By Chukwudi Nweje; Romanus Ugwu, Abuja, and Tony Osazuwa, Benin
Former minister of Information and Culture, Prince Tony Momoh passed on, yesterday, at the age of 82.
A veteran journalist, lawyer and politician, he served as Nigeria’s minister of Information and Culture between 1986 and 1990, during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida. He was onetime Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the University of Jos.
In January 2011, he became the National Chairman of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change CPC, which later merged with other political parties to form the now ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
His death threw shock waves across the country, especially among the media and political circles.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed sadness at the passing of the statesman who he described as his longtime ally, friend and political loyalist.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari recalled that Momoh stood with him through thick and thin, adding: “His brand of loyalty is very rare in the politics of today. I will greatly miss him.”
While condoling with the Auchi Kingdom, the government and people of Edo State on this great loss, the president prayed that God will grant the departed eternal rest and comfort family, friends and political associates in this period of grief.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu his death as a colossal loss to Nigeria and the ruling APC.
In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile, yesterday, Sanwo-Olu said: “The late Momoh made lots of positive impact in Nigeria during his life time as a journalist, media manager, lawyer, politician and elder statesman. I pray that God will grant him eternal rest and give the immediate family and friends the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in statement, celebrated the contributions of late Prince Momoh to the growth and development of Nigeria, describing him as a rare politician who spoke truth to power when it mattered the most.
“He was forthright, driven and spoke with candor. As a nationalist, he was unapologetic about the Nigerian project. His lasting legacy remains the enthronement of democratic values in Nigeria.”
Former governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Dr. Orji Kalu, described Momoh’s death as a huge loss to the nation.
Describing the late Momoh as a veteran journalist, lawyer, community leader and philanthropist, Kalu stressed that the late media guru contributed to the social, economic and political development of Nigeria in various capacities.
Kalu, while commiserating with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other stakeholders in media industry, stressed that the deceased left indelible footprints in the annals of journalism in the country.
In a condolence message, the Senate Chief Whip, urged the Momoh family to uphold the good legacies of the deceased.
He said, “the demise of former Minister of Information and Culture, Prince Tony Momoh is painful.
“The late chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) made invaluable contributions to nation building in different positions.
“He was a strong advocate of fairness, justice and equity, which he demonstrated in his endeavours.
“The late former Minsiter lived a remarkable life dedicated to the service of humanity”.
Kalu, while commiserating with the government and people of Edo state, prayed to God for eternal bliss for the deceased.
Former governor of Anambra State and vice presidential candidate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Peter Obi, described the late Prince Momoh as a renowned journalist committed to the good of the country and prayed God to grant him eternal rest. He called for the continued deepening of the ethos of journalism through looking up to the legacies of men such as Prince Momoh.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statement signed the Secretary, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, said Prince Momoh lived a storied life source of inspiration to present and future generations.
“The late Prince Momoh was a strong advocate for internal party democracy which allowed for open, consultative and fair party processes. His mindset and approach to politics was that of service, not business. This was evident in all assignments he was regularly called upon to serve on behalf of the party.”
Chief Olusegun Osoba in his own tribute said: “We have lost a consummate journalist. He was a strong and powerful member of the intellectuals in the media. The Great Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe gave him the sobriquet of “lawyer journalist” and he lived up to the nickname. Serious minded, deep in his thoughts and writings, through which he left an indelible embark in the media workload. God bless his soul.”
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere Renewal Group and former President of Aka Ikenga, Chief Goddy Uwazuruike have expressed shock at the death of the former minister of information.
The Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo said Momoh died at a time his brilliance was most needed. “It is a sad and painful news Prince Tony Momoh is a great Nigerian and he will be greatly missed.”
Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin said: “It is painful, Prince Tony Momoh was a true and patriotic Nigerian who spoke out in support of restructuring Nigeria to true federalism. His death is a great loss to everybody who believes in restructuring Nigeria to true federalism, he will be greatly missed.”
Uwazuruike described the late Momoh as a patriotic Nigerian who gave the country his best and died with his head held high.
He said, “Prince Tony Momoh lived a life that is unique. He was not born Anthony Momoh, he was born a Muslim, but he took up the name because of Lord Tony Anden of England. He went into journalism with his very important degree and later became General Manager of the Daily Times. He was a brilliant lawyer, any law student will remember the celebrated case of Tony Momoh vs President of the Senate.”