Dele Momodu: A Doyen in Magazine Publication*
Born as Ayòbámidélé Àbáyòmí Ojútelégàn Àjàní Momodu on the 16 of May 1960, Chief Dele Momodu, is one of Nigeria’s most celebrated journalist and publisher. An acclaimed businessman, and motivational speaker, Momodu is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and publisher of the popular Ovation International, a magazine that has given publicity to people from all over the world, mainly in Africa.
In 2015, he officially launched Ovation TV and thereafter launched an online newspaper called The Boss. Momodu, 60, has received hundreds of wards, and honours for his work in the world of business, politics, Literature, the music industry, and the fashion industry. The ever-smiling Ovation TV proprietor writes a weekly column called ENdulum”, and published every Saturday on the back page of THISDAY
The articles, ever refreshing, insightful, and stimulating, are
praised for highlighting issues in Nigeria, as well as discussing
popular topics, current events, and notable people, often in a
polemic/critical style. He is married to Mobolaji Abiodun Momodu and they are blessed with 4 children. On 30 July 2016, Dele was awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree (Ph.D.) from the University of Professional Studies, in Accra, Ghana, thus, earning him the title “Doctor of Humane Letters”. In terms of net worth, sources have estimated his net worth at 40 million US dollars.
Family and educational background
Chief Dele Momodu, born on the 16th of May 1960 in Ile-Ife, Osun State, is from a family of five. Tragically, he lost his father when he was 13-years-old, but was raised by his mother, who died on 18 May 2007.
Without exaggerating, the death of his mum left him devastated. This was so because she had been his major source of strength and inspiration. Among several things, she taught him how not to despair even when times are tough. This was colorfully exemplified by her continual and tireless support of him, even when others had written him off. Although Momodu mother’s source of income was from petty trading, and she had two older children to care for, she labored very ard to sustain Momodu and the entire family.
Dele Momodu, had his early education at the Local Authority Primary School, in Ile Ife, Osun State. He then proceeded to the premier Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), in Ile-Ife, for a degree in Yoruba.
He furthered his education by going back to OAU, for a Masters in English Literature.
Momodu’s Early Career
After graduating from the university, Dele Momodu was posted by the tional Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to Osun State, for his service programme. He served from 1982 to 1983 at the Oyo State College of Arts and Science in Ile-Ife as a library agent. Soon after, he got a job as the Private Secretary to a former Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Chief Akin Omoboriowo, after his service. He worked with the deputy governor from 1983 to 1985.
Immediately after Dele stopped working with Chief Omoboriowo, he got a job as the manager of Motel Royal Limited, owned by Oba Okunade Sijuwade Olubuse II, who was the Ooni of Ife, at the time.
Becoming a journalist, publisher
Dele Momodu, after resigning from his job at Motel Royal, proceeded for his post-graduate degree and Masters in English Literature. While Studying for his masters, he wrote articles for national newspapers like The Guardian, Sunday Tribune and other Nigerian-based publications.
At the conclusion of his course in May 1988, Dele Momodu, instantly got a job as a Staff Writer at African Concord magazine owned by late hief Moshood K.O. Abiola. In no distant time, he was promoted to the lead staff position for the Weekend Concord.
As a Weekend Concord staff, Dele Momodu still wrote edifying opinion articles for other publications like the National Concord, Sunday Concord, Business Concord, and “Isokan” – a Yoruba newspaper. As a result, he was, in May 1989, promoted to the Literary Editor position of Weekend Concord, and in six months, he became the News Editor of the paper. He wrote the first cover story for the paper in March 1989.
Between May 1990 and September 1991, Momodu, edited May Ellen Ezekiel’s Classique, a celebrity magazine, an appointment that made him the highest-paid editor in Nigeria, at that time.
Foray into business
Following this amazing feat, Dele Momodu, willingly left the magazine and went into business as a bread distributor with “Wonderloaf”, owned by MKO Abiola.
After his ‘adventure’ as a bread distributor, Chief Momodu, soon began a public relations business called ‘Celebrities-Goodwill Limited’. The firm handled the accounts of Chief MKO Abiola himself, that of Dr. Mike Adenuga, Mr. Hakeem Belo-Osagie, and other prominent Nigerians.
Embarking on Self-Imposed Exile
Dele Momodu, was detained at the Alagbon Police Station by the General Ibrahim Babangida military regime. He was accused of being part of the Moshood Abiola Presidential campaign but was released on bail after 6 weeks in detention. He was severely punished by the reigning dictatorship for his unbridled pro-democratic views, yet he remained
The injustice Momodu experienced under the Babangida regime was nothing compared to what both him and MKO Abiola suffered, under the junta of Sani Abacha. He was to be arrested in 1995 and charged with treason. He was accused of trying to overthrow the Abacha regime, hence declared wanted. Momodu, was accused of being one of the brains
behind the pirate radio station, Radio Freedom (later Radio Kudirat), after the cold-blooded murder of Abiola’s activist-spouse, Alhaja Kudirat.
Knowing there was a fire on the mountain, Chief Momodu ran for his life by masquerading as a farmer, through Seme Border, into Togo, then Ghana, and finally, the United Kingdom, UK. For 3 years agonizing years, he could not return home. London was his home for those three years until the demise of Gen. Sani Abacha. It was during his exile days in the UK that MKO Abiola was killed.
Birth of Ovation International, TV
Chief Momodu, established Ovation International in 1996, during his exile in London, UK. The magazine, birthed with the intention of showcasing African culture, is promoting Africa, as a tourist center, and correct the negative views the world has about Africa.
Indeed, Ovation International, has so far, experienced tremendous growth. It is now one of Africa’s most popular celebrity magazines, with a presence in over 60 countries. Captivating editions of the magazine are available in both English and French and recorded as the only Bi-lingual magazine in Africa.
Consolidating on the growth of Ovation Magazine, Momodu decided to create a TV version of the magazine, which has been a huge success, so far. Ovation TV, not only airs in Nigeria, Ghana, and UK but also in the United States.
Recognitions and awards
Chief Dele Momodu, was given the ‘Vigor Unsung Heroes Award’, in 2015; the University of Professional Studies, Accra – Ghana, awarded him an honorary doctorate degree (Ph.D.) which earned him the title of the “Doctor of Humane Letters”, in 2016. Equally, Sheroes Global Initiative honored Chief Momodu with the ‘Global Ambassadorship Award’, in 2018, while he received the ‘Glam and Essence Awards’, in the same year. In the same vein, Daar Communications awarded him as
the ‘Media Icon of the Year’, in 2019.