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Pendulum: The Threat Against Broadcast Media in Nigeria 



By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, I was supposed to give the speech, largely reproduced below, two days ago in Ibadan, but I was in Accra, Ghana, so opted to speak via Zoom. The occasion was the seminar  on Broadcast Media and National Security organised by the Foundation for Ibadan Television Anniversary celebration at the Press Centre in Iyaganku. Unfortunately, man proposes but God disposes, as the saying goes. The event was to start at 10.00am in Nigeria and 9.00am in Ghana. I was very ready but the event itself was not ready in Ibadan. And when it finally took off, the highly distinguished speakers took the stage for a very long time. Since I had other engagements in Ghana, I couldn’t give the speech eventually. Being a topic that is very topical and germane to our present situation, I decided to edit and publish it on this page. The revised version now appears below.

“It is most pleasing to be part of this celebration. The celebration is heartening for rekindling memories of a legacy, and eye opening, for reminding us of the promises of the future, if we learn from our past. It is a celebration that helps recollections of the past and engenders reflections towards understanding the present and aids us to interpret what the future portends. It teaches us loads of lessons on the vision of leadership, the strength of implementation, and the purpose of governance. It could also tickle our imaginations on the ambivalence of the present government, for not getting things right, despite the salutary seminal wisdom that should have been gained from past experiences.  Added to this is why things seem to have been easier and better in the past, except for a few aberrations, and if at all we can do anything to correct our preference for the past over the present, regarding performance and accomplishment.

The noble efforts of the organisers are remarkable, and it is the reason we would not let an opportunity for evaluation slip past. The event can create a prospect for conversations around the progress the broadcast media has made, or has not made, and how the operation of the industry is affecting governance, or our growth and development effort.

I thank you most profoundly for the privilege of speaking on the topic, Broadcast Media and National Security, just as I look forward to a robust conversation on the subject and on related matters. It is trite to acknowledge that the Foundation for Ibadan Television Anniversary Celebration (FITAC), for helping us travel the memory lane, recollecting the historic commissioning of the Western Nigeria Television Station (WNTV), in Ibadan, October 31, 1959, by the legendary Premier of the then Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

That feat was the first in Africa, and a step in advancing information dissemination from the audio-visual prism, and when media and communication was still ascending. Chief Awolowo established the station on the back of early developments in technologies of communication. Before then, the world had been a witness to the print media, the telegraph, the radio, the telephone, and then the Black-and-White TV. The world was yet to imagine the coloured television, satellite broadcasting, the Internet, and international mobile telephony. It was also a time when we were still imminently expecting political independence, and when you would imagine that technological and political circumstances were unfavourable to  innovations.

Regardless, the late sage pulled through the psychological and physical barriers to see tomorrow. In seeing the day after, he envisaged the flux of instruments of communication and the need to not just ensure the region’s integration into global communication patterns and peculiarities, but to share exposure to information, awareness and education, through a nascent audio-visual device. It is why Chief Awolowo’s great legacy will remain everlasting, and the more reason his vision will always be a lesson for remarkable and memorable leadership.

It is also the reason this celebration is worth our while, consistent with the importance of contextualizing processes, as a precursor to further efforts. I congratulate us once more, on this auspicious anniversary, just as I salute your wisdom for asking us to practically look at the relationship between Broadcast Media and National Security.

To do this examination, we should understand that the broadcast media is a media genre, entailing the electronic spread of information, using signals, audio, and video to a diverse audience over disparate places and spaces, and on different scales. The technique can include print, emails, texts, and nowadays through the digital and the internet media. The context of broadcasting has grown in sophistication from the simpler variant of audio-visual rendition of news to involve a convergence of methods like print, texts, emails, and on a variegated platform. The growth is easy because of the rise in technologies of communication and humanity’s predilection for creativity, in the bid to cope with nature, minimise the disadvantage of distance and to share real time information over locations, in picturesque formats.

Due to its peculiar features, broadcasting media may invalidate distance, provide a sense of immediacy, and grow the feelings of co-presences. The multiple opportunity to watch, listen, read and revert, exemplifies the Broadcast Media as another tool for governance, and a determiner and instrument of national security. Though the concept of national security has been defined in different ways, it envisages the extent to which a sovereignty nation prioritises its safety, besides the steps taken to guarantee this. National Security is therefore about stability in the polity, progress, the predictability of a socio-political and economic system, and the measures deployed to actualise them.

The broadcast media is on the other hand a veritable tool of governance, for helping the diffusion of information, the ingraining of awareness and the provision of knowledge on issues. Doing this is significant for edification, the creation of citizen understanding, and the fostering of inclusion, integration and involvement. A salutary process of using the media genre in the manner that is consistent with a constitutional expectation of satisfying the wellbeing of the people through good governance would outline the Broadcast media in the positive light.

Deploying these media alternatives for hate, division, inciting violence, and much else means an improper use of the media variant. For its power of picturesque rendition of information, in real time and across distances, the broadcast media can be effective in instantaneous communication, and including the dispersal of message intent. It can also be otherwise if the intent is mischievous, unsalutary and unsavoury. What matters is motive and the control system.

In a free society, the broadcast media can stimulate thoughts, be used as simulation of present and future propensities and expand understanding for the appreciation of governance and the course of national security. This is less so in an unfree system, where thoughts are controlled and only in line with the authority’s whims and caprices. This challenges and implicates the human element in the application of Broadcast Media character to the maintenance or substance of a national security ecosystem. In cautioning against the negative application of the character regardless, we need to understand that the media is, overall, a marketplace of ideas. In this market, we welcome all, subject to interests and the mechanisms for sieving content. An appreciation of this, especially in a democracy, is often always helpful for national security.

Deviations are a prerequisite for multiple opposition, dissenters, unrests, and a shrinking of the civic space. That space is the public sphere, the space of ventilation, where citizens are symbolic participants in the governance process.

The media, particularly the broadcast media has a vital role to play in the political sphere of any nation, more so that of a developing nation like Nigeria. When properly deployed the broadcast media is to be used as a complement to national security. For example, in the halcyon days of military coups, it was the broadcast media that was the essential tool and ally of the successful or unsuccessful coup plotter. Capture and control  the airwaves and you were guaranteed success. Fail in this mighty task and you were doomed as Lt. Colonel Buka Suka Dimka discovered to his chagrin in February 1976.

However, in Nigeria the converse seems to have been the case mainly because the broadcast media has been largely controlled by the State. Even when there have been private entities and practitioners competing with the government-controlled media, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has stepped in to whittle the independence of these private organisations and thus diminish and belittle freedom of speech and democracy.  Several instances abound, but those that I will briefly mention are the attacks on AIT with regard to their coverage of the 2015 elections and their portrayal of the then APC Presidential candidate, now President Buhari, the recent debacle involving Channels Television on account of the disclosures by Retired Navy Commodore Kunle Olawunmi about the sponsors of the terrorist group, Boko Haram, and the protection they enjoy in this present dispensation, and of course the notorious manner in which government tried to manipulate the broadcast media during the EndSARs protest. The positive side was the influence of social media, a genre of the broadcast media, in standing firm and resolute to inform and to defend our collective national security interests during that particular protest.

The media has then turned to being seen as a demonic body capable of scuttling the nefarious activities of whoever is our leader at the time, because of our penchant for demonstrating allegiance to personalities rather than the country and its institutions. It is this proclivity that has contributed to the great morass of inefficiency and incompetence that we find ourselves in where our national security is concerned.

The national security challenges which we now face is legion, scary and potentially damning and cataclysmic for our country. Now is the time to utilise the instrument and instrumentality of the broadcast media to disseminate information and educate the people about the national security threats that we face and implore the people to stand firm and cooperate in rooting out the terrorists and bandit, evil perpetrators of this nefarious and dastardly activities. We have the advantage of the social media network which is a new adjunct of the broadcast media family. Their reach is simply unbelievable and mind-boggling. Social media is a veritable tool to be sued in fighting the war against insurrection, terrorism and banditry. It can however only be meaningful deployed by a government that appreciates its attributes and not one that is willing to shut it down because it cannot stand the scrutiny and criticism that emanates from this genre.

The titanic Chief Awolowo recognised more than  60 years ago, even before then, and much afterwards, that broadcast media and national security are complementary features and institutions to be deployed for greater national development and unity, through information and education and was not to be used as a tool of repression and suppression leading to his multi-levelled and varied legacies in the media space. The onus is on present leaders to learn from the lessons of the past to grow our democracy, trigger development and consolidate our national security. The time to act is now. I congratulate us all, once more, on this anniversary, just as I wish us all joyful celebrations.

God bless you all.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”


Exactly four years ago yesterday, September 3, 2017, I met the prayerful woman of God, remarkable Evangelist, effervescent Personality and global Philanthropist IYA ADURA REVEREND MOTHER ABIMBOLA ESTHER AJAYI in the city of London, after an introduction from a gentleman called MR ABIODUN PASEDA.

This meeting would soon cause a major revolution amongst the spiritual sect popularly referred to as the “White Garment Churches” in Nigeria and beyond. Ovation International was engaged to wage and stage a blistering media and public relations campaign around the world towards changing the negative narrative associated with this variant of African Christianity.

Her determination and stupendous hard work made our job easier. She has always been a woman with passion on  a mission to preach the Gospel of Christ in a distinct and different way. She wanted to touch the hearts and souls of myriads of people of diverse nationalities and cultures not just by preaching to them but by touching their lives with acts of grace, generosity and care.  She had a clear vision and mission about what she wanted to achieve, and this coupled with her humongous capacity to fund this vision meant that it was so easily achievable within a short period of time. We played our part in showcasing her to the world and she was warmly welcomed and received.

IYA ADURA, in four years has become a global phenomenon. Her generosity and kindness to not only members of her church in particular, but mankind in general is exemplary and legendary. This has endeared her to millions of fans worldwide. Her model and breed are rare and refreshing.

Tomorrow, IYA ADURA is set to change the landscape of Christendom on Victoria Island Lagos.  The beachfront edifice aptly named LOVE OF CHRIST GENERATION CHURCH CATHEDRAL will blow your mind. Built by the construction giant, CAPPA & D’ALBERTO PLC, the Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece which even before its opening has already become a tourist attraction… I am convinced that it will also command the attention and devotion of the Faithful. IYA ADURA is proving to be a blessing once again. Hearty congratulations to her and her team at the Cathedral.

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Pendulum: Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr: Refreshing Lessons for Generations




By Japheth J. Omojuwa

This is neither a tribute to nor a piece in praise of Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. Presidents have defied protocol to offer praises, even across the ocean. Kings have broken tradition in offering tributes and titles, captains of industry have queued behind themselves sharing memorable and inspiring accolades to a timeless icon who did his best to moderate the celebrations. Even if one defied these and decided to try against reason, King Sunny Ade’s Fayeyemi tribute is matchless and inimitable, and I could never reach Chief Ebenezer Obey’s depth and artistry in celebration of the man. Thus, there is nothing left to be said in form of praise or tributes that could surpass those already offered by these great men and women.

I have not come to praise the man; I have only come to address the spectators who were held spellbound by the spectacle and were left wondering what could be so great about a man whom most of them have never seen and only ever get to hear of. Often, when one gets sucked into the attraction of the show, the lessons get lost.

This once, we cannot afford to miss the lessons. The stories that contributed to the making of the man provide vital context for his greatness and offer a rich source of learning and inspiration for generations to come. When these stories are left untold, myths and falsehoods can fill the vacuum, perpetuating disempowering beliefs that hinder progress and growth. For instance, some may believe that wealth can only be acquired through unscrupulous means or cronyism.

When President Emmanuel Macron of France wrote in his tribute, ‘you are humble enough to often publicly declare that the confidence of several French companies at the beginning of your entrepreneurial adventure was instrumental in building the success that is yours today’, among other French alliances, he was making reference to the man who explored for more capital through the banks. A much harder way than through the disempowering stories that people tell to explain wealth they do not understand and in the same breath excuse their own misfortune.

The moniker, ‘The Bull,’ is not merely a name with a golden insignia; it reflects some of Adenuga’s most essential characteristics. The Bull is traditionally seen as a symbol of wealth and subterranean powers. It does not just make an entry; it makes an unforgettable one. It does not recognize defeat; any appearance of defeat is a retreat that often proves costly for those who stand in its path. These traits find expression in the success story of Globacom, which is a testament to Adenuga’s tenacity and determination.

Many exited at the point the government cancelled their mobile telecom licenses. Instead, The Bull charged on, refusing the small battle of a legal pursuit and instead focused on the big prize at the end of what was going to be a protracted bidding war for GSM licenses. Adenuga had to call on his grit again when the prize he won came without the trophy. The government had its cake and ate it. The Bull’s bouncebackability came into play again because well over a year later, he got the license that was fairly won in an open bidding process. When the stories get told, you cannot have a single blot on his shield. The Bull played by the rules, even when the rules were shifted against him, his staying power meant his team returned with victory. A hard-fought one but The Bull stayed invincible.

Other companies would have been happy to just start and do a continuous chase of those who had gone ahead of them, Mike Adenuga’s Globacom defied the norm by starting out with a paradigm shift that remains unmatched in Nigeria. Instead of chasing the competition and playing by their rules, by crashing the price of SIM cards and starting out with per second billing – others said this was not possible at the time – the competition had to bend to his game. The horses that started the race earlier were now doing the chase.

Adenuga’s Globacom dragged the industry on the path of perfect competition with his early moves, he then differentiated immediately by offering services the first and second movers had not even thought of. They were left competing with him at one end in a game whose rules he had redefined by his paradigm shifting bullish entry. He left himself alone without competition at other ends, advancing and flexing with technology above what was on offer. Translated to Yoruba, o ti ilekun mo won, o fi kokoro pa mo.

One reference the tributes intersect is his humility. Humility is an interesting phenomenon. You cannot be poor and be said to be humble. Poverty and humility appear to be parallel lines, yet they find intersection because poverty is already a humble position. Albeit a position that appears to be without the choice of the bearer. When it is said that a person is humble, one must pay attention. When you are so rich with means and power but appear to be unconscious of that elevated state of being especially in your dealings with people, that is humility. Some go out of their way to be seen to be humble. That defeats the purpose. Feigned humility is not humility. The Adenuga tributes refer to the sort of humility that the man himself would only come to see in the description of the people who experienced it. The humility of a man who just is.

Attention seeking appears to be humanity’s contemporary collective de rigueur. That could be explained by the ubiquity of the Internet and its appurtenances. Contemporary culture has now birthed a world where billionaires want to evolve into bloggers even as blogger aspire to be billionaires. We have built a universe and culture where staying relevant has become a daily endeavour, yet in all of that world, we all aspire to Mike Adenuga. The one who would rather not be seen, the one who finds comfort and apparent fulfilment in not being heard. Yet the one who has impacted people and institutions so much he brings life to another moniker of his, The Spirit of Africa. A reference that captures the essence of his values and the fact that one needs not be seen to make change happen, one needs not speak to be heard. And to make great impact, intentions and action are greater than fugazi moves, vain aesthetics and puerile drama.

The rich, in observing the tradition of noblesse oblige, have often committed to philanthropy. The Mike Adenuga principle goes above that sense of obligation because giving is entrenched in his persona. In a world where many keep records of those that they helped that never returned to say ‘thank you’, the millions opportune to be blessed by The Spirit of Africa do not get a chance to. Because his generosity leaves no room to collect appreciations. The giving and the changed lives are the essence of it all.

Conversely, you won’t find a person with a higher sense of appreciation, even for the little things.

Writing about personalities can be enjoyable, but there are times when addressing important issues should take precedence. This piece is not solely about an individual’s personality, but rather the enduring values necessary to navigate a constantly changing world. While exploring Dr. Mike Adenuga’s achievements could fill volumes, the focus here is on some of the values that propelled him to success and how we can apply them to our own daily challenges. As we confront new and complex problems, the lessons we learn from those who have gone before us can be invaluable. Dr. Adenuga’s life offers a powerful example of how these values can lead to great rewards, and this is a message that deserves to be heard by this generation and beyond.

He exemplifies E pluribus unum, and of him, there are lessons to be learned for generations to come. This is the legacy one must have a sense of appreciation for. Dr. Mike Adenuga Jnr. GCON, CSG, CdrLH at 70 has left lessons for us in these Platinum number of years, we cannot afford to lose sight of these precious gems.

Japheth J. Omojuwa is the author of Digital: The New Code of Wealth and founder of Alpha Reach

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Adenuga Special

Pendulum: Mike Adenuga: The Spirit of Africa @70




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, exactly 70 years ago, on Wednesday, April 29, 1953, an exceptional baby was born. As was customary with the Yoruba people of old Western Region of Nigeria, he would soon be given names that would reflect the circumstances of his birth and the observations of his parents around the period.

Thus, he was named Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Isola Adenuga, at his christening. One of these powerful names soon became a prophecy fulfilled. AGBOLADE is the child who has attracted wealth to his family. If the Adenugas thought they were already successful and prosperous, their son, Mike Adenuga Jr. would soon be known globally as one of the world’s wealthiest humans on planet earth.

I will not bore you with his biography since the cyberspace is already awash with tales of his uncommon trajectory. I’m here to demonstrate why I’m convinced that the celebrant of today is a special creation of God sent to this world to touch countless lives.

As for me and my house, I consider my encounters with him as being spiritually ordained. Not many people can boast of seeing and knowing Adenuga at close range. I’m privileged to have Dr. Adenuga as my mentor and benefactor. I can readily write a PhD thesis on the extraordinary nature of the Spirit of Africa, a spirit you hardly see but feel his impact all around you.

I’m very convinced that only God could have sent Dr Adenuga to me. Our relationship is undoubtedly divine.

I bless the day I met Dr Adenuga in 1991. More than money, I have gained much more from having substantial access to him and drinking endlessly from his fountain of knowledge than the wealth he has splashed on me and so many others. While most people see his billions in dollars, I see his intellectual prowess in trillions. I pray that technology will give us opportunities to clone such brains as I doubt if similar geniuses are still manufactured these days. I will never get tired of learning at his feet.

Let me now give you just a few of our encounters.

Adenuga, the generous giver: I can confidently say, Mike Adenuga is the most generous man or woman alive. If you know of any other, please write your own piece. I know of people who have become billionaires in Naira/assets from the regular support Adenuga gives them. All it takes is to impress him repeatedly with performance and loyalty. No amount is too big for Adenuga to give his friends and associates. He believes in the reward system. I once asked why he gives out so much. His response was a classic. “If you have a Billionaire as your friend, his wealth must reflect on you…” What a response!

In 2015, I got a call to pick up a car at Banana Island which he bought for me. I wasn’t surprised that he bought me a car, since he gives more than 50 exotic cars out every year, I was stunned that he bought me the most expensive car in the Audi family, Audi A8L. I was later told he bought about ten of those luxury cars and gave them out. I know of a family he gave the husband a Range Rover and the wife a RAV 4. These are not Tokunbo vehicles (used cars) but brand new. Adenuga does not believe in dolling out peanuts to people. One encounter is enough to leave you dazed eternally. If you are smart and can manage your business well, you should be made for life.

Adenuga, a loyal friend in the days of tribulations… In 1995, I got into serious trouble with the Abacha government and I needed to literally vamoose and I reached out to Adenuga for help. I was pleasantly surprised when he gave financial support as risky as it was then. And during my exile years in England, he supported me every year till I returned home. Unlike others who would expect you to become a slave thereafter, I was treated with love and respect.

When I started Ovation International in London and the company ran into trouble, I wrote to Adenuga and asked him to take over since I didn’t want my dream to evaporate. His response again was brilliant and encouraging… “Ovation is your baby, work harder at it…” He kept giving me the necessary support periodically without requesting for my flesh and blood.

Adenuga respects reciprocity in relationships… He tries hard to reciprocate kind deeds you make to him. A year after he bought me the Audi, I did something that really touched him in 2016. He invited me to his Bellissima Palace on Banana Island. As I sat down, he thanked me profusely for my love for him. Then to my greatest surprise and joy, he announced very calmly: “I have just ordered you a Range Rover, the only problem is that the dealer only have it in white color…” Jesus, I screamed: “Chairman, you just gave me the Audi A8L last year, this is unexpected Sir…” He smiled and told me: “Our Bob Dee, you’re a great guy and you deserve anything I can give… I will let you know when the Range is available in black, because black will look good on you, and send it to you…” And when the car was ready, he told me to wait for someone at Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi, where it was delivered to me. Let me confirm to you that both cars he gave me in one year cost him N85 million… Let’s not talk about other transactions at home and abroad, including well funded foreign assignments.

Adenuga hates the word impossibility… One beautiful morning, I landed in Dubai. As I was checking into my hotel, a call came through from his top aide, Mr Bode Opeseitan. “Bob Dee Sir, Chairman wants to have dinner with you and a few friends at home tomorrow…” Wonderful Lord, the Devil is a liar, I soliloquised. This was an opportunity I had waited for so patiently. A dinner with Adenuga is always a treat. He is a man of extraordinary culinary taste and style… He spoils his guests with the best of cuisines, washed down with an assortment of cocktails, white and red wines, champagnes and cognacs… He sends me cartons of these expensive drinks, from time to time. Sorry, about this digression. This is a rare opportunity to say just about one percent of our interactions.

I had to abort my stay in Dubai with automatic alacrity. How can a whole Adenuga invite me to dinner and I will tell him I can’t come because I’m in Dubai. So I told Bode to tell Chairman, I will honor his invitation, no matter what it would take.

So I called Emirates and moved my next flight to London backwards and left for London same afternoon. Fortunately, I landed in London by about 6.30pm and was able to board the 10.30pm Virgin Atlantic flight from same Heathrow Terminal 3 to Lagos. Because of Adenuga, I made a round trip of Accra to Dubai to London to Lagos in less than 24 hours. But it paid off handsomely. At that dinner, I sealed a mega deal of the Ovation Carol sponsorship with Glo… “Bode, please, tell your sponsorship team to give Bob Dee whatever is required to make Ovation Carol a success…” What a Spirit!

Adenuga’s battle with photographers… For a man so charming and handsome, Adenuga does not like cameras around him. I’m lucky to have had many pictures with him. When I started handling his media relations in 1992, I was being paid to shield him from publicity, whether good or bad. It was difficult, if not impossible, to get any clear picture of Adenuga in media files. His favourite words are “I’m hiding under the parapet…” When I complain about the way he’s being undervalued on the annual Rich List, he used to tell me: “I’m not desperate to be listed as number one. I’m comfortable wherever they put me. Those who understand the game know the real wealth.”

On one occasion, about 12 years ago, he agreed to open up his books to a few of us. His nationwide and international real estate portfolio was so staggering that we became dizzy just looking from city to city. He owns one of the most priced properties in Johannesburg and he’s a neighbour of the current President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. His properties litter several world capitals.

We gained access to the stupendous assets of GLO and GLO 1 and could not believe the figures staring at us. It is difficult to contemplate how one man could ever think of stretching the limits of technology by laying submarine cables under the Atlantic ocean from Europe to West Africa.

His gargantuan operations at ConOil was another matter entirely with huge investments in exploration, in upstream and downstream. The gas deposits were beyond imagination. What a blessed man!


Adenuga and his battle with cameras… It has been a struggle getting him to agree to take pictures even for his 70th. For a man who can afford the biggest photographers in the world, he only allowed one young talented Nigerian Photographer, Jeffrey Olalekan, to take his pictures and Maureen Ekezie, to clean up the job. What an enigma!

Let me give one more encounter, a very recent one, since there are too many tributes to read on Adenuga today. He called me two days ago to complain that the noise about his 70th birthday is getting too loud. So I pleaded with him to allow us celebrate him this time around and that I believe this one is beyond his control. It is not his style but his friends, associates and disciples have decided to celebrate him big time, whether he agrees or not.

Just imagine a newspaper edition in which you have Segun Adeniyi, Simon Kolawole, Reuben Abati, Nduka Irabor, Yemi Ogunbiyi, with congratulatory messages pouring in from well-wishers. What more can a man ask for from God?

Today na today…

Happy birthday to the Spirit of Africa…

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Pendulum: Please, Bring Back Our History




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, let me say how much I enjoyed reading as a young boy while growing up in the ancient town of Ile-Ife. Life was so much fun in those good old days. As a university town, Ile-Ife paraded some of the best bookshops in the old Western Region. The University of Ife Bookshop was top on the list. This bookshop was ably managed at different times by very cerebral and highly influential men like Chief Wunmi Adegbonmire and Chief Oyeniyi Osundina. Next door was the Hezekiah Oluwasanmi Library, where I worked as a Library Assistant, from 1977-78. We also had the CSS Bookshops, managed by the Anglican Church, where I also served as a shop assistant in 1976, after my West African School Certificate examination. We had Surulere Bookshop, owned by Chief Ezekiel Oluwafemi Adegbola, Olusanu Bookshop (later changed to Omo Arewa Bookshop), owned by my first Headmaster, Chief Isaac Olagbaju. There was Adura Lere Bookshop, owned by my Mum’s best friend, Mama Adura Lere, as we fondly called her, the mother of Mr Erastus Bankole Akingbola, the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank. My Mum’s beer parlour was next door at Number 2A Atiba Square, opposite The Ooni’s Palace and the Ife Museum.

My early years were soaked in books and voracious reading. I soon fell in love with thrillers. I enjoyed James Bond novels, written by the British novelist, Ian Fleming. I thoroughly devoured the novels of James Hadley Chase, a master of suspense. I massacred the spy adventures of Nick Carter who wrote about 648 novels. I later graduated to Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon, James Clavel, Joan Collins, Leslie Charteris, and so many others. I feel so nostalgic about those amazing days as I write this piece right now. I got so addicted to thrillers and was happy to discover detective novels written in Yoruba by two major authors, Baba Oladejo Okediji (the author of Aja Lo Leru, Agbalagba Akan, Rere Run and others), and Alagba Kola Akinlade (the author of Ta Lole Ajomogbe and others)…

Historical works and biographies attracted me endlessly. I loved the historical play of Efunsetan Aniwura, as captured by my teacher and supervisor, Professor Akinwumi Isola.
I followed the lives of African writers through the works of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Mongo Beti, Ferdinand Oyono, Ayi Kwei Ahmah, Kofi Awoonor, Jomo Kenyatta, Alex La Guma, Nawal El Sa’adawi, Mariama Ba, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Camara Laye, Cyprian Ekwensi, T.M Aluko, Elechi Amadi, Kenneth Kaunda, Oginga Odinga, D.O Fagunwa, Kole Omotoso, Amos Tutuola, Okot p’Bitek, David Rubadiri, Leopold Sedar Senghor, Christopher Okigbo and so many others. But one man stood out for me, not just as the greatest user and “manipulator” of the English language but as a fearless activist. Whatever little radicalism and activism buried in me today was planted in me by Wole Soyinka, who I met early in life as a teenager on the campus of University of Ife.

The book that did the magic is no other than THE MAN DIED. If you’ve not read it, please find one, possibly at The Booksellers in Jericho, Ibadan. It contains a riveting account of Soyinka’s prison memoirs. After reading it, you will realise and appreciate how much Nigeria has lost most of its ability to fight injustice.

After Wole Soyinka, I was privileged to meet and get close to Chief Gani Fawehinmi. His Chambers nearly became my home at a time and I marveled at his collection of radical books plus his neatly bound collection of newspapers and magazines.

I have deliberately taken you through this long preamble in order to demonstrate my fascination with knowledge. My dream was to be a scholar and end up as a university lecturer. But man proposes and God disposes. As much as I tried to get employed as a teacher, I couldn’t secure a job. It was out of joblessness that I started writing. That’s a tale for another day.

Growing up on the University of Ife campus really helped my formative years. Meeting Wole Soyinka was a major inspiration and the icing on the cake. Many young boys of those days wished to get arrested in order to acquire the “Soyinkean” experience and fame.

The meat of my epistle today, you can guess, is easily about the recent elections in Nigeria, which has surpassed others before it in all its negative ramifications. The matter is not about who won or who did not win. Not at all. It is about the brazen impunity of how a winner emerged without the umpire, INEC, following its own rules. Had INEC obeyed its own rules, I would have been the first to congratulate whosoever won.

It is shockingly embarrassing to see how we are being told to just adjust, accept the charade and move on, as if this is now our new normal, or just go to court despite the well known booby traps usually along the ways to the court of justice. Not even the usual members of the privilentsia, otherwise known as the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, have the confidence to determine good or bad cases any longer. Opposition voices are systematically being bullied, suppressed and discouraged. This could not have been the democracy we fought for, and certainly not that which we envisaged as compensation for those epic battles against the military juntas.

What I find most baffling is the attitude of many of our former comrades who no longer see nothing wrong in bold faced election rigging. Nothing insults me than those telling us it is an act of disloyalty to speak against our friends who may have been heavily involved in this gargantuan mess.
So I’m now thinking that what they are saying is that it was good to criticise those who were not our friends but we can keep silent and pretend that all is well once our friends can grab power by foul or fair means.

I weep for my country. Some of the people I used to respect so much have now revealed to me that hypocrisy is a virtue. I sincerely do not care if they refuse to speak up for justice, for varying reasons, but I do not expect them to discourage those who are willing and ready to travel the slippery roads.

A man I love so much called my wife aside recently and told her to tell me to support Chief Bola Tinubu because of our past relationships. I simply told my wife that the man should try and be fair to me for the following reasons.
I hold Tinubu in high esteem but we’ve not been in the same political parties since we returned from exile in 1998. I had chosen to be in opposition as my humble and modest contributions to nation-building. Two, I preferred to support individual candidates based on my personal experience and conviction and if I fail or feel disappointed, like in the case of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, I will seek other candidates, thereafter. This is the reason I supported the Atiku/Obi ticket in 2019, at a time I was not yet a member of PDP.
Three, I already tried to seek the PDP Presidential ticket last year and no matter the degree of disappointment, I won’t jump ship just because my friends are contesting in other parties. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Four. I will not do anti-party like some senior members did remorselessly under flimsy and pretentious excuses. I insist that it is the height of chicanery to set fire to a home under which you still hope to sleep. Better to quit than being the Judas within. You may still come back later, if you wish.
Six. I prefer to give priority to the image and betterment of my country above that of my friends or pecuniary consideration. Anyone who does not appreciate that level of personal sacrifice is certainly an enemy of progress.
7. There are those who have come to attack me on the basis of ethnicity, saying power should come to the South, no matter who fills that space. I beg to disagree, by rising above such pettiness. At nearly 63 years old, I have lived long in Nigeria to understand the fallacy of thinking that bringing a President from your zone will guarantee the progress and advancement of your people. As educated as most people pretend to be, I expect them to place premium on experience, exposure, capacity, stability, and so on, and not on some primordial sentiments. While I do not expect the President to be a Saint, there must be some minimum standards to meet.
It is my right to then choose my preferred candidate just like I never begrudge your own choices.
And finally, throughout my assignment as Director of Strategic Communications for the PDP ATIKU/OKOWA Presidential Campaign Council, I reflected the wishes of my Bosses by keeping to the message, and focus, of our cardinal programmes. If we lost within due process, there would have been no controversy. But I wish to put on record that what happened was a garrison operation and I do not care if every other Nigerian do not to see it that way and so decides to move on as usual. I choose to exercise my right of recording this dissenting voice for posterity.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria…

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