Chief Tunde Fanimoku, Agba Akin of Iru Land, has reacted swiftly to allegation that he has fallen out with the Oniru of Iru Land, Oba Abiodun Oniru, due to irreconcilable differences.
While debunking the report, Fanimokun who many has identified as the brain behind the glamorous Oniru Estate wondered why anybody would jump at such conclusion.
Baring his mind to CityPulse Nigeria at his residence in Victoria Island, the incumbent President of The Eko Club (POTEC) who is also referred to as the right-hand man of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, first executive governor of Lagos State, in whose administration he was a permanent secretary shed more lights on the issue.
Nothing went wrong. In fact, that information cannot be true. Out of the closest people to Oba Oniru, I happened to be the first traditional chief, Agba Akin of Iru Land. In fact, I was made the special guest when he celebrated his 80th birthday some months ago. I can show you some of the photographs taken at the event. Only those who don’t know how cordial we are that can read meaning into things.
Let me give you a background to how we started out.
I assisted Jakande administration to help Oniru settle with their land replacements and other related activities. As a result, I knew a lot about them. When I left government and joined Folawiyo Estate, the Oniru family came to me with request to manage their empire. I was confused at first and kept wondering how possible it was to handle two jobs at the same time.
However when I tabled the matter with Chief Folawiyo, his response startled me. He said if the Oniru had a problem they believed you can solve, go and help them. That was how I accepted the offer and became the chairman of the development plan for Oniru. The land was all raw then – no sand filling and no sign of estate anywhere. I was in that position for 20 years as the chairman. That was possibly because I have a very cordial relationship with Oba Oniru which still remains good to date.
Along the line, another development surfaced. Many people I am the brain behind British International School (BIS) in Victoria Island. I served as the pioneer chairman of that school for six years.
So back to the issue of whether I fell out with Oba Oniru, I would say the allegation is false. Although you can say the rapport was no longer strong as it was in the past, there is nothing like falling out as widely speculated.
Secondly, I have been asked same question when I contested in the past for the presidency of Eko Club and I told them the same thing I am telling you now. If I knock at Oba Oniru’s door today, he will be too glad to welcome me. That notwithstanding, I must confessed also that I was no longer emotionally attached to him for one reason or the other.
Let me share the latest encounter with you. Few days to his birthday, my son had a small rendezvous with Oba Oniru’s children. The monarch sighted him afar and called his attention. “You are Tunde Fanimokun’s son, isn’t it?” My son nodded. I guess that is probably because he looks so such like me. When he returned home, he was so full of excitement.
My son narrated that the monarch grabbed his hands and spoke highly of me for more than 20 minutes, saying “Your father is someone I can never forget in a hurry. Among other things, he is a reliable and straightforward personality. Please tell him to visit and relate more with me.”
The way my son relayed the message made it sounded more like lamentation of a jilted lover. There is no denying it though, we both cherish and love each other. There is no friction between us. I only took a break by stepping back. It is okay to say that we are not as close as before. It is also probably because the main link that brought us together (Alaba Oniru, his younger brother who died some years back) has been severed. He was my closest friend, my school mate and my only link to the Oniru family. I had to pull back when a slight misunderstanding arose. But as I mentioned earlier, that did not take anything away from our relationship. I still remain the Agba Akin of Iru Land.