Dele Momodu is the last of three siblings. He lost his father at the age of 13, thereafter relying on his mother and relatives for support. Dele was taught by his late mother, who died on 18 May 2007, not to despair even when times are tough. This was exemplified by her continual support of him even when others had written him off. She had given him up to a third chance at passing his WAEC (Senior Secondary Exams). Although his mother’s source of income was from petty trading, and she had two older children to care for, she laboured hard to sustain her family, and in the words of Momodu, “She didn’t give up on me.”.
When Dele was in higher Institution, his beloved mother used to bought him little food stuff like; Gari, Rice, kpomo and other stuffs, from the little money she made from her petty trade, way back then. Dele school friends used to come to is hostel to join him in eating his food stuff, this made him to be called “Omo Iya oni Kpomo” meaning. The son of Kpomo seller.
Growing up without Father
Momodu lost his father at the age of 13. He is the last of three siblings and who all had to be trained by a single mother. Dele had to rely on his mother immensely who passed away on the 18th of May 2007. He often talks about the golden upbringing he received from his mother which has played a major role in shaping him up into what he has become. She taught him to always weather the storms of life and never despair when the chips are down.
When Dele was unable to scale the hurdle that was WAEC twice, his mother never for one wrote him off even when those around him had concluded he was a failure. At a time when income was a problem, Iya Dele dug deep into her pockets to produce the funds to help him enrol for the exams a third time. As Dele Momodu would say after those trying years, “She didn’t give up on me”.
Education and career
Invasion into Media
The thought of a Yoruba graduate becoming a media mogul might appear mind-boggling to a Nigerian university undergraduate reading this but it sure happened. No ‘film trick’ whatsoever. Dele snagged up a degree in Yoruba from OAU in 1982 and by 1988, he had a masters in English Literature. That same year, he got his first job as Staff Writer with the Late MKO Abiola owned African Concord magazine. He wrote his first ever cover story for Weekly Concord in March 1989 after his transfer there.
Dele Momodu went on to spread that Momodu fire in several other publications after that and by September 1991, he was the editor for May Ellen Ezekiel’s Classique, a celebrity magazine an appointment which made him the distinguished title of highest paid editor in Nigeria. Now that is what you call steady progress.
Relationship with M. K. O. Abiola
Exile to the Offshore
A 33-year old Dele Momodu, brimming with vigour and doggedly championing the cause of democracy would soon come to realize that to make an omelette, you are bound to break a few eggs. In 1993, after resigning to join the Moshood Abiola Presidential Campaign Organization, Dele Momodu was arrested and detained at Alagbon Close in Lagos, after the annulment of the 12 June Presidential election by General Ibrahim Babangida. He was severely punished for his pro-democratic views but his spirit was never fazed. He was resilient.
By the time 1995 came knocking, Dele was picked up and charged for treason by the dictatorial government of Sani Abacha. He was accused of championing the cause of the pirate radio station, Radio Freedom later changed to Radio Kudirat, after Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was assassinated in plain cold blood. Dele Momodu knew he had to get crafty so he devised a plan.
Before Alamieseigha attempted the travel by disguise move, it was initiated by Dele Momodu who managed to escape Nigeria clothed as a farmer through Seme border into Cotonou, in Benin Republic, from where he fled to Togo, Ghana and eventually found refuge in the United Kingdom.
For three solid years, Nigeria was but a memory to Dele as he could not step foot in the land of his birth. He had to bid his time and as if it was his birthright, that time eventually came.
Ovation Carol and Awards
Family and personal life
Awards & Honours
- Oct 2nd 2015 Dele Momodu became the 1st recipient of 9jaMentors Awards for his outstanding and unquestionable role toward empowering the Nigerian Youth.A role that has spanned over a decade and still counting.
- Dele was awarded with an honorary doctorate degree (PhD) from the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana, earning him the title “Doctor of Humane Letters”. and many more.
Life Lessons from Dele Momodu
- Don’t give your success excuse for your predicament; Dele lost his father when he was a little of 13, back then he believe, he can move the mountain by doing something right and keep believing.
- The only way to do great work is to love what you do; Dele derived passion from writing, when he was in campus, he got his first job as Staff Writer with the Late MKO Abiola owned African Concord magazine. He wrote his first ever cover story for Weekly Concord in March 1989 after his transfer there.
- Success is a steady process; Dele Momodu went on to spread that Momodu fire in several other publications after that and by September 1991, he was the editor for May Ellen Ezekiel’s Classique, a celebrity magazine an appointment which made him the distinguished title of highest paid editor in Nigeria. Now that is what you call steady progress.
- Don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe; in the year 1995 Dele was picked up and charged for treason by the dictatorial government of Sani Abacha. He was accused of championing the cause of the pirate radio station, Radio Freedom later changed to Radio Kudirat, after Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was assassinated in plain cold blood.
- Go Where you are Celebrated; During the Treason saga of the dictatorship government, Dele flew to London for Asylum, for good three years, he couldn’t step his foot on his mother soil. Then he was allowed of publishing his Magazine abroad.
- The only way to do great work is to love what you do; Being a good and successful writer, he have achieved lots and have gained exposure not only in Nigeria but offshores too. Today, Dele is one of the successful businessman as well as one of famous and respected Nigerian journalists, publishers and actors.