This evil called death is ever unpredictable when inflicting its deadliness. Only a fortnight ago, a national newspaper led its front page with a massive all-embracing interview with ex-Information Minister, Tony Momoh. Early this week, Nigerians at home and abroad were shocked with the news of Tony’s death.
He was one man about whom anybody who came into contact with him, and there were many, would have something nice and virtually nothing unpleasant to say about him. He was a good man, fair-minded as a boss at Daily Times (I can confirm that) and never interested in any rat race. Not many Nigerians are such. In a twist of irony, Tony Momoh, my boss at Daily Times, also served in the administration of former President Ibrahim Babangida, when I was Chief Press Secretary. Throughout, Tony served as a journalist, specifically, a reporter (instead of the minister he was) constantly asking questions almost on every government policy, without taking anything for granted. Indeed, he was one of the few critics around.
Tony Momoh earned a distinction of which not many Nigerians might have taken note, membership of a special club in the profession. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Babatunde Jose each trained and employed hundreds of journalists, respectively, in colonial days and early Independence years. As editor of Daily Times, Tony Momoh similarly bossed many journalists. But before then, he was training manager at Daily Times Training School from where he produced journalists for many media houses in Nigeria.
The man is genuinely mourned by his beneficiaries in the profession.