In the 1980s/90s, she was known as Queen of Junks by those who loathed the kind of news stories the magazines she edited were churning out, but today, she proudly refers to herself as the Queen of Journalism. Moji Danisa, whom Charles Okogene, smoked out from her quiet corner, spoke to us about those tough days.
How do you manage to penetrate ‘enemies’ camp. You are a good friend of the denigrated former first family, yet you are very close to those in power today like Festus Keyamo (SAN), Femi Adeshina and the present First Lady.
The fact is, I have no enemies or I don’t consider anybody my enemy. We all cannot share same ideology. The beauty of reporting is, you may stand for one thing but you must not let it obstruct the truth and all my friends, contemporaries, associates know that’s my watch word, the truth. Like the Holy Grail of Journalism. Keyamo is more like a brother who’s stood by me many times, he provides pro-bono services and was solidly there when we were picked up by the DSS. He has a job to do and he is doing it very well as I have told him many times. I am very proud of him and will always encourage and support him wherever I can. Adesina is a good man. I call him my Editor. No matter how busy, he picks his calls, he responds to text messages. He is very professional and that is what I admire in anybody. No haughtiness around him. Nothing changed from when he was in the Sun Newsroom and now that he is in the Villa. As I say often, we all cannot follow same path, in our diversity lies our strength and maturity.
I did not really meet Mama Patience Jonathan at anytime but she did send some people to me when she thought I was ill and might need help but I wasn’t sick as I told them. It was false news.
You made name and shook so many tables when you were the editor of Climax Magazine and Ofoegbu’s Whispers Magazine and suddenly, you disappeared. What happened?
After Whispers, I decided to concentrate on my family and make babies that are what happened. It was a very bad time for journalists with the military junta and I was advised by my gynecologist to take time off as I was quite prone to miscarriages hitherto. Don’t forget I created the City News with the late Chief Victor Vanni investing. That was the height for me. Fashioned after the British News of The World, we busted high profile criminal cases, which included political crimes and that was when I had to be conveyed to and from work in a Bullion Van.
Can we recreate that brand of reportage/journalism?
Well, everyone is doing it now. They branded it junk then but it was society reporting at it’s best…going after the untouchables…from the Guardian to the Sun….they are all doing it.
If no, why?
It is being done on a higher scale…look at Sahara, Premium Times, my Paparazzi….it’s on a new high. (Laughs)
Your exclusives on the secret lovebirds like Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu/Bianca and Abbah/Folawuyo shook tables those days, can you refresh our memories about the earth shaking stories?
(Laughing). They were stories that landed on my desk and I took many steps further. When we broke the Abbah Adesanya/Folawiyo affair, I was branded a liar, a junk Queen and sued…so when they were about to get married, our lawyer, the late Fred Agbaje, threatened to sue if the marraige was made public. Those were interesting times!
Ojukwu and I met after the whole uproar of my report and when I was moving to Whispers, a drama ensued. He wanted me to write a written apology. I instead went to my new office and drafted my resignation letter. Everest Ofoegbu and Ekerete Udoh begged and begged, so Ekerete drafted what seemed like an apology steering clear of any legal implication. I signed. Next day at the venue of the launch, Chief Ojukwu was nowhere to be found. He instead sent what he wanted me to add as footnote. I was left with no choice. I wrote it and went ahead to Laminate his note. Till date I carry the great Ojukwu’s handwriting in my purse with pride. He came for the show and made headlines launching the magazine for N1. We were on network news. I was very happy. A very colourful character he was. One of the greatest Nigerians who ever lived.
Those who hated the kind of journalism you praticed then called you ‘Queen of Junks.’ Are you still in active journalism?
I am today, the Queen of Journalism. Chop that!
Yes, I publish Paparazzi Magazine, Nigeria’s first political tabloid….we are also online…www.
I do documentaries and provide TV content amongst o