The civil rights movement in Nigeria has expressed solidarity with the Senator representing Ekiti Central, Babafemi Ojudu, for his continued battle with injustice in Ekiti state, the battle that has earned him hatred from high quarters.
Ekiti is a small agrarian state that has thrown into turmoil after the June 21 election that saw Ayo Fayose emerging as the governor.
In a statement issued in Lagos, the Nigerian Human Rights Community (NHRC), a coalition of 35 civil rights groups, praised Senator Ojudu for his long-standing record as a tireless defender of truth and liberty which had won him global fame.
The statement, signed by the NHRC Director of Publicity, Akinola Gbadamosi, urged Ekiti State people not to be distracted by the conscious efforts of Fayose to discredit one of the most outstanding icons in the battle for liberty in Ekiti State and in Nigeria at large.
“Senator Ojudu has a clean record spanning over three decades. He was the journalist that exposed Fayose during his first term in 2004. Senator Ojudu did not only write an investigative story that exposed the killing of a pregnant woman for rituals, an unspeakable crime involving top government officials in the administration of Fayose, he went the extra mile to ensure the arrest of those involved. “The stories were published in The News Magazine. The horrendous crime was swept under the carpet by the then authorities. From that moment, a seed of discord was planted between Ojudu and Mr Fayose.”
According to the NHRC, Senator Ojudu should intensify the campaign for the impeachment of Fayose, adding that it is an historical calling that has the backing of the progressives across the world.
The group said it is unfortunate that the Ekiti State Government under Fayose has dedicated huge sum of funds to malign, blackmail and destroy the reputation of one of Nigeria’s most remarkable heroes.
“Senator Ojudu was detained for several years on account of being opposed to the late General Sani Abacha who persecuted Nigerians but who was Fayose’s benefactor. It is a subject of disgrace that Fayose with all the atrocities he has committed against humanity finds himself at the helms of Ekiti’s moral order. When he came to power last October, the first thing he did was to discredit his predecessor through lies and propaganda about the amount spent on the Oke Ayoba whereas within a short period he occupied the house after spending over N200 million on renovation. At present, Fayose is awarding contracts to his cronies without due while he took about 1billion being the September Federal Government allocation but has yet refused to release the money meant for workers salary.
“We have a rogue and common criminal in power who nevertheless has been able to corrupt some of the elite in the state who now honour him.
“We are following with keen interest the developments in Ekiti State. Fayose wants to do everything to destroy Mr Ojudu’s richly deserved reputation built with sweat and from the ruins of the battle for human freedom. This task will fail. We in the human rights community support Ojudu’s current crusade against despots in power in Ekiti State. It is a right step in the right direction. No amount of blackmail should stop Ojudu because his battle is righteous and just. History will definitely absolve him.”
The group said the right violations by Fayose are being documented and would soon be presented to judicial authorities in Nigeria and within the framework of the United Nations. [myad]