Senator Babafemi Ojudu
‘Chairman’.That was what colleagues called Babafemi Ojudu at the defunct Concord Press. They did not address him by that title just because he was the political head of the stable’s chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). They did because he was trusted to speak truth to power; they did because he was trusted to hold all cards face up to colleagues and they did because he was trusted to stand on principle to defend whatever he believed to be justifiably true. He did all these. And more.
As it is often said, the morning shows the day. This is true of Babafemi Ojudu who was born in Ado-Ekiti on March 27, 1961 to Pa Jimoh Ojudu and Mama Raliat Ojudu, both of blessed memory. He was not born to wealth but his parents were rich beyond measure in positive values of simplicity, honesty , loyalty , discipline, hard work and love of the people. The young Babafemi imbibed these values and, with them, began to write the story of his own life.
He defeated poverty in his first real battle in life, not by coming to sudden wealth, but by getting rich in ideas. The time spent at Ado Grammar School, where he had his secondary education between 1973 and 1977, opened his mind to how easily education liberates the human mind, body and soul. He worked twice as hard as his contemporaries to make up for money that was in short supply for his education. Winning a scholarship for indigent students in the old Ondo State in 1976 was a fitting reward for Ojudu’s unrelenting quest for enlightenment in the thick of adversity. In later years, his life of service would validate the vision of the joint sponsors of the scholarship, the late activist lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi and Juju maesro, King Sunny Ade, who both believed that no child should be deprived of a great future by reasons of financial disability.
His looks and appearance when he came out of
Abacha's 9 months detention
CHANGE WILL NOT COME IF WE WAIT FOR SOME OTHER OR IF WE WAIT FOR SOME OTHER TIME.
WE ARE THE ONES... WE ARE THE CHANGE THAT WE SEEK.
– Barack Obama
At age 16 in 1977, he left his comfort zone in Ado Ekiti to pick a job about 50 kilometres away in Ikare-Akoko in the old Ondo State. He worked as a Clerical
Assistant at the local Education Office of the Ministry of Education . His journey to self dependency began after his dad took him to Ikare, where the older Ojudu rented and equipped a room with the basics for his son.
That done, Pa Ojudu left Ikare to allow the young man room to fashion out his own rules of survival. The family’s confidence in his ability to cope with life was expressed in the decision to allow his younger brother, Tayo, then 12 years old to move in with him to keep his company. By accident or design , his primary responsibility at work was to distribute books and other materials to schools to further the education program of the government. Not surprisingly, he became a bibliophile. As an undergraduate at the then University of Ife, to which he was admitted in 1980, he received significant intellectual reinforcement that further helped to clarify his worldview.
He promptly realised that it was not sufficient to earn a degree; it was more important to deploy knowledge in pursuit of the good of the people. From that point, he began to question authority and challenge patterns of behaviour on campus. He did this through the instrumentality of two campus magazines, namely King Cobra and The Parrot, the latter of which he co-founded and edited until he graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies. He later earned a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Lagos.