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As Governor, I’ll Bring Back Prosperity to Osun State – Hon. Femi Kehinde



By Eric Elezuo

By September 2018, a new governor will emerge in Osun State to replace Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who will be completing his eight years mandate then. Consequently, the Osun political circle is saturated in the bid to find a suitable of more suitable replacement with a great number of aspirants expressing their interest.

Among the many contenders is Barrister (Hon) Femi Kehinde, a remarkable former House of Representatives member, whose sound political and economic analysis of Osun State gives him an immediate edge to be governor.

Meeting him at his Ikeja, Lagos, office, Barr Kehinde expresses the humility that is tantamount to taking anyone to any great heights. Devoid of airs or attendant arrogance, he cuts the picture of a steward who is ready to serve, not out of pretension but from the genuineness of heart. And when he opens his mouth to talk about the needs of Osun State, and strategies to meeting the needs, one would readily cast his vote for him. He is a fountain of knowledge, and a great reservoir of wisdom.

Barr Kehinde is running for the gubernatorial position of Osun State under the guiding star of the Action for Democracy; a party he says is stronger than ever. In this interview, he made governance look simpler than ABC, meticulously stating the panacea for poverty, and the roadmap to prosperity. Enjoy:

Can we meet you sir?

I am Honourable Barrister Femi Kehinde. And as the name implies, I am a legal practitioner. I have been in law practice for over 35 years. I am a native of Ile-Ogbo in Aiyedire Local Government in Iwo division of Osun state. I was born on November 3, 1959 to the family of Samuel Adebisi Kehinde and Chief Mrs. Elizabeth Wulematu Aduke Kehinde from Gbogan, who was until her passage, the Iyalode of Gbogan Land.

I started my early education in Ibadan being the son of a ‘nomadic’ police officer, and I relocated to Gbogan; where I finished my primary education at the Saint Paul’s Primary School, Gbogan in 1972. I attended Olugbo Community High school, Ipetumodu; also in Osun State between 1973 & 1977. I came out with a division 1 certificate. Thereafter, I had a brief stint at the Ibadan Polytechnic for A-level education and subsequently was admitted to the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University in 1978. I was in the Department of History for two years, between 1978 & 1980, before I relocated to the Faculty of Law where I qualified as a lawyer in 1983.

What prompted your relocation from History to Law?

Well, my father was a police man and when I was young, I had accompanied him on one or two occasions to court sessions. During my secondary school days, apart from being the best student in school; I was also very good in History, Literature, and in art subjects. My colleagues in school call me Justice; predicting my future career. When I got admission, fortunately, we were the first set of Nigerians that would sit for JAMB exam in 1978. Hitherto, what we had was concessional examination; you sit for as many exams as possible in the few universities we have then, which were not up to 10. So, when I was in History in Ife, I was elected a member of the Student Representative Council (SRC). From the SRC, some members would be appointed to the judicial council; I was fortunate to be among those that would be in the judicial council, even as a student of History. I now saw the students of Law bamboozling us with big grammar. And I said to myself, I can perform better; and I started the process transferring from History to Law.

Can we say passion prompted you?

Yes, it was passion to be a lawyer, and be like Obafemi Awolowo. As of that time, I had read the biography of Obafemi Awolowo. I saw his foray into politics, to law profession, and into journalism; and I said I want to be like Obafemi Awolowo. As a matter of fact, when I qualified as a lawyer, I did my law practice in the law firm of Obafemi Awolowo in 1984, because I looked up to him as an idol, and I see him as an iconic figure, I saw his life as worthy of emulation. Ever since, I’ve had my career in law profession. I would summarise and say History is my passion, Law is my profession, and Politics is my vocation.

31 years after Obafemi Awolowo died; did you see yourself living this status?

I believe that Awolowo’s life is exemplary; be it in conduct or in discipline; his life was patterned on self-discipline; that is how we describe his life. He is strictly principled and highly resourceful, brilliant, and if you look at his life at the age of 8, he wrote in front of his father’s house “To laugh at infirmity or deformity is nullity; that’s was the language coming from a toddler, and I believe that from that age, you begin to capture your life.

Let me give you an example of Harold Wilson; one of the best British Prime Ministers. At the age of 10, Harold Wilson went with his father to number 10 Downing Street, which is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Britain. He asked his father for a photo shot. He had a shot with his father at the age of 10 and prophetically told him that he would end-up in that house as a Prime Minister of Great Britain, and he accomplished that dream. So I saw in Awo somebody of the status of Harold Wilson. Now, it may be possible for people of our generation to match that feat, we would look at his life as a life worthy of emulation, but the attainment may not be too easy, because of the way we live today and because of the level of moral decay in the society that we are in.

This level of moral decay, can we attribute it to one of the reasons you wish to be the governor of Osun State?

Yes! When we were in the primary school there were some written write-ups that were compulsory for daily recitation. Examples are ‘Ise logun ise’, which was a poem by J.F. Odunjo, and some few others. Those were our moral pathfinders. When you want to leave your house in the morning, your parents will remind you ‘ranti omo eni ti iwo nse’ (remember the son of who you are) as if you don’t know the lineage of your parents. Those were what made us the men that we are today. You could not imagine wearing an apparel or cloth that were not bought for you by your parents, today, ladies buy handset in school for their parents. So you can see a complete departure from Nigeria of yesterday to Nigeria of today. I have written about the life of so many Nigerians; I wrote the history of Samuel Oladoke Akintola. I wrote the life; travails and challenges of Obafemi Awolowo. I’ve written about Oba Olatoro Olagbegi, that was a monarch in Iwo two times. I wrote about Oba Adetoyese Adeoye Timi of Ede land. I wrote about so many Nigerians, including the late Justice J. I. C. Taylor. I wrote about the Ibadan strong man of Politics in the 50s that is Adekofi Adegbala, and so many other Nigerians. In the course of these researches, I also took a lot from their lives and I believe with this knowledge if I get that opportunity by the grace of God to be governor of Osun state, I can right all the wrongs I have seen.

One, Awolowo as Premier did not live a flamboyant lifestyle. He did not live in government quarters; he lived in Okebola in Oke-Ado. He did not ride in an official car; he rode throughout in his own car, without dispatch riders. He did not stay in office above the official working hours, and he worked with the young and the traditional institution. In his cabinet, there were five traditional rulers that were non-portfolio ministers. His government was life in abundance; provided free education 1954; free health services; rural intervention; food and employment. Any government that provides these is certainly providing a life of comfort for the society. He has farm settlements, and those there encourage the youths to go into agriculture. There were plantations like palm oil, cocoa, rubber, cashew, etc. There was growth and development. We had oil palm factory in Okitipupa in Ogun State. Agriculture brought industrialization; these are the formula we are going to use. I am going to, by the grace of God, bring prosperity back to Osun state. We have the largest gold deposit in the entire south western part of Nigeria. But the mine is under illegal miners. We want to take very serious advantage of this opportunity by partnering with the Federal Government. We would pay fees and royalties to government, we would encourage investors to bring in equipment and we would have understanding with them in partnership. The mine deposit in Ilesha according to geological survey, IS worth about $2 billion, and the mining depth, unlike in South-Africa or Ghana, is just about 100 meters. In South-Africa, you will dig as much as 400-500 meters; in Ghana, you will go as 200-300 meters, but our mine is surfaced; you will not travel beyond 100 meters to hit the real gold. Because what they prospect now with local equipment like digger, shoves and others cannot get them the real gold, what they get are just flakes. So, we are going to leverage on this advantage. We are going to massively encourage agriculture as a business. In Osun today, Erimo part in the Ijesha area are beautiful lands for rice production. Farmers have been taken out of these farms because of disturbance from birds. We are going to synergise and partner with farmers by providing modern seedlings, fertilizer, and utilities that will drive away such nuisances from the farm land. If birds could not disturb rice production in Kebbi state, why in Osun state. We are going to have rice mills. The partnership between Lagos and Kebbi states has brought prosperity to Kebbi State. They have just bought rice mill of about N8 billion naira; no single rice mill in Osun state. We are going to massively invest in cassava, yam and coco-yam. You know cassava alone has 14 ingredients, among of which is Ethanol and Nigeria still import Ethanol. Also, we are going to encourage the tourism potential of Osun state. The Osun festival has been given a UNESCO standard and approval but have we leverage on that opportunity? On my visit to the palace of Otaoja of Oshogbo, I told him we are going to enhance tourism in the state, and ensure the river provides opportunity for boat regatta. And I am going to work on the Erimo tourist site, which is a gory sight now. I want to draw exemplary leadership from the committee of nations that are doing well.

“We would reduce wastage in government and bring the state back to God. In the entire landscape, Osun is the only state that gives holiday to traditional worshippers. We are going to massively engage our youths in gainful employment”

How do we do this? We would reduce wastage in government and bring the state back to God. In the entire landscape, Osun is the only state that gives holiday to traditional worshippers. We are going to massively engage our youths in gainful employment. The world is moving away from white collar job, we want out youths to believe in themselves, and the opportunities that are derivable in entrepreneurship. These, by God’s grace we are going to do. We are going to leverage on what we have to put smiles on people’s face.

Looking at Osun state, what do you think is lagging or lacking that would make one want to take over the leadership?

Government is continuity. I keep saying that I am not interested in the past but I am interested in the future. And whatever that is not right on the table, we are certainly going to put them right. If we begin to talk about what we see in Osun state today, for example, teachers are been owed 36 months; in the hospital there are no equipment and so many other things. We want to engage the society to bring a better day, a better future, and put smiles on faces of our people. There are about 2837 cosmopolitan communities in Osun state, the advantage of this is that there could be opportunity in co-operation; co-operative farming, co-operative society and several others. Also, it means because of that advantage you can earn a living, and we can only do this by encouraging our youths and providing them with necessary implements. If Malaysia could come to the western region to pick palm seedling, and they are now the largest exporter of palm oil in the world, then you will believe something is wrong. In Rwanda today, despite the tragedy of the civil war, they have the best airline in Africa. Parents are now withdrawing their wards from private to public schools. I had all my education in Osun state. In Osun today, there are communities that you can only access through Ilorin; you have to travel to Kwara state before they can get to these communities in the state. I don’t want to be bothered; I want to face the main thing. No government is a complete failure but what they have done that is not good, we would leverage on it and correct them.

Luckily, I am not running on their party platform because the world has moved beyond that. It is no longer the party but the person. Alliance for Democracy (AD) is the party that took me to National Assembly in 1999.

Why choose to run under an unpopular party?

I am a founding member of the AD just like Asiwaju or anybody; we all joined the party and got opportunity from that party to go to higher places. AD did not die nor was it deregistered. Some people left AD to move elsewhere like AC that metamorphoses into ACN and APC. And you will not see progressive tendency if you want to follow the idea and ideals of Obafemi Awolowo. AD exists as a party; some of our leaders did not leave the party and they are still there. It is not the size-strength of a party that wins the election. There was no Labour Party in 2007 when Mimiko picked that ticket and against all odds and permutation, he became the Governor of Ondo State. The last election in Anambra state, it was not APC or PDP that won; it was APGA. In France, Macron won the election even as an independent candidate because he left the popular party and delivered a message of new beginning; and he is today the President of France. Nobody ever gave Donald Trump a chance in the last US election. So, all powers belong to God but it is dynamism, and centre play of forces; and those forces are usually physical or spiritual. But, I am so passionate about my belief in God.

How do you want to match the likes of Aregbesola and Omisore’s candidates in terms of money?

I believe there would be interplay of forces and dynamics that would make money irrelevant. Today, with the dynamism of our youths, money is becoming irrelevant in electoral contest. I was with the Igbo community in Osun state to canvass, and they told me money has failed. When someone gives you N1000 for vote which is equivalent to 64 kobo per day, and would not give you give no good governance or drugs in our hospital. There are quite a lot of things to do.

Do you take into cognizance that you can’t do it alone; without people?

It is just one man that changed the fortune of Rwanda. It is one man – Obafemi Awolowo with good lieutenants that did all the magic including bringing the first of things like television in Africa, first stadium in Africa, first secretariat and many others. It is only one person.

How do you intend to go about bad influence in your governance?

In collective governance, there must be a shadow on everybody. Even Awolowo refused to approve one of his ministers’ bills in UK just to dissuade other ministers from coming for approval of unnecessary money. This and many others made him decisive. Also, the western region was the first to have an embassy in London, which we called Agent General; and our first agent general is Okorodudu followed by Toye Coker. Those were the beautiful days, and I want to emulate those days because they are possibilities. The Nigerian Constitution made compulsory only one minister for the executive, which is the attorney general, therefore you can decide to do away with some ministers. To cut the cost, if a minister is not doing well, one can remove him. And I am also an apostle of parliamentary democracy, because the present presidential system that we run cannot successful bring prosperity to the economy. It certainly cannot, it is expensive unlike the parliamentary where the legislature and executive are almost fused. You cannot be a minister unless you are member of the parliament. What I am saying is that the number of ministers we have would not have tasted such opportunity, because you must come from a constituency through election, and that is why we are not getting it right.  We need to erect a system that would reduce cost of running for election and I believe the modern evolution should look at it. We should have a home grown constitution; tested and authentic. We need to redefine Nigeria; we need to redefine the concept of good governance; we need to make governance less attractive as it was in the days of our fore fathers.

“I was distinguished by my level of performance in having an effective parliament. I was highly formidable in the law making process, and I think I have landmarks. I was not a docile legislator, not a sitting legislator, I was an active legislator”

What were the things that make up your score cards in the four years you spent in the House of Representatives?

In the four years, my duty mainly was representation; followed by legislation. The duty of providing fertilizers and bore-holes and others are executive functions. In the four years, I was distinguished by my level of performance in having an effective parliament. I was highly formidable in the law making process, and I think I have landmarks. I was not a docile legislator, not a sitting legislator, I was an active legislator.

Was there any particular developmental project you undertook in your constituency?

In my constituency, we had opportunities of rural electrification; and I want to say I electrified some communities in my constituency; Oburo, Asa, Iwo Oke, Ajagba and some other communities; those are all in the Iwo local government – also in Ayedire Local Government, Oke-Osun. Aside from that, I provided opportunities for foreign investment and scholarships from my little resources. And doing this, I did not contemplate a future of becoming a governor. I was doing it as a call to service and duty. I am happy today that I have a reference point and that is just being a legislator. You can imagine what one will do if I have the executive power.

By next year you will be 60; how do you see yourself running against young candidates?

I am the young candidate. I am still in my 50s; if I become governor in September, I would still be in my 50s and I believe that I am the best mid-gap between the young and the old; because I understand the language and travails of the old. And if I become governor by God’s grace, I am going to establish old people’s home, and before now I have even identified spots, unused building, public and private building that are abandoned. I want to take care of the aged because they become the most vulnerable in their old age, and unfortunately, the government is not even paying their pension not to talk of gratuity. Therefore, I have the opportunity of just living the life of the old and preparing to enter the age of 60. I still have mental faculty, I am a lawyer, writer, author, and publisher.

Photo credit: Ken Ehimen

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Boss Picks

High Society Celebrates Veteran Journalist, Dele Momodu at 63




By Eric Elezuo

Dele Momodu, without an iota of doubt stands tall among those who have been diligent in businesses, and it is therefore, no surprise that he has stood, and is still standing not just before kings but with kings. The celebration of his 63 years birthday was another clear instance to prove how outstanding, connected and downrightly influential Aare Dele Momodu is.

Celebrated in his modest London home, Momodu’s 63 years birthday proved to be another melting point for the who is who in the society to further reach out to the man, many have christened Mr Principles. Both online and in person, the cream de la cream of the society ensured that the classic writer had the best of days.

At his home in London, the small crowd of well wishers witnessed a cameo appearance that will remain indelible in their minds. That was the unexpected visit of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the just concluded Presidential Election, Mr. Peter Obi. Obi’s presence proved Momodu’s continuous sermon of politics without bitterness. Others in attendance were Pastor Tobi Adegboyega, Mr. Yemi Edun, Fintech specialist, Dozy Mmobuosi, Princes Adedamola and Adeyemi Aderemi, Chairman Dan Ngerem and wife, and many others.

Born Ayòbámidélé Àbáyòmí Ojútelégàn Àjàní Momodu on May 16, 1960, some 63 years ago, Chief Dele Momodu as he is known in the business circle, and Bob Dee, in the social stage, is by every standard a man who is diligent in his business. And it is no wonder that he has not only stood before kings, he had and continues to dine with kings. There is practically no influential person that Dele Momodu does not know across the length and breadth of Nigeria, Africa and on the inter-continental stage. He is that large!

Most men who had gone far in life are products of instructions well taken, and among such rare breeds is the man who has grown in leaps and bounds to become Chairman/CEO of Ovation Media Group, and creating a tripod publication namely Ovation International, a magazine that has given publicity to people from all over the world, and reflected the true of Africa; Ovation TV and The Boss Newspaper online, which he officially launched in 2015.

By every standard a rare breed, Momodu is many things in one; journalist/publisher, businessman, philanthropist, actor, politician and motivational speaker. Among all these he considers himself simply as a reporter, and even with a retinue of seasoned staff still ventures into the field to scoop exclusives. Those who have referred to him as a workaholic are not far from the truth. Even he, himself has an oft quoted line thus “those who come from poor background cannot afford to sleep too much”.

A beacon of the Momodu family, Dele, the last of three siblings, was ‘privileged’ to lose his father at the age of 13, and was therefore sentenced to the complete tutelage of his mother, and sometimes relatives. His mother became practically his mentor, teacher  and soulmate until she passed away on May 18, 2007, two days after Dele’s 47th birthday. According to him, one of the many morals his mother, who he revered next to God, taught him, is never to despair even when times are tough. Even in her near poverty state, Dele maintained that ‘she didn’t give up on me.’

The accomplished journalist, whose first name was derived from Ayobamidele, meaning “my joy has followed me home”, is a proud 1982 graduate of the University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) where he obtained a degree in Yoruba Language, and followed it up in 1988 with a master’s degree in English Literature.

He kicked off his professional career as a lecturer at the Oyo State College of Arts and Science in Ile-Ife, between 1982 and 1983 while serving as a corps member. He went on to become the private secretary to the former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Chief Akin Omoboriowo, a position he held from 1983 till 1985. In 1986, he was elevated to serve the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, managing his Motel Royal Limited.

A genuine seeker of academic knowledge, Momodu resigned soonest and pursued a post-graduate degree in English Literature. It was during this time that his multi-tasking ability was brought to the fore as started contributing articles to popular brands likes The Guardian, Sunday Tribune and others.

Better known as Bob Dee among friends and colleagues, Momodu is not a stranger to awards and honours as he has received hundreds for his work in the world of business, politics, literature, the music industry as well as the fashion industry. On July 30, 2016, Dele was awarded with an honorary doctorate degree (PhD) from the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana, earning him the title “Doctor of Humane Letters”.

A fiery and fearless writer, Dele has for years been writing a weekly column, Pendulum, published every Saturday on the back page of Thisday newspaper, which he piloted as the founding editor, and TheBoss Newspaper. The articles have been compiled into two volumes of a must read books titled ‘Pendulum: The Writings of Dele Momodu’, and was launched in July 2018.

Momodu’s articles are noted for highlighting issues in Nigeria, as well as ‘discussing popular topics, current events and famous people, often in a polemic style’. He has used this means to bring about fundamental changes in national and world politics. His down to earth analysis in his write-ups has made it possible for him to remain neutral and factual at all times, thereby keeping no enemies. He gave Buhari his support through Pendulum and renounced his support through the same means when he realised the President has failed in steering the country to greatness as earlier envisaged.

In May 1988, Momodu started his journalism journey when he was employed as Staff Writer with African Concord magazine, owned by late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola. he did not just blend with the job, he blended with Chief Abiola, who became the epicentre of his new life philosophy. He highly highlighted this era when he celebrated his ’30 years of living and working in Lagos in 2018. The two part volumes were published in The Boss Newspapers.

A year later, he was transferred to Weekend Concord as a pioneer staff. He wrote the first cover story for the paper in March 1989. He also contributed to other publications such as the National Concord, Sunday Concord, Business Concord and the Yoruba newspaper Isokan. In May 1989, he became Literary Editor, and within six months, he became News Editor of the Weekend Concord. His rise was meteoritic. He held a promise of a class beater, and didn’t disappoint.

Among the many firsts Momodu later came to be known with is becoming the highest paid editor in Nigeria when between May 1990 and September 1991, he edited May Ellen Ezekiel’s celebrity magazine, Classique.

On resigning from Classique, he ventured into business, becoming Wonderloaf distributor, owned by his mentor, Chief Moshood Abiola. Afterwards, he started a public relations outfit, Celebrities-Goodwill Limited, which managed the accounts of Chief Moshood Abiola, Dr. Mike Adenuga, Mr. Hakeem Bello-Osagie and other distinguished Nigerians. Dele started from the beginning to snudge close to the best of citizens. It wasn’t therefore a surprise that even at his 30th birthday, the guest list was eye popping, and has kept improving ever since.

In 1993, Momodu came face to face with politics and its intrigues when he joined the Moshood Abiola Presidential Campaign Organization. After much efforts, Presidential election held on June 12, 1993 was annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida. There and then, he witnessed barefaced political persecution, enjoying the first bitter taste of a junta regime and its jackboot.

Much as he was severely punished by the reigning dictatorship for his pro-democratic views, he remained undeterred. He was to be arrested again in 1995 and charged with treason by the government of Sani Abacha. Momodu was accused of being one of the brains behind the pirate radio station, Radio Freedom (later Radio Kudirat), after the cold-blooded murder of Alhaja Kudirat Abiola. Momodu managed to escape disguised as a farmer through the Seme border into Cotonou, in Benin Republic, from where he fled to Togo, Ghana and eventually to the United Kingdom. For three agonising years, he could not re-enter his homeland, Nigeria. This is one story he has told repeatedly.

In 2011, Momodu ventured deeper into the murky waters of politics when he contested for the presidency. The graphic details of that era of his life is captured in the book ‘Fighting Lions’ by Ohimai Amaize.

Again, in 2022, Momodu reentered politics, joining the Peoples Democratic Party, and declaring intention to become contest for the office of the president. Having lost to the eventual winner of the primary election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Momodu, in the spirit of camaraderie, joined the candidate to campaign for the presidency as the Director of Communication and Strategy.


But like they say, challenges are the hurdles to greatness, Dele took the best advantage of those agonizing periods in the wilderness and conceived the Ovation International project that was to turn the face of entertainment and celebrity writing, and make him a praise upon the face of the earth.

Ovation was established in 1996 while in exile. Since then, he has expanded the brand, and it is now one of Africa’s most popular celebrity magazines. It is also reputed to be the only bi-lingual magazine in Africa, having editions printed in both English and French.

During the Ovation Carol of 2018, Momodu took time to emotionally honour those who helped his cause during the dark days, leading to the making of Ovation. He identified the super heroes as Mr. Fatoye, whom he said stirred the desire in him to set up the brand, and Chief Alex Duduyemi who released 10, 000 Pounds to begin the project.

Apart fro the wave Ovation is making across the world, Dele has held an annual event every year since 2008 known as the Ovation Red Carol (later changed to Ovation Carol and Awards), except in 2010, due to the 2011 presidential election which he was a candidate. The Carol, with the theme, ‘It’s All About Hope’, is held every December, and has become one of West Africa’s most popular annual Christmas events, involving musical performances, award presentations for varying charitable causes among others. From 2008-2012, it was held in Lagos, Nigeria, but was held in Accra, Ghana, in December 2013.

In 2013, former president of Ghana J. J. Rawlings attended, with Wyclef Jean as the headline act, along with many other international performers, including M.I, Ice Prince and Burna Boy from Nigeria. In 2015, the popularity the event had gained prompted the hosting of two shows for the first time – one in Lagos, Nigeria and the other in Accra, with Nigerian performer Wizkid headlining both events, as well as American singer Evelyn “Champagne” King for the Lagos show. As at date, there is hardly any musician of repute in Nigeria that has not been featured.

A magnanimous  and forgiven leader, he took in quick strides the campaign of calumny launched against him by David Adeleke, also known as Davido, when he stood to defend his cousin, Sophie Momodu, who had a baby for Davido and was being badly treated. With open arms, he took back the singer, remembering not the abuses he unleashed against him through the pages of the newspaper and music. In fact, Dele is known to even sing the same song that people think derides him. Consequently, against all odds, he initiated and spearheaded a great reconciliation moves that saw him bringing Davido on stage of Ovation Carol 2017 to perform. That singular act created an enigma out of the world’s own Bob Dee.

With offices in Ghana, Nigeria and England, Momodu has a workforce of over 200 persons; the same he pays regularly unlike many media owners.

He is an avid traveler of great repute, and has traversed the length and breadth of the globe, making friends with the who is who in today’s world politics, entertainment as well as business. There is hardly a country in the world Dele Momodu has not visited.

Momodu added another feather to his cap of glory when he was made the Aare Agbelugba of Yorubaland by a first class king, His Royal Highness, The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi Telu I in Iwo town. Among his many accolades is the singular honour of being a Fellow of Oxford University.


On December 19, 1992, Dele married his sweetheart, Mobolaji Abiodun Momodu, who he adores and honours. He lavishly hosted her to a 50th birthday celebration in December 2017, and they are blessed with four children: Pekan (1994), Yole (1996), Eniafe (1997) and Korewa (2004). Today, the four boys are becoming a force to reckon with in their chosen fields.

The world couldn’t ask for a better media mogul even as pages and ink won’t be enough to celebrate Bashorun Dele Momodu at 63.

Congratulations sir!

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Boss Picks

Otunba Subomi Balogun: The Fall of an Iroko




By Eric Elezuo

Even at a good age of 89, the news of the death of the founder of Nigeria’s first indigenously owned bank, Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun, came to the banking world in particular, and Nigerians in general, as a rude shock.

However, solace is derived from the financial guru’s oft-quoted line that “Until I have excelled and achieved the best, I would not be satisfied.” It is therefore, assumed that the banking czar feels fulfilled, and so answered the eternal call in the early hours of Monday, May 19, 2023 in far away London. He, without a doubt totally exceled in his chosen field, and made innumerable impacts upon humanity. His death is by all means a sudden fall of a great iroko.

Otunba Balogun’s 89 years of earthly existence remains a hallmark of influence, inspiration, adaptability, focus and mark differentiation in the ways of doing things. He was a creator of firsts. The Integrity, excellence, determination and some other qualities he exhibited while pursuing his quest for lawful impact will forever trail his name wherever it is mentioned.

His days at the helm of affairs of one of Nigeria’s prolific banks, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), which he founded, were superlative, and the bank maintained its foremost status indeed and in need.

Balogun was a colossus in the Nigerian money market, trailblazer and pioneer extraordinaire in the sector. He proved that one can be what he wants to be provided he set all his attention to it.

Originally trained as a lawyer before delving into the world of finance and capital, Balogun was born on March 9, 1934 at Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State to prolific parents of the Fasengbuwa Ruling House of Ijebu Ode, who understood the essence of giving a child the education legacy.

A proud alumnus of the prestigious Igbobi College, Lagos, where he graduated with a Grade 1 certificate, Balogun left for England in 1956 to pursue a course in Law. As a hardworking person he had grown to be, he promptly graduated with an LLB Honours in 1959 from the London School of Economics, and was called to the English Bar in the same year.

In 1962, Otunba Balogun took up the first major challenge of his prosperous life when he was appointed the first Nigerian Assistant Parliamentary Counsel, a post he held till 1966 when he was elevated to the position of First Principal Counsel and Company Secretary to the Nigerian Industrial Development Bank. His efforts and productivity left no one in doubt that a Nigerian whiz kid has been born. He held sway till 1975. It was while with NIDB that he developed a penchant for banking and financial matters. Promptly, in 1973, he became Director of Operations for Icon Securities and spread his tentacles to other financial related endeavours including the membership of Council of Stock Exchange representing City Securities Limited and Icon Securities.

Humility was his core value, and so whenever he had the opportunity to recount his sojourn in life, the late entrepreneur extra-ordinaire had always returned all glory to the Most High, whom he believed was the reason for everything that happened to his life.

He once said: “I have gone through the crucible and I have emerged a stronger person, and victorious. I, like all Christians never lose hope which is why I have adopted the church hymn that says through the love of God our savior, everything will be well. I thank God for my life. Most achievements of human beings are acknowledged posthumously, but in my case, God gave me the grace to see the amazing grace He has showered me with, and I’m a particularly lucky son of God”

Grand Master, as he was known among stakeholders in the banking and finance world as a result of his dexterity, innovativeness and outright can do attitude, set up his own securities outfit in 1977 after resigning from Icon, and since then, has not looked back, taking the financial world stride by stride in total accomplishment.

In 1979, he set up the first solely Nigerian owned merchant bank, known then as First City Merchant Bank. It was in 1982, however that he joined the retinue of commercial banking operators with the new improved First City Monument Bank, and followed it up with setting up of a chair for capital market studies in the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan, a school he was so passionately attached to, in 1987.

Brilliant and well-travelled, Otunba Balogun was not one to take with kid gloves the traditional institution, and so, he passionately attached himself to the famed Ijebu Ode annual festival known as Ojude Oba. He cherished the festival so much that he threw his weight behind it year in and year out. That, among many other achievements earned him the enviable title of Olori Omo-oba of Ijebuland.

You need not know Otunba Balogun on close quarters before perceiving the intimidating aroma of his down to earth personality, infectious generosity, phenomenal achievements and fatherly dispositions. He was a man everyone wishes to have as husband, father, uncle, son and many more.

As reported in his company’s website, Balogun’s “story is that of a man who understood early in life that the true essence of wealth is achieved only when it is deployed to the service of humanity, especially the less privileged. A man of proven immense wealth who is highly regarded, respected and honoured in the society, the honour bestowed on Otunba Balogun does not, however, stem from the immensity of his wealth, but from the good use to which he has put this wealth for the service of humanity.”

His ability to affect lives, most especially the less privileged, also bestowed on him more than enough appellations including the Otunba Tunwase, the Olori Omo-oba of Ijebu; the Asiwaju of Ijebu Christians, the Baba Oba of Ijebu-Ife and the Asalu-Oba of Ijebu Mushin. In addition, everyone agrees that he is the pioneer and role model of entrepreneurial banking in Nigeria as well as a constructive philanthropist and a distinguished church leader.

Otunba Subomi with Otunba Gbenga Daniel

Otunba’s love for children was phenomenal, necessitating the building of several institutions for the health care, welfare and survival of children. During one of his great birthday celebrations, he announced “…Don’t give me a personal birthday gift, give everything you have for me to the children’s hospital”.

Otunba’s immeasurable contributions to the wellbeing of mankind and growth of the financial world have attracted a long list of recognitions in his trail. He was a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management; Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers; Council Member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and until his death, the Life Vice President of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce. He was also a recipient of the American Biographical Institute Inc’s Distinguished Leadership Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Investment Banking.

In addition, he held the University of Ibadan Doctor of Law degree (Honoris Causa) and the Olabisi Onabanjo University Doctor of Science Degree in Management Sciences.

In addition, he made notable commitments in major institutions of higher learning including setting up a Professorial chair at the University of Ibadan for Capital Market Studies; a research fellowship in the Legal Department of the University of Lagos, Yaba College of Technology, African Leadership Forum, etc.

Otunba Balogun was a holder of the National Honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). He was also a holder of the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine Al merito della Repubblica Italiana (Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy), conferred on him by the Italian President in January, 1994.

The foremost banker was also a distinguished author, a respected opinion and community leader. He is credited with the writing of The Cross, The Triumph and The Crown among other literary works.

“I have a very strong character. There is nothing that I did that I wish I had not done. I have no regret over any of my past actions,” he said.

Philanthropy was an interesting pastime for the man whose physic towers above normal primates; a gentle giant of some sort. His philanthropic life remains the testimony of all who has been privileged to meet him in one way or another. He took his giving talents further with the establishment of the ‘Otunba Tunwase Foundation’ through which he exhibits his philanthropic spirit to all and sundry.

Otunba was happily married and blessed with lots of children and grandchildren.

Today, and in the coming days, the life and times of this great Ijebu export will be on the front burner as it will take more than some time to completely dissect the enigma he was in his 89 years of living, especially in the last 44 years when he dared the impossible with the establishment of FCMB.

Adieu Chief Michael Olasubomi Balogun!

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FCMB Founder, Subomi Balogun is Dead




The founder of FCMB, Subomi Balogun, has died. He reportedly died in London Friday morning.

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