The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu needs to introduction. He is a veteran journalist, a committed human rights activist, a writer of repute and a man whose head is full of ideas for the development and growth of the people and society.
Now a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ekiti State, Senator Ojudu in the first part of this exclusive interview with thegazellenews.com‘s team of JAMIU YISA and DARE OJELADE, speaks on what prompts him to contest for the governorship seat of his state, why he did not go back to the Senate and the activism genes running through his family.
What prompt your decision to run for the governorship seat of Ekiti State?
I decided to do so because I have seen that the state has gone down badly.
Things have gone terribly bad, and thus require someone of my status to intervene vigorously but positively and bring sanity to take place. If we don’t do so, what is bad will begin to look good to our people. People who have experienced the good time are thinning out, and it takes people like us who know what is good from what is bad to come out and say look gentle men and ladies, this how things should be done.
What is happening now is not the dream of those who fought for the creation of the state, this is not who Ekiti people are, and this is not the Ekiti that our forefathers envisage.
So I believe that I should leave my comfort zone, sacrifice my time, my resources to go out there and bail out our people. It is not about ego or position, it is a sacrifice for me to leave what I’m doing now to go and meet our people in Ekiti State and intervene positively as I have done in the past.
Talking about intervening in the past, you are one of the actors that contributed to the impeachment of this current governor during his first term in office, how did that experience inform your decision to go out against him again?
When he came the first time, he was very brutal. He was very rough with the people: there were assassinations that led to the death of some of our valuable people, people were tortured and a lot of money was stolen.
I quickly mobilized professionals like myself and we intervened and contributed resources, we penetrated his government particularly the House of Assembly. We brought the lawmakers to Lagos here, then took them back to go and impeach him. That was what we did.
We never thought that there will be a time again where he will come back to our system, but due to one mistake or the other by those who subsequently occupied the position of governor after him, he came back which is very sad enough.
Again, he doesn’t seems to have learnt a lesson: he still moves himself around garrulously, shouting on the rooftops daily saying nothing, abusing everybody both the young and the old, stealing the resources of the state, not paying salaries of workers and just taking governor to be a family business.
With these, I believe and I realise that my job is not yet done hence the need to come back again and put things in its right places.
You were a senator for four years your performance was commendable. Why did you decide not to recontest? The general impression was that it was because you were afraid of Fayose, that was why you chickened out. How will you react to this?
No, there is no way I will be afraid of Fayose: having contributed immensely to his impeachment during his first term; and having defeated him in an election; I don’t think he is someone who in any way will make me want to run away from a battle.
I decided not to recontest for the Senate seat because I found out from my experience in the Senate that I was not productive, I was in the midst of hyenas, and I just felt that this is not where I should be found. For me, and because of my background, I don’t enjoy the idea of waking up in the morning, picking up newspapers, going on the internet and somebody is calling me a thief, when I know I am not a thief, I don’t do any deal.
So it makes me feel very bad, anything that will damage my integrity, I run away from it. Each time when I was there, when I wake up in the morning going to the chamber I feel very sad and low, sometimes to the point of depression.
I woke up one day, my daughter who was just about 12years old then saw me that morning that I was sad and she said daddy why are you sad this morning? I replied that I am fed up with this place that I found myself. Immediately she said if you are not happy why don’t you leave the place. That really gave me something to ponder on and I made up my mind there and then that I’m not coming back to the Senate.
Then, I have barely spent two years in office as a senator; that was my mid-term. I just said I won’t go back and it never had anything to do with being afraid of Fayose.
Talking about your family, your eldest daughter, Moremi, is taking after you in the area of activism, can we say that activism runs in your family?
Yes, it is a family thing. My grandfather was in Action Group, a follower of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. His activism led him to being arrested and detained for 10 months in 1965 by the Ladoke Akintola administration.
Don’t forget that I was also detained by the SSS during the Abacha regime for nine months. I was in solitary confinement for the whole nine months.
My late dad was a follower of the late Doctor Nnamdi Azikwe. He was the leader of the youth wing of his party in his days, and my grandmother too was a very active UPN person. It has been a tradition in the family, I think I follow in the footsteps of my grand parents and my father and this what my daughter doing.
Watch Out for the second part soon.