I had the rare privilege of meeting Dele Momodu in September 1989 when I was posted from the Ibadan Office of the Concord Press of Nigeria Limited to join a team of vibrant and hardworking Journalists who had just given birth to a new soft sell newspaper known as Weekend Concord. The first Weekend Newspaper in Nigeria.
The Captain of the team was the irrepressible prose master, Mike Awoyinfa, ably supported by his friend and colleague, Mr Dimgba Igwe now late. Other Journalists on the team were Dele Momodu and Omololu Kassim. Of course Sola Oshunkeye, Femi Adesina, Eric Osagie and others later came on board.
As I tried to settle down to my new job and environment, I noticed that there was a kind of competition between Kassim and Momodu on whose stories should lead the Weekend Concord every Week. The Editor was an unbiased umpire who would take a good story from even the devil himself once it is a perfect copy. Mike Awoyinfa would accept a good story from any reporter be you a staff or freelance reporter. He craved for the best story without caring about the writer. And to satisfy him, Dele Momodu would go out to get exclusive stories and interviews that made headlines in Weekend Concord.
I recall with nostalgia his explosive interviews with great Nigerians like Professor Wole Soyinka who just won a Nobel prize in literature then, Sir Shina Peters and many others. The Shina Peters interview was published with just a word headline…. SHINAMANIA… This story and many others from him helped immensely in projecting the image of the new Weekend Concord newspaper and that of the musician and also made his music popular among Nigerians especially the youths.
With hardwork, doggedness and determination to succeed in Journalism and in life, Dele Momodu moved on and made his mark as a Journalist with the biggest network of contacts. With this, he got interviews that made the headlines in Weekend Concord. He later left Weekend Concord to join the Late May Ellen Ezekiel as the Editor of the Classique Magazine and after a stint with the Magazine, he moved on to be a distributor of Wonder loaf produced by Wonder Bakery owned by Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola and located inside Concord Press of Nigeria Limited and later founded the Ovation International, a celebrity Magazine which is currently making waves across the world.
Without boring you with details of the story of his roles and travails after the annulment the June 12 1993 Presidential election won by Bashorun Abiola and his immense contributions to National discourse and development thereafter, permit me so stress that the story of the humble beginning of Dele Momodu and his meteoric rise to stardom as a celebrity Journalist and Publisher should serve as an inspiration to young Nigerians of today.
From those days of a very humble beginning till date, Dele Momodu has remained a humble, sociable and affable gentleman with an incredibly wide network of contacts and each time our path crossed we would relate like brothers. We are indeed brothers from Edo State. He is from Sabongida Ora and I am from Auchi in Edo State.
As my brother, Media Tycoon and a Publisher who has redefined celebrity Journalism in Nigeria and indeed Africa with his Ovation International Magazine, Bashorun Ayobamidele Abayomi Ajani Momodu clocks the diamond age of 60 years on may 16, two days to my own birthday on May 18, I salute his virtues of diligence, resilience, perseverance, hardwork, humility, philanthropy and absolute fear of God.
My own dear brother, I wish you many happy reruns in good health. May God Almighty continue to bless, guard and guide you and all yours. Happy birthday Bob Dee. Happy birthday my brother and fellow Taurean.
Bob Dee as we all call you, I wish you many happy returns
By Aliu Mohammed Olurotimi