OJUDU LAHUN…

Ketu is a prominent place in the heart to Lagos; Sprawling with bevy of activities. Tucked inside Ketu is a street named Olufunmilayo. It was made modern by the quality of people it harbored, pristine and middle class.

For those of us young graduates arriving Lagos from Ekiti in search of greener pasture, Olufunmilayo was where life began. Thanks to one of our own, a journalist and human rights activists, who lived in one of the flats in Olufunmilayo. Those young graduates might not have met Ojudu before, but were seeing his byline in the newspapers and had heard about his liberal attitude to life. All they needed do was to identify themselves as from Ekiti, and pronto, they were qualified to live in Ojudu’s apartment unhindered, lai mo eiye ti o su won, until they find a job.

Even then, you could still continue to live there until you’re stable enough to stand on your own. You don’t need to bother about who pays the rent or who stocks the kitchen. And there was no restraint to indulgence. Boys must be boys, after all.

Ojudu lahun…
The story of how Ojudu and some stubborn journalists floated The News has been told and retold. But it wasn’t out of sheer accident that the majority of those who ever worked in The News came from Ekiti. Being the trusted one in terms of attracting quality hands to work in The News; Ojudu’s selection skewed more towards the side of Ekiti boys and girls. The list is endless. This is the story till date, and I dare say that the most senior editor in the The News titles as of today is of Ekiti origin.

Ojudu lahun…
Being a first-termer in the Senate has its own limitations. You cannot be trusted to chair any committee. You’re hardly noticed or recognized by the “starlets”. You are to just keep following. The reason is simple; they expect you to learn the ropes, lest you turn the apple cart. But that was not in Ojudu’s DNA. He was not afraid of stepping on toes, since he wasn’t looking for any special favor. Particularly, when an issue that bothers on the progress of Ekiti was to be discussed, Ojudu, who represented Ekiti Central in the 7th Assembly, could not be silenced. Two instances can be recalled here. First was when the budget was being reviewed and an allocation for the construction of road in Ekiti was to be diverted, Ojudu fought tooth and nail, and the status was restored. The second had to do with the recruitment into a federal agency, a paramilitary. Those being considered were to part with some tip before their names could come out. Story had it that some 7 Ekiti boys were involved and having fulfilled all righteousness, their names could still not come out. Ojudu would hear no such thing. O tuto s’oke, o f’oju gba. He took it upon himself to take their matter up, first at the Senate, and then with the recruiters, until the Ekiti 7 got the job.

Ojudu lahun…
Some illustrious youths of Ekiti origin would not forget in their life time how their fortune changed overnight. Without them or their parents known to Ojudu, he took up their education, chartered a career path for them in Nigeria, US and in Europe, and they are currently living their dreams. Rather than raising their two hands up for fortuned ones, fortune smiled on them through the support given them by Ojudu and today, they are doing both their parents and their state of origin, Ekiti proud, seeing Ojudu as their messiah.

Ojudu lahun…
Mentoring of youths comes naturally to Ojudu. The list is endless. He has nurtured numerous young ones from zero to hero, yet the list keeps growing by the day. Ojudu would rather teach to fish than keep giving fish to eat. Little wonder…

Ojudu lahun…
Of course Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory was seen as stingy. He would not dole out cheap wads for the fun of it. But in his welfarist nature, he prudentially built a race to an enviable standard. If Awolowo could do it with his lahun style for the whole of the West, one of his prodigies and a dyed-in-the-wool progressive will surely demystify poverty in Ekiti, in Awo style, given the chance.

Ojudu lahun…

Contributed by Ace Journalist, Segun Dele Dipe

 

 

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