The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL mourns the passage of Dr. Tunji Braithwaite; a Nationalist, a consistent and persistent fighter against all forms of oppression and repression, a supporter and motivator of our Coalition in the war against corruption. His passage represents a colossal loss to the activist and revolutionary community.
Dr. Tunji’s monumental contributions to the struggle for an egalitarian society are immeasurable and invaluable. He lived and died for the struggle to liberate the poor and oppressed in spite of his ‘privileged’ background.
As far back as 1978, he formed the National Advance Party, NAP, a political party with the mission of prioritizing the welfare of people in governance; he was of the ‘Awoist’ school of thought, an ardent and outspoken defender of the voiceless and the poor.
His passage is particularly painful for us in CACOL, for the roles he played in supporting actively the activities of our coalition including being the Chairman of our past 5 Annual General Meetings; intellectual support and guidance.
A strong advocate for the restructuring of Nigeria Federation, defender of women and human rights; Dr. Tunji dared and confronted the military with every ability he had, until the Khaki boys were kicked out of power and remained intolerable to civilian dictatorship afterwards, especially during the Olusegun Obasanjo regime; this informed his active participation in foiling the illegal and infamous third-term bid of the retired General.
As a humanist, his ideology was inextricably bounded with humane acts in personal, socio-political, economic and cultural relations. And his humanism was revolutionarily unrepentant and consistently against the sub-human experience Nigeria and Nigerians had been forcefully made to pass through for so long. He was persistently calling for a revolution, a system change that would rid Nigeria of ‘cockroaches and rats’ (a popular cliché of his that he regularly used to depict the rot, decay and corruption in the system).
Dr. Tunji was also a bridge builder that related with a broad section of virtually all active organisations, groups and participants in the struggle for liberation of the oppressed class. He was instrumental to the formation of Movement Of the People (MOP), led by Fela even though he was not a member, he participated in the collective struggle on other broad platforms like National Intervention Group (NIG), Nigerians United for Democracy (NUD) etc.
He thoroughly believed that only the oppressed could achieve their emancipation via struggle which informed the motto of the party he formed – ‘Our destiny is in our hands’. As revolutionary humanist he shunned irredentism and sectarianism keeping his focus of what he was convinced to be good for the vast majority.
The pains of his passage lies only in the reality that the Nigeria of his dream and the struggle to radically alter the subsisting and hitherto existing system, have neither been achieved nor consummated; the hope lies in the lessons we learnt from his contribution to the struggle, as they will continue to guide our actions in the struggle against the subsisting corrupt, oppressive and exploitative system.
Looking at the state of the nation as we celebrate the heroic passage of Dr, Braithwaite, we reiterate that Nigeria remains in a state of catastrophic equilibrium stemming from the systemic failure that has always been the bane and the clog in the wheel of progress of the nation and people; a state or situation, which Dr. Braithwaite was stoutly against till death.
It is no gainsaying to state that at the moment, Nigerians are groaning in pains under a situation where every aspect of the country’s body polity seems to be in quagmire and doldrums. The double dose of tragedy represented in the present crises in the energy and power sectors have taken majority of Nigerians to the peak of pains where life is steeply becoming more and more frustrating and hellish.
A critical and objective look at, and appraisal of the state of the Nigerian Nation at this moment reveals fogginess and confusion as the country remain in that situation where the poor ordinary working and toiling people which constitute the majority are writhing in pains almost on all plains; with a rich ruling class and their underbellies that are impervious to this reality and apparently does not ‘give a damn’.
More than 9 months after the inauguration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal government, it is pertinent to come to terms with what is real and what is fad or farce. The worst thing may not be so much about where we are coming from but much more about in which direction we are going, we dare say. And as things stand, Nigerians are more concerned with the direction the Nation is moving. And the only direction they want to go is that direction which will guarantee that the ordinary Nigerian can feed; have shelter, have access to gainful employment, education, good health care and security and to live in harmony, as simple as that, and it is for those reasons that government was instituted in the first place!
On our part, we believe the onus is on us (the oppressed poor and their organisations) to pick up the gauntlet; rededicated and recommit ourselves to the cause of the struggle as we unrepentantly continue to organise and mobilise for fundamental change in the system.
We call on and encourage all compatriots not to rest on their oars, as the struggle to liberate our country and people is a protracted one involving processes and stages. The struggle is not an event, we make bold to say! We must mobilize, organize and educate the masses to rise up against bad governance for our destiny lies in our hands.
We support the on-going anti-corruption war as we recognize corruption as a bane that has permeated almost every aspect of polity as country, a cankerworm that is deeply embedded and must be excised. The drive must continue and this is regardless of the class, social, ethnic, political or religious status of individuals or groups involved. Impunity must end!
Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, indeed was a rare kind and in a class of his own; comparable to Fela Kuti, Beko Ransome Kuti, Gani Fawehinmi, Alao Aka Bashorun etc. who were his ideological soul-mates and like them, he cannot die, for revolutionaries don’t die!
Viva Tunji Braithwaite!!
Executive Chairman, CACOL
Being the Valedictory Tribute to Dr. Tunji Braithwaite as delivered by Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, at his Funeral Programmer, 24th-28th of April, 2016