Hon. Yahya Adeniyi Dosunmu is not your run of the mill politician. A former house of representative member, his impact in Lagos politics has left indelible prints in Eti Osa, the constituency he once represented.
In a chat with City Pulse Nigeria, the charismatic elder statesman relives his chance meeting with the late former premier of Western Region and he found himself in politics.
It was still the military era when Murtala-Obasanjo’s government toppled the Gowon junta and promised to hand over power to civilians after three years of re-organising the country.
When the ban on politics was hurriedly lifted by the Obasanjo-led military government, some programmes were put in place and politicians were asked to go and form political parties.
Politicians started tumbling and falling head over themselves. Five political parties later surfaced – We have the UPN, NPN, NNPP, AG and the last party I can’t remember for now.
One day, Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu sent for me one day in the office and announced that Chief Obafemi Awolowo (former premier of Western Region) will be coming to Onitiri’s residence in Surulere. Ordinarily, I shouldn’t have been bothered by such news.
But the mention of Chief Awolowo got my attention and I excitedly convinced myself I needed to see this great man of whom I have heard so much.
At the gathering, a report has been taken from every local government. When they called Eti Osa delegates, we were about 20 who rose to acknowledge our presence. Unexpectedly, they requested for our spokesman. Before you can say ‘Jack,’ they yelled ‘Yahya Dosunmu’ and all fingers pointed at me. I was shocked and insisted they take an elderly person instead.
Secondly, I don’t want the ministry to get wind of my involvement in such political movement. As I tactically made my way out to avoid further embarrassment, somebody called their attention and declared that I was sneaking away from the gathering. It was then Alhaji Dawodu ordered me back to my seat and pleaded with me to give a
report on Eti Osa. I was still afraid and reiterated that I was a civil servant. At that point, even the Onitiri was forced to yell that there were several civil servants in attendance and asked me to stop using it as an excuse not to serve.
Left without an option, I ventured to give a verbal report on the geography and happenings in Eti Osa. Midway through my report, people started applauding. The applause got louder and deafening as I reeled out names of each community and its Baale (local head). Some even got to their feet and screamed that these are the type of well informed representatives they wanted.
A week after that drama, Alhaji Dawodu sent word to me again that there would be another meeting in Chief Awolowo’s place in Park Lane (present-day Ikoyi). As usual, Alhaji said that it would be a smirk on his person if I failed to make the meeting as he had earlier heard from the grapevine. I reluctantly went with him to the meeting where the late sage addressed us and left us with some political assignment. It was there that I learnt that they were officially forming a political party of which I was to become a member.
To cut long story short, that was how I became a politician.
Note you read this story first on City Pulse Nigeria..