TRIBUTE: Okoroji Mourns Tony Momoh

Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Chief Tony Okoroji, has paid glowing tribute to former Editor of Daily Times and former Minister of Information & Culture, Prince Tony Momoh, who died on the 1stof February 2021.

Chief Okoroji described Prince Momoh as a ‘superb patriot and a totally detribalized Nigerian’.

In his tribute, Chief Okoroji said that it was Prince Tony Momoh who made it possible for the country to have the copyright infrastructure the country has today.

According to Okoroji, “Tony Momoh was my mentor, my supporter, my backbone and my adviser. I first visited the Surulere home of this incredible Nigerian as a teenager and aspiring artiste with a mutual admirer, the late Chike Egbuna, popularly known as “Mr. Soul”. Chike who used to work for the BBC later became Director-General of Imo broadcasting Corporation. Tony Momoh who had no airs about him welcomed me like a younger brother. The fact that I was a completely unknown Igbo boy made no difference to him. When he became editor of Daily Times, Nigeria’s flagship newspaper, and I needed to promote my career as a young singer, Prince Momoh was there for me. I would visit his Kakawa Street office in Lagos and he would introduce me to all the line editors at Daily Times and ask for their support.

“Prince Tony Momoh became Nigeria’s Minister of Information at the time I became President of PMAN at the age of 29. His 15 Awolowo Rd, Ikoyi office became an extension of my office and I never needed an appointment to see him and never made any demand of the government that Tony Momoh did not see to its fulfillment. It was under Prince Tony Momoh as Minister and Colonel Tunde Akogun as Sole Administrator of Culture that Nigeria’s first National Policy on culture was lunched. It was during his tenure and with a lot of support from him, that I started the great Nigerian Music Awards which took the nation by storm.

“As I made the reform of Nigeria’s copyright system the work of my life, Prince Tony Momoh was 100% behind me. While Prince Bola Ajibola, another fantastic Nigerian and then Attorney-General of the Federation, became my ally in the development of the legal framework, Prince Tony Momoh was my backbone in the development of the administrative infrastructure.

“A draft memo for the setting up of the first Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Council, as the commission was then known, and its operating infrastructure, was written on my desk at PMAN Headquarters. I took the memo to Prince Momoh who followed up with then President Ibrahim Babangida and weeks after, on August 17, 1989, the first Governing Board of the NCC was inaugurated at the National Theatre, Lagos by Prince Tony Momoh with about 80% of the recommended membership. I was a member of that Board.

“When I lunched my book, ‘Copyright & the New Millionaires’, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs Lagos, who was the chairman? It was the one and only Prince Tony Momoh. Long after he left office, Prince Momoh continued to be my mentor, my supporter, my backbone and my adviser.

“He was an exceptional patriot and lover of the Nigerian nation, a journalist per excellence, a consummate administrator and a very good man. With the passing on of Prince Tony Momoh, the Nigerian nation has lost an irreplaceable icon”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.