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Regarded as one of the most “networked” Nigerians alive, Dele Momodu was not only let down in his presidential bid by his media colleagues but also by the entertainment industry where he had helped many to stardom, his then-campaign manager has alleged in a new book.

‘Fighting Lions: The Untold Story of the Dele Momodu Presidential Campaign’ is written by Ohimai Godwin Amaize, who holds the record of the youngest presidential campaign manager in Nigeria at the age of 26.

The book, currently made available to only TheCable, is due for public presentation on Wednesday, July 11, in Lagos.

Of particular interest to Momodu’s campaign team was a claim by Genevieve Nnaji, Nollywood superstar, during the 2011 electioneering in which Momodu ran on the platform of the National Conscience Party (NCP).

Amaize wrote: “Many of Momodu’s protégés – especially in the entertainment industry, people who he had personally touched their lives – were suddenly missing in action. Some said they preferred to sit on the fence and remained silent till the very end. It was a shocking eye-opener to the reality of Nigerian politics, especially when one decides to move from a position of an observer to an actual player on the field.

“Nollywood actress Genevieve Nnaji drew the ire of the Momodu campaign when she said: ‘President Goodluck Jonathan is the first President to give the creative industry major support and the only aspirant to consider that movie artistes, fashion designers, musicians, entertainers and other creative minds deserve to grow.’”

Team Dele Momodu, the youth mobilisation arm of the campaign, immediately issued a statement in response.

The statement read: “We have no problem with Genevieve endorsing Goodluck Jonathan but it is unfair and unfortunate not to acknowledge one’s benefactors, no matter the situation today. President Goodluck Jonathan might be spending government’s money on the entertainment industry, but Dele Momodu has spent his hard-earned money on the entertainment industry as well. Long before D’Banj bought a car of his own, it was Dele Momodu’s PA that used to drive him around in her official car bought by Dele Momodu. Even while receiving an award last year at the Ghana Music Awards in Accra, D’Banj acknowledged that it was Dele Momodu who first invited him to Ghana.

“Tee A, the comedian, became internationally known because Dele Momodu sponsored him from Africa to the Caribbean Islands. Perhaps, someone has also forgotten that Dele Momodu encouraged Banky W to return home to Nigeria when they met in Toronto, Canada. The first time Genevieve visited Liberia, it was Dele Momodu who encouraged her to go there. Does Genevieve have a clue how many Nigerian artistes, supermodels, actors and actresses Dele Momodu had spent his personal money on, from Darey Art Alade to Timaya, Eedris Abdulkareem to D’Banj etc.?

“Does she have a clue how much Ovation has promoted fashion designers like Adebayo Jones, Ade Bakare, Kosibah Creations, Deola Sagoe, Lexy Mojo-Eyes from Sweden to Milan to Paris and across the world? If anyone will forget Dele Momodu’s contributions to the entertainment industry, it shouldn’t be Genevieve. Where was Goodluck Jonathan in 2004 when Dele Momodu spent thousands of dollars personally and got Charter House Ghana to package the launch of Genevieve’s musical career at the Labadi Beach Hotel, Ghana? This kind of amnesia is unkind.”

Amaize recalled how many of Momodu’s friends promised to support his presidential bid only to chicken out.

He wrote: “Some of Momodu’s big friends who made donations in the millions to Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign, completely forgot that our candidate was running for president. On one occasion in Abuja, Momodu ran into one of these moneybags at the wedding of former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s daughter. He called the friend aside and said to him, ‘You have been my friend long before you even knew Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. If you can donate N200 million to Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign, do you mean our relationship is not worth your contribution of N1 million to my campaign?’ The moneybag quickly apologised and promised to do something. Nothing came of it.

“Some were magnanimous enough to send text messages wishing Momodu ‘God’s grace’. We wondered why they were not wishing Dr. Goodluck Jonathan God’s grace alone.”

ENTERTAINMENT

Buhari Is Weak Mentally, Physically —– Eedris Abdulkareem

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Nigerian singer, Eedris Abdulkareem has opined that President Muhammadu Buhari is weak mentally and physically.

The controversial rapper was reacting to the President’s performance at a town hall meeting organised by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) and Daria Media with support from the MacArthur Foundation in Abuja on Wednesday.

Buhari had while responding to a question about the disability bill, called on the press and the elite to monitor the progress of the Disability Bill 2018.

He had said,“I cannot honestly remember the plan being taken to the National Assembly and how much they have done on it and sent it back to the centre. It is the same with the Disability Bill. There are so many (bills) with the National Assembly and unfortunately, I expect the elite through the press to keep an eye on the activities of the bills between the executive and National Assembly.

“If the executive sends a bill, they can hardly put it in the budget except it is returned to the National Assembly with their comments and recommendations.”

But, reacting, Eedris on his official Instagram page, said that he was surprised Buhari denied that the disability bill has been transmitted to him.

He said, “Fact Check Buhari is weak mentally and physically. Buhari denied that the disability bill has been transmitted to him. Link 1: in October, after BUHARI declined assent to the Bill, NASS worked to address the concerns he raised.

”The Senate referred the Disability Bill 2018 back to the conference committee of both chambers of the National Assembly for a review. Link 2: the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) who have been following this issue closely the Disability bill was transmitted to President Buhari, on Tuesday, December 18, ”18, by the Clerk of the National Assembly.”

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ENTERTAINMENT

CCTV Footage Exposes Policemen Who Raided Lagos Night Club, Robbed Customers, Beat Them With Axe; Stole Club Drinks And Money

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The management of Lakers County, a popular night club in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State, is seeking redress over an attack by men of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Lagos State Police Command, who allegedly invaded its premises on Sunday and seized from its customers and workers valuables worth several millions of naira.

Closed-circuit television footage provided to PUNCH Metro by the club’s management revealed how the officers perpetuated the act that sent shivers down the spines of the customers and workers on duty at the club at that time.

Some of the customers and workers have yet to recover their belongings, which were seized by the officers during the raid.

A customer of the club, Hassan Adebowale, said he had gone to Lakers County to buy shawarma, when the policemen, who shot into the air, invaded the premises.

The University of Lagos undergraduate said, “My friend and I came to the club to buy shawarma; we were at the bar waiting for it to be ready when we suddenly heard gunshots. The policemen rushed upstairs, ordered everyone to lie down. We initially thought they were robbers, because not all of them were in police uniform; it was when we saw some of them in uniform that we realised that they were policemen.

“While we were on the floor, we were told to submit our phones; as we did that, they also collected chains, car keys, and went to the bar to pack drinks and money. Thereafter, they told us to stand up and tied our clothes together and marched us into the bus they brought for the operation. The police officers in uniform were about 20, while the ones without uniform were about 10, with three female officers leading the squad.”

Another customer, Nifemi Solipo, said one of the officers, who allegedly collected her phone during the assault had refused to release it when she visited the Anti-Cultism Unit in the Gbagada area of Lagos despite acknowledging that he collected it.

The make-up artist said, “The officer searched my purse and brought out my phone and kept it in his pocket. I bought that phone for around N350,000. I have been sleeping at the club for two days now because the phone means everything to me. I use the phone to work and to advertise my business, and I will not let go of it.

“I saw the officer at their station in Gbagada and he confirmed that he collected my phone, but could not provide it when they were told to release what they collected from customers. I know that phone is there but they don’t want to release it, and I won’t give up on it.”

The Lakers County’s barman, Samuel Edeh, who was on duty during the police invasion, said the sales proceeds were taken by one of the police officers who was in mufti.

The 22-year-old stated, “We had a lot of customers that day. But when the officers entered the premises and started shooting, I hid under the counter of the bar and hoped that none of the officers would find me, but when one of the officers came into the bar, I was very scared.

“I saw him packing drinks, phones and other valuables; he also collected the sales proceeds for the day. The CCTV captured everything.”

The Chief Executive Officer, Lakers County, Oladimeji Ogunfolaju, who said the raid had cast a dent on the image of the club, stated that he initially thought that the attack was carried out by armed robbers and he informed the officer in charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Ikorodu and the Divisional Police Officer, Ipakodo Police Station, who mobilised to engage the invaders before their identities were revealed.

He added that the inspector in charge of the case at the Anti-Cultism Unit in Gbagada was dumfounded when he presented footage of the assault that disrupted the activities of the club for the day and has also drastically affected activities there ever since.

Ogunfolaju said, “I was on the Island when I received a call that my club was being robbed and what I did immediately was to put a call through to the OC SARS, Mr Geoffrey, and the DPO, Ipakodo Police Station, Mr Salami, who both swung into action. They were prepared to have a gun battle with the invaders before signals were sent to them that they were men of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the Lagos State Police Command.

“But before the police officers from the Ipakodo Police Station got there, the supposed men from the Anti-Cultism Unit had assaulted and arrested my workers and customers, and marched them into four commercial buses that they brought for the operation. I have 40 CCTV cameras that record everything happening here, and it was through the recorded footage that I saw the whole drama that the officers acted out.

“It showed the way they assaulted my workers and customers; how one of them broke into my bar to steal almost N1m in sales proceeds; how they took my drinks and drank them while they were operating; how they broke my tables and collected customers’ valuables like chains and mobile phones; everything was recorded.

“I can’t imagine police officers using axes to beat customers, including pregnant women; I learnt that one of the pregnant women, who was there during the operation, lost her pregnancy.”

Ogunfolaju, who said a press briefing on Monday had prevented him for presenting the CCTV footage to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, urged the police to apologise to him and the people assaulted during the invasion.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent, said operatives of the Anti-Cultism Unit of the command were at the club to arrest a cultist.

Oti said, “There was information that a male cultist and his group were at the club at that particular time. The cultist was known for his violent activities in Ikorodu and its environs, and this prompted operatives of the Anti-Cultism Unit to go there for his arrest.

“However, while making attempts to arrest the cultist, the operatives were violently resisted by his gang members, and to avoid casualties, the policemen retreated.”

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ENTERTAINMENT

American Singer, Bobby V, Arrives Nigeria For ‘Style By Zenith’ Fashion Fair

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Bobby Wilson, an American singer better known as Bobby V, is in Nigeria to perform at a fashion fair tagged ‘Style by Zenith’.

Bobby V arrived Lagos on Thursday alongside members of his crew ahead of the fair scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

The fair, which will take place at the Open Ground by Four Points Hotel, is a two-day lifestyle, beauty, fashion, accessories, and entertainment fair.

‘Style by Zenith’ is a collaboration between Virtual Xchange Limited and Zenith Bank Plc.

Speaking of the event, Kaycee Kennedy, CEO of Virtual Xchange Limited said: “The collaboration with Zenith Bank to develop the ‘Style by Zenith’ platform not only emphasizes our resolve to build and strengthen the fashion ecosystem but to drive the business of Fashion.

“We need to heed the call to focus on Fashion Trade, by making fashion Africa’s biggest export to the world.”

‘Style by Zenith’ will feature runway shows headlined by Nigerian and international models who will be accessorised by top designers and beauticians.

There will also be an exhibition of beauty and lifestyle products, food and confectioneries, as well as performances by top Nigerian artistes.

The Zenith model search, an initiative billed to unfurl in 2019, will also be launched at the fashion fair.

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