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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Ekiti state needs deliverance —Tunji Davids (OMM Convener)



By Paul Ukpabio

Tunji David is indeed leaving no stone unturned in his bid to win support for his organization, ‘Ojudu Mass Movement (OMM),’ a Youth pressure group canvassing for the gubernatorial candidacy of Senator Babafemi Ojudu, the current Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Political Matters.

An economist and political activist who believes that Senator Babafemi Ojudu should rule Ekiti State come 2018, Tunji Davids says Ojudu, a veteran journalist and one of Nigeria’s leading anti-dictatorship journalist of the 80s and 90s was the one who beat incumbent Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose to clinch the Ekiti Central Senatorial zone seat which took him to the National Assembly in Year 2011and fit to rule Ekiti state.

Tunji says Ojudu is the leading candidate so far, and best for the job. He tells us why and reveals more, on the state of Ekiti State today.

We know you as an economist
Yes, I am an economist, a business man, a farmer, a father and husband.
Why did you start this movement and at what point did you decide that the movement must come to be?

In answering your question, I will refer you to Proverbs 29 vs. 2, which states that ‘when the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, and you know the vice-versa. It is a known fact that Ekiti state has fallen today into the hands of the present government. This movement is borne out of my passion for my state and my passion cannot be divorced from the person who can take us out of this precarious state in the person of Senator BabafemiOjudu.

Is your organization a pressure group or an interventionist mass movement?
We are both a pressure and interventionist group. Ojudu Mass Movement (OMM) is a world movement of Ekiti people to support the emergence and candidature of Senator Babafemi Ojudu for the 2018 Ekiti Governorship election. As at today he is most qualified to occupy the seat at Oke-Ayoba in Ado-Ekiti. He is a man of integrity, a true son of Ekiti, a progressive to the core, an Awoist, a man of great ideology, a man who has the interest and well-being of his people at heart, a mobilizer, a strategist, an experienced private and public servant and an astute politician. This is a man who has sacrificed a lot for the interest of his state. He is the fear factor in Ekiti state politics. OMM is predominantly a youth movement which is mobilizing youths of Ekiti, home and abroad on the importance of making sure Babafemi Ojudu is adopted or emerges as the most needed person to bring the state out of the present dilemma it has found itself.  This movement is spearheaded by myself and a host of progressive youthful minds like Engineer Femi Johnson, Olawale Omotoyinbo to mention a few of other young Ekiti thinkers doing great things within and outside Nigeria.

A lot of people see Mr. Ojudu from the point of view of a conservative, though, rational journalist who strayed into politics. Do you think he is more than that?
I would rather call him a strategist and not a conservative. On whether he strayed into politics? No! He was one of those who fought for the return of democracy in Nigeria with respected people like Barrister Femi Falana. He was arrested, tortured and incarcerated for his belief in returning power to a democratically elected President even after Chief (MKO) Abiola (Winner of June 12, 1993 election) was killed. Senator Ojudu as a political activist, journalist and administrator is the man who has the right prescription and dose to be administered to Ekiti state in the situation it has found itself today. As the present special adviser to the president (President Muhammadu Buhari) on political matters, his experience and connections cut across party lines. He is a bridge builder, he may not be the kind of man that shares money indiscriminately but he will teach you how to fish. I would rather be taught how to fish so I can make more and also teach other people, than queue on the streets of Ekiti and be handed crumbs like it’s done in the state today.  He is a man that I am privileged to have been with and I know what he is capable of doing. Senator Ojudu will never promise you what he won’t do, even his enemies can attest to this.

Do you think Mr. Ojudu has a chance to become the Governor of Ekiti State with the likes of ex-Governor Segun Oni and Mr. Kayode Fayemi who is trying to make a comeback according to grapevine sources?
Asking this question is like asking a student whose school fees has been paid and has written exams and passed and another student who paid his school fees and failed and you are now asking the student who passed  “Are you sure you will be promoted to the next class?”.  Senator Babafemi Ojudu has paid his dues both in Ekiti state and Nigerian politics. Mind you he is the only man who has defeated the present governor of Ekiti state in an elective position. Engineer Segun Oni is a wonderful man and Dr. Fayemi have both shown to the Ekiti people what they can offer and you know you don’t have a second chance to make a first impression. Ekiti needs radical and quick changes and the injection of new ideas to its present economic downturn, high level of poverty, and dehumanizing way of living they’ve been subjected to. That is what Senator Babafemi Ojudu represents. 

What are the leadership benefits your candidate is bringing to Ekiti as Governor of the state in 2018?
These qualities are what I have mentioned earlier. His leadership qualities cannot be overemphasized. He is not a man who practices politics of bitterness. He is a man whose focal point is to make Ekiti state return to its glory of people who respect elders, people who have dignity of labour, a people who are not beggars.  You know Ekiti state is agrarian in nature, with Ojudu in authority, Ekiti state can be self-sufficient in yam, rice, and corn produce and even feed the whole of South-West within the next 4 to 5 years. This is where we are taking Ekiti State to with an excellent mind like Ojudu.

With the present political situation in Ekiti State, do you think the state needs deliverance?
The state does not only need deliverance, the state needs rescue and restoration. Honestly Ekiti state has taken the back seat in people oriented development projects in the past 3 years. I am an Ekiti man and I know what my people are saying. Salaries are not been paid for months and a governor is building a bridge that leads to nowhere. What economic benefit is a bridge that costs billions of naira to the people of Ekiti state when the people are hungry, parents can’t pay school fees and so on? It is pathetic my brother. Our future and that of our children is being mortgage. There must be salvation.

Ekiti will appear to have become a state that has suddenly digressed from her knowledge seeking posture to a food (stomach infrastructure) seeking conclave; how is your candidate going to convince electorate to change their view and search for the big picture (infrastructural & moral development)
You know this man has been a journalist and you know journalists feels the pulse of the people, they are always on the street. Senator (Babafemi) Ojudu does not only feel the pulse, he is ready to administer the necessary medication.  People talk about the grass root, the fact that someone eats ponmo on the street of Ado-Ekiti or buys amala and ewedu at Iya Oyo does not make you closer to the grass root. Do you know how many times Senator Ojudu has eaten on the streets? The fact that he doesn’t post it on social media doesn’t make him less important to the people. It is so unfortunate that the psyche of our people is being played on. You cannot give out what you don’t have. Senator Ojudu is a man of high moral value. A state governor is not elected to criticize, he is elected to govern. Mind me, criticism is not bad, in fact I recommend criticism, but must be done constructively. Criticism is not abusing elders and calling them names, wishing them dead.   

What is your campaign strategy to an electorate that is carried away with the distribution of food by the present governor of the state in public glare and before cameras?
As I said earlier, this is the pathetic situation Ekiti state has found itself. I said it from the beginning that Ekiti state was making a big mistake, here we are today, all suffering for it. Please mention one factory that was setup in the last 2 years that employs up to 50 people. And government officials would rather prefer to line-up people who are old enough to be their father and mother and be feeding them with peanuts and asking men to pose with a sachet of rice, tuber of yam, pieces of cake meal and all that. It is quite pathetic and worrisome! It is alarming. 

Can you share some of your feed-back from the Ekiti populace with us? Do you think they are tired of their present condition and need a new leadership different from the populist posture of Mr. Ayo Fayose?
Ekiti populace is not only tired, they have given up hope on this government. A governor who has left his people and decided to be commissioner for Buhari affairs, is that what he was elected to do? Go to Kebbi state look at the way agriculture is being used to develop the state, go to Cross-River, Lagos, even Ondo nearby, their level of developments will baffle you. Most places I have been to in Ekiti, they want salvation including party members of the present government wants change. A state where the governor is the deputy, he is the speaker; he is the procurement director and at the same time the contractor. I speak as an angry Ekiti man. Anyone who says what is happening in Ekiti is good, I wish same for them and I hope they would be glad if they are governed the same way Ekiti is governed.

What is your perception about restructuring? What does it mean to you?
The only language I understand about restructuring is how my state would be salvaged and restructured from the present state of inertia. Right now, Ekiti need to be restructured for good governance and a better condition of living and Senator Babafemi Ojudu is the answer. If we can restructure Ekiti and take the state off her present state of indolence then everyone can see us and deduce the proper meaning of restructuring. Believe me; we will deliver Ekiti from the throes of ineptitude.  

Do you have a role model? Who is your role model in leadership and life style?
Jesus Christ is my role model. Life should be about what you give to people and not what you take from them. A singer said “Blessed is the hand that giveth to the world than taketh” (Lucky Dube)
What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life is that “life only makes meaning when you are able to impact others positively” it is not about what you have but about how many lives you’ve impacted positively. Giving is life and life is giving. That is how to rate a quality living.  You give good governance, quality and robust policy, better sense of living and every other good thing that can make life more meaningful for the ordinary man.  Life is about giving and giving is about building and building is about growth and development. Anything below that is slavery. My philosophy is taken from that prism of thought. 

Tell us about your family; are you married? And lastly, give your words to the people of Ekiti State.
I am married with children. I want to believe my people have learnt their lessons, that good governance is not about eating amala, sharing spaghetti and cakes. Good governance is about teaching the people how to fish and not giving people fish. And I want to use this medium to appeal to all Ekiti youths, male and female, our elders in the interest of our dear state, in the interest of our future and that of our children and generations yet unborn, to come, let them ask questions and know the antecedents of those who wish to govern them . Ekiti a gbea o!

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