Advertisement Topt


OBITUARY: Momoh, first-class intellectual who survived brutality in Ekiti, dies months after losing his father

OBITUARY: Momoh, first-class intellectual who survived brutality in Ekiti, dies months after losing his father
May 29
17:33 2017

Abubakar Momoh, a professor of political science and firebrand intellectual, has joined the host of eminent Nigerians in the place yonder.

Momoh, who once declared “ let’s problematise the problematic” – a didactic phrase underscoring the exploring of different parts of an issue for a robust debate – was said to have died after a brief illness in Abuja.

Until his passage to immortality, he was the director-general of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Electoral Institute in the federal capital territory (FCT). He mounted the rostrum on August 1, 2013; before this, he was the dean of the faculty of social science at the Lagos State University (LASU).


His father had taken a peregrination to the land of the dead earlier in the year. The late Momoh’s body is currently taking a solemn hike to his hometown in Auchi where he will be united with the earth according to Islamic rites.


He is survived by a wife and a son.


The late Momoh was a consummate pedagogue. He plied his intellectual trade across different cultures and frontiers. He also held strategic positions in the academia.

His biographical data on the African Leadership Centre webpage says he was the vice-president of African Association of Political Science (AAPS) and national treasurer, the Academic Staff Union of Universities from 1991 to 1995.


In addition, he was a visiting research fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland; fellow, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden; visiting scholar, Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa; guest researcher, Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden; guest lecturer, Summer Course on African Law, Catholic University, Brussels, Belgium; senior Fulbright scholar, James Coleman African Studies Centre, University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA; guest lecturer, African and African-American Studies Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA; visiting researcher and tutor, Conflict, Security and Development Group, CSDG, King’s College, University of London; visiting senior research fellow, International Development Centre, Open University, Milton Keynes, England, and postgraduate research supervisor, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany.

He served as an external examiner to the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan and University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa and Nigerian Defence College, NDC.


Momoh speaking at a public event

Momoh speaking at a public event

The late Momoh, who was also a social activist, once said the youth of country lacked exemplars.

Speaking on the topic ‘Towards Creative Leadership in Nigeria’ at the 2016 Merit Time International Distinguished Award Lecture in Abuja, he declared that the potential of the youth was being killed.


He also said that greed had ravaged the national and private life.

“Social status, hierarchy and class have all come to place in having economic and political access. The spirit of merit and competitiveness has fast been eroded. The potentials of our youth are being killed. Their confidence in the system is fast eroding. They are desolate, agitated and angry. Some of them have become economic migrants, others have sought refugee status in Europe and North America yet others have constituted a social menace by their criminal behaviour that has undermined the image of the country abroad,” he said.

“They can no longer find exemplars, the kind of selfless and patriotic citizens who led us in the past. Everybody wants to condemn the other person but very few people want to be upright and behave appropriately. This is because greed, materialism and insatiable quest for ill-gotten wealth and the get-rich-quick syndrome have ravaged our public and private life. Institutions of accountability are weak, they seek political correctness. There is no consistent and coherent approach to address corruption in the country.”

However, he was an unrepentant believer in the youth.



In 2009, Momoh who has monitored election within and outside the country had a raw deal in the hands of political thugs. The academic don was later arrested by the police and transferred to Abuja, where he was released after days in detention.

The deceased recounted his experience in an interview with journalists


“My case occurred at Ifaki, the home town of Segun Oni, former governor of Ekiti. We went on observation. I and my colleagues were a collection of people from the Civil Society Monitoring Coalition. We were duly accredited by INEC,” he had said.

“I was attacked by thugs… they said I wanted to declare election results and that I’m working for Bola Tinubu. They even alleged that I had election results in my laptop and wanted to declare the results. So, I told them to produce the election results from my laptop. They seized the laptop at the Police Station.


“So, why haven’t they told the public what is in the lap top? Why haven’t they told the world?  That is why I said that the Police is working hand in hand with the PDP. But its really so unfortunate and so unfair. And think about the involvement of the DIG, John Ahmodu, the one in-charge of Ado-Ekiti. He was the person responsible for all these.”




Momoh vouched for the integrity of Attahiru Jega, former chairman of INEC. He described the electoral don as very principled and incorruptible. The deceased’s relationship with Jega started before their days at the electoral commission.

In an interview he granted The News after the 2015 general election, Momoh spoke glowingly of Jega

“I can describe Professor Jega in three words- extremely patriotic, extremely selfless and totally incorruptible. I have known Professor Jega since 1986, which was the first time I met him,” he had said.

“And about five years later, which was in 1991, I served under him as the national treasurer of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)when he was the President. And under him too, I joined in waging one of the longest strikes in the history of trade unionism in this country- the six-month strike that he led; I was also a member of the executive of ASUU. It was a very, very trying period for ASUU, for the nation and for the university system.

“And when you say somebody is a patriot, it means that he or she look beyond regions. Jega has always shared a pan Nigerian, pan African view. He is not somebody who is blinded by narrow-mindedness, regionalism, religion and so on. Some of his best friends are not even Muslims. So, I think it will be very uncharitable to begin to label him in that way. But you know, this is a period of elections and politicians say whatever pleases them, not because it is true, but because they just want to gain some mileage and score some cheap points.”



With Ibrahim Gambari, a professor; Acting President Yemi Osinbajo; Babagana Kingibe, former secretary to the government of the federation, and Oshita Oshita of the IPCR, Abuja at a programme in Abuja

Just a few weeks ago – on May 11 – the late Momoh joined a team of Nigerians who were mandated to work out strategies to making the 2019 election seamless. Unfortunately, the scholar will not be there to see to the finish of the national assignment.

He was an advocate of citizen involvement in making elections safe. He believed that for elections to be violence free communities must be involved in the process.

“You saw the level of violence in the Rivers election, and you will agree that the security agencies cannot penetrate most of the creeks like the people living there. So there is need to involve all stakeholders if we must curb the issue of electoral violence in Nigeria,” he said during a policy briefing on election violent mitigation tool in Abuja.

A colleague of his at INEC, Nick Dazang, former deputy director of media and publicity at INEC, expressed shock when TheCable contacted him to get information.

“Wow, is it true? I saw him a few days ago,” he said.

No doubt the death of Momoh is shocking, but he is someplace where there is no night, no pain and sorrow, now.

Click on the link below to join TheCable Channel on WhatsApp for your Breaking News, Business Analysis, Politics, Fact Check, Sports and Entertainment News!



No Comments Yet!

There are no comments at the moment, do you want to add one?

Write a comment

Write a Comment

error: Content is protected from copying.