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Pendulum: The Bitter Truth PDP Must Be Told



 By Dele Momodu

Fellow Nigerians, these are not the best of times for our dear party PDP, a party that prides itself as the largest political party in Africa, and rightly so.

My romance with PDP could be traced to the pre-2019 Presidential election when I voluntarily supported its candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, free of charge, without joining the party. I have always been more of a supporter of candidates rather than Political Parties. The reason is simple and straightforward. Political Parties in our country lack marked ideological differences, the reason it is easy to wake up in APC this morning and go to bed in PDP the same evening. No principle, no philosophy and no ethics. Our Political Parties, including the smaller ones are home to rampaging, itinerant and mostly unconscionable politicians who are only in pursuit of power and vainglory without the interests of the people at heart. Thus, it has been virtually impossible, and extremely difficult, for the few exceptional leaders to find solace, succour and anchor in any of these Political Parties.

It was with a similar view that in 2015, I supported Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari without being a member of the APC. When I finally gave up on him later on, in his first term, I exercised my right of freedom of association by supporting Atiku, in 2019, hoping he would at least tap into his vast business experience and cosmopolitan nature to rescue Nigeria from the doldrums and the backwardness that the APC government had unleashed on our hapless nation. Unfortunately, he lost, under controversial circumstances.

Atiku was already over 70 at the time, and I thought he would retire graciously and peacefully, to enjoy the comfort of his family and friends, for several reasons. He is a Fulani man like Buhari, who by God’s grace should complete eight years in power, at the helm of Nigerian affairs, in 2023. He belongs to almost the same age bracket as Buhari. As Nigeria currently stands, I believe the country urgently requires a younger, youthful, energetic, visionary, cerebral, charismatic, decorous, humble, self-accomplished, tolerant, leader to re-unite our country and re-set it on the path of peace and prosperity. According to the zoning principle of PDP, power should move to the South, wherever the Southerners in PDP and APC decide to situate it. At that time, Peter Obi’s Labour and Kola Abiola’s  PRP were not yet in the equation.

I did my permutations and assumed that PDP would have recovered from the blistering defeat it suffered as a ruling Party in government, in 2015, and learn new lessons that would help it recapture power from those who made grandiloquent promises that hoodwinked Nigerians, including myself, in 2015, but fell short on deliverables so soon after. I never imagined that PDP will studiously ignore an opportunity to rebrand itself as a refreshingly new Political Party that would open a window of fresh air and offer hope to already critically frustrated Nigerians at home and abroad. My confidence was also predicated on the emergence Dr Iyorchia Ayu, a famous scholar and distinguished politician as the PDP National Chairman. I had promptly dismissed the rumours in certain circles that he was installed to supervise and guarantee the coronation of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. I knew him as far back as the turbulent days of the June 12, 1993, Presidential election, which was won by Chief Moshood Abiola, but annulled by the military establishment.

I finally decided to join the PDP after my chance meeting with Dr Ayu at the home of Governor Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt last year. Dr Ayu was in Rivers State to commission some of the landmark projects of Governor Wike, aka Mr Projects. While waiting downstairs for Governor Wike to come down, I was opportune to spend some quality time, and engage with the Party Chairman, on some serious conversation. I presented him three of my books and he appeared elated. He thanked me profusely because, according to him, he loves to read voraciously as a former university lecturer. By the time Governor Wike joined us, we had discussed a lot about the Nigerian polity, and we thereafter took a few pictures, and it was time to go.

That meeting convinced me that PDP was a better option to APC because the Chairman seemed earnest and sincere. I kept in touch with the Chairman a couple of times via WhatsApp and developed more respect for him.

Before taking a plunge, I knew I needed to speak to Governor Wike who had graciously engaged the Ovation Media Group for the rebranding of Rivers States. He was understandably a busy Governor keen on leaving a genuine legacy for his successor to build on, and for his people to enjoy. He was full of praise for our work, and I felt obliged to reciprocate his confidence in us by consulting with him and confiding in him first about my intentions. Unfortunately, once I sent a message about my intentions, it became mission impossible to speak to him. On one occasion, I spoke to our mutual friend, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, who told him I had complained about his unreachability. Wike finally called me around 1.00am and said he was shocked to hear that I said he was deliberately avoiding me. “You should know me by now that if I had anything against you, I would have told you…” I then told him I needed to let him know of my plan to join PDP. Unfortunately, even after this encounter, Governor Wike became even more incommunicado. So, I decided to go ahead with my decision, after fulfilling that righteousness.

On Friday, October 29, 2021, I took a leap of faith, when I formally joined the leading opposition Party, PDP. The news came as a surprise to practically everybody, except my Wife and very close friends and associates. It went viral globally. It marked the beginning of my return to active politics since 2011. And I was truly elated and enthusiastic about using my extensive networks and public relations skills to re-energise PDP and galvanise young, first-time voters to our Political Party. One of my first self-appointed roles was to encourage online registration on the PDP membership platform for these new and young voters. So many youths responded positively but they were soon frustrated and discouraged by the cumbersome screening process and unnecessarily tedious verification exercise required by PDP in order to join a Political Party. I forwarded many of the complaints to our Party headquarters but not much changed or improved.

I soon discovered that there were several powerful and contending forces and opposing blocks in the Party. There was also the glaring North/South dichotomy. It was fashionable to hear of new and old members. You must be a Governor or a former big man for you to be recognised and respected in the party. All our education and personal achievements meant nothing to many of the staff at our national headquarters in Abuja, but my team decided to remain calm and steadfast and play the game to the very end. For us, every experience is a new lesson in the school of life. 

It is noteworthy that most of our politicians can never see themselves as the servants of the people who pay for all the perks they enjoy ceaselessly and endlessly. For me, this unreasonable arrogance of our politicians is the beginning and end of our problems in a country overflowing with milk and honey. Since 1993, when Chief Abiola contested on the platform of SDP, I have observed that the Governors have been inordinately powerful. They were amongst those who misled Chief Moshood Abiola and forced him to pick their candidate as his running mate. Chief Abiola had even been ready to pick a Northern Christian as runningmate but was ambushed and dissuaded by the almighty Governors. Fast forward to 2022, the same Governors have become mini-Presidents and causing untold hullabaloo and unnecessary ruckus everywhere. Only a few of them are humble enough to climb down from their high horses to engage ordinary mortals like us. I often wonder that if they can treat those of us, who in our private capacity contributed immensely to the present Democracy that they are now enjoying, at a time many of them were still in school, with such disdain, how would they see the citizens of their respective states as humans who are worthy of their services not to talk of being accountable to those them. I was not surprised when former Governor Peter Obi broke ranks with the Governors and abandoned a Political Party that made him a Vice Presidential candidate in 2019. I heard horrendous stories of how he was snubbed by some of the Governors during his visits to many PDP controlled states as a PDP Presidential aspirant. Just imagine.

Let’s move forward please. The Presidential race truly divided our Party beyond imagination. I will not bore you with details but whatever tragedy has befallen our Party today was a prophecy long seen and definitely foretold by me. I saw it clearly and tried to help my Party, PDP, but the so-called big men were not ready to listen to “featherweights! They treated us with derision and openly derided and denigrated us. 

I knew, as far back as early March, that Governor Wike was interested in running for the highest office, at a time many did not know it. Ovation Media Group was in the forefront of his rebranding process so I knew it could not have been for fun. The manner we suddenly became estranged merely because I had mentioned my intention to him via a phone message was also an indication of what was to come.

I knew, almost from the time I joined the PDP that the Party’s zoning formula was going to be jettisoned for the sole benefit of one aspirant, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. This was not a hidden fact and therefore did not need much deduction. I knew that the United States Dollar was going to play a prominent and crucial role in who becomes our Party’s candidate. A former Governor had boasted to me that Wike was going to defeat Atiku and go on to become the next President merely because he commanded a huge war chest that nobody could even remotely match. I told this ex-Governor that I was aware that Wike has the capacity to defeat Atiku but that there was going to be a massive gang-up against him, such that his financial armoury would eventually be reduced to nothing. My brother refused to listen to me despite my genuine and palpable love for him. He said I was not a politician. I could feel the irritation in his voice and body language as he berated me for telling him an obvious, evident truth. In all honesty, Wike is probably one of the best performing Governors in Nigeria, but many people complain that he is too volatile and irascible. Naturally, this got him incredibly angry when I told him this fact which is what most of his friends couldn’t tell him. I knew there was going to be a volcanic and cataclysmic eruption against Wike at our Party Primaries, but Wike and his team did not believe it was possible.

I knew Atiku could not win without some help from Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and I told my team on the morning of our Party Convention that this was likely to be the scenario that would play out. But for the sudden stepping down of Tambuwal, Wike would have beaten Atiku black and blue in that contest. Tambuwal not only persuaded his supporters to vote Atiku, but his withdrawal also meant that the votes he would have received which would have reduced Atiku’s votes and made Wike the clear winner were residing in the Atiku camp.

Once Atiku emerged as Presidential candidate, I knew he would never pick Wike as his running mate. I’m surprised that big politicians who claimed to have the power of clairvoyance could not see this coming. It would have been a slap on Tambuwal, who had stepped down, for Wike to suddenly become a Vice President, according to those in Atiku’s camp. Additionally, they claimed Wike would be too strong for Atiku to contain and an Obasanjo/Atiku scenario would occur with Atiku being on the receiving end this time.

However, I believe Atiku should have made every effort to reach out to Wike by all means and make him offers he cannot resist or reject. There are positions more powerful than that of Vice President in Nigeria. Former Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, has been like a Prime Minister under the Buhari Presidency. Wike is too strong to be ignored. It is a known fact that Wike’s predecessor, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, was a major factor in Buhari’s 2015 and 2019 victories. Wike is even much stronger today. Also, Atiku should have invited his co-contestants and carried them along in his decision, because no one is too small in politics. I doubt if the hasty decision to pick Governor Ifeanyi Okowa would not cause irreparable damage to the Party. I would have freely and gladly told His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that PDP cannot ignite a passion in the Nigerian youths with a lukewarm team. Atiku has practically donated the entire South West, free of charge, to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the South East, a primarily PDP enclave, to the Labour Party candidate, former Governor Peter Obi and possibly even Asiwaju Tinubu, who is personally well respected there for his vision and industry, attributes which the Igbos recognise and respect. Apart from perhaps Delta State, I don’t know where else Governor Okowa has much influence in the South South. This is a sad fact and the bitter truth.

Lastly, many had asked me why I contested when I had no chance of winning the PDP Presidential Primary. My simple response. I did not believe that I could not win. It was my view that if the contest were free, fair and devoid of the money politics that overshadowed the Primaries, I would win. Moreover, I needed to demonstrate how to run a decent and healthy campaign. I needed to showcase the vast and diverse array of my uncommon network and my ability to reunite and secure Nigeria instantly. I’m glad that I did so to the admiration of many normal Nigerians.

Time will indeed tell our story in glowing terms!…

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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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