By Kunle Adelabu
Indeed, the better parts of the last 85 years for His Eminence, Asiwaju Reuben Olorunfunmi Basorun has been that of immense service to his family, community, state, country and humanity in general.
Today, Baba Aladura, as he is fondly called by admirers, clocked 85 years andstill functional, active and impacting within his capacity.
Unknown to some, especially some of the younger generations, engagements of the celebrant who is a chieftain of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) in Lagos State, and one of the leaders of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, surpassed the political sphere, but also include many other sphere of human endeavours which make him an elder statesman and man of many parts.
In the last 85 years, Asiwaju Olorufunmi Basorun has made giant strides beyond politics that present generation known him for. He has not only been part of many other endeavours but also initiated them and impacted greatly.
He is a politician, lawyer, banker, scribe, leader of honourary chiefs, community developer, market/cooperative organizer, unionist, educationist, council administrator, writer, thinker, sportsman and a spiritual leader.
A community developer who played excellent roles in the development of Igbogbo, his immediate community and Ikorodu Division as a whole. Between 1969 when he became Secretary, Igbogbo Community Development Committee to 1994, when he was installed as the Asiwaju of Igbogbo and by that office, also became the Chairman, Council of Honorary Chiefs in lgbogbo, Basorun made his mark in the community, market, traditional, local council administration and humanitarian organisations.
Basorun also played prominent roles in the establishment of the Ikorodu Division Resources Development Group (IDRDG), a body he spearheaded it’s formation with other eminent Ikorodu sons and which has been responsible for the human and other developments in Ikorodu Division. He is also instrumental to the completion of the ultra – modern Ikorodu Town Hall.
As a spiritual leader and head of a Church, Asiwaju Basorun was ordained as Baba Aladura of the Gospel Church of Cherubim and Seraphim, Oke Ayo Igbala Irapada with Headquarters at Orile-Iganmu, Lagos in October 2008, a duty that has occupied his life since. To prove his commitment and dedication to ‘Olodumare’, Baba built a branch of the Church within his home country in Igbogbo.
Asiwaju Basorun as a Banker, was a pioneer staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and retired as a Deputy Director, Domestic Operations Department in September 30, 1979. He was also a Director at the Igbogbo Community Bank Nigeria Limited from 1991 to 1996.
Baba Aladura as fondly called by chieftains and members of his Church, was a sportsman. He was a member of Lagos State Sports Council from 1971 to 1975, and member of the Lagos State Table Tennis Association from 1971 to 1975. He became the Life Member of the Association in 1981.
He led the movement for the creation of the Igbogbo Stadium and also worked towards its adoption by the Lagos State Government. Today, the stadium is under construction as a standard stadium with state – of – the – art facilities.
Basorun impacts in the educational sector is also outstanding. He served as the Commissioner for Education, Lagos State, between October and December, 1983, during the period that the Lagos State University came into being. He was the Chairman, Governing Council, Lagos State University (LASU) between October and December 1983; and he simultaneously served as Chairman, Lagos State School Management Board within the same period.
In the political circle, Basorun was the Secretary to the First Civilian Administration of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande, between October 1, 1979 and September 30, 1983, and Commissioner for Education in 1983.
Before that, the political giant was Ikorodu LGA Secretary to the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) between 1978 and 1983. He was also a member of Lagos Finance Committee of UPN between 1980 and 1983.
Between 1990 and 1993, he was a member of the Lagos State Elders Committee of Social Democratic Party (SDP), and was a Senatorial aspirant for the Lagos East Senatorial District of the party in 1992. In 1996, he was elected the National Publicity Secretary to the then unregistered People’s Consensus Party (PCP).
He served as Chairman, Board of Directors of Savannah Sugar Company Ltd., Numan, Adamawa State (a company owned then by the Federal Government) between 2000 and 2002. In December, 2017, President Muhammad Buhari, GCFR, appointed him as a Board Member, National Directorate of Employment (NDE) under the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.
During the five party system of the late dictator, General Sanni Abacha, Asiwaju Bassorun joined the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), and became a member of the State Elders and Finance Committee of the party between 1996 and 1998. He was the Lagos East Senatorial candidate of the party in the April 1998 National Assembly elections.
In 1999, the Igbogbo born politician became the pioneer State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State, between 1998 and 1999. He also served the party in many capacities and in 2002, he was a governorship aspirant of Lagos State of the party, before joining the the then Action Congress (AC) which later became Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Asiwaju Basorun, today, is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State, and leader of the party in Lagos East Senatorial District and Ikorodu Division.
As mentor to many old and young people, Asiwaju always create time to listen, engage and accommodate, especially those with opposing views to his. He enjoys interfacing and engaging in idea sharing.
A man conscious of himself and environment, Basorun is virtually on every social media platform in Ikorodu Division, and always ready to engage anytime on any issue. He is known to have the capacity to follow discussions on multiple platforms at the same time, and also offers his own perception, even if such is not popular. He is also known to always praise any discussion, position, and chats of note or that challenge his own position and later invite the writer for further discussion.
His life is one filled with lessons in tribulations, challenges, accomplishments and triumphs, as documented in his books: ‘Life On The Service Lane: Autobiography of Reuben Olorunfunmi Basorun’, ‘Nigeria of My Dream’ and PARAMOLE – O Koro Iwosi: Biography of Reuben Olorunfunmi Basorun by Pastor Soji Omotunde’, which aspiring young men should endeavor to read.
PROFILE OF REUBEN OLORUNFUMI BASORUN
Reuben Olorunfunmi Basorun was born on Saturday, October 15, 1938 into the Christian family of the Albert Adewamiwa Ogunmuyiwa of Agunfoye Gegenla (Ewu Keta) Village, igbogbo, in the present Igbogbo/Bayeku Local Council Development Area of Ikorodu Division, Lagos State and Abigail Bosede (nee Thomas Olowu) of Mokun Ward, Igbogbo. Young Funmi started his educational pursuits early at District Central School, Agege from 1946 till 1948, and later moved to Methodist School, Igbogbo from 1948 and proceeded to Methodist School, Ikorodu and was there from 1950 to 1952. He ended his primary school education at Tinubu Methodist School, Lagos in 1953, and then attended Eko Boys’ High School, Mushin, Lagos from 1954 to 1958 for his secondary school education.
Funmi’s quest for higher education took him to University of Lagos for his first degree in Business Administration between 1968 and 1978 (with a break of two years while on transfer out of Lagos). In 1978, he went abroad for an Advanced Management Course at the Administrative Staff College, Henley-on-Thames, England. He had earlier attended Yaba College of Technology, Lagos for Supervisory Course in 1965.
An accompanied professional, Funmi is:
-an Associate of Chartered Institute of Bankers in UK since 1960;
- Associate of The Chartered Institute of Securities and Administrators, UK since 1968;
-a Fellow of Chartered Institute Bankers, UK since 1977;
- an Associate Member British Institute of Management (BIM) UK since1977;
Life Fellow, Chartered Institute of Bankers, UK 1981; and
Member, Nigeria Institute of Management – Chartered (NIM) since1987.
He completed his Law Degree in 1992 at the University of Lagos and preceded to The Nigeria Law School in 1993. He was called to the Bar and enrolled at the Supreme Court of Nigeria on December 15, 1993.
He is a member of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).
A prolific writer, Funmi has many publications to his credit. Some of the publications include:
-Co-operative Societies and Food production in Lagos State (1975);
- Integrated Rural Development In Lagos State of Nigeria (1978);
- Nigeria of Our Dream (1986);
- Legal Control of Community Banks In Nigeria (1992);
-Life On The Service Lane-Autobiography of Reuben Olorunfunmi Basorun – in 2008 to mark his 70th
-Nigeria of My Dream in 2013 to mark his 75th Birthday; and
PARAMOLE – O Koro Iwosi: Biography of Reuben Olorunfunmi Basorun by Pastor Soji Omotunde in 2018 to mark his 80th Birthday
Years at the Central Bank of Nigeria
A distinguished banker, Olorunfunmi joined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as one of the pioneer staff on January 5, 1959 as a clerk (employee no. 44), served the bank at different levels and rose through the ranks to retire as Deputy Director, Domestic Operations Department on September 30, 1979.
-He served as one of the pioneer staff in the branch of CBN in Kano between 1962 and 1964; -He served CBN in Jos during the troubled period of 1966 and 1967 He also served briefly in Enugu during Civil War in 1969; -He served at the Bank’s Inspectorate Division at the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company
Limited between 1969 and 1972;
-He served the Bank in Maiduguri in 1972 through 1974;
-He attended the grades of Manager and Assistant Director in 1973 and 1975 respectively.
-He was given a 15-year Distinguished Merit Award in 1976 by the Bank.
While in the Bank, Asiwaju played the role of a trade unionist. He was a founding member of the Central Bank of Nigeria Employees Union when it was registered in 1968. He led the Union on two successful strikes at the Bank in September and October 1968; and served as President of the Union between 1970 and 1972.
Asiwaju in Politics
In the political arena, Funmi was appointed the Secretary to the First Civilian Administration of Lagos State, by the Governor, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande on October 1, 1979 where he served the state diligently till September 30, 1983. He also served as the Commissioner for Education, Lagos State between October and December, 1983. He was the Chairman, Governing Council, Lagos State University (LASU) between October and December 1983; and he simultaneously served as chairman, Lagos State School Management Board within the same period.
At the Federal level, Funmi served as chairman of the Board of Directors of Savannah Sugar Company Ltd., Numan, Adamawa State (A company owned then by the Federal Government) between 2000 and 2002.
In December, 2017, The President, Muhammad Buhari, GCFR appointed Funmi as a Board Member of National Directorate of Employment (NDE) under the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. As a politician, Funmi was Ikorodu LGA Secretary to the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) between 1978 and 1983. He was also a member of Lagos Finance Committee of UPN between 1980 and 1983. Between 1990 and 1993, he was a member of Lagos State Elders Committee of Social Democratic Party (SDP) and was a Senatorial aspirant for the Lagos East Senatorial District of the party in 1992. In 1996, he was elected the National Publicity Secretary to the then unregistered People’s Consensus Party (PCP).
When he joined the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN), he became a member of the State Elders and Finance Committee of the party between 1996 and 1998, and was the Lagos East senatorial candidate of the party in the April 1998 National Assembly elections.
At the beginning of the current political dispensation, he was the pioneer State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State between 1998 and 1999; Chairman, State Caucus of PDP from 1998 to 1999; Members, State Caucus of PDP from 1999 to 2000; Chairman, Information and Strategy Committee of Lagos State PDP in 2002; he was a governorship aspirant of Lagos State PDP in 2002. HE was a Lagos State Delegate to the National Political Reform Conference held in 2005 in Abuja.
On June 12, 2007, Asiwaju joined the then Action Congress (AC) which later became Action Congress (APC), where he is now a member of Governance Advisory Council (GAC), Lagos State. As a member of the GAC, he has been of immense importance to the various administrations of the then Action Congress (AC), the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now All Progressives Congress (APC) at all levels of governance, in the Ikorodu Division in particular, and Lagos State in general. He has also groomed many other political leaders in ikorodu Division and Lagos State.
Funmi practiced law at T.O.S Benson & Co. from 1993 to 2000; and started his own private practice as Olorunfunmi Basorun & Co. Paramole Chambers (Legal Practitioners) from 2001 till date.
In private business, he is Chairman and Managing Director of Romo Nigeria Company Limited (Manufacturers of Polythene Bags and Packaging) from 1984 till date. He was a Director at the igbogbo community Bank Nigeria Limited from 1991 to 1996.
Olorunfunmi Basorun is a selfless community man and he has voluntarily served his community at different times and capacities such as-
-Secretary, Igbogbo Community Development Committee from 1969 to 1979;
- Member, Igbogbo/Bayeku Local Council Care-taker Committee in 1969;
-Member, Ikorodu District Council Management Committee from 1970 to 1974; and
-Deputy Chairman of the same Council Management Committee in 1975;
-President, Igbogbo Co-operative Consumer Society Limited from 1975 to 1979;
-Secretary, Igbogbo improvement Union from 1966 to 1995, later became the president of the Union in 1995 and served till 1997;
-Secretary, Igbogbo Market Women Association from 1978 to 1998;
-Grand patron of Club 24, Igbogbo;
- Charter president, Irepodun Lions Club from 1984 to 1986;
- Foundation member and 2nd Chairman, Ikorodu Division Resource Development Group from 1986 to 1988;
- Cabinet member, District 404 Lions Club International from 1987 to 1989 and
-Foundation member, First Club Igbogbo.
-Chairman, Honorary Chefs of Igbogbo Kingdom
As a sportsman, Funmi was a member of Lagos State Sports Council from 1971 to 1975 and member of Lagos State Table Tennis Association from 1971 to 1975. He was made Life Member of the Association in 1981.
Asiwaju has been honoured by religious, community and traditional institutions:
-He was appointed the Grand Patron of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Igbogbo Chapter in 1993. -He was admitted into the Hall of Fame of Ikorodu Division of Lagos State in December 1993 as a Distinguished Statesman; -He was made the Asiwaju of Igbogbo Kingdom by His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) J. Ola Fatola, J.Pil, the Adeboruwa of Igbogbo Kingdom, in October 1994. -He was also made the Asiwaju of Methodist Church Nigeria, Igbogbo Circuit in January 1996. -He bagged the Ikorodu-Oga Merit Award in November 21, 2015 -In May 2019, he was honoured by Methodist Church Nigeria Diocese of Ikorodu Synod with Award of Dignity
Born into Methodist Church, Funni joined the Cherubim and Seraphim Church in August 1959. As a devoted Christian, Reuben is a member of the Ecclesiastical Council of Cherubim and Seraphim Unification Church of Nigeria. He is the Spiritual Head of Gospel Church of Cherubim and Seraphim, Oke Ayo Igbala Irapada with Headquarters at Orile-Iganmu, Lagos since March 2004 and he was Formally ordained as Baba Aladura of the Church in October 2008. He performed Holy Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2014.
Funmi Married Margaret Ojuolape (nee Odujoko) on December 31, 1964 and lost her through death in January 1993. Ojuolape was a committed and devoted partner who saw him through the rough terrain which he traversed to be able to triumph. The children of their marriage are: Adetunji (Electrical/Electronic Engineer), Folasde ( Medical Practitioner) and Adetutu (Chemical Engineer). He re-married to Bolanle Adesola (nee Olowolayemo) on August 27, 2000. Balanle continued the excellent work of Ojuolape and, aside God, she should be given the credit and glory for the fulfilled life Funmi has lived to date
Asiwaju enjoys engaging in social work, table tennis, Photography, reading and writing.
Kunle Adelabu is the Publisher/Reporter – in – Chief, THE IMPACT newspaper.