Dele Momodu joins Presidential race

Monday, May 3, 2010

One of Africa’s most famous publishers and THISDAY columnist, Bashorun Dele Momodu, is set to move from publishing to politics. According to sources, the publisher of Ovation International, a leading celebrity magazine, was provoked by the decision of former President Ibrahim Babangida to join the presidential race.

THISDAY checks revealed that Momodu has actually been travelling round the world to mobilise young Nigerians to support what he calls “a mission to clean up Nigeria.” His friends believe he’s one of the few Nigerians who have managed to build “a global brand against very daunting odds.” He enjoys a large following of Nigerian youths on Facebook and Twitter.

Momodu was a major supporter of Bashorun Moshood Abiola’s presidential bid in 1993. He was detained at the Alagbon detention camp, Ikoyi, Lagos, between July and August 1993 for his political activities. In 1995, he was forced into exile by the General Sani Abacha Military Government, and lived in England as a refugee for three years. He was accused of being one of the brains behind the pirate radio station that was attacking the dictatorship in Nigeria, an allegation he denied vehemently.

He started Ovation International during that period, and was a regular Yoruba presenter on the pirate radio broadcast, Radio Freedom, which later became Radio Kudirat, under the pseudonym of Saliu Elenuugboro. He decided to support the pirate radio since he was already punished for being a member of its clandestine operations.
He returned from exile in 1998 and expanded his publishing outfit from England to Ghana and Benin Republic where Ovation International is now translated into French. The widely-travelled publisher has been able to build a larger-than- life image and he has a one-on-one relationship with Presidents, international figures, business gurus, students’ organisations, civil societies and political groups.

When THISDAY contacted him in Ghana last night, Momodu said that there were incredible pressures on him to contest next year’s Presidential election. “My supporters are of the firm belief that Nigeria needs a fresh beginning and that that fresh air can only be guaranteed by someone who has not been tainted in anyway by government office and cannot be accused of pilfering government money,” Momodu said. He added that when he eventually announces his intention to run, “the decision would have been aided by the challenge thrown at us by former President Ibrahim Babangida that he can’t see any young Nigerian who can lead Nigeria out of the current political doldrums which was largely created by him.”

Asked on what political platform he hopes to contest when the time comes, Momodu confirmed that he has been a card-carrying member of Labour Party because his father was an ordinary Nigerian who worked most of his life as labourer.

“Most of the men from my Afenmai tribe of Edo State were labourers, and I come from that proud unionist tradition of dignity in labour and service to humanity.” Also, his growing up in Ile-Ife, Osun State taught him the values of hard-work in an environment where most people were poor.

Bashorun Momodu’s presidential bid is certain to add colour and excitement into a usually dull race because of his firm grip on the entertainment and showbiz industry in Africa.  

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