By Aduke Okunola
After series of consultations, Special Adviser to President Mohammadu Buhari on Political Affairs, Senator Babafemi Ojudu is set to openly declare his intention to throw his hat into the Ekiti State Gubernatorial race.
The election comes up in July this year.
Ojudu, a philanthropist, journalist and human rights activist has kept millions of his supporters in suspense until now. Irohinoodua was informed that Ojudu will declare openly in his ancestral home of Ado-Ekiti on Friday, March 09 in what observers describe as an historic enterprise taking place in a week dedicated to the birthday of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Sources said Ojudu’s entrance into the race has created a paradigm shift in the contest that has seen no fewer than 25 aspirants spread across the 16 local governments across the state. A member of Ekiti Rebirth Organisation, (ERO), the group leading the campaign for Ojudu’s train, Mr Victor Fatunla described the public goodwill in Ekiti as “overwhelming”.
Hear him “Ojudu is a fighter. He is principled. He is honest. He has been in public service for over 30 years without any record of corruption, not even an allegation. It’s rare to find a politician in Nigeria without a dark spot. But Ojudu is immaculate. He is clean. He is respected in the international community. In the hall of fame in New York, his name is written in gold among those who are promising world leaders. Presidents of great nations know him. He is the first Nigerian to voluntarily decline a second term as a Senator. He has a very high moral ground. He is a huge plus. We are so proud of him.”
On his part, Mr Peter Ogunsona, a student and coordinator of Young People for Ojudu, (YOPO) told our correspondent, “It’s going to be a great day. It will be a moment never before seen. The declaration is a revolutionary one. The entire state has been waiting for this moment. Peasants, workers, teachers, labour, students and civil servants, the poor and the rich have been waiting for this great day when one of their own , Babafemi Ojudu will declare to run for the Governor of Ekiti State.”
A prominent labour leader, Mr David Ajetunmobi who is the Secretary General of the Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association, (NATA), the oldest artisan group in Nigeria established in 1953, with over 10 million members across the country said his group has been looking up to a day a progressive will lead Ekiti again.
“It is our pleasure to see Ekiti state in the hands of a progressive. We have worked with Ojudu since during the anti-military campaign. A person who has committed more than 30 years to revolutionary struggle is no doubt an asset to Ekiti and Nigeria as a whole”, Ajetunmobi said.
On his own part, an official of the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) Mr Popoola Ajayi said news about Senator Ojudu’s declaration in Ekiti was received with excitement within the human rights community across Nigeria.
He said “Ekiti has lost many grounds. Development partners are not present in Ekiti. It’s a small mainly peasant state. It needs the assistance of international community. Only a person of Ojudu’s pedigree can attract massive flow of international investments that will bring amazing turn around in Ekiti State.”
He said no state can develop when the leadership does not control global respect. He said as SP to the President, Senator Ojudu has left “an indelible footprints without blemish” adding that his entrance into the race has increased the credibility of the All Progressives Congres, (APC) in the state.
According to him, the March 09 declaration is “not just for Ojudu alone but for all progressive forces, students, labour, workers, teachers, peasants and farmers across Nigeria and across the entire South West region.”