Abuja agog as Major General Sam Momah turns 77 today, set to launch another book - Paul Ukpabio's Blog

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Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Abuja agog as Major General Sam Momah turns 77 today, set to launch another book

  
As Major General Sam Momah (Rtd) celebrates his 77th birthday, and gets set, to launch yet another topical book on Nigeria, we wish the gentleman a happy birthday.

This amiable General has been a personal friend for over two decades and I have enjoyed good, fatherly support from him over the years. He has been the General that makes Abuja a playground for me.

Everybody knows that whenever I am bored in Lagos, I carry my bag and off to Abuja for a relaxing weekend, or for a whole week or two! But today is not my story day, as my friend Gbenga Dan Asabe has already done a beautiful story for us.

Have a pleasant time reading this piece which I personally title: The Making of a General!  

Paul

*The General with wife

The Making of a General


By Gbenga Dan Asabe

July 6th is a rare day, a special day and a tribute paying day for one of earth’s golden hearts, Major General (Dr.) Sam Ifeanyichukwu Momah (CFR, Mni, fwc, Ph-D, FNSE).

Major General Sam Momah, a two time Nigerian Minister of Science and Technology and first Commandant of the National War College, Abuja, is a man every young man should try to meet and emulate his leadership qualities in a life time.

General Momah is Seven Decades and Seven Years old today and it calls for celebration.

The last time we all gathered in Nigeria’s Federal Capital city of Abuja to honor him was two years ago, 2018, at the memorial Shehu Musa Yar’ Adua Center to celebrate his 75th birthday, and the event as usual, witnessed the presence of a cream of intellect savvy Nigerians from top military brass to civil servants down to politicians and presidential aides.

And in his character, the General ignited the celebration with the launching of two new books authored by him PULLING NIGERIA OFF THE BRINK (The Rescue Imperatives) and RESTRUCTURING NIGERIA BEYOND OIL.

The event held on a Saturday, 7th of July (Not Friday 6th which was his real birth date as he used the day to fraternize with kids and grand kids)

The Amiable and indefatigable Presidential Spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina who is equally an intellectual power house joined other presidential aides including ministers and members of the business and diplomatic community to grace event of General Sam Momah’s 75th birthday.

Former Minister of Information and National Orientation, Frank Nweke Jnr previewed one of the books while a former aviation minister, Osita Chidoka and many others graced the event in different colors.

But the most memorable one was 7 Years ago when General Momah clocked 70. It is one event one can hardly forget. For seven days, I and a journalist colleague, Gbenga Olajobi quarantined ourselves inside a 5 star hotel in Abuja, planning the media strategy of the General’s 70th birthday bash. From news stories to interviews and photo-news, I and Gbenga Olajobi pulled head together and made things happen.

However, I need to highlight one of the quality character traits of General Sam Momah. The General, apart from raising 5 well behaved and well mannered children (3 men and two women) among which we have 5 medical doctors and one computer engineer, General Momah is one of the world’s most trustworthy individual.
Let me share a testimony.

Since I met and fell in love with General Sam Momah on Monday, January 3rd, 2005, I automatically appointed myself as a private researcher cum journalist on his person and his family and I think I did that more than any young journalist that may have come across the General.

On every occasion I storm Abuja for official assignments, I made sure I search for him and force him to talk to me. On each occasion, either by fault or default, this Gentleman General is always writing a book on either economy, international politics or national development. Another name we can conveniently call General Sam Momah is ‘National Policy Manufacturer’.

Every day, every week, every month, every year, this retired General is always burning his brain to churn out new policies that will redefine the nation at large. The sad irony is that Nigeria is blessed with a political class that lacks the intellectual ear to listen and take in new ideas that will turn the country around.

To start with, I don’t joke with the privileges and honor bestowed upon me as a young friend and member of the Momah's family. I think there are lots of things Nigerians need to learn from this great family.

General Sam Momah as a father is an epitome of great fatherhood. All his kids have spoken to me at one time or the other and all of them have one story or two to tell about a father who raised them with the toughest yet honest philosophies in life.

His darling wife, Madam Christiana Ifeoma Momah once told me the story of how she met and fell in love with the most honest husband in the world. All his days in the Army, as Adjutant General of the Army, Commandant, Nigeria Army Training and Doctrine Command, Member of Provisional Ruling Council, Minister of Science and Technology etc, ladies winked at him, tempted him but he remained focused and dutiful to his Christy, mother of his 5 lovely and beautiful children and grand mother of his ten grand-kids.

General Sam Momah will make any young man want to become a responsible father in life, only if you are lucky to know him and get close to his family. I am that lucky and I will continue to sing the song of Great Fatherhood by General Sam Momah.

The second aspect is his wonderful but dramatic 36 years service in the Military. His career is stuff for producers of thriller movies. However, for those turbulent 36 years in service, General Momah served with ease of mind without losing his head to a gun shot.
Please, let’s go into the full details of my testimony.

During his 70th birthday celebration in year 2013, the General, having observed my dexterity at getting him interviewed and published in various media, he appointed me his media strategist.
To be honest, the job was a bit challenging. So, I had to call unto a very senior colleague, a gentle man, a trustworthy man, a man of God who is now at the Presidency. At the time, he was the MD of a thriving Nigerian newspaper. I pleaded with him to give me a tested hand in Abuja who can help connect me with some Abuja based senior journalists.

If you know what it takes to organize a press event in Abuja the most powerful city in Nigeria, you will know how big my fear is.
So, I pleaded with this good man colleague to help me with someone who can help me navigate. One thing about leadership is the fact that you lead the good, the bad and the ugly.

My senior colleague connected me to one of his lieutenants; an Igbo editor who takes charge of the newspaper in Abuja. He might have taught that the man will be a good blessing.

Of course, he did his best but not without showing the other side which I called the Black Man Syndrome.

On getting to Abuja, I had printed some letters and pinned them to the Invitation cards of the General’s birthday. So, I hit the office of this Igbo editor at a popular area in Abuja.

On getting to his office, after the introduction and other salutations, I informed him of my predicament and why I am in Abuja. I noticed a cold look on his face. He later asked me to sit at a cubicle near the news room.

I noticed he threw some pale glances at me from his office intermittently, a look that suggest ‘Oh, this small boy?’ or ‘This novice?’.

He kept me for a while and later assured me he would get me acquainted with some senior journalists that will cover the event. I felt relieved. Of course, he equally informed me that he knew the General as well and even gave me full detail of his address. But I never knew he had another intention.

I went my way and continued planning. I also reached out to TV stations, Radio Stations and more.

However, I noticed a cold reaction from this our Igbo brother editor the next day I called him for confirmation. He kept toasting me from the third day up to the seventh day. That was the D-Day.

He quickly told me how he could not make it again bla bla bla bla. I begged him to kindly give me phone number of one person I can call among the 5 newspapers we penciled down for the event. He reluctantly gave me one, and it was that one I called that connected me to others. It was already an ‘Emergency hour’. In three hours time the event was to start at the ‘The International Civic Center’ Abuja.

I pleaded with one to help me get three others (newspaper houses). I told myself, ‘I will deal with my elderly friend at the Lagos office directly, since this ‘ewu’ man has disappointed me). In actual fact, I didn’t know something transpired which made him go cold with me.
To cut the long story short: God performed a miracle; I got all the four editors. And I decided to forward both stories and pictures to the Oga at Lagos (That is the Oga to the Abuja based ‘Ewu’ man), and without collecting a dime, without even asking for a drink, the Oga (whose is now in the presidency) used the full story of the event and even made the picture ‘a lead picture’.

It was one of my happiest moments. The General was overjoyed. His family was electrified with uncommon joy, just because a national daily had Dad’s birthday picture with eminent Nigerians on the front cover.

A day before i exit Abuja, I gave the General all the details of my strategy and how we nearly failed. It was there and then he told me how the same ‘Ewu’ Editor rushed to his office the very day I went to meet him for help, trying to play igbo politics with the General. He told the General to neglect me and give him the job so that he can handle the coverage perfectly. But General Momah told him “I am okay with Gbenga, he has been with me for a long time and he delivers well. Let him handle it”. And that was how ‘Mr. Obstruction’ left the General’s office dejected.

I was shocked that such a man of trust can descend so low to outplay me? How can I meet you just in a day, asking you for help and the next thing you did was to rush down to my principal trying to convince him to abandon me and give you my duty?. That was an eye opener!

Well, I wasn’t too surprised. Such things keep happening till date, even among our colleagues. Someone will send someone to give you cash, he will either butcher the cash or out rightly take everything without delivering to you. It still happened to me recently.

For that singular act of glory to me, a young struggling Nigerian,in year 2013, I hold General Sam Momah in very high esteem.

It is not every day you meet a man with a clear and sound conscience like General Sam Momah. He is truthful to a fault, sincere to a fault above all; he is industrious to a fault. Since his retirement in 1999, he has kept himself busy with writing of books and has written over 15 books on various policy models.

On that auspicious 70th birthday of his, he wrote “Nigeria: Beyond Divorce” one of the best intellectual works on the glorious benefits of a united and unbroken Nigeria. He has written more, even on the much touted “RESTRUCTURING” but who is listening to General Sam Momah? Who is listening to Prophet Sam Momah? Who? Who? Who?
Let me stop here for I could continue to dish out more and more on the General and his lifestyle, family, business and philosophies. Sam Momah is a Government away from Government; a mobile government, an encyclopedia of policies that can liberate a serious thinking nation from poverty.

One of his books that personally transformed my way of thinking is “TECHNOLOGY IS POWER” which he wrote while serving as minister of Science and Technology. If you have not read that book, you have actually read nothing! I have a privileged copy, I have read and read and read, and today, you see me here!

General Samuel Ifeanyichukwu Momah was born on 6th of July, 1943 in Zungeru Niger State (Northern Nigeria) and of Igbo parenthood from Anambra State (Eastern Nigeria).

Sam Momah is a renowned writer who have authored several high profile books among which is “Global Strategy”, “Global Disorder and the New World Order”, “Technology is Power”, “Nigeria: Beyond Divorce” and more.

Momah trained in some of the best institutions both home and abroad. He is therefore among others, a graduate of India’s National Defense Academy, Poona, India’s Military Academy, Dehra Dun, Command and Staff College, Jaji, School of Infantry, Jaji, US Military School of Engineering, Fort-Belvoir, Pakistan’s Military College of Engineering, Risalpur, UK Defense Intelligence School, Royal College of Defense Studies, London and the Higher Command Staff College, Camberly.

He is an alumnus of Nigeria’s Institute of policy and strategic studies and holds a Doctorate Degree in Strategic Studies from St. Clements University, Austria.

Being a renowned strategist, he was the Director of Strategy at Nigeria’s War College and later became Adjutant General of the Nigerian Army from which post he rose to command the Training and Doctrine Command which is regarded as the ‘Think-Thank’ of the Nigeria Army.

As a young officer, Momah topped his class with a First Class Honors Degree in Civil Engineering and later in spite of his busy schedule as a two star General, he still made a Ph-D in Strategic Studies.

He was sworn in as a member of the Provisional Ruling Council in September 1994 and later in March 1995 became the Honorable Minister of Science and Technology at a time when the ministry was very much in the doldrums, having had a chequered history of being merged with ministry of education in 1984, de-merged in 1985, disbanded in 1992, and then re-established in 1993 with all its former assets disappearing, as it were, into thin air. Till date, some of the ministries’ parastatals are still not released by their hostage ministries and agencies.

General Momah therefore had the herculean task of re-building the ministry from scratch to its present formidable strength.

Sam Momah has a Ph-D in Strategic Studies, a fellow of War College, (fwc) First Class Honors Degree in Civil Engineering, a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE); Member of the National Institute (Mni) and he was conferred with the National Honor of Commander of the Federal Republic CFR in 1998.


The General is a council member of University of Jos and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; He was the Vice President, Third World Academy of Science with Headquarters in Italy, and later became the pioneer Director of the National War College and a graduate of the Royal College of Defense Studies (RCDS), London.

General Momah is a strategic thinker, a voracious reader and prolific writer. He is equally a patriot who strongly believes in One Nigeria that should be capable of using its endowment in salvaging the image of the country. He constantly laments at the ugly turn of events, but even then, he still believes that all hope is not lost.
He is happily married with five children, four of whom are medical doctors.


Happy Seven Decades and Seven Years to an impeccable elder statesman.



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