For good or bad, there are happenings in life, that bring, the “where were you on the day” moments of recollection, forever. Exactly two years ago today, at a few minutes past 11 in the morning, I received a telephone call, just as I finished addressing a seminar, of my PhD class, at the Nigerian Defence Academy, in Kaduna. I sent a text message, that I couldn’t pick the call; the replied that followed was a shocker: “Have you heard? Lucky is gone!”. I exclaimed loudly: “Lucky’s gone where?”! It turned out, that I was really loud, because everybody seemed to have momentarily frozen, and all eyes came in my direction. The Head of Department of Political Science, Dr. Ngozi Muhammed, came close to me, to ask what had happened. I told her, that I had just received a message of the passing of a very close friend! She expressed condolences; discussed with other lecturers from the Department, and I was permitted to leave the hall. I began that horrible drive, back to Abuja. The phones didn’t stop ringing, just as the tears freely flowed.
So Capo was gone? Lucky Omoluwa was dead? How? Why? My mind conjured up as many moments, and images, as it possibly could, about, and of, the man, as we cut through the trip. It was instructive, that he passed, just five days, after I was suspended from the NBC. The suspension was the culmination of an orchestrated campaign, linked directly to payment NBC, under me, made, for the role he had come to play, by right, when his company, won, fair and square, the bidding, to become the second national Broadcast Signal Distributor (BSD), of the Nigerian Digital Switch Over (DSO).
But a vicious political, security, and media machinery was mobilized, against Sir Lucky and his Pinnacle Communications Limited, and as it turned out, I become the main collateral casualty, with my suspension, and eventual ouster, from the NBC. It was a situation that he appreciated very intimately, and he did everything to protect his turf, his integrity, as well as the humongous investment that he had made, into the process. The trial we have been undergoing, in the past three years, was set up as an instrument of humiliation, even when those behind it, knew very well, that Lucky and his company, have been the single most important financial contributors, to the DSO.
And it is one of the absurdities of the situation, that even after his death, and while still on trial in court, for being paid N2.5billion, the same government has further paid Lucky’s Pinnacle Communications, close to N2billion, for the services his company continues to render, to the DSO project. And the money was approved by the same Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, who I was accused of misleading, to pay the initial sum; and for which we have been undergoing a trial, over the past three years. It is the trial, that became the excuse for my removal, from the NBC!
I have often wondered, as two years have passed, how Lucky would have reacted to the issues that emerged after he passed: Covid-19; the security situation in Nigeria, with kidnaps and banditry; the political situation in the country, etc. And there were the constants too: the way that his friends and associates flocked around him, at the office, or at home. The daily assembly of friends, in the evening, for dinner in his residence. I would get that call: “Modibbosky, we are on the way home. Papa ( his chef) has made bitter leaf soup, so we will be waiting for you”, he would announce. A Christian member of the entourage would pray, and a Muslim would too, before everyone tucked into the meal.
Meal over, there would be animated discussions of whatever was the current issue in the world; the news on television would be followed keenly and sometimes, there would be football matches. Lucky would even sleep off on the sofa, as his friends begin to take their leave. He wakes up, and then returns to the office, or drives out to meetings. There was a constant around the man. Sometimes, he would call me, very late at night: “Modibbosky, we need to see; and it’s very urgent”! That was the man, who passed two years ago.
I’ve been back at the offices of his Pinnacle Communications Limited, several times, since his passing, and I have always had a hollow feeling in the stomach; that sense of a major absence. The many cars that used to make it difficult to find a space to park, have long gone; and the owners have also moved on! There are many members of his entourage, that I’ve not seen, in the past two years.
One event that he never missed, was the annual conference of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which holds every year in April, at Las Vegas, in the USA. He would lodge at The Wynn Hotel on The Strip. Each year, there was always a ceremony of recognition, by his business partners, at the Las Vegas Convention Centre; Lucky used to sponsor a considerable number of Nigerians, to the conference, and would regularly host friends and business associates to dinner events, that offered opportunities to continue to build networks.
Those who conspired to put us on trial, operate with the political arrogance, that they can, pretty well, do whatever they like, to anybody. They have the ill-gotten money to buy everything and everybody, and can bend all situations, to their end. They serve the mammon of money, and have their, equally evil, lieutenants, who are sworn to personal agendas of vindictiveness, almost beyond the call of duty. They are the pitiable instruments of our persecution. And even in their vaunted government position, they’re most reviled, most hated; and regarded by all Nigerians, as the most unconscionable; unscrupulous and most untrustworthy liars, in the Nigerian public space. Alhamdulilah, we are here, despite their machinations; and like other Nigerians, we are witnesses, as their evil power begins to dissemble. They are already on the slippery slope of disgrace, playing out in public glare, as they pursue the personal ambition, that will not materialise, Insha’Allah, but would end up to become the source of their everlasting disgrace!
Two years down the line, Lucky Omoluwa continues to loom large in the memory, and remains a very compelling part of conversations, especially amongst his friends and acquaintances. And the absence of these two years, hasn’t diminished the pain that accompanied Capo’s passing. There’s been no time that I’ve been to see Emma at Auto Plaza, or in the company of Senator Bello Tukur, that we’ve not discussed our dear friend, Lucky Omoluwa. May the Almighty God rest Lucky Omoluwa’s soul; protect his family; and may He help to secure his legacy.