By Dirisu Yakubu, ABUJA
Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB (retd) has described the death of former Information Minister, Prince Tony Momoh as a sad chapter in the nation’s history, saying the Auchi Prince was frank, blunt and honest in his articulation of issues of national discourse.
Prince Tony Momoh died on Monday, age 81 after a brief illness.
In a condolence message he personally signed, the retired general recalled his time with the veteran journalist cum politician and lawyer this way:
“When Tony clocked 80 last year, we had the opportunity to robustly engage and reminisce on our days and years in government, when we tapped so much from his reservoir of knowledge as our Minister for Information. He was such a teacher, a patriot, with uncommon brilliance, who deployed his intellect to shape national discourse in the course of our intervention in government. He was very blunt, honest, and frank when he needed to put issues across, and was fond of interrogating submissions to be sure they are based on facts. His sense of loyalty was profound,” he said.
He continued: “I was utterly shocked yesterday (Monday) to learn of the death of this great Nigerian, such a rare enigma, a quintessential thorough-bred journalist and lawyer, a prince from the Auchi sacred kingdom, who carried his aura with remarkable presence of mind.
“Tony was a formidable mind, always worried about the place of Nigeria and Nigerians, in the scheme of things. He was a successful mass communicator, a didactic letter writer, a brilliant legal mind, a family man, and an unusual politician. He never hesitated to state his piece of mind, irrespective of who was involved. Once he believed in a cause, he followed through, no matter the outcome. As a principled prince, he was never frivolous and flippant. He was thorough, contented, well researched and essentially pan-Nigeria. His death, no doubt, has left a huge void in our heart of hearts.
“My condolences to the Momoh royal family of Auchi kingdom, particularly the Otaru of the Auchi Kingdom, his widow, children, friends and associates. May Allah grant them the fortitude to bear this painful loss.
“Last year presented an opportunity to thank him for his support and contributions to nation-building; I never knew death would snatch him away so soon. It truly hurts. Let me especially console his son Rasheed at this mournful moment. You need to be a man to rally the family together. God will grant you the strength to bear this irreplaceable loss.”