|Baba Aye; New UAD Helmsman|
United Action for Democracy, UAD, Nigeria’s foremost coalition of Pro-democracy organizations, now has a new leadership headed by a renowned labour and human rights crusader, Comrade Baba Aye. The new leadership emerged on Saturday, November 23 through an election conducted during the 9th National Convention of the coalition held in Benin, the Edo state capital. Also elected to steer the ship of the coalition for the next 2 years with the new Convener, Baba Aye include Abdul Yusuf as the deputy National Convener, Zulu Ofoelue as the General Secretary Jide Afolabi as the National treasurer and Styvn Obodoekwe as the National publicity Secretary.
The new Exco was inaugurated after the election, same day and the immediate past leadership headed by Comrade Jaye Gaskia formerly handed over to the newly elected officers. The inauguration was facilitated by a former UAD Convener, Comrade Taiwo Otitilayo.
Congratulating the new team, Jaye Gaskia noted that since its formal inauguration at the 1st convention on May 17th 1997; the UAD has maintained a standard of having smooth transition from one leadership team to another without hitch.
This, according to him, is commendable as it shows that under the UAD, a movement has been built under the abiding principle of building collective leadership, such that the coalition can continue to renew its leadership without threatening its existence and the militant activism it is noted for since inception.
He promised to give all necessary supports to the new leadership in the organisation’s consistent and principled struggle for system change adding that the members of the coalition have always been working for the growth and success of the coalition whether they hold leadership position or not.
On his own part, Taiwo Otitilayo who handed over to Jaye as Convener, expressed satisfaction that UAD has remained a dominant voice and force clamouring for system change as a way of liberating the country from the suffocating grip of conscienceless ruling class. He charged the new team to always bear in mind that the oppressed masses of Nigeria are looking up to UAD to deliver the society from the hands of the oppressive ruling class. “I trust that Baba Aye and his team will remain faithful and committed to the tradition and standard established by the UAD in the consistent demand for system change”, submitted Otitilayo.
In his inaugural speech, Baba Aye, on behalf of the new exco, thanked the delegates at the Convention for counting him and his team worthy to coordinate the activities of the UAD in the next 2 years. He stated that although the leadership has been placed on his shoulders, every member of the coalition should see himself or herself as one of the UAD leaders as the success of the coalition rests on the members. He promised to ensure that those who reposed on him and his team, the confidence to steer the ship of the coalition would never be disappointed. “The interests and tradition of the UAD as well as the interest of the Nigerian masses will remain our guiding principle and watchword; we will maintain the high standard established by our predecessors”, said Baba Aye.
Few hours after the inauguration of the new leadership, Baba Aye led the UAD to pay a condolence visit to the family of the late former ASUU leader, Prof Festus Iyayi, who was killed by the convoy of Kogi state governor, Idris Wada on his way to Kano for ASUU meeting. UAD was received at the late Iyayi’s Benin residence by some of his children on Sunday Morning during the visit. The UAD Convener, Baba Aye and a former Convener, Comrade Abiodun Aremu told the family that the coalition was at the residence of Prof Iyayi to pay tribute to him in recognition of his immeasurable contributions towards the struggle for a better society. They described the death of Iyayi as a big loss to the human rights community given his commitments and principled stance on the struggle for system change. They urged the family and the human rights community not to allow the death of the committed comrade to weigh them down, saying that the greatest honour to be done to Iyayi is to ensure that the light of the struggle he left behind is not allowed to quench. Condolence register was signed by the coalition.
National Publicity Secretary