Politics

Why I’ve never gone back to my house since 1995 — Dele Momodu

Nigerian celebrity journalist and publisher of Ovation International, Dele Momodu, has recounted how he left his home town at Ile-Ife in search of greener pasture in Lagos and why he has not been able to go back to his house since his exile experience.

In an interview with #WithChude, the former presidential aspirant sharing his exile experience said; “I always tell people that exile is worse than prison. When you are in prison, you are stranded and you are hoping that there will be a terminal date.

“It is either you are given bail, or if you are not bailed, then after a few adjustments then you get jailed. But in exile, you never know what will happen”, he said.

“I never planned to live in exile or live outside Nigeria. I was born and raised in Ile-Ife. I came to Lagos in search of what you can call greener pastures. I wanted to be a teacher, marry a teacher and live happily ever after, but I couldn’t get a job. That was what brought me to Lagos from Ile-Ife in 1988.

“But coming to Lagos, things moved rapidly and I was fortunate to work with Chief Moshood Abiola at Concord Newspapers, where within two years I worked so hard because I didn’t want to go back to Ife. One thing led to another, Chief Abiola contested for the election and of course I supported him as a media person.

“After the election was annulled, I was first to be arrested under the Babangida regime, then Abacha came.

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“With Babangida you could negotiate, but with Abacha, there was no negotiation. On 22nd July 1995, I was coming from Abeokuta where I went to see Chief Segun Osoba, and on my way home, I met my wife, and she said she got a tip-off from four men that I should disappear, and that they were serious. 

“She told me that I was being accused of being one of the brains behind the pirate radio station, which was called ‘Radio Freedom’ and was later changed to ‘Radio Kudirat’, which I didn’t know anything about at that stage. From that moment, and at that spot I have never gone back to my house till today.”

Sharing on the need to embrace forgiveness in politics and life, Dele Momodu made references to the collective admiration of Nelson Mandela.

“One of the reasons we lack progress and development in Nigeria is because we are too embittered and too enraged. We all talk about Mandela, but we don’t want to be like Mandela. If Mandela was a Nigerian, he would have killed all his enemies when he returned from prison. What made Mandela special was his ability to forgive and move on.”

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