Senator Babafemi Ojudu, special adviser to President Buhari on Political matters, has reacted to accusations of betrayal made against him for his refusal to support the Presidential bid of Senator Bola Tinubu.
Ojudu who represented Ekiti Central Senatorial district between 2011 and 2015 under the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), wrote in an article that his refusal to support Tinubu should not be translated as an act of betrayal, saying that the presidential hopeful remains his friend and leader.
In the article titled “Principled Political Choices are not Betrayal”, Ojodu outlined events of partnership and collaboration in his long years of friendship with Tinubu.
“I and Bola Tinubu have come a long way and we have been there for each other. So let no one use my acknowledgment of his good deeds and my refusal not to support him in his bid for Nigeria presidency to portray me as a betrayer,” he wrote.
He explained that even Tinubu was aware that he (Ojudu) makes rigid and independent choices. “He… knows I don’t follow the herd.”
He cautioned those who allegedly tagged him a betrayal, arguing that he had become successful before meeting Tinubu.
The article reads in part, “The idea that everyone who has related with Tinubu and disagrees with him on this Presidential bid is a traitor and a betrayal is puerile. Many of us, his associates, were not made by him as you also want the world to believe.
“We were already made before meeting him and in the cause of relating we gave one another a helping hand. As far back as 1992 when I came to know him I was already one of the editors of a popular news magazine with a good standing too in the civil society. I walked out of my job when our billionaire publisher (Chief MKO Abiola) requested I and my colleagues to apologize to General Ibrahim Babangida over a story critical of the regime. That was 1992.”
“When I left that job, Chief Gani Fawehinmi, a man whom I was indebted to greatly (gave me a scholarship in my school days alongside King Sunny Ade) invested in my publishing platform (The News, publisher of PM news). The same one that was consequential in the battle to bring democracy back to Nigeria.”
“At the conclusion of that struggle, Chief Fawehinmi insisted we seat out politics. Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu disagreed with this notion, and I did as well. Against an obvious choice to blind loyalty, I went along with Senator Tinubu even serving severally in critical roles as he assumed the Governorship position. My actions angered Chief Gani so much he asked that I repay his investments. Guess what? I gladly did.
“So if my principled stance against NPN, against IBB and against “siddon look” was not betrayal of my father, Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Gani Fawehinmi respectively, why would my principled stance against our leader’s present ambition be.?
“So, on this matter of 2023 I wish him well but I cannot in good conscience give him my support or cast my vote for him in the coming primary. It is my right. I am above 60 years of age for God sake. I almost died seeking this inalienable democratic rights, held up in detention and severally tortured. Your god is not my god.”
He maintained that his respect and admiration for Tinubu was not affected by his refusal to support the latter’s presidential ambition.
By Oluwatobi Odeyinka.
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