Chief Tunde Fanimoku, Agba Akin of Iru Land, is incumbent President of The Eko Club (POTEC). Often christened the right-hand man of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, the first executive governor of Lagos State, in whose administration he was a permanent secretary, Fanimokun is the brain behind the glamorous Oniru Estate.
City Pulse Nigeria recently visited him at his residence in Victoria Island where the president spoke on a range of issues concerning the prestigious Eko Club and why he insisted that Omoba Murphy Adetoro remains the best president Eko Club has ever produced.
“Omoba Murphy Adetoro means so many things to me. But I will try to summarise as much as possible. Let me tell you the four things I know about him.
The first one, in all honesty, is that he is an embodiment of royalty. His charisma, elegance, decorum and decency speak volume about his personality. He is a perfect example of what a royal prince should look like.
The second assessment is his personality. That you have a royal blood does not mean that anybody is better than the other party. But when you come across a blue-eyed personality that radiates humility and good behavior is quite rare. An educated prince, he chose engineering as a career. When you related well with him, you will discover how honest he is. He is also frank to a fault. When he believe in a cause, he would not stop until he accomplishes it. Even in Eko Club where we both belong, he has been nicknamed ‘Rebel Leader’ long before I registered as a member. A pioneer of the club, his membership number is 030. The membership strength of the club currently stands at over 1,200. He believed strongly in Eko Club and has made a huge contribution to its steady growth.
Why other club members called him rebel leader, I learnt, was because he has a penchant for going after erring founding fathers of the club. Although age has slowed him down a bit, he is still feared among the circle of members. A dogged fighter, he established his reputation in an indelible ink. He is quite witty and has loads of idioms to back most of his claims and accusations.
As a grassroots politician too, he is loved by his people. He is not the type of council boss people would see as their ‘ATM’ (the money-miss-road type). Lest I forget, he was a pioneer chairman of Eti Osa Local Government. If he is not good or proficient, we would not be enjoying the foundation he laid today.
The third one is what I specially call him – the new millennial first President of Eko Club (POTEC). That connotes several things to me. He became president after openly fighting his predecessor. It was so intense that some members vowed not to support his presidential ambition. He eventually won the election in 2001, same year he also formed the ‘Boys of Eko Club.’ I was not the members that started it ab inito. Later they sent me an invitation to join them. I got to the club one and heard them calling me ‘Captain’ from all angle. I was baffled. Why call me captain when I don’t own a ship? It was then they explained what the group was all about to me and they usually call their leader – captain. When I asked to see their membership list, I was impressed by the names I saw. Subsequently, I was burdened with the task of drawing the set objectives and what it would look like which I did. I emphasized on the need to be different, act as think tank, elite and fund raisers for the development of Eko Club. That is what we have been doing in the last 17 years. Also, I remained the captain until I became the incumbent president of the club.
At the time we were forming the group’s policy, rules and regulations as well as a place to use, that was when Omoba Murphy came up as president. Our first encounter with him was a great one. He just embraced our project and said he was impressed with notable members in the group. He gave us a portion was called the ‘Boys Parlour’ that we had to rebuild with marbles adorning it all round.
Right from day one, Omoba Murphy believed in our group and in the last 17 years has continued to remain a vibrant group. It is the same body that fenced round the walls of Eko Club. This was sequel to allegation that a portion of the club’s land were being carved into neighbouring buildings. We had to take the bull by the horn by fencing it round. The beautiful reception we have at the club too was transformed by ‘The Boys.’ We pulled down the old structure and raised the money among ourselves. Even members who are not part of Eko Boys sent us their contributions. I recalled Fashola joking that it looks like an international standard outlet. Sometimes we give out scholarship. The beauty of it is that Omoba Murphy as a visionary leader bought into it. For a leader who was just elected into office, Murphy was not envious, backbite, or threaten to shut it down like some leaders seeking cheap popularity. He used our group to turn Eko Club round.
To me, he is the greatest president of Eko Club. Today, the ‘Boys’ has started grooming young members for the future. This is how a society or an institution can grow. Therefore the credit of what ‘The Boys’ has become today should go to Omoba Murphy as the first millennial president. What he saw 17 year ago, most of his contemporaries could not see it.
The fourth one is that he is my mentor in a way. Not openly but indirectly. He is somebody I know can get something from me easily because of the affection I have for him. I believed he has my interest at heart and will not mislead me. I will give you an example. When I told him about people’s clamour for me to come and contest as Lagos Guber election. I expressed my worry that I had nothing to start with. The first person who gave his support was Chief Folawiyo, after initially counselling me to ignore them emphasizing that I was not one of them. I recalled him as me to use his name freely and some people to help facilitate my campaign. Oniru too gave me his blessings and referred me to Elegushi. An appointment was fixed and I went to the palace. While admiring the decoration and aesthetics of the structure, Omoba Murphy came in. We just exchanged pleasantries and both waited patiently for the monarch. Unknowing to me, Murphy was one of those people campaigning for me. When Elegushi came in, Murphy informed him (they were actually brothers) that he knew my mission. Before I could even mutter any word, he pointed and said ‘Fanimokun is our next governor.’ Thereafter he requested the monarch prayed for me. Both Elegushi and I looked at him in surprise. Even when Oba Elegushi insisted prevailed on him to allow me explain my mission, he kept interjecting that he has spoken the mind of his people. Although he gave his blessing, not without describing Murphy as a mischief maker. He also gave assurance of meeting the 35 Awori kings who were meeting that same week at the palace of Oba Elegbeda. He encouraged me not to come and campaign in Eti Osa, saying they will deliver Eti Osa for me.
Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the race due to in-house politics which is no longer a secret anyway.