A TRIBUTE TO MR BEN EGBUNA (July 13, 1949 -January 28, 2021)

  • Pioneer Executive Director News, Voice of Nigeria
  • Former Director General, Radio Nigeria
  • Former President, African Union of Broadcasting (AUB)

 

My Boss!
My Mentor!!
My Friend and Brother!!!
Motivator and Counsellor!!!!

 

You knew me not from Adam
Except by my hand
That watched your hand at work
And worked my scripts like you.

 

I see your red ink even now
Running riot over a silly script
Ringing in missing dots
And knocking off useless words
In the days that to erase
Was not by the push of a button.

 

“The reward for good work is more work!”
You would bellow;
Your eyes the colour of your scolding ink
If we dared to indicate
Even by the look on the face
That you had given us too much work.

 

Man, did I get ample reward!

 

How ever will I forget
The first commentary you made me write
On a strange strange topic tagged El Nino
And Its Impact on Global Food Security?

 

“You must be joking,” I thought
But said promptly, “Okay, Sir!”
Knowing in my hungry heart
That I knew nought about El Nino.

 

 

That turned out to be the turning point
In my writing sojourn
Enabled further by you
At the dreaded Editorial Conference
Where, with a critical scalpel,
You tore to pieces poorly produced programmes
And shoddily assembled bulletins.

 

You had no hand in my employment
But you stamped my deployment
To the Presidential Villa in Abuja
As State House Correspondent
And then, to South Africa as Pioneer Bureau Chief
of Voice of Nigeria in the Southern Africa region!

 

 

How you humbled me recently
With the task of editing the manuscript
Of the book you co-wrote with another tough boss of mine
‘Voice of Nigeria at Thirty: Quo Vadis’
By Ben Egbuna and Osaze Iyamu
With a further honour to let me design the cover
And write a chapter in the book!

 

Quo Vadis Oga Ben?
Quo Vadis Broadcasting?
Quo Vadis Use of English?
Quo Vadis Critical Analysis?

 

 

Together we planned to pen
A compendium of wrong expressions
That daily assail the eyes and ears with reckless abandon
As the rules of the game seem abandoned.

 

 

My New Year Call got no answer
I reckoned you were resting in the village
As you liked to do to escape the insanity of the city;
Unaware that you were wrestling with cancer.

 

You were simply one of a kind
Strict and tough and kind.
The guitar you bought my infant son
When you visited us in Pretoria
Sits in a corner of his room as memorabilia.

 

I’ve wept pails of tears
But I’m consoled that you are gone where there is no pain
To take your place in Paradise
Where it seems your services are needed
With or without your red pen.

 

As I bid you a painful goodbye,
Of one thing I assure you:
The flame you lit will burnish
And furnish many with the skills
So freely given by you.

 

Adieu, Oga Ben!

 

For: Random Thoughts:
A Collection of Essays and Poems
By Tony Ekata

(Former State House Correspondent VON, Pioneer Bureau Chief, VON Southern Africa Bureau, Former Deputy Director News VON, Publisher/CEO NewsPlus/NewsPlusRadio)

 

You may also read: Editorial Conference: Special Edition

(Contributed by Ben Egbuna)

 

 

LAST LINES:
It’s so hard to say goodbye
Appreciate those you love TODAY
In case TOMORROW never comes:

 

 

 

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