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Pendulum: How to Get Nigeria Out of This Mess



By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, please, permit me to express my profound appreciation to you all for finding time out of your very busy schedules to read me every week….

Now, let me go straight to the main reason for my epistle today. It would be an understatement to say our country Nigeria has been in perpetual crises for decades. And this could readily be attributed to lack of selfless, reasonable, visionary Leadership. Our hopes have been dashed endlessly after every election cycle and ritual.

I was tired of complaining and lamenting, like we all do, wherever two or more Nigerians are gathered, and I decided to run the Presidential race in 2011 but failed. I learned a lot of didactic lessons from it, one of which was that I needed a national platform to activate and actualise such a monumental project, the principal reason I’m in PDP today.

I believe we all know the problems confronting Nigeria today. We all probably know the solutions as well. What is strange and mysterious is why the positive change we all crave has remained nebulously elusive. I shall endeavour to answer many of the most frequently asked questions in this address.

What mileage does a Dele Momodu’s candidacy bring to the table? My answer is simple and straightforward. We often hear of “tested politicians”, men and women of timber and calibre but they have been largely ineffective, retrogressive and reprehensible. That is the bane of our present society and societal development. Most of the aspirants for Presidency today can be encapsulated in that phrase “tested politicians”. My view is that, sadly, whilst our politicians may be tested and experienced, they have only been tested, but majorly failed in all spheres. Their experience is one of failure and mediocrity, and it is about time that we moved away from these abysmally low standards and set new higher and fresh qualitative standards and ideals for ourselves.

Indeed, majority of Nigerians are saying they want fresh faces with fresh ideas and refreshing ideals. That is where my candidacy is different and novel. I am that candidate who fulfils the yearnings and aspirations of the ordinary Nigerian people for a principled, talented, disciplined, visionary leader who is additionally imbued with integrity, resourcefulness and patriotism. I am bursting with ideas and solutions to the seemingly intractable problems that we face as a Nation. The good thing is that this is not new to me. I have consistently advised our various leaders about what needs to be done to turn the fortunes of our beloved country around. It is not rocket science, but you must first open your mind, be a bucket for the reception of ideas and be receptive to those ideas. That is a fundamental attribute that is lacking in most of our leaders. It is why we also sadly continue to promote mediocrity because we are left with no choice.

The other gentlemen aspiring and one female aspirant in our Party are all distinguished people, but I bring the following uniqueness and uncommon pedigree into the race which reinforces the strength of my candidacy and why I should prevail over the other aspirants.

With every sense of humility and modesty and without any fear of contradiction, I will say that I have laboured hard to attain a global superbrand status. The records are there. They don’t need embellishment or massaging. I have had solid theoretical and practical education, which has enabled me to acquire wide-ranging experience and exposure in the world of teaching, business, entertainment, lifestyle, advocacy, entrepreneurship, governance, networking, public speaking, academia, journalism, public relations, branding, tourism, information technology, foreign relations, hospitality, philanthropy and so on. I believe that I have accomplished a lot by successfully managing people and resources. The secret of my successes in different fields of human endeavours can be traced and ascribed to honesty, knowledge, discipline, humility, frugality, passion, comportment, charisma, affability, vision, audacity, tenacity, commitment, loyalty and implicit faith in God.

I’m a child of diversity with a father from Edo State, with a strong Moslem background and a mother from Osun State with a strong Christian origin. I therefore have very strong ties to two of the three regions in the South and the two major religions in Nigeria. I also enjoy extensive links to the South East where I have been a major admirer and promoter of Igbo talents, culture, tradition, and incredible capabilities. Internationally, my job as Publisher of Ovation International magazine and Chairman of the Ovation Media Group has made it possible for me to have a face and name recognition everywhere in the world. I have operated in, and covered over 60 countries, on five continents. In my own right and personal accomplishments, I have met and interacted with Presidents, Vice Presidents, world figures, captains of industry, business icons, traditional and religious leaders, men and women of the armed forces, social crusaders, political chieftains, rebel leaders, philanthropists, and so many others in Nigeria and overseas. There’s no part of Nigeria I have not made friends across ethnic, social, political and religious divides.

More importantly, I have touched lives of young Nigerians in all parts of Nigeria by directly or indirectly providing them jobs or self-employment opportunities. Notably, in the last few years, I have received over 66,000 applications for palliative support from every part of Nigeria, with the largest of about 8,000 coming from Borno State alone, closely followed by Bauchi State. I was able to disburse cash transfers, strictly through their bank accounts, to thousands of applicants without any form of discrimination. Since 2007, I have created new millionaire entrepreneurs every December during the Ovation Red Carol concerts. Before then, and till date, I have promoted and supported new talents in music, fashion, comedy, choreography, events planning, decor, food and beverage, deejaying, graphics, stage management, sound engineering, printing, lighting, social media and blogging, news reporting, photography and videography, hospitality, textiles and fabrics, carpets, flowers, car hire, security and others. I doubt if any of the aspirants would have had such direct impact on our youths. Not even those pwho have been in power almost forever.

As an entrepreneur and businessman with an international outlook, I know what it entails to select, employ and appoint personnel strictly on merit. Nigeria can no longer afford to do things based on primordial sentiments of ethnicity and religion. Whilst we must always take our diversity into account, it must not be a primary or even secondary consideration.  I will be a positive role model for other political leaders, in principle and in action. I will downgrade the extravagant and outlandish lifestyles of our leaders who live like every day is Christmas.

Clearly, the next Nigerian President must be the Chief Executive Officer of the Nation and behave as such. He must have the capacity to naturally attract love, and command respect, at home and abroad. He must radiate confidence, intelligence, brilliance, level-headedness, humility, clear-vision, discipline and business acumen and be cosmopolitan in nature. Nigeria urgently requires a measured and moderate leader. He must not be tempestuous, arrogant, intolerant, vindictive, condescending, old-fashioned and outdated.

The world is fast moving away from career politicians to technocrats in politics. Our Party PDP must seize this opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past. We must demonstrate to our people that we are ready to offer a new vista of hope to our country men and women on the 30th anniversary of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election. We cannot continue to recycle the same politicians as if Nigeria has made no progress whatsoever in the past three decades. We must not belittle the remarkable achievements of those who have not been in political offices but have been major players and determinants on the world stage, not the arguable local champions that we presently have. We must resist and reject the notion and temptation of suggesting that power is the exclusive preserve of a group or class of people who have hijacked our common patrimony for their personal use. The time has come to challenge and change the unproductive,  retrogressive and reprehensible status quo. We must urgently retire our leaders of yesterday and yesteryears and substitute them with our fresh and innovative leaders of today in order to assure our citizens that our collective tomorrow will be much better and rewarding.

I’m proud to say I have taken time to plan and prepare for this journey. And I’m very ready to lead our nation out of the doldrums. I will be a ready President and Commander-in-Chief from Day One.

What specific policies and programmes will I implement if elected, to diversify the nation’s revenue base beyond oil? Firstly, I must emphasise that, in the immediate future, we cannot seek to eliminate our dependence on oil as a major component of our national wealth. As we seek to reduce our dependence on income from crude oil, we must still embark on a wholesale surgical operation of the industry. One of the priorities of our government will therefore be to make the oil sector more vibrant by eliminating the massive corruption in the sector, building enhanced and efficient capacity and infrastructure, and re-energising the sector through technology and innovation. The deceit and fraud in subsidy claims will end by the policy of subsidy being discarded. Nigerians have paid for this scam for far too long. Every commodity in the world has a price but we’ve never known ours because of the abracadabra of the magicians controling the sector. The recourse to importation will not be a matter of necessity but one of last resort as local production will be ramped up to cater for our consumption and that of our neighbours. Pricing will be properly done to ensure the benefits of our being blessed with this natural resource is felt by all Nigerians and is not a curse or a cross for us to bear. The entire subsidy regime will be fully and forensically investigated by our acclaimed experts in the area, and any unlawful or shady dealings exposed, and the culprits fished out and handed over to the relevant agencies to prosecute. It is scandalous that Nigeria continues to run at a loss in most of our petroleum departments. No diversification of our economy can work if we do not keep our main cash cow very healthy. We shall need to make huge investments even in that sector as part of the diversification process.

We must increase our productivity in the gas sector. We have lost so much time and too much revenue by wasting the limitless gains of our humongous gas deposits through gas flaring. Even now that we have recognised the significant and huge benefits of gas, we are yet to develop this as we should. Had we done the proper thing, we would now be one of the countries reaping the benefits of the Russia-Ukraine war, but instead we are like the unwilling spectator being forced to imagine and rue what might have been. We must never be in this same position again. We will crack whatever obstacles are in the path of harnessing our unlimited natural resources and additionally explore the opportunities and the potential of our extraordinary bitumen deposits. No country wastes the amount of fortune buried beneath our soils, like we do. I’m not unaware of the encumbrances of bureaucracy in our country, so I will be a hands-on Leader who will personally lead the war against the sluggishness in our civil service. One Leader must make the necessary sacrifice and be ready to face the consequences and repercussions, if need be.

Simultaneously, with rejuvenating and reforming the development and exploitation of our oil and abundant mineral resources, we will revamp the agricultural and industrial sector by emphasising the use of innovative and collaborative methods in order to exponentially increase production and output. All that is required is the proper education and a change of mindset and will. Mechanised farming must go hand in hand with food preservation, processing, distribution and marketing. This will definitely generate mass employment.

No nation can grow without true and sustainable investment in infrastructure, especially power. Any meaningful industrial and technological revolution can only happen when there is increased and uninterrupted power supply. Given the amounts so far invested, it is easy to give up and say any venture into that area is doomed because Nigeria is jinxed. I do not see it like that. I have already been indirectly educated about a major shakeup of power supply in Ghana. I know what must be done. Monopolies and Cartels will have to be broken up, but the window of opportunities that will be available because of increased power supply will be so tremendous that serious entrepreneurs and businessmen will immediately embrace the new possibilities.

We must be prepared to spend and if necessary borrow wisely to achieve our goals. There is no merit in saving if you are poor or living like a poor man without mission and vision. There is no need to provide for a rainy day when you are presently being beaten by a deluge of poverty. There is no wealthy nation today that is not in great debt. The United  States is a good example but we can all see how the huge debts have impacted the world Leader. That is a concept that we are yet to truly tap into. It is why our population is like an albatross and weakest link when it should be our strongest and biggest resource. The institutions which make for security, credibility and integrity of debt as an instrument of wealth will need to be strengthened. The cost of borrowing must be greatly reduced if people are realistically expected to repay and fulfil their obligations. When this is done, we will have zero tolerance for recalcitrant debtors who refuse to pay their debts and endanger our entire collective economic and financial existence.

How will my journalism and business experience garnered over the years help me preside over the affairs of the nation if elected? You must remember that many of our Nationalists and Founding Fathers had journalism backgrounds. Apart from knowledge and information, journalism affords me the opportunity to have global contacts and attract respect. The media will be a major tool for rebranding the battered image of our country. Through my very popular column, I have had the opportunity of analysing our major problems and challenges and I have proffered solutions. Had our leaders read me or listened to my regular interventions, maybe we won’t have landed ourselves in this quagmire.

Journalism is my primary constituency. I do not see government owned newspapers as a big deal. As a matter of fact, government owned media companies should be urgently and transparently privatised while government should only retain nominal shares in them. It is usually in dictatorships and authoritarian regimes where you will expect government to be involved in the ownership of media and multi-media houses. It is an enterprise that should be the exclusive preserve of private investors. Freedom of speech and the independence and liberty of the media is compromised and weakened when government is allowed to participate, as of now.

With respect to the welfare of journalists, that is an area that touches me a great deal.  However, it is not for government to intervene or wade into.  The practitioners, both owners and employees need to work together to create a better working relationship and environment. But I’m sure with increased activity and productivity, the media will enjoy better patronage unlike now when business is very slow. I will advise our media owners to urgently embrace the new media. This, after all, is the Fourth Estate of the Realm.

From 1999 till date, successive administrations have made a lot of promises to turn around the mortgage sector with little or nothing to show. What will I do differently? No citizen of the developed or truly developing nations today can survive without credit facilities. Lack of serious and credible mortgages, personal and car loans and business grants have absolutely exposed Nigeria to massive fraud and corruption. I still find it difficult to understand how we can live with the fact that many of our citizens, who are all paid monthly, are required to pay rents annually in advance. It is also inconceivable that any uncorrupted civil servant or employee can buy a house or car cash down, as is presently the case. Our Governments at both the Federal and State levels need to urgently look into this matter. At the Federal level, we would certainly ensure that the relevant government ministries and agencies including Justice, Finance and the Central Bank liaise and collaborate with the National Assembly to come up with new laws encouraging our financial institutions in all ramifications to create and activate a more robust credit system on very reasonable and sustainable terms. That is only one leg though. Property owners and car dealers and manufacturers must also key into this initiative and must be encouraged to do so through legislation as appropriate. What is my take on consensus candidacy? I honestly do not think the consensus approach to the selection of candidates is democratic, particularly where it is not voluntary but imposed or coerced. If at all, it should have happened before nomination forms were obtained at such exorbitant amounts. The selection of candidates to govern our entire country should not be the exclusive preserve of a few putative candidates or party grandees. There must be a fair representation in the decision-making process. That is usually done through an indirect process by Party members, which is recognised the world over as being democratic without being unwieldy.

How do I intend diversifying the revenue base of my political party beyond financing by its governors? Financing of a Party by its Governors is very corrupt and turns the Leaders into demigods. It cannot be defended because it is not a legitimately recognised source of funding for any Political Party. It also makes it possible for the Party to be hijacked by a group of people or even one man. I will encourage our Party to go all out on encouraging a massive registration drive including online registration and participation. This is a veritable treasure trove for Party financing. Similarly, the Party is expected to seek donations from businessmen up to the statutorily approved limits to boost its coffers. Party activities also serve as a means of doing this. There are several other ways. A Party of the future will continuously undergo re-engineering not just in relation to its policies and philosophy but also as regards its funding.  Members and the business community will be happy to cooperate with us once we run a visibly successful government.

Should the 1999 constitution be subjected to further amendments or Nigeria should go for a brand-new constitution as recently canvassed by erudite lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola? Nigeria currently lacks the time and the required resources for a brand-new Constitution. In any event, it is unnecessary. The Constitution that we now have provides for a Federal system of Government which is the main grouse of many who complain about it. Therefore, the problem is not with the Constitution itself, but with those charged with implementing it.  No Constitution will ever be perfect. We shall dust up and review some of the brilliant and excellent work, done in recent conferences, that have not seen the light of day to see what areas of the Constitution needs further amendments or tinkering with.

We must always remember that the Judiciary is also there to give purposive interpretation to constitutional provisions as the country and humanity evolves. That is why we need an independent, insulated and robust judiciary which is not financially or otherwise reliant on the executive or the legislature. A situation where the Chief Justice of the Federation or a State is casually and regularly summoned to State House for functions and meetings should not exist and will be stopped at Federal level at the very least. Respect must beget respect. Let the Judges face their duties. In truth, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, as the head of the third arm of Government, should be well equipped and respected. Likewise for the State Governments.

One area of Constitutional development that we must interrogate immediately is the opportunity for a second term for Governors and Presidents. This re-election syndrome has been one of the reasons for the failure of successive governments in Nigeria. After two years, most of our leaders become embroiled in politicking and other activities in preparation for a second term.  Their attention wanes and it is the nation that suffers. Given our history, population and circumstances, I do not see why a single term of 5-6 years is not enough for anybody to formulate and implement policies for the betterment of Nigeria. The next person can continue from there, accepting the good ones and embarking on his own.

How will I fight insurgency/terrorism if elected President of Nigeria in 2023?
Once we bring love back and treat every Nigerian with respect, we would have instantly laid a solid foundation for peace and unity. We will build on that foundation by doing the things that are necessary for the Military, police and the teeming mass of restive unemployed youths dotting our national landscape.We shall invest in the education, training and reorientation of our men and women of the armed forces. We shall adequately equip and safeguard them and give them pride to be involved in service to their Fatherland knowing that if they are injured or, God forbid, have to pay the ultimate price, they will do so with the assurance that they and their loved ones will be well taken care of. Apart from deploying all modern, sophisticated and innovative measures in the battle against the insurgents/ terrorists we will activate a robust welfare and insurance package that will give them hope and comfort.

There will be respectable, viable and plentiful job opportunities for many of our graduates from every part of Nigeria. Gainfully employed people and those who have realistic prospects of employment do not have reason to engage in these kinds of dastardly activities. We will educate them and the rest of the people and create mass awareness which will be greatly helped by the wealth, comfort and security that our government will engender. As part of our efforts to create jobs, our government will intensify vocational education and training in our institutions. Even when there are jobs many of the job hunters are not presently employable.

Intel will become a major priority and we shall take advantage of the advancement of technology. Similar to packages for our Armed Forces, Our Police Force and intelligence officers will enjoy special wages and incentives, including insurance, free medicals and free education and regular trainings.

I believe that war is always a last resort. Dialogue can achieve a lot more. Even after war, there is always discourse. Therefore, I am prepared, willing and ready, if necessary, to meet with terrorist leaders on certain conditions, if peace and security can be guaranteed.

May God save Nigeria…


My full names are JOSEPH AYOBAMI DELE ABAYOMI OJUTELEGAN AJANI JACOB-MOMODU… I have stated this deliberately because of the unfortunate religious intolerance, and the conflagration, that has just occurred in Sokoto, a beautiful city I departed just days ago… A lot of us Nigerians enjoy this special privilege of religious crossover in our backgrounds. That is why we are United and must remain United despite our religious diversity.

The bizarre, abominable and unpardonable killing of Ms DEBORAH SAMUEL, a student of the College of Education, Sokoto, for whatever reason is absolutely reprehensible, unjustifiable, condemnable and punishable!! It is not us, and all right thinking Nigerians must be resolute and unrelenting in demanding swift justice for Deborah. #swiftjusticeforDeborah.

I’m privileged to have had grandparents who were Muslims and parents who were Christians. Whilst being a devout Christian, I carry my surname of MOMODU, the name of our great prophet of peace, and our King of peace very proudly, as a true mark of my heritage…

No ignorant, misguided or extremist man or woman has the right or justification to summarily and inhumanly terminate life in the name of either Prophet Mohammed or our Lord, Jesus Christ…
May DEBORAH’s soul rest in perfect peace…

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Pendulum: Dele Momodu: An Independent Politician




By Sani Sa’idu Baba

It is as if Paul Coelho knew Dele Momodu when he said “When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It’s very simple”, for it is quite visible to the blind and audible to the deaf, Momodu has carved a niche for himself as an altruistic, enthusiastic, passionate leader and a big name in all that he does with sterling records of success.

I believe some of my readers will be quick to say that Ooh, Dr. Baba will be sentimental for obvious reasons, but the truth is that I was not, I am not and I will not. All I am going to say is the honest truth.

My major stimulant to writing this today emanated from this simple question. Ooh how does an individual capture the essence of this your boss, Dele Momodu? Just how? Asked by many of my friends including a number of them that slide into my DM to say hi, and subsequently asked around the above question, and here is my humble and sincere reply to all of them.

But before then, I’d like to emphasise on one of his best characters and that is the fact that he’s multi-layered and versatile which are characters that distinguished him from his peers in all ramifications. I believe the aforementioned question mostly emanated from the perception about the fate of most politicians post-election. Anyway, here is my reply. When I got confused in the past as to how to describe him, it occurred to me I could use the allegory of the blind men and their encounter with the elephant. The story first originated from India. A group of blind men who had never seen an elephant were said to have argued fiercely as to what it looks like. Each of the blind men touched and felt a different part of the body. Just one part of the elephant is quite big. Each described what he felt with his hands. Each version of the experience was limited, even though true. Each suspected the other of profanity and dishonesty. They were even said to have come to blows. But they were all right; yet all wrong.Though there are several Hindu, Jain and Buddhist versions of this story, each of the blind men were said to have groped different parts of the elephant. The same thing about Dele Momodu. If you’re fond of reading stories about him, it will be easier to understand who he is from the views of others using the elephant’s story even if you don’t know him. Their individual perceptions of what the Elephant looks like are as follows:

One who touched the trunk said the elephant was like a thick snake. Another touched the large ear, he concluded the elephant must look like a fan. For another who touched the leg, he said the elephant is a pillar, like a tree trunk. One touched its hard side and concluded it was like a wall. The one who touched its tail described the elephant as a rope. Yet, another touched the tusk, and vowed to the heavens that the elephant is like a hard, smooth spear.The blind men were all partially correct; but also, all partially wrong.

In desribing my mentor, brother, friend, Dele Momodu when people asked me, I have encountered the same difficulty of these blind men.
The reason is that Momodu wears many caps, so many that he means a different person to different observers and analysts.
Some would encounter him and tell you he is a business tycoon because of his business establishments and relationships with business leaders worldwide. Readers of his books and weekly column PENDULUM would say that he’s only a writer and journalist who’s a Veteran at that. Others would encounter him unknown to them about his seven traditional titles at home and abroad, including the recent Aare of Iwoland and tell you he’s a traditional ruler who doesn’t care to dress like a king, perhaps because of the obvious respect he earned like royalty in many high places. In the same vein, the political analysts would report that he’s a political legend due to his active participation in politics and the political role he has played over a period of four decades. Similarly, some might choose to call him an activist because of the role he’s played in defence of democracy in 1993 that saw him forced into exile, and many events that followed thereafter till today. Lastly, some assumed he’s a teacher because of the knowledge that he used to rain for free via his verified Instagram handle Instagram live, twitter spaces, Facebook live, Clubhouse, and etc for the young generation plus the way he intermingles freely with his proteges and mentees around the world.

Others think he’s a Blogger because no younger man or woman multitasks than him on social media platforms which he handles personally, at nearly 63 years of age. Same with his unprecedented collection of pictures and videos, as if he’s a veteran photographer. He may also be called a Librarian with his stupendous collections of books. He actually worked at the University of Ife library from 1977-78 became a pioneer JAMBITE in 1978. And he has almost completed his library resort in the ancient city of Ibadan which will soon become a tourist attraction for scholars. You won’t be wrong to call him a Travel agent if you see the thousands of flight ticket stubs he has garnered on trips to over 60 countries on five continents, the reason many call him the OLABISI AJALA, the globetrotter of our time.

Some may be tempted to call him a Music producer with the way he’s been promoting our young talents since 1989 when he sold Sir Shina Peters to the world on the cover of Weekend Concord and Classique magazine. He sponsored the biggest music carnival ever on the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in 1999, where he assembled the Plantation Boys, Remedies, Sir Shina Peter’s, Queen Salawa Abeni, and others at the massive amphitheatre of Oduduwa Hall. Since 2007, he has attracted millions of dollars in sponsorship from UBA, GLOBALCOM, the Esther Ajayi Foundation and others for the promotion of young talents in Music, Comedy and Fashion. Many of the beneficiaries of these Ovation Red Carol concerts include D’banj, Don Jazzy, Wande Cole, Olu Maintain, Waje, Tiwa Savage, Sinach, Sammie Okposo, Davido, Wizkid, Tuface, Burner Boy, Seun Kuti, and so many great entertainers…

Lastly, you’re likely to call him the quintessential Opposition Leader with the way he has never been in government and continues to support only opposition parties. He believes a country as bedevilled with myriads of problems like Nigeria needs powerful voices to speak up, one the reasons he owes no one apologies for not supporting his friend, Chief Bola Tinubu, as a Presidential candidate…

These I believe would reflect the scenarios on the perceptions of those blind men about the elephant.
Interestingly, a friend of mine SANI AUWAL MUDI recently asked me whether Momodu is also a former football legend, and my answer was a straight NO. He was compelled to ask having seen the way Momodu was respected and well treated by the President of FIFA Mr. Gianni Infantino and others including the legendary Arsene Wenger the former Arsenal manager in Kigali, Rwanda last week. Unknown to many that it was a formal invitation of world leaders and big names around the world for the FIFA Congress, and he graced the event as a VIP guest of FIFA under the leadership of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, an invitation that even Presidents around the world will never reject and will feel much honoured to be invited. How many Nigerian politicians have you seen there? None? So to me its a matter of personal integrity, self accomplishments and Momodu’s worth on the eyes of worthy world leaders.

The moral of the story is that Aare Dr. Dele Momodu loves his job, and he never feels he’s bigger than his job and businesses in line with the assertion of Paul Coelho. Perhaps why he succeeded in life without being a full time politician. Never in life consider politics as a job or only what you know. Those that have been asking me about Momodu’s political future should know that he’s too busy to even think of that. Many of his close associates kept on wondering how he managed to spend about five months working in presidential campaign office, recording only two international trips during this period, a man who to some is synonymous with travelling.

Even by the time he lost the Presidential primaries in May 2022, he has moved on with his business activities. I was his agent at the Presidential Primaries, but I could vividly remember that 48hrs after the election, he resumed in Ovation International Office in Lagos after which he went abroad, business as usual. This shows how occupied he is outside politics. Only to receive a call when he was on his way out of the country, from the Presidential candidate of his party H.E ATIKU ABUBAKAR asking him to serve as a Director of Strategic Communications of his Presidential Campaign Organization, on account of his competency and capacity, which he accepted, delivered handsomely and effectively.

Sani Sa’idu Baba writes from Kano, and can be reached via

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Pendulum: How FIFA Rescued Me from INEC




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, please, let me express
how happy I feel returning to writing my Pendulum column today. Special thanks to the Publisher of Thisday newspapers and Chairman of Arise News Television Channel, Prince Nduka Obaigbena for always inspiring me to excel. So I’m back to what I truly love and treasure, READING and WRITING… But politics of opposition remains my part time vocation. A story for another time.

You must be wondering already, I’m sure, about what FIFA has got to do with INEC, a most notorious Nigerian electoral Commission that has attracted unprecedented odium and global condemnation to our already battered country’s image.

Yes, you can say Nigeria is not new to election rigging but the recent Presidential contest took the cake and its reverberations are yet to subside.

Let me go straight to my point. INEC managed to scam most of us by pretending to be serious about its job. I have had to go back to many of Professor Mahmood Yakubu’s speeches in the last couple of years and I have come to the conclusion that he’s nothing short of a drama king but a very poor one at it. It remains a mystery how he manages to keep such a straight poker face when selling lies to his captive audience.

Let me give one example only. I lost my last hope and faith in him while watching the melodrama that played out during the last collation exercise, an unnecessarily drab and terribly cumbersome exercise, at this time and age. Why do we need to assemble and engage those Professors as returning officers when the right and easiest thing to do was to TRANSMIT the results straight from the polling units!! Why would a so-called learned Professor not work towards changing and improving on the illiterate methodology and processes he met in place? Yet this man, Mahmood, sits comfortably for hours, like the Lord of the flies, supervising a complete charade while rushing palpably to Golgotha, a place of death.

FIFA Council Members, Mr Amaju Pinnick and Ms Isha Johansen with Chief Dele Momodu and President Paul Kagame at the FIFA Council dinner in Kigali days ago…

I will never forget, nor ever comprehend, how and why Mahmood appeared so recalcitrant and unmoved by the pleas of Senator Dino Melaye who had tried to rescue him and our dear beloved country from eternal damnation that has befallen him and his team and the calamity that was wittingly foisted on Nigeria. All that was needed by anyone with a conscience, love for, and loyalty to his country was to allow more time to re-examine the barrage of obvious and obnoxious infractions arbitrarily committed nationwide. But Mahmood studiously ignored all genuine and germaine entreaties. It appeared like a case of a man on suicide mission and reminded me of the tortoise in one of Ola Rotimi’s plays who was asked when it will return from its senseless journey and responded “not until I have been disgraced…” In one fell swoop, Mahmood Yakubu recklessly frittered away a golden opportunity to join the rare and exclusive pantheon of great Africans who saved their countries and people from perfidy and brink of collapse.

Please, note that I have not written about who won or did not win but only about the lack of transparency in the entire process. The same technology that worked well for the other electoral offices suddenly developed tuberculosis and high fever for the Presidential race. This is the crux of the matter.

Mahmood was just too predictable. He was working from answer to question, like a somnambulist or a victim of hypnotism. Everyone knew he was acting a dangerous script and that his macabre dance would reach its crescendo in the dead of the night, as if it was a meeting of witches and wizards. So I switched off my phone in order to spare and save my eyes from witnessing this inglorious show of shame. And when that minute finally came, it was a cataclysmic fall for a country that parades some of the brightest men and women on planet earth. The damage and its collateral effects were absolutely brutal and almost irreversible. Even the supposed winners appeared too stunned that it could not celebrate its pyrrhic victory. It became a de javu of sorts. The world instantly joined Nigerians in mourning. It was the global press that jolted us out of our comatose state.

On a personal note, I had so much faith in the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari about wanting to leave a worthy legacy, despite my usual reservations and paranoia about such grandstanding in the past. I had prayed fervently that the President would not blow this second chance God has mercifully granted him after contesting for a record four times. But, unfortunately, the man on whose behalf I was fasting was actually busy gulping away voraciously…

Anyway, in order to unwind, I decided to travel to Tanzania and Zanzibar. But man proposes and God disposes. A call from a prominent member of FIFA Council, Ms Isha Johansen, former boss of the Sierra Leone Football Federation and a football club owner, changed my plans. “Bros D,” as she fondly calls me, “if you’re passing through Kigali, let me get you a VIP invitation to the 73rd FIFA Congress…” I can smell a good opportunity for networking from hundreds of kilometers away and I was not going to let this pass me by. Let me confirm that what eventually transpired in Rwanda actually surpassed my expectations.

Last Sunday, I boarded Rwandair after seeking permission from my bosses at the ATIKU/OKOWA Presidential Campaign Council. I needed a break after the frenetic work we had put into one of the most phenomenal Presidential campaigns ever. As soon as we got off the plane in Kigali, I felt the overwhelming power of FIFA. Rwanda has become one of the most welcoming destinations of choice for global events and I must say FIFA chose right. Rwanda’s biggest strength lies in President Paul Kagame’s magical performance in a country that went through one of the worst genocides in human history. Love him or loathe him, history will record him as a leader who brought his people back from eternal perdition. PEACE is what makes Rwanda livable. I saw some of the world’s most famous stars under one roof at the Kigali Marriott hotel. We bonded as one big family and there was no discrimination whatsoever.

For me the FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, was quite a big revelation and huge inspiration, for a man his age and at his peak of success. He is extremely friendly and down to earth. He is a good friend of Africa. This was evident in the way he relates to my two friends on the FIFA Council, Ms Isha Johansen and Mr Amaju Pinnick. He laughed heartily when I told him he is probably the most powerful President in the world.

I met and mingled with the movers and shakers of the football fraternity. I was profoundly honored to meet the former Manager of my favorite football club, Arsenal, Mr Arsene Wenger, as calm and composed as ever. Meeting him a few times was surreal. Our videos went viral several times.

Our African representatives on the FIFA Council are making us very proud. Isha and Amaju introduced me to who’s who in attendance. I met the FIFA Vice President & CONCACAF President, Mr Victor Montegliani, former US Soccer Federation President and current Adviser to FIFA President, Mr Carlos Cordero, the 2002 Senegalese World Cup hero, Mr Kalilu Fadiga, Ghanaian soccer star Asamoah Gyan, our own indomitable Jay Jay Okocha, The Bull Daniel Amokachi, and too many superstars to mention from over 200 countries. It was such a delight meeting the extremely influential UEFA President, Mr Aleksander Ceferin, the great Senior Vice President of FIFA and the Asia Confederation President, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa. I met the South African Billionaire businessman and CAF President Mr Patrice Motsepe.

I was truly humbled by the humility of the Secretary General of FIFA, Mrs Fatma Samoura. But my biggest inspiration came from meeting President Paul Kagame at the FIFA Council dinner where he mingled freely with some of us. I discovered in him a hands-on leader. He was available and approachable. He even played in a soccer match. He’s admirably cosmopolitan.

The FIFA President has worked assiduously to take the organization to a much higher level than he met it. I saw the joy of fulfillment on his face as he reeled out highlights of his spectacular achievements. He was given a standing ovation after he was reelected unopposed for another term of four years. The voting process was electronic and it was done almost effortlessly. It brought back memories of a dashed hope and lost opportunity back home in Nigeria. I wondered what’s wrong with us such that when we think we’ve taken two steps forward, we actually take ten backwards. All I could muster was SHAME UNTO INEC for its ignominious rascality.

I remembered my Boss, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and felt a sense of pride that I took the right decision when I chose to support him and Governor Ifeanyichukwu Okowa. The Wazirin Adamawa has demonstrated the traits of a true democrat. His faith in the rule of Law is unassailable. You will never see hooligans around him. His supporters will never terrorize anyone on social media. This is the kind of gentleman Nigeria desperately needs.
To those crying that I should have supported someone else, I have nothing but pity. I marvel when highly educated people tell me I should be loyal to a friend and not to my country. I made my choice with my eyes wide open and I stand by him, in thunder, lightning and in rain.

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Pendulum: My Personal Take on Atiku, Wike and Ayu




By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians,

I come in peace. According to the Holy Bible: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God…” Matthew 5:9.

The political party I belong to is PDP. I had contested its Presidential Primary months ago but lost spectacularly. I’m not here to offer excuses about what happened or did not happen. I’m writing this epistle first as a peacemaker and also, secondly, as an academic exercise. I’m interested in exploring the possibilities of how our big gladiators can re-embrace one another. Once upon a time, they were all friends. Friends sometimes fight bitterly. Even husbands and wives do disagree vehemently and, at times, to a point of irreconcilable differences. However, even in those times, miracles can happen and events and circumstances bring them back together.  This is the stage we are right now. Only a miracle can save the once buoyant and vibrant relationships that existed between these major anchors of the PDP and restore the trust between The Wazirin Atiku Abubakar, Dr Iyorchia Ayu and Governor Nyesom Wike.

The key words in the middle of this war of attrition are MISTRUST and DISTRUST.

I need to emphasize that earlier this week, I and four other former Presidential aspirants visited our Party’s Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in Abuja.

The delegation was led by Alhaji Mohammed Hayatudeen. Those former aspirants that attended the meeting were Mohammed Hayatudeen, Dele Momodu, Tari Oliver, Bar Charles Ugwu and Bar Chikwendu Kalu. This was the first official meeting of it’s kind by any group of aspirants after the National Convention that saw Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerge as the Presidential flag bearer of our great Party, PDP. I must emphasise that we represented the small group of six former aspirants who had met in Lagos and reached a decision to meet our candidate. Only one of us was absent, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, because he had to leave for the US before the meeting took place.

It is not true that our small group was snubbed by anyone of the other aspirants. We did not invite Governor Nyesom Wike since he we understood and knew that he is still angry about the conduct of the election, it’s outcome and events that transpired shortly thereafter. Before meeting with our Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku, we had reached out to some of our party’s leaders who were reachable. We had even paid a visit to former Governor Ayodele Peter Fayose who is currently recuperating from a major surgery, in order to show our empathy and consideration for him and his condition. Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State had actually agreed to host us soon. Chief Anyim Pius Anyim also promised to host us since he was unavoidably absent and away from Abuja at the time we met Atiku. Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki also offered his apologies as he was out of the country.

The truth is that everyone is anxious to see an end to the imbroglio rocking our party. Even our opponents are eager to see an end to it, one way or the other, because PDP has been getting all the good and bad attention (and every publicity in PR parlance, is good publicity). So we decided to start the peace process from our own side as former Co-contestants for the Presidential ticket of the PDP, in a bid to ensure that we reduce the almost perennial bad news about our Party.

Our candidate was happy and delighted to see, and welcome us to his home. The atmosphere was both convivial and jovial. He expressed his great pleasure to see his former colleagues and co-contestants and assured our team of his readiness to collaborate and build a formidable team that would not only see the PDP winning the upcoming election, but also strategically position the Party for the upcoming business of governance after our resounding victory.

The team spoke about our foremost interest in ensuring peace and stability in the Party, stressing the need for the Party to walk and talk through the difficult challenges that it currently faces, and restore peace speedily through meaningful dialogue and reconciliation.

I need to interject by stating that my article and opinion herein is strictly personal to me. This would be my third troubleshooting intervention following on the earlier two I had circulated widely on other platforms. The first was addressed directly to my very dear friend and Brother, Governor Nyesom Wike as follows:


My dear Brother, good evening. I have watched you in recent months with trepidation. I’m scared about your inability to comprehend the country called Nigeria. You must have underrated how the owners of Nigeria operate. I have studied the biography of CHIEF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO. I was an insider in the June 12 1993 crisis, and a veritable witness to the tribulations of my great mentor, CHIEF MOSHOOD ABIOLA. Closer home, you must have seen how your predecessor, DR PETER ODILI, was stopped in his tracks in 2007.

You’re certainly one of Nigeria’s best performing Governors, if not the best. Personally, I’m very proud of your uncommon achievements. I know you are very angry. It is your right to be. But I’m begging you in the name of God not to take decisions based on anger… Nigeria has been very kind to you. Rivers State has been extremely generous to you. GOD has blessed you beyond imagination. You have such a beautiful family. Your people love you stupendously for services delivered to them. PDP has been your solid platform. You should never destroy a bridge after crossing the river. Even if you no longer need the bridge, what of your friends and family? I pray you kill this excessive and perpetual ANGER. It is getting out of hand. Most people around you will keep quiet for fear of losing patronage. Many politicians survive only on power. My Brother, I love you. But someone must be able to tell you the truth. No General fights on too many fronts. Please, apply the brakes, before it is too late…”

To his credit, Wike called me that night and although he was still simmering we spoke briefly, but cordially, about my humble admonition.

Wike has been like a combination of Ronaldo and Messi in our Party and I believe he must be appeased by all means possible. I was encouraged when I saw pictures of his meeting with our Party’s Presidential candidate with a few of our Governors having dinner in London. But nothing seemed to have come out of what I thought was an auspicious meeting.

So I wrote a second letter addressed to the generality of the Party faithful as follows:


My dear party members, good morning. I woke up thinking about the sad and unfortunate crisis rocking our party. I’m wondering if we’ve not been victims of mass hypnotism. Someone needs to wake us up from this state of somnambulism.

Months after we concluded our Presidential primary, we are still busy fighting and calling ourselves unprintable names, thus forgetting that, once upon a time, we were friends, with shared dreams and aspirations. We all looked forward to how our party would dislodge the APC behemoth that deceived Nigerians with highfalutin promises but failed spectacularly on delivery.

Agreed, costly mistakes were made in our party Presidential primary, some of them avoidable, but we cannot continue to dwell on it, lest we  throw the baby away with the bathwater.
Now that we’ve narrowed the principal actors to our National Chairman, Governor Nyesom Wike and our Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, I wish to appeal once again to them to urgently rise above this war of attrition for the sake of long-suffering Nigerians who need our attention desperately. PDP is the oldest party in Nigeria, since 1999, with the requisite experience to tap into in order to reverse our perfidious descent into anarchy.

I salute the courage of Governor Wike in boldly and vociferously letting the world know what went wrong and what should be done moving forward. He should please sheath his sword and allow party machinery fix the rest. I also appeal to our party elders to resist making inflammatory statements that may further escalate the crisis. Truth is, we can, and should, defeat APC spectacularly in the next election and hopefully form a Government of National Unity in 2023, as suggested by our candidate. Let’s not destroy this opportunity with our own hands.
Nigerians are waiting to see the practical presentations and demonstrations of our manifesto. Majority of the other candidates and members of their parties were at different times members of our party, PDP. For every finger they point at us, four others will point back at them.
Time has come for our party to retake the victory and regain the glory.”

My personal takes today are that one, we must recognise that issues of injustices in our Party must be addressed and not swept under the carpet. No attempt should be made to make the Southerners in our Party feel like bystanders. We need massive votes from every part of Nigeria. Two, whatever promises were made privately to Wike should be re-visited and reviewed and if they have changed and can no longer be sustained, fresh decisive and sincere negotiations should take place between our candidate and Wike. The aim should be to try and meet him at a point closely aligned to those initial promises. That is the hallmark of justice and integrity on which our great Party was founded and built. I’m not saying anyone is indispensable, but Wike deserves our respects for his humongous support for our Party. There was a time that PDP would have been consumed and destroyed, but Wike was one of those few who stood tall like a colossus and held the Party together. Three, I will plead with Wike to calm down and let God fight his fight. I’m not happy the way the media is exploiting the crisis while making him look too cantankerous and obstinate. He has proven his point too well. Now he should let his cause take its course. I believe history will eventually vindicate him. The head that will wear the crown can never be denied. No matter how long it takes, it will happen if it is God’s will. King Charles III is the most recent example of this truism!

Four, PDP should link up more to the many younger talents and self-accomplished technocrats that abound in Nigeria and abroad and stop giving attention only to career politicians. A political party that wishes to dislodge a ruling government must target and attract first time voters.We must appeal to those in the Diaspora who send money back home to their families and friends.

I pray our leaders and elders would see reason and embrace peace urgently…


I have often been asked who’s the greatest personality I ever met and my unequivocal response was always: HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II. The extraordinary and remarkably graceful and regal woman and monarch has impacted the whole world in a way none other has. She is one of the few people known only by their Titles, the Queen. But, of course, she is the most renowned of them all.

On July 29, 1995, I landed at the London Gatwick Airport from Accra, Ghana. For me, it was the beginning of an unplanned and unanticipated sojourn in the land of unpredictable weather for the next three years.

I will forever treasure the unbelievable support and the unimaginable protection my family and I enjoyed as asylum seekers and later, refugees, from Her Majesty’s Government…

I was so grateful on behalf of myself and family that I started dreaming of meeting Her Majesty, but never knew how this tall dream could ever be actualized. However, nothing is impossible with God. And when things happen for me they do so oftentimes in a blaze of honour and glory. Indeed, when the appointed time came, the Deputy British High Commissioner was the one who contacted me, shortly before Her Majesty’s last visit to Nigeria in 2003. Apparently, the High Commission had been trying to reach me for a while because they had a mission for me. I recall that I was in Ghana when the call came through that Ovation International magazine and Thisday newspaper were the only two publications shortlisted by Buckingham Palace as the official titles allowed to cover the extraordinary visit…. I was thrilled beyond measure at the recognition and honour. I knew then that dreams come true in the most unusual of ways. Naturally, I was invited to be a guest at the cocktail reception organized by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Sir Philip Thomas, and I got an opportunity to introduce myself to the Queen.

I had rehearsed and rehearsed what I would say to her within the few minutes of standing before her and it was a most fulfilling experience indeed…

The rest is now history…

May her beautiful soul Rest in Peace…

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