– A DEPENDABLE ALLY & CONSISTENT ACTIVIST!
1. The Joint Action Front (JAF) expresses its grief and deeply felt condolence on the painful and untimely demise of Comrade Francis Bamidele Aturu, widely revered among the circles of comrades as BF, who passed on July 9, 2014 after a brief illness.
- Comrade BF is to JAF a dependable ally who handled freely and selflessly as a duty and devoid of complaints and arrogance, all legal emergencies of JAF. He was a prominent figure in several struggles since 2003 in which JAF collaborated with its labour partners – Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) under the platform of Labour and Civil Society Coalition (LASCO) against hike in fuel prices and the wicked policies of privatisation and deregulation; and those independently organised by JAF to Save Public Education, to support the Lagos State Medical Doctors, in defence of the rights of Pensioners to a living Pension, in solidarity with Lagos Okada Riders, etc.
- His ideology and politics as a socialist defined the essential Comrade BF as a student activist, conscientious fighter, legal practitioner, educator, organiser, columnist, public commentator, counsellor, pastoral activities as a Redeemer, etc; and his invaluable contribution to various pro-working people and human rights organisations, his professional drive and religious inclination in his short but exemplary and principled life of activism.
- President of the Students’ Union of Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo State where he graduated in Physics in 1988 before proceeding to Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). Ile-Ife to read Law, Comrade BF was the Vice President Special Duties in the 1986/87 executives of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). Equally, Comrade BF served alongside with Comrade Jiti Ogunye – as the Deputy – as the last Secretary-General of the defunct Patriotic Youth Movement of Nigeria (PYMN) from 1993 - 94. The PYMN was the ideological core movement of the Nigerian students responsible for the glorious era and legacy of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) from the creation of NANS in 1979 to 1994.
- Comrade BF belonged to the Socialist Congress of Nigeria (SCON) from inception in 1986 and had mutually beneficial relationship with members of several other socialist tendencies such as the Socialist Revolutionary Vanguard (SRV), Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), Socialist Workers Movement (SWM), Socialist Workers League (SWL) and pro-democracy organizations across the country towards the socialist transformation of Nigeria. His practical activist activities were majorly through the Democratic Alternative on whose platform he contested as the gubernatorial candidate in the Lagos State Governorship election in 2007. Also he worked with Women in Nigeria (WIN) to defend the essential cause of women liberation from the socialist perspective beyond the tokenism of Affirmative Action.
- He was the founder President of National Association Labour Lawyers – an organisation focused on rallying lawyers to defend the interest of workers and the artisans. Worked with and defended as a Counsel infringements of workers’ rights and abuses by Government and private sector employers against members of several labour unions and organisations including the NLC, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) and Medical Guild of Lagos State, students from various schools, Okada riders, Chairperson of Board of Social Action based in Port Harcourt, etc.
- Comrade BF was in November 2010 the Guest Speaker of the 14th Kolagbodi Memorial Lecture on the “Nigerian Labour Movement and the Making of an Authentic Constitutional Framework for the Development of Nigeria”. He has to his credit several opinion papers on labour issues and constitutional law and had served as a member of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Committee of Experts on the Review of Nigerian Labour Laws.
- Comrade BF was part of the Campaign for Democracy (CD) at inception in 1991 and left with other socialists in SCON in February 1994 following the split on the ideological direction of CD at the Ibadan Convention to form and became a member of the leadership of the Democratic Alternative (DA) envisaged to bid for political power. Also, Comrade BF was in the frontline of the struggle at different levels including his leadership role as Vice President of Democratic Alternative (DA) in the South West, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), Civil Society-Prodemocracy Network, Citizens’ Forum for Constitution Reform (CFCR).
- Second National Convener of the United Action for Democracy (UAD) from November 2002 to February 2005 who led several resistance campaigns against the President Obasanjo civilian dictatorship, Comrade BF would be eternally remembered for his imprints in several socialist platforms as a major figure in the All Nigerian Socialist Conference held in Benin in 2003, the All Nigerian Socialist Alliance (ANSA) reactivated on October 27th 2005 at the burial of his long standing comrade and friend – Chima Ubani. He functioned as a Trustee of the Chima Ubani Endowment Fund and as the greatest supporter of Chima’s family until his demise.
10. As a consistent fighter on the side of the oppressed classes, Comrade Bamidele Aturu alongside Comrade Mma Odi led the NATIONAL CIVIL SOCIETY COALITION AGAINST THIRD TERM (NACATT) inaugurated on December 6, 2005 on an advocacy campaign against the Third Term bid of President Obasanjo, who had .plotted to tamper fundamentally with the 1999 Constitution by seeking a third term in office contrary to the express provision of the constitution stipulating only two terms for the office of the president, governors and their deputies. Also, he employed public advocacy to engage the prevalence of the decadent Nigerian State through his regular and incisive writings in several newspapers as a frontline columnist and commentators on national and local issues on the electronic media.
- In his undying love for the emergence of popular democracy in Nigeria, Comrade BF initiated in 2008 and sustained till date an annual public Law and Social Development discourse located in the constituencies of the legal profession and the civil society as a defining platform to challenge the policy environment.
- We in JAF vow to pursue until victory the struggle for socialism, which Bamidele Aturu resolutely stood for. We shall always cherish his revolutionary commitment, forthrightness and humility, a truly human and humane comrade. ADIEU Comrade BF.
JAF Chairperson JAF Secretary