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Babatunde Rosanwo: Of partisanship and political participation


Babatunde Rosanwo: Of partisanship and political participation

by Babatunde Rosanwo

In my private and public spaces, I have been an advocate of political participation by those who so desire, as well as civic engagement by all levels of the population. The engagement and participation of young Nigerians in our political arena today is however not devoid of intrigues and disclaimers. Despite the picture of politics that our fathers have painted for us – that of a dirty game reserved for the ‘devils’ or to put it mildly, the “dregs of the society”, we all as a nation have to endure the outcome of the process, whatever it may be.

There are more than enough literatures, which have severally examined the failure of the best citizens in the society, including those loosely described as technocrats, to be a part of the political process or work for the government. We must strive however, to create a healthy balance between criticisms and our ability to put our best foot forward in ensuring that our best men and women are at the vanguard of the change we so earnestly desire.

If Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 1999 had been swayed or deterred by the negativity attached to the political terrain, he would not today walk in these shoes of highest honour as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

My observations over the years show that the collective amnesia that seems to rob our country of pragmatic thinking encourages an atmosphere for propaganda that is not backed by facts or careful unbiased research. More than often, young people at the fore front of leadership in Nigeria attempt to present themselves as non-partisan and by extension, saints who irrespective of their actions or inactions should be absolved of any culpability of the development challenges that have befallen us a nation. How did we get to this point where it has become the order of the day to hide ones political leanings and engagements just so as to look politically correct on paper?

I have no respect for Nigerians who I know are actively involved in politics one way or the other, yet claim to be non-partisan. They swing back and forth whilst unassuming and more ignorant citizens swallow their pretensions hook line and sinker.

The priority of any business enterprise or organisation, and its board of directors, is to make as large a profit as possible, financial or otherwise; it is not a welfare agency. Likewise political parties, politicians and their associates have a priority to win elections and retain positions of power and influence. Political parties are by no means charity organisations; they are primarily driven by the quest for power and control.  It is what they do with this power (if attained) that subsequently goes on to define who they truly are and what their agendas are without the glare of campaign lights.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an agenda – everyone including politicians, associates, interest groups, young people and even the voters have an agenda.  Even the so-called independents have one; they hold on their votes and swing it in any direction they please to influence the final outcome of elections. What is cynical however is the hypocritical attempt of some to take up the roles of saints as a form of smart play.

I grew up thumbing through my father’s library collection which included books covering pre independence and early Nigerian history. Quite at an early age, I had read through all of them and was debating Nigerian politics and history with my father. My interests have always centred on the particular roles any individual played in the history of Nigeria and the emergence of our democracy. By way of what we learnt in social studies classes, we all knew the historical landmarks and their outcome, but we were not taught about the specific actions of the many individuals involved in the process.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons I find it funny when the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode and Akinloyes, attempt to rewrite history by painting their own fathers as saints. They remind me of efforts by the Belgians to rewrite history as regards the crimes against humanity committed by King Leopold II in the Congo.

When Reuben Abati wrote his piece titled ‘The Hypocrisy of Yesterday’s Men’ which made reference to political office holders in the last decade, asides the personal efforts to tarnish the names of his master’s political antagonists, I saw it as a piece to reckon with by examining it from another angle.

Take for example – President Olusegun Obasanjo whose third term bid and subsequent chess-like moves led to the installation of the late President Musa Yaradua as his successor, and resulted in one of the worst leadership fiascos that Nigeria has ever experienced. This same man who opposed the June 12 elections cannot be absolved of the 1979 mathematical redefinition of what two-thirds of 19 states meant; it was quite obvious that all efforts were geared towards installing Shehu Shagari as President. The similarities between the Shagari and Jonathan regimes are nothing but outright corruption – the Augustus Meredith Adisa Akinloye champagne and the abuse of export licenses back then is in tandem with the fuel subsidy crisis of this present regime. The only difference is that there would not be a military coup; this democracy must outlive our profligate politicians and their associates.

Since 1999, the pattern has been the same for most politicians, crossing from one side of the divide to the other. The political system to a large extent allows this and the citizens have not differed at the polls on matters such as this.

But my focus is now more on the younger generation and their political engagements. I cringe in dismay at the way we unapologetically exhibit memory loss on who did what in the last decade or even the last 3 years. Building up to the 2011 general elections, the Yaradua era was an eye opener for a lot of young people. From the protests to the general elections and up until the #OccupyNigeria episode, it is rather amazing that all these have happened in the span of 3 years but somehow they do not seem to carry an overriding influence in 2013. Are young Nigerians so forgiving or so forgetful, and in so short a time?

I recently came across the leadership series being written by Chude Jidenowo which threw me into fits of laughter.  The first picture it called to mind was that of Arthur Francis Nzeribe – the affluent Oguta politician and elite of his generation who got a scholarship from the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1958 to study Marine Engineering in England. By 1960, Nzeribe – the entrepreneur – sold life insurance in Britain and later moved to Ghana to work for Kwame Nkurumah. He soon after bought his first Rolls Royce. This was a man whose company reported an annual turnover of 70 million pounds by 1979. With a reputation of selling weapons to all warring sides across several African countries, he spent N12M to win a senatorial seat in 1983. Beyond this introduction of Francis Nzeribe, what struck me about him was his open support for Ibrahim Babangida through the ridiculous Association for Better Nigeria (ABN) in 1993 when the country was yearning for a democratic regime. Yet by the turn of the decade, the same Nzeribe would become a senator – the collective amnesia was firmly in place.

An article that caught my attention from Chude Jideonwo’s New Leadership Series was the article titled “What exactly happened to the Nuhu Ribadu we fell in love with?” I quote an excerpt from it:

“He was inviting myself and another of the persons gathered to work for that campaign – no doubt giddy in the excitement that young people would automatically root for the man. I said no to that offer as with other such offers; because I had no interest at the time in politics or public service. But even if I had been open to the possibility, I would still have said no. Because I immediately knew that Ribadu the Politician was a very, very bad idea.”

Reading this came as a surprise to me and I once again saw the same elements I have described earlier manifesting in another young person who is trying to be conservative with the truth in a bid to be seen as an independent.

I have so much respect for individuals who stand by their actions and openly declare their interests but not for those who try to rewrite history especially when it is plain to see to even the blind. I have no doubt that Ribadu reached out to various youth and youth groups to work alongside him on his presidential ambition. While I opted for Buhari, some of my very good friends and associates campaigned for Ribadu. There is no law in Nigeria that forbids us from openly supporting any presidential candidate and this amongst others, helped ensure that the friendship between my friends and I remained unbroken despite our supporting different candidates at the general elections.

That Chude Jideonwo claims he rejected the offer based on the fact that he had no interest at that time in politics or public service is far from the truth. It was about choices, and President Goodluck Jonathan was the choice.

He and his organisation were actively involved in the presidential campaigns of President Goodluck Jonathan. Coupled with some active young people, they facilitated the infamous Lagos Youth lunch with the President in 2011 where money was shared openly under the guise of transport fare.

The unsolved puzzle at that moment was: how did Chude Jideonwo of “The Future Project” who claimed to be non-partisan, not interested in politics when Ribadu’s friends came calling, active on the board of the Enough is Enough Coalition (A nonpartisan platform) and also part of the “What About Us?” campaign when the same President Jonathan failed to honour a youth debate pre-2011 general elections, turn out to be the facilitator of lunch with President Jonathan? Can it be like I presume that his individual paid services from the 2011 President Goodluck Jonathan campaigns facilitated his choice as one of the conveyors of the “youth lunch”?

If Mr Jidenowo regrets his association with the Goodluck Jonathan bid, then he must come clear about it as his leadership series does allude variously to indict the competence of his friend, Mr Jonathan.

In the Ribadu piece, Chude wrote: “Mr. Ribadu returned to Nigeria in February 2012 after a hiatus to do what he knows best – find criminal activity and expose it through the Petroleum Revenue Task Force (of which he is still chairman), despite the objections of fans and critics alike. This was a perfect fit for him and a match for his abilities; except for one crucial fact he shouldn’t have missed: he didn’t have a principal whose agenda was clear. Even more, he didn’t have the power to enforce.”

The principal referred to in the quote above is no one but President Goodluck Jonathan. Other articles in the leadership series contain subtle messages of lamentations of Jonathan’s leadership style that can only be fished out if one reads between the lines. Chude Jidenowo demonstrated a poor understanding of the Ribadu for president and the person of Ribadu in the piece which can easily be associated with political naivety.

The likes of Ohima Amaize, despite his new found love for PDP, are rather of a more concise personality who can be trusted to openly demonstrate where their leanings sway. They do not claim to be nonpartisan with the hope of being able to switch sides conveniently for the sake of political benefits.

I have never been a card carrying member of any political party but will continue to openly work with any political party I share interests with. We must not frown upon participation in the polity by any means; I am more interested in a Nigeria where we the citizens will reward politicians at the polls for their performance in office.

The opposition parties must not take for granted the desire of the people to vote the ruling party out of office. Should they tow the same line as the current ruling party by selecting candidates who are not able to take the interests of the citizens into account nor deliver, I will advocate for the youth to vote neither for the ruling party nor the opposition.

There are no men without a history but our ability to glean useful information from the decisions they have made provides some of the answers we seek.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @rosanwo

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Babatunde Rosanwo is a PhD Sociology student at the Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Science where his thesis is focused on Ethnic and National Identities. He was a student union leader in his former life and mostly uses his soap box to advocate for good governance. With a passion for social change and engagement, he has worked and consulted on several advocacy projects for young people and migrants with years of experience in the non-profit sector across several countries. If he's really interested in a thing, it's likely about Africa, youth advocacy, migration, political economy or economic sociology. His hobbies are travelling, listening to music and reading.



  1. adejoke

    April 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Thank you Mr Rosanwo for this new dimension of opinion. I have been following the Chude’s series because I am an avid reader and subscriber of the Scoop.
    I have always been amazed at how forgiving or should I say forgetful the entire Nigerian populace are. The is no man without history but we just choose to look the other way and we end up shooting ourselves in the leg.
    In my own litle way,I share the information I have gnarned about govt,office holders and politics with the people in my office,local government,market,bus rides etc. This is to let them determine the pros and cons and also to let them know that ensuring good governance is a duty all of us must take on. I sincerly hope we the youths and supposed learned people will take pain to avoid monetary gain so as not to mortgage our future but do the needful to ensure that we achieve a better Nigeria.

  2. adejoke

    April 1, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Please follow back on twitter. @naomidgreatest

  3. Dolusegun

    April 1, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for this great piece. The era of kogbona kotutu style of political participation must end. Going people under the guise of seeking favors are selling their souls daily. Kudos Rosanwo

  4. Nkem Douglas

    April 1, 2013 at 9:23 am

    When a R.A.T. like Rosanwo carries on his jealousy and bitterness toward young people, when he himself is like 45 years going towards 50 and can’t point to anything he has offered his country, it is so so SAD.

    Chude Jideowno DID NOT organise any youth lunch with President Jonathan. President Jonathan is President of Nigeria (a fact that the embittered Buharist, the blood sucking jungle failed talibanic boko haramic politicians don’t want to accept) and PRESIDENT Jonathan had an GOVERNMENT event with young leaders in the country and Chude is a YOUNG NIGERIAN LEADER recognised by PRESIDENT OBAMA, PRESIDENT JONATHAN, HILLARY CLINTON, THE WORLD BANK, THE AU, THE UNN, GOVERNORS FAYEMI, ROTIMI, FASHOLA, AKPABIO, UDUAGHA, OKOROCHA, THE LATE YAKOWA, AND FORBES. Chude was invited to speak at the event (eat your hearts out) and HE DID.

    Please park well, with your bad belle and let the rest of us move towards a better Nigeria.

    Your bile is just too much.

    • Femi Rumide

      April 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Slow your roll, bro. If there is any bile being spilled here, it’s all coming from you. When Chude started his “Leadership Series”, I followed it with keen interest, but that Ribadu piece threw me off completely. How would he claim to have stayed away from politics completely when his fingers bore vivid traces of support for the incumbent? And Chude had the effrontery to publish a piece a day before the presidential election maligning Ribadu and saying he was going to “hold his nose” and vote for Buhari? Like, who is he kidding? Before this turns to a bolekaja like many would want it to be, I want to return to the spirit I believe this article was written. We must be prepared to proudly tell the world what our political leanings are. If you are PDP and not there just for the money, tell us why you are there. Don’t come out of a meeting with politicians, pocket ‘transport money’ and starting talking from both sides of the mouth. You are doing nobody a favour, least of all yourself.

    • Seyi Ogunsola (Mr Imbuya)

      April 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

      You sound exactly like the apologists, name-droppers and belligerent individuals Babatunde was talking about. The way you mentioned all the people who know Chude is so embarrasing and symptomatic of all thats wrong with Africa. The piece was for common good whether or not it offends you personally… And for that reason you should not make it look as if Chude or any other individual is bigger than criticisms or allegations.That Chude is recognized for his youth advocacy doesnt mean that they understand or endorse his character or ideals in other spheres. The way you have sought to lionize Chude is evocative of the way we make our leaders bigger than institutions in Africa, thereby acting with impunity. I wonder how you’d react if – your friend – Chude was the President.

      Yes, Babatunde might have sounded personal at times. But I being a neutral, what strikes me more is the public-spiritedness of the piece.

      • Ademola Adediran

        April 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm

        Too all yea Rollosanwo voltrons – QUESTION:
        Tell me 1, I mean ONE, achievement of this Rosanwo character. What has he contributed to this country or this world? What is his resume?

        These are pathetic losers who just hang around Twitter all day looking for who to chew up. At 45 years old, is Rosanwo not ashamed of himself to continue to tell lies against a 28 year old man who has done him now wrong??????

        Is it Chude that has kept him jobless all his life? Is it Chude that has frustrated him in his phantum Ph.D. programme where he’s not stuck in a backward-ever-forward-never. Is it Chude that pushed him into joining a disastrous blood letting political campaign?

        Has Chude tied his hands and preventing him from starting a company? Is it Chude that has told him not to prosper in life? Is it Chude that preventing him from starting his own media website? Or magazine where he can interview his own delusional Emir-President Buhari and put the 4 time failed presidential contender on the cover?

        What has Chude done to this idiotic spectacle of an excuse for a man that he has to formulate lies and present them as truth in order to disparage Chude?

        Babatunde Rosanwo – go get a life. Face your life and see if the wreck it has become can be salvaged.

        • Desson

          April 1, 2013 at 6:54 pm

          @ademola, your mouth spilling is like a town crier that lousy want to be notice in a village where no one reside. If you don’t know Rosanwo contributions to teeming Nigerian youths and his scrupulousness representing Nigeria image in and outside the Africa continent then kindly eschew from asking for his resume. He has impacted on his followers and his followers appreciate him. Create yourself a followers in a village where your stentor will be acknowledge. I will advise you to patiently learn to read carefully and ask for the writer proofs of his deposition towards Chude. Is better than hatred and animadversion toward the writer.

  5. Mary Achineku

    April 1, 2013 at 9:43 am

    I don’t care much for the Voltrom comment above but it does make a crucial point as to the inanity of this piece. I am sure Babatunde writer has a point, but as with all hack pieces, it gets lost in the midst of all the bile. What is the charge against Jidenowo exactly? That he is a businessman (as mentioned in alleged paid services) or that he worked for Jonathan and didn’t Declare? Does the writer have any proof anywhere of these accusations beneath a cover of the young man’s magazine? And has he made any cognitive point about the wrongness of either? This is such a poor piece. That isbesides its poor, awful grammar. I hope people who care about you tell you the truth.

    • Qosim

      April 1, 2013 at 10:30 am

      Madmoiselle Mary, your consistent errors or lightly put “typographical errors” kinda disqualifies you from analyzing the lexical prowess & grammatical inconsistencies of this write-up. Your person might be better-of channeling energy on skills as certified by your resumé.

  6. Qosim

    April 1, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Concise analogy; Nice piece!

  7. Favour Afolabi [FBA]

    April 1, 2013 at 10:29 am


    This would be the best of your articles that I have read; and I could have boasted that I was the one that wrote this piece…

  8. Seyi Ogunsola (Mr Imbuya)

    April 1, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Any writer who is bold enough to mention names or quote people – whether you think it smacks of vendetta or just an unwillingness to prevaricate – to drive home his point should be commended… in this part of the world where courage and sincerity are very rare. Yes he might have sounded a tad personal at times, but I fully agree with the general message of the piece.

    In Africa and Nigeria, we are too individualistic – we never want to ‘hurt our chances’, hence the individual would rather sit on the fence or say nothing altogether.

    Just yesterday, I was commending David Miliband (former Labour leader, UK) on my BB status update for resigning from the board of Sunderland FC just – and I say ‘just’ because in Nigeria people never resign even for corruption let alone mere difference in principles – because the newly appointed coach, Paolo DiCanio had previously made several political comments that were strongly against Miliband’s principles. Hence, It was with delight that I read this piece whose link I got from the writer’s BB broadcast.

    Now, that’s the kind of declaration of intentions or principles that Babatunde was talking about. Until Nigeria and Nigerians develop to the point where principles and values override individualism and parochial interests, we would not move forward.


  9. John D

    April 1, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    So following from this tenuous logic – when Chude or his organization works on an event for the Ekiti government, then he has endorsed Fayemi? Is this not insanity.
    Non-partisanship has suddenly become an accusation. Wonders!

  10. KalejaiyeT

    April 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Let me understand something. So Jideonwo somehow works for Jonathan because he interviewed him in his magazine or did some work for him (this piece alleges things vaguely so one has to piece them out). When a magazine gets a scoop interview, it means it has endorsed the interviewee? *Sigh* So Ekp Hotel endorses Jonathan when it provides him venue services?
    This ignorance makes my heart bleed. Take heart, Chude – this is why decent people sty away. Because gutter snipes like Rosanwo have little brain and so much mucus

    • Kemi

      April 1, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you, my dear.

      This Rosanwo gang of Twitter bullies are just what this country doesn’t need at this time. This is a LOSER! who can point to nothing he has built, he doesn’t even live in Nigeria, yet he is online all day, claiming to be Ph.D. student (for 5 years now) attacking anyone who is doing anything meaningful.

      The core of his silly attack on Chude is that he works for Jonathan – in what way. shape or form – he is unable to say. Then he points to an interview done in a magazine as proof and rehashes a discredited story line.

      How can someone base his entire attack on another person on a bold face lie and then he hangs around this article to attack anyone who has a different opinion.

      Rosanwo – stop the envy. It’s eating you up. YNaija unfollowed you on Twitter, you unfollowed YNaija with a bile-loaded group of tweets. Since then what has happened, nothing, the heavens did not fall.

      It’s time to move on, brother. The road you are following is making you more and more of a loser. You’ll soon pass beyond redemption point.

  11. Amanda

    April 1, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Eyah. What is ‘paining’ Rosanwo is Chude’s wildly popular, syndicated new leadership series, abi?

    Rosanwo, please do your own leadership series, start your own awards, start your own magazine, start your own website. Even, make it leadership university, write leadership books, tour the world giving leadership speeches.

    From all indication, you want to be ‘seen’ too. We see you, epele.

  12. Favour Afolabi [FBA]

    April 1, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    To all those that believe that Rosanwo is “jealous” or “beefing” Chude: you are all wrong!

    I was in the same room with Chude on the day of the Lunch with the President; and I was also accused of “collecting the N50k” which of course I had to write a full article to deny within 12 hours of the lunch!

    I am very familiar with what Rosanwo has described here – as I was also seen as a GEJ-sellout even though I was supporting Ribadu and eventually voted for him – you guys should pay attention to the larger issues here just as I have also took Pius Adesanmi and Kick Out Siddon Look to the cleaners on a similar matter that Rosanwo has addressed here…

  13. Aminu Giwa

    April 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    @John D @KalejaiyeT @Kemi @Amanda I hope you guys would soon become exhausted with these phantom names and come out in your true posture. I hope whoever is behind this computer will soon unmask him-/herself? Did the bearer not know that at this age and time some of us are sufficiently equipped to determine what IP address you’re spamming from? Do you wants us to publish your IP address and location? Maybe it’s even Chude masking behind all these names?

    • Ademola Adediran

      April 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm

      Dear Babatunde Roillerwierller AKA AMINU GIWA
      Go to heeeeeellllllllllllllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Understand that? Go to damned helllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll …

      Chude is busy planning a major youth event for the 4th – 7th of this month hosted by the Ekiti State government and you are there on your keyboard, with your fingers curled searching for IP addressed.

      Go ahead and publish what you wish. IDIOT! Baaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssttttaaaaaaarrd!

      45-year-old agbaiya! Leave somebody’s small child alone! Shameless man!

  14. babasands

    April 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Lmfao…so much bile…can’t y’all read a piece, smoke weed and be happy?

  15. AMN_R

    April 1, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    I still don’t understand why you are all attacking rosanwo,, I just don’t get it, I really don’t!! The man has said something important and I think its best yall read again and make suggestions not attacking and taking shots at him!! In as much as I believe that the struggle should take a more physical and less virtual form, I really do appreciate those who try to enlighten Nigerians so we don’t repeat the same mistake of voting in another president who once had no shoes only to become a greedy and clueless leader who is on the verge of leading us into destruction!!

    I really would love a more “in the real world” approach to this struggle! I want to see a situation whereby we would march to wherever these people hide their faces and ask them what they have done the past 3months with allocations!!! We need a more hands on approach!!

    I really don’t enjoy reading coments from people who act like they get paid for bitting back, or do you think you might get drafted from here?? So you can join em in eating the good of this country??

    Its obvious we need to think more and spend less time in defending those who probably don’t know you even exist!!!

    “Buharist”. Now that’s a fabulous joke LMAO!!!!

  16. blcompere

    April 2, 2013 at 9:00 am

    I read with so much trepidation as I assumed that I knew where you were headed. For the first time, I was wrong. I love the non inclusive approach you used but not to the extent of mentioning names knowing fully well that your clear inclination to objectivity will be lost.

    I will however suggest that allowing the reader to wholly attribute your characters independent of suggestions from you will send the salient message that you initially started home. Putting folks on the defensive deprives them of the ability to digest ant take away possible outcomes from your writing.

    In all, I salute your courage and most importantly, your wisdom.

    • Seun B

      April 9, 2013 at 9:06 am

      LMAO!!!!!!!! See insults ooooo! Actually, this is the first article of his I’m reading that I didn’t feel his bitterness and hatred, such negative energies. But, as usual, he takes it personal, loses objectivity…making this piece look like its an attack on a person, losing the noble message in the end…defeating the very purpose of what he was trying to achieve (I assume what he wants to achieve is for young Nigerians to state clearly who they support and Not that he wrote this article just to attack Chude)…it sounds like he did and the article could as well have been titled : Chude, political opportunist! I don’t see it as courage or bravery calling out Chude, not like chude would beat him or anything, he’s older( but not 45 going on 50, lol) I see it as losing focus, at best. If he can focus on issues , not personalities, I think his writing would be such a joy to read.

  17. Pingback: Of Partisanship and Political Participation | rosanwo

  18. Country man

    April 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Each one of you should export their comments to Word, print it out as well as the article and decide which is more intellectual.

  19. Nzo Ama

    April 10, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Most of the political products being marketed by marketers are unmarketable products.No matter how corrupt an elected regime, the use of the gun or some procedure that is undemocratic can not be justified. Democratic structures and mechanisms should be deployed. Whoever exhibited some iota of using methods other than democratic methods have in their blood dislike for democracy; whatever cover they may subsequently wear should be exposed and rejected. I call on Nigerians to scan all aspirants for traits that are undemocratic and reject them as they are so ex-rayed. There are many credible Nigerians who should be marketed, not those clearly are averse to real democracy OR else we continue to say it took US 200 years to arrive where it is today.

  20. Mutual Friend of Tunde and Chude (but not for long)

    April 28, 2013 at 7:29 am

    The public deserves to see Chude’s direct response to Tunde on this matter. It’s time we young ones in Nigeria stop allowing us to get carried away by foolishness. (Thanks to Tunde for copying me in)

    Dear Tunde,

    I had written this response a few weeks ago, but forgot, got very busy and I decided to let it be.
    However, a social media comment yesterday presented a good opportunity to send this again. Please find below.

    I trust you are well.

    On a Tuesday morning weeks ago, a woman I respect deeply as a role model, whose passion for God and country inspires me in a profound way called me and informed me that she read a piece you published on a website in which You sought to castigate my character by presenting wrong information about me.

    Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili counseled me to send you this mail and answer some questions which you claimed to her that you have been asking me and not getting answers.

    I have been very busy working on The Nigeria Symposium for Young & Emerging Leaders and have just found the mental space to do this.

    First, there are no questions you have which answers are not in the public arena for all who care to know. As this mail progresses, that Will become obvious. I have also copied in this mail a few mutual acquaintances as well as my partner, Adebola, who will be witnesses that I have
    restated the facts.

    Let’s also be clear that I am not sending this mail because I have Regard for what you think of me, but because I am a person who subjects himself by counsel under authority. And when high authority says I should do something, I suspend any reservation and follow wisdom. That wisdom,
    comes from Aunty Oby. I also value transparency, and pray to never find myself too haughty to be accountable.

    I have forced myself to read the said article and will put on record the following facts:

    Was I one of the organisers or ³promoters² of President Jonathan¹s Pre-Iauguration lunch with Youth Leaders in 2011? Did I or any of the organizations I work with receive any money from the any quarters for that event?
    No, on both. All I did was recommend participants which was an open process, all the people whose names I submitted to the Presidency, on request, were aware of this and most expressed their gratitude. I was asked to speak at the event, less than 24 hours to the event. I was not paid a speaking fee. I did not receive any reimbursement for my transportation or any thing whatsoever.

    I answered your questions on this on Twitter soon after the event. I
    Also issued a press statement to that effect, which was published on Sahara
    Reporters (LINK:
    0%99s-lunch-youth). So, your persisting to present a perverted version of that event with the intention to question my character is deeply suggestive of yours.

    Did I endorse presidential candidates in 2011?
    No, I did not. I did not and do not plan to in the next election. Because I run a media business and a media owner is traditionally non-partisan, I declined to work in two presidential campaigns or support a party both for conceptual and business reasons. I will almost certainly do so again
    in 2015 unless a candidate who inspires me beyond measure arrives. Being non-partisan, while maintaining my role as an active citizen who has done much for his country is a choice and it is a choice I will maintain regardless of the pressure.

    Did my company work for presidential candidates?
    Yes, we consulted for four presidential campaigns in the last elections as a communication company. All clients are welcome. Our company, Red Media, provides communications services to individuals, governments, corporate, and institutions. As you well know, nobody can endorse 4
    different presidential candidates in an election cycle. In any case, I cannot provide names of our clients or provide the details of the Service we provided to each; a professional abides by confidentiality standards.

    And the Y! Magazine cover?
    Y! Magazine is a magazine, a public document that goes out to the whole world. Like every magazine, we sell advertising and we also produce editorial content. President Jonathan¹s interview was a scoop ­- the First time our president did a sit-down interview with a lifestyle magazine, a youth magazine. And we are very proud of that milestone. It took us months of pursuit to achieve it. It wasn¹t a hidden venture. We sang it on the rooftops. Which magazine in this world interviews a president and doesn’t put the president on the cover? I don¹t even understand why that¹s an issue. Is it a crime for a person, a magazine, a company to have an association with a DEMOCRATICALLY elected public officer?

    Did my advocacy or our youth development organisation, The Future Project do any work for the Jonathan campaign?

    Has my company worked for government or have governments or government institutions as its client?
    Yes, and it will continue to – our business is media, all legitimate clients are welcome. That I even have to explain this to anyone when That is the nature of business globally is deeply offensive, but I respond in obedience. We mention the clients we have worked for on our website
    (with their permission), our press releases, all our public statements, our company brochure, et al. (I still don¹t understand how this is an issue.)

    I will address two other issues I am very loathe to because they are private business matters that I don’t answer to you for, but Dr. Ezekwesili mentioned them, so I will:

    Hauwa Gambo
    This is a Strategic Editorial Decision that our media organization decided to make, a global practice I might add. Hauwa Gambo’s complete anonymity for the past 3 years is deliberate – and her being widely admired in the public space ­proves our smart choice. Just as with Talato Alamu of The Nation, WWD in the US, etc, my good man, a simple Google search will show you that this is global media practice – in the UK, a dog has a column (for The Lady), and the magazine insists that he actually writes it himself. Who Hauwa Gambo is, whether she chooses to unveil herself or not in the future ­ the mystery ­ has added to the success of her brand. Deal with it.

    Work for Ministries
    We write on our website and ³boast² about the Ministry of Finance as being our client as we do for other ministries who we have worked for.We have sent press releases to Nigerian and global media on behalf of the Ministry and the minister. There¹s nothing hidden about our company
    providing communication services to the ministry and other ministries, and nothing to hide. Ministries, like political candidates and elected or appointed government officials, are a legitimate legal entity and anybody is free to provide serves to them, to receive payment
    for that service and to maintain the integrity of business transactions.

    By His grace, we run a thriving communication business for clients from Etisalat to Google, British Council to Nigeria Idol and others. We are professionals with years of experience in the Nigerian Media industry working for others and 8 years of running our business. You cannot ask me to come and tell you the details of my clientele and what they pay me or to declare on social media that I have won a new client every time we do.

    Might I add that after the public stand we took against the fuel subsidy, we lost some accounts. I didn’t come to Twiiter to rant, looking for glory and praise for ³bravery². Our principles are our principles.

    You see Tunde, our active citizenship has cost our company a lot but that is fine – that is who we are. God is in charge. I ask for neither your praise nor your admiration.

    Like I did with my statement to SR in 2011, if you have any evidence that ANY of this is untrue, can you please provide same and I challenge anyone to do same? And if you do not, please do the proper thing and apologize for these terrible lies that you proclaimed with such authority. But, I
    have learnt that the character it takes to apologize for a wrong done, is the same character it takes to pursue and state only facts.

    I have chosen to make this mail private because even though I know it will answer the questions of many more people, I cannot make myself appear unprofessional by discussing the specifics of my businesses in the public space. We have many years ahead of us and we think in the long term.

    It is my hope that after these clear answers, you will find some peace. I will say no more on this matter.

    Thank you for your time and I thank those copied in for theirs.

    I continue to wish you all the best and to pray that God grants us our righteous heart’s desires.


    • Seun B

      April 28, 2013 at 8:05 am

      Hmmm…publishing a private email. Smh. This is wrong. However, I hope the accuser of the brethren finally finds peace with this reply. If not, he should write another article addressing it using another topic as a cover-up. Lol. All sorta jokes on SM.

    • Chude

      April 28, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Thanks for sharing this Aziza.

  21. EE

    April 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    It needs to be said that Chude Jideonwo has already said on Twitter that this comment above from a ‘Chude’ is not him. He is out in the UK and a simple trace of this IP will show it did not originate from him. God help us.

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