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Dele Momodu: A Politician Guided by Principle

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By Sani Sa’idu Baba

“if you are willing to abandon your principles for convenience, or social acceptability, they are not your principles, they are your costume…” Victor Hugo, German Philosopher

If there is one thing that I learnt from my boss and mentor, Chief Dele Momodu, it is the adherence to “Principle and Consistency” in whatever one does. I will therefore, not be out of place if I say that the veteran journalist is the most principled politician Nigeria ever had. This is perhaps the reason he chose his country above friendship, and that is what he preaches to me on a daily basis. He uncompromisingly practices what he preaches.

When his friend of over thirty (30) years, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, emerged the APC Presidential candidate in June, 2022, all eyes were on Dele Momodu. There was no way he would grant interviews without being asked if he would support his friend Asiwaju. The same question trails his movement on the social media space, and his answer had always been a capital NO, to the shock  and dismay of many. Literally, many were waiting to see an official announcement of his resignation from the PDP to support for his old friend Asiwaju in the APC. I knew that would never happen, and here is why

(1) When Momodu was asked by the screening committee before the primaries whether he would decamp if he lose the ticket or if he would support the ultimate winner, his answer was that he would support whoever emerges the flagbearer of his party. To the best of my knowledge, my boss is a man of his words.

(2) Dele Momodu is a democrat who knew the value of freedom, respects choice and doesn’t believe in political desperation, harassment or dirtiness.

(3) Even before Momodu threw his hat into the ring as presidential aspirant under Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he had since parted ways with the APC (though never been a member) when he realised that the direction they were going could only lead to perdition, and he believes the party didn’t deserve to be given another chance in 2023.

(4) Although much more closer to Tinubu of APC, Momodu is equally a good friend of all the presidential candidates, especially those that people would wish to call front liners like former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi of the Labour Party, former Kano State Governor Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of New Nigeria People’s Party and the candidate of his party PDP, former Vice president Atiku Abubakar. You will agree with me that it is not possible for someone to support all these candidates at the same time.

(5) If Momodu had got the PDP presidential ticket, would he had stepped down for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu because he is his friend? The answer is NO.

(6) Momodu supported candidates in the past strictly based on principle not region, religion or tribe even without being a member of their parties, and I doubt if he was ready to change just to massage the ego of his friend, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

In his words: “I joined PDP because APC was leading Nigeria to Golgotha. APC candidates are promising to continue BUHARI’S ‘good works!’ I joined PDP in order to sack APC from power and to do this I needed a strong opposition party. I had preached to my younger friends that only a mainstream party like PDP can achieve this in 2023.”

Momodu, however, said that while he would respect the opposing views of his friends, he chose to place Nigeria over friendship. Isn’t that very powerful and something to learn from?

“This remains my conviction. I practice what I preach. Those who disagree are in other parties and I respect their opinions and wish them well. I’m in PDP. I love ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU. We’ve truly come way back. I love PROFESSOR YEMI OSINBAJO. I love RT. HON. CHIBUIKE  ROTIMI AMAECHI. And all my APC friends. But I choose Nigeria above friendship. Besides, I couldn’t believe it that these people are all in APC, but allowed President Buhari to continue that rascality…”

Having outlined my reasons, let me recall the first event that dismissed the thoughts that Momodu was going to support Tinubu. It was in church funeral setting in Lagos where Momodu, together with some of his friends met Remi, the wife of Tinubu. Mrs Tinubu had taken the bull by the horn and asked  Momodu whether he would support her husband. Momodu’s answer was legendary: “Asiwaju is in APC, and I am in PDP” but she didn’t take his answer funny perhaps she knew how adamant he could be on his choice and principle, and at the same time how desperate they needed him because of their knowledge of his capacity, with reference to supporting Buhari in 2015. This scenario as published in the social and main media sent a clear message that a Dele Momodu is not the jumping type.

Another event that brought an end contemplation as to whether Dele Momodu was truly against the candidacy of his friend Tinubu was how he dismissed the manifestos of the APC Presidential candidate “Renewed Hope 2023”, and tagged it plagiarized from late Chief MKO Abiola’s “Hope 1993” document. Abiola was the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1993. Certainly, there is no living soul today who knew MKO Abiola’s political secrets like Dele Momodu. Momodu didn’t stopped at that, but furthered it by demonstrating Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as incompetent to lead Nigeria as a nation, citing the candidate of his party, PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the most competent and qualified. Indeed, there’s not a better way to demonstrate maturity and political principle than the position Momodu has taken.

Similarly, those who call themselves ‘Obidients’ but abusively want to coerce others into the movement should also appreciate the concept of principle in politics as suggested by Victor Hugo “change your opinions, keep to your principles; change your leaves, but keep your roots intact…”.

With all due humility, Dele Momodu has never doubted the average capacity of Mr. Peter Obi, in fact Momodu was one of those that championed the course of Igbo Presidency. Had Peter Obi stayed in PDP, and secured the presidential ticket, the Momodu I know would have thrown his weight behind him as he is doing for Atiku Abubakar today. But his principle and analysis is that to win Presidency in Nigeria, you must join a mainstream party based on his experience when he contested in 2011.

Momodu is loyal to a cause, and the Atiku direction is the most appropriate as far as he is concerned, and he is hardly wrong. For him, it is completely a matter of principle, freedom and choice, and never force or aggrandizement, and that explains why the likes of Festus Keyamo, who mistakenly opened their mouths to utter what they know nothing about, were roundly shut up. It’s obvious he has learnt his lesson, the hard way though.

Momodu is determined to ensure the victory of Atiku Abubakar in 2023 by any means legal and godly, both in his capacity as a citizen and his mandate as the Director of Strategic Communications of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council.

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Opinion

Osun: The Power of the People is Under Attack

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By James O. Bamgbose

At the mention of democracy, what easily comes to mind is the fact that it is a system that places the power to decide leadership on the people. But the experience of the people of Osun state has been the entire opposite of this enticing feature that endears people to democracy. Politicians who fail to get the mandate of the people seem to have found a way to use the court to impose themselves power.

The most recent instance of such a repressive approach is the Justice T.A. Kume led Election Petition Tribunal decision that waved aside the will of the people for a different choice. In the majority judgment read by Justice Kume, the panel made a sweeping attack on the power of the people to choose their leaders as envisaged by the democracy.

The judgment was a clear indication that the law court is now an abode for politicians rejected at the ballot to sneak into power. Before now, violence and manipulations are the tools for politicians to force their way to power, but judges, who are obviously compromised, are the willing tools for politicians to boycott the people to power.

For anyone who followed the Tribunal proceeding up to the point of judgment, they will hardly be surprised by the verdict reached by Justice Kume and his colleagues. This is because Justice Kume never hides his bias against the respondents to the point that you wonder whether he is an arbiter or the petitioner counsel.

It got worse in his judgment, where he maliciously attacked the 2nd respondent (Governor Ademola Adeleke) by making a veil dismissal of his (Adeleke) as a dancer. “The 2nd Respondent cannot “go lo lo lo” and “Buga won” as the duly elected Governor of Osun State in the election conducted on the 16th day of July 2022. See Kizz Daniel’s song,” Justice Kume noted in his judgment.

This is not only a new low for a judicial officer but a clear statement of bias. It is evident that this bias weigh heavily on his decision, which by every indication, was perverse. Or, how can one reconcile the conclusion made by Justice Kume in the judgment that the Exhibit submitted by the respondents after the Exhibit BVR “amount to tampering with official documents” without any clear evidence adduced in that regard?

A judge is not a superman, and this is why most times, they rely on the presentation of an expert to have a clear understanding on the matter before them. One would have expected an unbias arbiter to seek the advice of an expert on the BVAS technology so as to make a sound decision that will ensure true justice.

This was not the case in the Osun Tribunal case, as Justice Kume, relied more on his opinion, rather than evidence that is before it to arrive at the judgment. Or, what could have informed the decision to ignore the BVAS machine physical examination ordered by the court, and go for a server report that has been disputed as incomplete by the maker, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It is known to the whole world that the BVAS machines were the device used in the polling units and hold more credible data than a server in far away Abuja. What Justice Kume did with the judgment is beyond injustice, but a serious attack on our democracy. With a decision as the one done by Justice Kume, voters will no longer be encouraged to participate in an election because their votes may not actually matter but the whim and caprices of a judge who was not anywhere near the place of the election.

This unfolding reality will be devastating. In other words, politicians will no longer be interested in what the voters think, but be sure to manipulate the judiciary and find their way to power irrespective of what the people decide at the poll. This is a great setback on our democracy and to imagine that the judiciary, which should ensure the sanctity of the ballot, is the same fouling it, is to say the least a demoralising.

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Opinion

The Oracle: Ethics and Discipline in Law: Akin to Waiting for Godot (Pt. 3)

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By Mike Ozekhome

INTRODUCTION

A nation is said to be developed when the standard of her discipline and ethics are measured in comparison with others in the developing society. Where this is lacking in Nigeria for instance, is what has led her to fail to measure up with other developed nations of the world. Today, we shall continue our discourse on this.

ETHICS AND MORALITY (continues)

To analyse law, refers must be made to a classic tale, originating in India, of a group of blind men and elephant even though there are numerous variations of the story, but I enjoy the Jain’s version in particular:

“Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! It is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan,” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by, and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched a different part of the elephant. So, the elephant has all the features of what you all said.” 

Because of the multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary nature of law several theories and schools of law have been propounded to wit: the Naturalist School, the Socialist Theory, the Positivist Theory, the Realists Theory, the Utilitarian Theory and so on, but we are not going to wear ourselves out with the various theories. For the sake of this write-up, we shall adopt the definition proposed in the Black’s Law Dictionary above, that is:

“As that which is laid down, ordained, or established. A rule or method according to which phenomenon or actions co-exist or follow each other. Law, in its generic sense, is a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority and having binding legal force. That which must be obeyed and followed by citizens subject to sanctions or legal consequences. Law is a solemn expression of the will of the supreme power of the State”.

“WAITING FOR GODOT” is a term coined from the story – Waiting for Godot – to describe a situation where people are waiting for something to happen, but it probably never will. Simply put, it is to engage in wishful thinking or to build castles in the air. The phrase is coined from the play by Samuel Becket. The play is basically two clowns waiting for someone who never shows up. It’s a metaphor for humanity waiting for some revelation of God’s presence amid horror, destruction and chaos.

They never get it. At the end a messenger boy comes to say Mr. Godot is very sorry but he’s unable to come today, but perhaps tomorrow. That’s life. Waiting for Godot is a tragicomedy in two acts by Irish writer Samuel Beckett, published in 1952 in French as En attendant Godot and first produced in 1953. Waiting for Godot was a true innovation in drama and the Theatre of the Absurd’s first theatrical success.

NATIONAL ETHICS

National ethics simply means a set of conduct and behaviours expected of every citizen, the breach of which attracts punishment. National ethics is defined as a system of morals, rules, and behaviour which every community in a country is bound to abide by and a breach of such rules usually attracts punishment.

National ethics is stated in the Constitution of a nation to guide the behaviour and conduct of citizens in their places of work. It serves to establishment of law and order and attainment of meaningful development in a country. The present Constitution of Nigeria states the national ethics to comprise the following: Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-Reliance, and Patriotism.

Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-Reliance, and Patriotism.

By discipline the Constitution meant Nigerians should try not to be corrupt, disobedient to laws or embezzle government’s funds when they found themselves in a position of leadership. Citizens are expected to be disciplined, always observing self-control and associating themselves only with people of good character. The importance of discipline which cannot be overemphasized include but not limited to the following: Discipline builds good habits; Discipline helps one stop procrastinating; Discipline helps one manage one’s time better; Discipline helps one achieve your goals; Discipline boosts one self-esteem; Discipline helps one master things; Discipline makes one more reliable; Discipline improves one’s ability to manage challenging emotions. When you have discipline in your life you can make small sacrifices in the present for a better life in the future. Discipline creates habits, habits make routines, and routines become who you are daily.

Like a muscle, discipline can be trained. The more you work on your discipline the stronger it becomes. You see this in sports all the time, the more disciplined team ends up beating the undisciplined team with greater talent. Disciplined teams can see the big picture and use restraint during adversity. Teams who aren’t as disciplined lose their cool and end up costing themselves a shot.

By integrity the Constitution states that Nigerians should try to be firm and honest in all their activities. They should not allow others to drag them into illegal and dishonest activities.

Integrity is a characteristic that many of us value in ourselves, and it’s one we look for consistently in our leaders.  But what does it really mean to have integrity? It is the quality of being honest and strong about what you believe to be right.

One could say that integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn’t easy. Or, one might see integrity as staying true to oneself and one’s word, even when one is faced with serious consequences for the choices that you’re making.

When we have integrity, we gain the trust of our leaders, our colleagues and our team. We’re dependable, and, when we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, we become role models  for others to follow.

All of this, in turn, directly impacts our success in life.

Dignity of labour entails that Nigerians should be proud of the work they do irrespective of its nature provided it is legal. It also means labour should be rewarded accordingly. That is, we should have respect for those who work for us. The dignity of labour is the philosophy that all types of jobs are respected equally, and no occupation is considered superior and none of the jobs should be discriminated on any basis. Regardless of whether one’s occupation involves physical work or mental labour, it is held that the job deserves respect. Simply put, any form of work, manual or intellectual, is called labour and respecting any kind of job (manual or intellectual) is called “dignity of labour”. Dignity of labour, in a nutshell, is the experience of self-worth and achievement that a person derives from his or her work. It is experienced when a person is treated as an equal in the workplace and when they feel useful to their company and to society in general.

By social justice the Constitution implies that Nigerians irrespective of where they come from should be treated fairly and rightly. That is, they should be given equal opportunities in terms of access to justice, employment, education, etc. This could help to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor to the barest minimum.

Justice is the concept of fairness. Social justice is fairness as it manifests in society. That includes fairness in healthcare, employment, housing, and more. Discrimination and social justice are not compatible. Now, social justice applies to all aspects of society, including race and gender, and it is closely tied to human rights. More specifically, what does social justice mean?

Social justice means that everyone’s human rights are respected and protected. Everyone has equal opportunities. This doesn’t guarantee that society will be perfect, and everyone will always be happy. However, everyone will have a fighting chance at the life they want. They aren’t held back by things out of their control like systemic obstacles or discrimination.

By Religious tolerance the Constitution simply means that Nigerians should learn to stay together without violating each other’s right in their practice of religion. That is, they should learn to believe that the religion of every person is important to him. Therefore, every Nigerian should consider the religion of another Nigerian important to the believer. That is, we should learn to believe that, much as we value our religions other people, too, value their religion no matter the pattern of worship.

This goal is a complex one due the great diversity of religions and spiritual beliefs existing in the world today especially in our society. Religion is also a very emotional topic. It can often be difficult for individuals to put their personal biases aside and consider ideas or situations objectively. (To be continued).

FUNTIMES

“Chatting with a Nigerian girl is like interview, if you don’t ask her question, she has nothing to tell you”.- Anonymous.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“In just about every area of society, there’s nothing more important than ethics”. (Henry Paulson).

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Opinion

How Atiku Abubakar Will Become the Next President of Nigeria by Dele Momodu

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I have read with bemusement many of the polls about the forthcoming Presidential election on February 25, 2023, and have come to the conclusion that the elitist polls have failed monumentally due to the over-reliance on technology in a largely illiterate population.

I have decided to help situate the forecasts based on the established polical history of Nigeria and empirical data.

A Presidential candidate cannot depend totally on votes from outside his home base to win this election. It is a fact of history that whenever the South produced two strong candidates, the dominant Nothern candidate won, such as in 1979 and 1983, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe versus Shehu Shagari.

Bola Tinubu is far weaker today in the South West and Awolowo was by far more formidable, while Obi is the new Azikiwe (the first Governor General and President of Nigeria) in the South East, and Kwankwaso is the current Aminu Kano.

Atiku Abubakar will dominate the North East, North West, North Central and South South. Tinubu may pick a few states in the North and South West but won’t have enough to win. The bridges required to cross to victory has taken Atiku 30 years to build. Tinubu has not been able to lock down the entire South West not to talk of the whole of Nigeria. Over-reliance on bribing the electorates will fail. Hoping to rig brazenly will also fail spectacularly. I repeat, the entire North and the South South will make Atiku the next President. Atiku will still be competitive in the South East and South West. Wherever Obi is number one in the East, Atiku will be number two. Wherever Tinubu is number one in the South West, Atiku will be number two or vice versa. Atiku will be the first to cross the line of recording 25 percent in 24 states. He will get 25 percent automatically in the 19 states of Northern Regions and will pick six in South South automatically. He will pick more 25 percent in all of the five states in the South East, a traditional base of PDP, and same in the South West. Wherever Obi is number one, Atiku will be number two or vice versa. I do not know of any state PDP will not record 25 percent and eventually win the overall popular votes. Nigeria has become so polarizingly divided (pardon my tautology) that the “peoples” are going to vote majorly along ethnic lines as well as primordial sentiments. The North will not vote a “fake Muslim” in the name of a pretentious and mischievous Muslim/Muslim ticket. The scam is dead on arrival. The North East will never vote for a number two position when they’ve been chasing the number one since 1966. The North West will not abandon an Atiku for a Tinubu who’s well known for his iron grip on Lagos State since 1999. The South West itself knows it has the most controversial and palpably weakest candidate in this race this time and would humbly and readily accept its fate with equanimity. It will also dawn on the South East that Obi’s raving popularity alone cannot carry him across the winning line and many of their traditional voters will willingly settle for ATIKU ABUBAKAR and IFEANYICHUKWU OKOWA, the cerebral man and gentle giant of Igbo ancestry. I predict that former President Atiku Abubakar will be the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is the most prepared, experienced candidate in the race who’s ready to hit the ground running from day one…
Nigerians will experience real politicking in the days ahead.

Chief Dele Momodu is the Director of Strategic Communications PDP Presidential Campaign Council

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