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Saturday, 25 March 2023 10:18

[OPINION] Dele Momodu: An Independent Politician - 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.

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