ilesha Grammar School in 1945, where he edited a literary paper called The Quarterly Mirror.

In 1949, Jakande began a career in journalism first with the Daily Service and then in 1953 joining the Nigerian Tribune. In 1956, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the Tribune by the owner, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

After leaving the Tribune in 1975, Jakande established John West Publications and began to publish The Lagos News. He served as the first President of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN).

He ran for election as executive Governor of Lagos State in 1979, on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), defeated his opponents, and was subsequently sworn in as governor.

The late Alhaji Lateef Jakande touched and transformed many lives, especially in Lagos State, through his visionary leadership, selfless outlook to life, and spartan lifestyle. He epitomised honesty, fairness, and justice.

One of the golden eras in the socio-political evolution of Lagos State was, without a doubt, between October 1, 1979, and December 31, 1983, when Jakande held sway as governor. From the outset, he had clearly promised to give Lagos a purposeful leadership. Upon inauguration, he pledged to model his government after that of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria, from 1952 to 1959, headed by Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Alhaji Jakande died on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at the age of 91.