Thursday, 10 July 2014

Tribute: Bamidele Aturu Was A Hero And Will Always Remain A Hero

Late Bamidele Aturu

By Kayode Ajulo

His death is more than a rude shock to me. Its a death too many and once again we've lost another committed and genuine activists.

Bamidele Aturu came to prominence as a freedom fighter against dictatorship and power abuses when, as a member of the National Youth Service Corps, he refused to shake the hand of a military administrator  of Niger State, Col. Lawan Gwadabe in 1988 during his NYSC passing out parade declaring that the military had caused great harm to the democratic aspirations of Nigerians.

This was a time when ASUU was prescribed by the Babangida Military Admnitration.

He was an advocate for the oppressed and the mighty; he lent his voice for President Jonathan during the health saga of the late President Yaradua. He was in and out of the court to ensure the constitutional desirability of ensuring that President Jonathan then Vice President became Acting President.

Infact he supported my attempt to commit the Cabinet members of Yaradua's Federal Executive Council to prison for contempt of court at Federal High Court, Abuja.

And when the desirable was done, he moved on and in all our conservations thereafter, he never mentioned or complained of not being patronized by President Jonathan.

We met in London sometimes ago at Ben Tv Station where we were led discussants on "Kayode Ogundamisi's Politricks" on Nigeria Issues, he remained his ebullient self.

I remembered raising his NYSC discharge Certificate issue, which he dismissed on the ground that when the time comes the authority will give him his certificate with honour, today he's dead. His dream died with him.

I wish President Jonathan had made his dream true, it is however not too late, the desirable could still be done by the President as there is no better time to return his NYSC Certificate with honour than now.

Bamidele Aturu was a hero and will always remain a hero, a courageous fighter as well as a prayer warrior. A man of simple means. He used all he had to propagate progressivism and egalitarianism even on the pulpit. 

Adieu my brother.

1 comment:

  1. I got to know Bamidele Aturu whilst in Ife - OAU where we were both leading student activists in the late 80's and early 90's during a particularly turbulent period in the country's history. An era of major upheaval against the dictatorship of Ibrahim Babangida with the student movement at the forefront of the struggle. We fought together playing a key role in major national student uprisings against a debauched and visionless dictatorship representing an equally degenerate ruling class. After University while working as an organising secretary of a militant trade union in Lagos National Union of Public Corporation Employees (NUPCE) we also collaborated in the Campaign for Democracy during the heady days following the annulment of the June 12 election in 1993 when the CD played a decisive role between June and August 1993 in mobilising millions on to the street to confront and ultimately overthrow Babangida's dictatorship. I did not agree with him on many things, infact right from school we disagreed on most things and were constantly at loggerheads and at times daggers drawn in the student union and within the Campaign for Democracy as I always found myself to his left on quite a few issues. However his personal courage was never in doubt and his commitment to fighting for what he believed in was clear. Personally charming, very eloquent, exceptionally intelligent with an encyclopaedic memory for facts, faces and people, and with a great, for an activist of that period, great sense of humour, opponent or friend there was never a dull moment when he was around. He had the unusual ability to see the humorous side in everything and a refreshing ability to poke non hostile fun at everyone including himself Always ebullient, never downcast - he was the perhaps one of the few activists of the period who could passionately disagree with an opponent, then greet the same person with a wide genuine smile and authentic warmth the day after, without apologising for the previous days disagreement. Perhaps not as organisationally skilled as Chima Ubani another titan of the period, nor as tough minded as Emmanuel Ezeazu, as oratorically gifted as Ogaga Ifowodu, and without the intense personal magnetism of Bamidele Opeyemi or Luke Aghanenu, he beat them all for charm and chutzpah (very difficult, infact almost impossible to outflank in an argument - even if he was loosing it!!). Personally generous to a fault - he had a good heart. He will be missed. My love to his wife and children. - Kola Odetola


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