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I expected you to unify Nigeria - Dele Momodu tells Buhari

May 28 '16 | By La Afrique Media | Views: 436 | Comments: 0

Otunba Dele MomoduDele-Momodu
Celebrated Nigerian philanthropist, motivational speaker, and publisher of Ovation International Magazine, Otunba Dele Momodu is not only a journalist per excellence but he owns a restaurant in Ghana known as ‘House of Ovation’. Speaking on the challenges he has faced in the industry so far, Dele Momodu in an interview with NAIJ.COM he opened up on the challenges he has faced with his media outfit, expressed his disappointment in President Buhari’s management among others Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Otunba Dele Momodu Read excerpts of the interview below: Can you recollect the greatest challenge you have had to combat in your 20 years of existence? The major challenge is funding. I will call the media the ultimate casino (kalo kalo). The media is sustained by advert. In Nigeria, getting advert is not about how successful you are but the people you know. I am the kind of person that finds it difficult going from office to office to lobby. When you reach out to some people, they will make promises and that is all. In terms of funding, it is a permanent challenge. So far so good, we have been able to do something about that. We have diversified into television and newspaper. Do you have people you have groomed in the last 20 years? Yes, definitely, I always say that a successful man without a successor is a useless man. There are many people out there who can proudly say I once worked with this man. I have a lot of them. After being an international brand, what is next for Ovation Magazine? I hope that we can make it stronger. One of my dreams was to have ‘Ovation America’. We had started experimenting with it but immediately the man behind the project and one of the people I will say we groomed; Tosan Aduaye is doing his own thing now. We have not been able to get someone who is that passionate. We had Laolu Akande but he is now working with the Vice President. He didn’t have the force Tosan had. He was doing other things. Our French version which we started 10 years ago is not strong enough. I hope we will be able to develop it. It is all about funding and getting the right people. A lot of people criticized the Diezani story, what can you say about it? The work of a journalist is to speak to ‘noise makers’, Diezani today is one of the biggest news makers in Nigeria. When I heard she was arrested in London, I made a few contact and was able to speak to her. My contact had to persuade her to talk that Dele is an objective journalist. He is not very radical as to abuse you. Thereafter, I promised to detach myself from the story and let the subject speak for herself, so I met her and asked every question I needed to ask and she answered all the questions to her best of ability. Because she had a case in London, so she couldn’t answer some questions. The Diezani’s story was a fantastic story. I had to use my iPhone to take her picture. They said I did Photoshop, such insult. If you know your onion, you will never mind the crowd in the market place. You will concentrate on what you have to do. READ ALSO: Amara Nwankwo celebrated 30th birthday with sexy photos Have you heard from her since then? No, the only time we spoke was when Sahara Reporters wrote that her family was fighting me. She called to apologize that there was nothing of sort. She said, there were things I wrote that she was not comfortable about though. I hope she is much better, by the time I interviewed her on a Saturday, she was supposed to go to the hospital on Monday for radiotherapy for treatment of cancer. It was going to be an intensive one. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter The print media is dying; do you see that happening anytime soon? I personally don’t’ think the print media will die. It is just that media houses should be more creative. Those of us into entertainment are lucky because we are largely pictorial. Pictures don’t go stale. If you are creative and you get very good stories, you will move forward. Immediately we attend event, we post it online once people see it on my Instagram page, they are looking forward to buying the print when it comes out. For Ovation, I don’t see it going into oblivion. If you are a newspaper, it is going to be tough because news breaks every second. You cannot hide anything for too long. Be creative, be aggressive in seeking for news and put it out professionally because without credibility, nobody will subscribe to you. Are you still nursing a political ambition? Every human being must aspire; one thing I know for sure is ambition never dies. Otherwise a resilient Buhari wouldn’t be President today. He nursed his ambition, started contesting for years and today he is president. For my own experience, I am very doubtful. Nigeria is too complex and complicated. One of the reasons I will not consider it is that, Nigeria has not reached that stage that they will say I like this candidate. Let us contribute like they do in America and until that happens, people like us will not have the chance because the big men prefer to invest in those who have been in power. Besides, I don’t have money to spend. The other thing is the ethnicity of politics in Nigeria, everything is tribal. Another thing I have discovered is that you need to be in a mainstream party and I am not because it is almost impossible to run an independent candidate. Maybe a situation whereby Nigerians need a younger candidate and the youth wants it. If the youth did not support Buhari last year, he wouldn’t have own. I have considered this and found it difficult, even if people are deceiving me, I will not deceive myself. I have gone into it, I know it inside out. I know what they went through. I have more than enough experience. I know what anybody who wants to be president of Nigeria must do. When Buhari was elected into office, what were your expectations from him? What I expected from him immediately was for him to see how he can unify the country because without peace, there can be no progress. I expected that he will fight corruption but institutionally, I expected him to draw the line and punish whoever is found guilty. I expected that he would try to trace all the stolen funds that are hidden, by doing it without a lot of noise making. The most important responsibility of a leader is to build a solid economy, then a solid structure. If the economy is good, the citizens will be happy. If the economy is bad, nobody will remember the people you jailed. My advice to the President is, fight corruption, institutionally strengthen the police, the judiciary, make sure people cannot accuse you of being one-sided and set some set of rules for all Nigerians whether they are in your party or in opposition party. In building the economy, you know the golden egg is oil, you have to make sure you don’t get people of the South-South angry because if we are not able to pump oil, there will be problem. I will appeal to him to reach out to the people of the South-South. They are angry. It is how he manages the anger that will help stabilize the office. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Dele Momodu The trouble of the economy is something I expect him to work on quickly. In terms of mineral resources, we have everything in Nigeria which should be developed. Agriculture too can yield a lot of money to Nigeria. Education too needs urgent attention. Fix the universities, pick some in the geo-political zone, fix them well. They can become our Cambridge University. The University of Agriculture in Abeokuta should be turned to a world class university. Security too needs attention. He is an expert in that area. He is trying his best. We can see that Boko Haram has gone down. If he can do some of these things, he will be one of the greatest presidents of his time. By the time he is celebrating his first anniversary, he will have a stock taking and will work on other areas too. He just needs the will to resist those who lie to government because there are liars everywhere. If he can find out the true situation of things, he would be able to work on other areas. READ ALSO: Sean Tizzle clapped back at Sound Sultan Do you support deregulation and removal of fuel subsidy? Nigeria is in a mess. The reality and the truth is that, if you are broke, you are broke and the country is broke. What I expect from the government is that they should come clean, tell Nigerians, sorry we are broke. We have to go through some sufferings in the next few years. We are going to hands off the issue of petrol and deregulate. Two things will be achieved. There will be competition. Some will sell higher and lower. It will bring some pain but the dust will settle eventually. I think we have already deregulated and devalued our currency. It might not be officially pronounced buy I predict the naira will be further devalued. There will be difficulties but it will lead to positive end. Nigerians will support it. Fix everything necessary. How long will it take for Nigeria to get there? It will not be too long, it is about the will for the government to do what they ought to do. Ghana is developing every day. It will not take forever. Ghana went through serious electricity crisis and they are fixing it. It can be done but do we want to do it? It can be done.Dele Momodu
Read more: https://www.naij.com/842756-exclusive-one-year-dele-momodu-disappointed-buhari-read-said.html

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