Nigerians celebrate Tony Momoh at 70
By McPhilips Nwachukwu & Japhet Alakam
Two former military heads of state, Generals Yakubu Gowon and Mohammadu Buhari yesterday in Lagos re-emphasised the need for one indivisible country as the basis for peace and progress in the country.
The duo made their feelings known at the well-attended public presentation of a biography: Prince Tony Momoh: A National Bibliotherapist and Culture Engineer written by Dr. Oshitose Okwilagwe in honour of Momohâ€™s 70th birthday, at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
Gen. Gowon , who was chairman on the occasion, in his remarks, stressed that ”Nigeriaâ€™s position in the map of Africa is the position of a Tiger; and, therefore, confers on her the power of a Tiger and that is why, when Nigeria sneezes, the whole Africa catches cold.â€
He added that, â€œwe have come a long a way as a nation. In five years time, that is precisely in 2014, Nigeria will be 100 years as an amalgamated country and hence the reason , we should remain in unity.â€
Also at the event, Gen. Buhari , while reacting to a question on the sack by the Central Bank of Nigeria of five chief executives of banks; an action that has been interpreted in many quarters as having an ethnic undertone, absolved himself and CBN of any ethnic agenda. â€œ My constituency is Nigeria. So, donâ€™t talk about Northern agenda.â€
Buhari maintained that the chief executives should exercise their duties according to the laws that govern their institutions, adding that, â€œthis is our problem, we are so undisciplined, and that is why these things are written in our constitutions…â€
Paying tribute to Momoh, Gowon described him as one of the greatest men in the country, adding that he came to celebrate and congratulate him ”on the presentation of the biography and three other books.â€
The Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) also used the presentation to again, appeal to the National Assembly to expedite action in passing the long-awaited Information Bill into law.
The passage of the bill, according to NPAN will checkmate some ugly activities of individuals and organisations that try to run down the political and economic life of the nation.
Speaking through its National Chairman, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola, NPAN argued that no society ever enjoys good democratic governance or professional media practice except it has access to free information. â€œThe passage of the Information Bill will help us check negative journalistic practice, fight official corruption and mismanagement,â€ NPAN stressed.
The occasion brought together many notable Nigerians from politics, media, business and academic communities, who came to identify with a man whom many described as a good letter writer, lawyer, author, journalist, humanist and a highly distinguished man who has made his mark in all his chosen endeavours.
Other notable dignitaries at the event included ex-Vice President Admiral Mike Akhigbe (retd); Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, Chief John Oyegun, Chief Olusegun Osoba; ex-Lagos State governor, Alhaji Lateef Jakande; Prince Henry Odukomaiya; Prince Bola Ajibola; Ambassador Segun Olusola; Uncle Sam Amuka, the Otaru of Auchi, Alhaji A.H.Momoh; representatives of Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Oba of Lagos and Oba of Benin, among others.