He joined the Unity Party of Nigeria in 1978 and was a candidate in the Ondo State gubernatorial primary election but lost to Michael Adekunle Ajasin, the former governor of Ondo State. In 1983, he was elected member of the Federal House of Representatives representing Ondo North. He later served as member of the Board of Directors of the Old Western Nigeria Housing Corporation. During the Fourth Nigerian Republic, he served as the National Vice Chairman of the Alliance for Democracy, Southwest zone.
I was born in Lagos, where I started schooling at St Paul School, Ebutte Meta in 1931. When I got to Standard One in 1935 or 1936, because of poverty I could not continue. As a young man of about 11 years, I started working as a labourer, moulding bricks in Yaba.
My parents were poor. My mother was born in Ijero Ekiti while my father was born in Iye Ekiti. I grew up under them in extreme poverty. My father’s uncle, Pa Williams Fasanmi, whom I saw as a Good Samaritan, came to see my father and saw me carrying bricks on my head since I didn’t go to school because my parents couldn’t afford the school fees. The man took me from Lagos to Ibadan on March 31, 1937 and I started schooling afresh.
I remember that one of my classmates, both in Lagos and when I moved to Ibadan, was the late Chief Kola Balogun. The man was transferred to Offa and I followed him and continued my schooling at St Mark School. I was in Offa in 1937, 1938 and 1939. My uncle was transferred to Kafanchan and I had to follow him. I went to school in Kafachan, but before the end of the year, for one reason or another, I had to return to Offa to continue my schooling. At that time, Standard 6 was the limit in primary school and I finished in 1941.
There was an advertisement in the newspapers that the examination into Government College, Ibadan was going to take place towards the end of 1941. I was very lucky, I did very well and I won government scholarship. I entered the college in 1942.
Because of the bitter experience I had as a result of poverty, when I entered the college I started developing ideas. I had promised myself that any time I had the opportunity, I would fight poverty. I wouldn’t want anybody to have the type of expedience I had as a small boy. It was around the time when Nnamdi Azikwe founded the West African Pilot. It was like a Bible to me. In Government College, Ibadan I was staying in the dormitory, but I had to manage my way out of the college to get a copy of the newspaper and read.
I read a lot from newspapers and developed political ideas. Before I left the college in 1947, I became very much interested in politics as a young man; and given the background of poverty I had, I made up my mind that if I had any opportunity I would defend the interest of the common man. When I finished from the college, I wanted to be a lawyer, but there was no Faculty of Law at the University of Ibadan then.
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