Who was the inaugural governor of Lagos State in Nigeria?

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By Christine Hitt

Lagos State’s first governor

Lagos State is one of the 36 states in Nigeria, located in the southwestern region of the country. It is the smallest state by land area, but it is also the most populous with an estimated population of over 20 million people. Lagos State is known for its vibrant economy, bustling city life, and rich cultural heritage. However, before it became a state, Lagos was a British colony and later a federal territory. The state was created on May 27, 1967, and the first governor was appointed shortly after.

Historical background of Lagos State

Lagos State has a rich and diverse history that dates back to the pre-colonial era. The land that is now known as Lagos State was originally inhabited by several ethnic groups, including the Aworis, Ijebus, Egbas, and Egun. These groups had their separate territories and were involved in various economic activities such as fishing, farming, and trading. The city of Lagos, which was later to become the capital of the state, was founded by the Aworis in the 15th century.

Pre-colonial era of Lagos State

Before the arrival of Europeans, Lagos was a small coastal town with a population of about 30,000 people. It was an important trading center for the Yoruba people and other ethnic groups in the region. Lagos was known for its fish market, which attracted traders from different parts of West Africa. The town was also a center of Islam, as many of the traders who came to Lagos were Muslims.

Lagos under colonial rule

In 1861, the British annexed Lagos and made it a colony. Lagos became the capital of the colony, and the British established a municipal government to administer the town. Under colonial rule, Lagos grew rapidly, and it became the commercial and administrative center of Nigeria. The British introduced Western education and Christianity to Lagos, which led to the emergence of a new class of educated elites.

Emergence of Lagos as a state

In 1960, Nigeria gained independence from Britain, and Lagos became the capital of the new country. However, Lagos was still a federal territory, and it was not until 1967 that it became a state. The creation of Lagos State was part of the Nigerian government’s effort to decentralize power and promote regional development. Lagos State was created out of the former Lagos Federal Territory, which included present-day Lagos and some parts of Ogun State.

The first administration of Lagos State

The first administration of Lagos State began in 1967, with the appointment of a military administrator. The military governor was responsible for the administration of the state, and he was assisted by a team of civil servants. The administration of Lagos State was faced with many challenges, including a growing population, inadequate infrastructure, and high unemployment.

The appointment of the first governor

The first civilian governor of Lagos State was Alhaji Lateef Jakande. He was appointed in October 1979, after Nigeria returned to civilian rule. Jakande was a journalist and a politician who had worked as the editor of the Nigerian Tribune and had served as a member of the Federal House of Representatives. He was known for his progressive policies, and he was committed to improving the lives of the people of Lagos State.

Early challenges faced by the governor

Jakande’s administration faced many challenges, including a lack of funds, inadequate infrastructure, and a high crime rate. However, he was determined to address these challenges and to improve the standard of living of the people of Lagos State. He embarked on a series of ambitious development projects, including the construction of schools, hospitals, and low-cost housing.

Achievements of the inaugural governor

Jakande’s administration achieved many notable successes during his tenure as governor. He constructed over 30,000 units of low-cost housing, which were sold to low-income earners on a rent-to-own basis. He also established new schools and primary health centers across the state. Jakande introduced a free education policy, which made it possible for children from poor families to attend school. He also constructed the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, which opened up the western part of Lagos State for development.

Legacy of the first governor of Lagos State

Jakande’s legacy in Lagos State is still felt today. His affordable housing scheme, which is now known as Jakande Estates, is still one of the most popular housing schemes in the state. The schools and hospitals that he established are still in use, and his free education policy has been continued by subsequent administrations. Jakande is often remembered as the governor who transformed Lagos State and made it a better place for its residents.

Subsequent administrations of Lagos State

Since the tenure of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Lagos State has had several other governors, both military and civilian. Some of the notable governors include Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson, Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola, and Akinwunmi Ambode. Each of these governors has contributed to the development of Lagos State in their own way, and the state has continued to grow and thrive.

Conclusion: The impact of the first governor

The first governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, was a visionary leader who transformed the state and made it a better place for its residents. His legacy is still felt today, and his achievements continue to inspire subsequent administrations. Lagos State has come a long way since its creation in 1967, and it is now one of the most prosperous and vibrant states in Nigeria. The impact of the first governor on Lagos State is undeniable, and his contributions to the state will always be remembered.

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Christine Hitt

Christine Hitt, a devoted Hawaii enthusiast from Oahu, has spent 15 years exploring the islands, sharing her deep insights in respected publications such as Los Angeles Times, SFGate, Honolulu, and Hawaii magazines. Her expertise spans cultural nuances, travel advice, and the latest updates, making her an invaluable resource for all Hawaii lovers.

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