In the month of October 2023, we published an interview featuring an indigene of Igbogbo Kingdom in Ikorodu Division, Lagos State, Pa Reuben Olorunfunmi Basorun.
In the interview titled, ‘’My Life as a lawyer, banker – Pa Olorunfunmi Basorun,’’ We described him as a politician, lawyer and former Second Republic Secretary to the Lagos State Government (SSG), here is part 2 of the interview as captured by Bose Adelaja. Enjoy…
My transfer to Maiduguri
There was a decree that prevented the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) from embarking on strike.
In the process, the Bank management felt I should not continue to be at the head office, at Tinubu Square and I was transferred to Security printing, located on the Victoria Island,
As if that was not enough, I returned to the head office upon completion of a term but when another incident happened towards the end of 1971 and early 1972, the Bank management said they could no longer tolerate me because the staffs were still aggrieved, then there was a new year party for members at Yoruba Tennis Club, Lagos which was well attended but I was later transferred to Maiduguri office due to a peaceful protest at the event.
Launching of new currency
One of the major events that occurred in Maiduguri had me as its anchor, which was launching of a new currency, apart from that, I set up evening classes, for those interested in sitting for banking examinations, that was when I had two years off my degree programmes in UNILAG.
I wrote two books one of which was in Hausa Language which literarily means, ‘’It is not my fault.’’ As at 1972/73, I had become a manager at CBN head office but there was an arrangement to move those at managerial level to Assistant Managers or Principal Managers and I was one of those who scored high points in the examination but was not invited for interview and I led the workers to protest again.
The protest was on when the1975 coup took place, and the Head of State sacked the then Governor and Secretary and installed Adamu Ciroma as the new Governor who sorte the the bank records to address the issues raised by the workers and ordered that we be interviewed.
At the end of this, I tied with somebody in the 7th position, but the bank records favoured me and I became an Assistant Director effective 1976, same year, there was an award for those who had spent 15 years with the bank and I benefitted the award.
My mentor, Oba Festus Omolaja
While in the Bank, I was about 25 years old when the then monarch of Igbogbo, Oba Festus Molaja Ogunlewe who I had been relating with as my mentor formed some new development Associations and merged some existing ones and he was so excited to see me such that he offered me a chieftaincy title, ‘’Sogunro of Igbogbo’’ which I declined.
Development in Igbogbo:
During his tenure, a number of things occurred in igbogbo; the major road in Igbogbo was named after him for his meritorious achievements, I was the Secretary of Igbogbo Improvement Union while Pa Ogunlaja of blessed memory was the President and development was brought to the land.
In 1971, we wrote a letter to the then first Military Governor in Lagos State, Mobolaji Johnson requesting that the major road in Igbogbo be tarred.
I recall the period of struggling for more local council divisions and the monarch’s involvement so far.
In 1969, the development union presented a memorandum requesting for two council developments; that Ikorodu and Ipakodo be one council while Ijede and Igbogbo be another, (there was no Imota at that time).
In 1971, Imota was calved from Agbowa but the request for two councils was not granted, the excuse was that Ijede would not align with Igbogbo because our monarch was a no nonsense man and that is taunting us till date.
Upon the completion of my degree programme, I wrote a thesis titled, ‘’How to develop rural area by use of cooperative’’
I was friendly with former Governor Lateef Jakande since 1974 and having noticed my intellectual, he advised me to expand the thesis assuring me that should there be any opportunity to develop the state, he would apply the points raised in the thesis, to develop the rural areas.
How I was appointed as SSG
He later saw me as a useful material and when he became a Governor under the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), he invited me into his cabinet as Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural development but 24 hours after, he appointed me as the Secretary to the State Government in 1979 when I was still in CBN.
I was speechless because I never expected that, but I took the challenge and informed the then CBN Deputy Governor since the Governor was not around. I was a Deputy Director in CBN in-charge of currency operations.
That was on a thursday and I returned to Lagos on Monday and by Wednesday, I was sworn-in as the SSG.
We approved 14 policy papers as the policy of Government on the 4th of October, and later left CBN to become a full fledged politician which I remain till date.