I am Jewel Howard-Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia and a sister to Bashorun Dele Momodu. As we celebrate his 60th anniversary today, I cannot but reflect on the kind of person, Chief Dele Momodu is, the impact he has made and the way he has provided opportunities for many of his friends including me. I really lack words as to how to start but I want to wish him a happy 60th birthday.
60 years, some trials, some tribulations, some triumphs. For any one who has had the opportunity to celebrate 60 years, that person must be grateful to God.In the midst of all he has gone through, he is still alive, he is well and still impacting his generation.
I met Dele more than 22 years ago, after I left being First Lady of Liberia and in exile in Accra, Ghana by a stroke of fate we met. It was a very low time in my life but I met this young gentleman who was effervescent, and the whole embodiment of how he greeted and hosted me for a few hours brought a new life to my life.
We had a conversation of what had happened over the 6 years, and what my intentions were.I believed that like every First Lady, especially after coming from a crisis situation like we did, my only thought at that point was how I could hide in a corner and live out the rest of my life. I was still quite young in my 30s, we had a conversation about what life was, and how we needed to be resilient.
He said to me during those conversations that I wasn’t finished, and in fact, that those who were at the lowest points of their lives were those that God will find a way to rejuvenate.And I listened to him like Sarah in the Bible, I said you are right.My thought was, I was no longer First Lady, how do I remain engaged with my country and the people I have served.
So he wanted to find out what my passions were, and I told him that I believe that Liberia needed an icon that they could follow, that could be a part of their lives. And he said to me, that could be a platform for you to begin work. Truly as he said that day, that he felt I have many many things to do and indeed my life was not finished.
As I looked across the spectrum of my life, minus my parents, Dele came across as one of those people who pulled me out of deep depression and despair and moved me to a new platform.
He has introduced me to many many people. I have got to know many rich, poor, influential, spiritual people and all of those contacts have influenced my life in many ways. I had hoped that we would be in Lagos,celebrating Dele’s 60th birthday, all of us together, howbeit, this is the time and the season that we have and I am happy that through the internet, a lot of us will be paying our tribute. So I say Happy Birthday to my brother Dele, to my Adviser, to my friend, I want to say a very happy 60th birthday to you. It is my prayer that you will live longer than you can imagine and that the next part of your life will be bigger and better than what has passed. And that you will live to see some of the dreams that you have, and some of the dreams of your friend, come to pass. I want to thank you for your love, thank you Dele for you commitment.Thank you Dele for your friendship, thank you Dele for your advise, you are a treasure to me. I love you very much, may God bless you, may God grant you the favour that you need to take you beyond where you are now and may you continue to just be the Dele that you are.Happy Birthday.