Dele Momodu VS PMB – The Nation Nigeria

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Dele Momodu is a star wildly celebrated by thousands of his admirers. As publisher of ‘Ovation International’, one of Africa’s most popular celebrity bi-lingual magazines that celebrate human vanity, he is patron to many of these fame and prosperity-seeking youths. For politicians, traditional rulers and others in society who derive joy in celebrating their sense of importance, he is an indispensable ally whose friendship is widely cultivated. As the author of a weekly Thisday back page column called “PENdulum” where current affairs and issues in Nigerian politics are critically examined, he is highly regarded   by many of his admirers. Above all, as a former presidential candidate, he is to many youths especially those who have been taken hostage by the social media, the hope for tomorrow. For all the above reasons and more, when our multi-talented Dele Momodu speaks, it is incumbent for us to pay attention.

He recently, in an open letter, advised President Buhari ‘to quit while the ovation is loudest’. His reasons:  non-performance and a sudden realization that Buhari’s administration is worse than that of President Goodluck Jonathan, his predecessor in office. Of course we can advance many reasons why President Buhari should go and take a well-deserved rest and hand power over to a younger person as Mandela did not too long ago in South Africa were our circumstances to be the same.  But comparing Buhari with Jonathan is odious, just as a charge of non-performance is not supported by available fact.  Momodu’s motive therefore is not only suspect, his current intervention raises the question as to whether his politics is not just an extension of what he does for a living – celebration of ego.

This was brought to play in his open letter to President Buhari. The letter for instance opens with a celebration of his own sense of importance. He first reminded Buhari about how valiantly he fought on his side during his 2015 presidential contest against Jonathan; he took pains to present the president with a compilation of his articles as proof.

And opening his assault, Momodu said he “never expected that our situation could ever get worse under the APC government that almost literally promised heaven and earth”. Momodu’s verdict finds parallel only in the claim of some of his followers on social media that Buhari has failed because the $1000 sent home by those who managed to escape the hell that is Nigeria fetched them N360, 000. Momodu doesn’t seem to believe there is a need to tighten our belt and become self-sufficient in things we can produce following the collapse of price of crude oil, the major source of our foreign earnings, from Jonathan’s all time high  of $120 per barrel to $35 in the world market. It is most unlikely, Momodu will not understand that the only alternative to enduring some pain now in expectation of a better tomorrow, is a path that leads straight to Venezuela especially since the return to Jonathan profligate years he is craving for is no more an option.

It is also hard to believe Momodu actually thought Buhari “truly possessed the magic wand and talismanic effect to make all our problems evaporate and vamoose in a jiffy”. But if he did, it must have been a serious error of judgment on his part.  This probably misled him to dissipate energy campaigning for Buhari, an endeavour he now regrets, when he could have cast his lot with our prosperity prophets, the only people millions of Nigerians look up to for life of bliss without work, a luxury the Jews – the chosen people who labour daily to turn desert into farmlands – do not enjoy.

Momodu also has an axe to grind with President Buhari for allowing a ‘cabal’ to hijack his government. As he put it: “We definitely want you to succeed but it seems some demons are desperately determined to make you fail by all means”. But Momodu could not have suddenly forgotten that when Pa Bisi Akande first identified the presence of this cabal in Buhari’s government, a section of the media labelled him a Yoruba irredentist fighting Yoruba war. And instead of Momodu joining the crusade against those harbouring anti-Nigeria agenda back then, he chose to lionise Buhari, claiming he won the election on his own merit as if Nigerians did not know he had tried and failed three times before a coalition of some disparate political interest groups swept him into power in 2015.

Momodu also says Buhari’s administration is “directionless”, blaming this on the quality of his appointees. “The quality of your appointees in recent time points to how directionless your government has finally become”, he says. He doesn’t seem to think much of some of Buhari’s shining stars in FIRS, Customs, Nigerian Ports Authority, EFCC etc.

Momodu at the end made it clear he was withdrawing his support for the president.   “Your Excellency”, he declares with brutal finality, “it has become very difficult, if not impossible to defend the excessive shortcomings of your government”.

I am however not sure if Buhari, a leader who prides himself on his righteousness will see Momodu’s threat beyond self-promotion by a man who lives on celebration of vanity. He will remember it was not too long ago that Momodu lionised him and more or less proclaimed him a messiah.

As a final shot, he predicted defeat for Buhari in 2019 if his advice is not heeded, claiming Buhari has nothing to “tell and sell to the electorate this time, particularly after the colossal failure of the last three years”.

Now Buhari’s supporters have taken the battle back to Momodu, using his major platform-the social media which has become abuzz with a unique campaign copy, targeted at the private fears and anxieties of Nigerians.  “Now that they say you have failed, dear PMB, they plead: “come May 2019, give them back their corruption, their terrorism, their thieving military Generals, their Tompolos,  Dokubos,  Shekaus and their corrupt judges”etc.

And now the battle line seems clearly drawn. While Momodu’s nostalgic craving for the return of PDP was apparent from his virulent attack,   Festus Keyamo, claiming he was ‘one of those who fought to oust PDP and its bad ruling system’, has said a call for change is a call for “a return to culture of misrule of the past, executive recklessness, impunity, leadership visionlessness, indiscipline and irresponsibility and merciless looting of the resources of Nigeria”. In the absence of a third order political system, the only option according to him “is to continue to engage the present one for better delivery of government services and improvement”. Unlike Momodu, for him, Buhari’s government “is still a lot better compared to the past one”.



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