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Between Tinubu’s ‘Benevolence’ And Ojudu’s Principled Stand On 2023



Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babafemi Ojudu

By Shheddy Ozoene

Senator Babafemi Ojudu has set the social media ablaze with his principled stand not to support the presidential aspiration of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. While many commend his courage not to run with the herd, especially in the South West, others say it is a betrayal of sorts for a man who ‘benefited from Tinubu in the past’.

One particular comment by one Olalekan Popoola stretched that argument against Ojudu, buttressing his point by referring to Ojudu’s comment in a special publication of TheNews magazine to mark Asiwaju’s 60th birthday in 2012.

Olalekan, probably one of Tinubu’s social media goons, clearly took the matter out of context. While Senator Ojudu acknowledged, and continues to acknowledge, Tinubu’s assistance to TheNews publications in the days of pro-democracy activism and the fight against military dictatorship in which the publication was the flagship, Olalekan fails to understand that the relationship between the editors of that publication and activists of that time, of which Tinubu was one, was a symbiotic one. One stood for the other to achieve a common goal.

Tinubu did that just like many others who assisted in cash and in kind, in making sure that that strong media/pro-democracy platform continued to mobilise the public against the junta led by General Ibrahim Babangida and later, General Sani Abacha.

The likes of Tinubu, those editors (of which I was one) and the staff of TheNews/TEMPO/PMNews etc, found a convergence of interest in the publications as a vehicle to restore the country to democracy. To many of us, there was no sacrifice too big to make to realise that goal.

It is a fact of history that Tinubu has benefitted immensely from that fight which we all won to restore democracy to the country in 1999, a fight that took Ojudu and many of TheNews editors to various detention dungeons across the land and a few others to their early graves.

So while the cash donations are hugely important as they oiled the wheel of the struggle, those other sacrifices cannot in any way be relegated.

Ojudu has shared several other platforms with Asiwaju since the restoration of democracy in 1999 and both men (now, not the big man and the press boy) have complemented each other in several mutually-rewarding ways. Why is he now being hounded on the mere suspicion that he may be backing the VP, Yemi Osinbajo for the presidential contest of 2023?

Will it be right for anyone, therefore, to expect Ojudu to endlessly tag to Tinubu’s apron strings based on that premise? And that he should always make his political decisions, even those that compromise his personal principles, based on that relationship?

•Source: Facebook


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