Ogbonna Nwuke: A Publisher heading to polish House of Representatives
It was Geoffrey Faber who said that the publisher is a middleman, he calls the tune to which the whole rest of the trade dances and he does so because he pays the piper. As if Faber had Hon. Prince Ogbonna Nwuke at heart, Nwuke has brought dignity and honour to the publishing industry, not only in Rivers State, but in Nigeria at large, by paying his dues. The people of Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency of the Rivers State chapter of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) on January 6, 2011, elected Nwuke in the state's House of Representatives primaries, for the forthcoming general elections, to represent them.
As a professional journalist, Nwuke publishes the famous Port Harcourt Telegraph, with circulations in the Niger Delta region and in the states across the Niger. Because of the newspapers balancing reportages, it has become the everyday morning staple for the reading Rivers people and the general public. He has taught people through his hard work the sayings of Eddie Bell that in the publishing business you have to learn to greet failure with the same handshake as you would success.
Like Olivia Goldsmith would say that as difficult as it is for a writer to find a publisher – admittedly a daunting task – it is twice as difficult for a publisher to sort through the chaff, select the wheat, and profitably publish a worthy list, Nwuke didn't climb to his present stature on a platter of gold, regardless that he came from the ancient Nwukes royal dynasty.
Truman, the late American statesman and President seemed to have had Nwuke at heart when he said that all through history, it is the nations that have given the most to the generals and the least to the people that have been the first to fall. This statement by Truman was made during one of his confrontations with the arrogance of the military establishment, especially his encounter with General Macarthur Douglas, who attempted to question Truman's democratic authority.
Ogbonna was nearly sidelined during the eight years of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's reins as the president of Nigeria. Just as Truman said, Nigeria had a lot of generals in the Nigeria's democracy; although, many of the generals were not of the army, but civilians, who were power drunken. Rivers State, for example, was no-go-area during that period. That era was characterised by alleged political motivated killings and humiliations. But Ogbonna Nwuke was not scared, but trudged on in feeding the public with the excesses of the government without fear or favour through his newspapers and open campaign. The government then exhibited acts that were scope in the wheel of his success and the touted nascent democracy. A lot of people who called themselves men shut their mouths and many packed and ran away from the state in the face of tyranny, but the man in Nwuke did not die. He fought assiduously to change the hand of the clock even though that he was not nearer the government that was then. He made sure that the government in Rivers State during the Obasanjo time was people-oriented, than a spree of democrats corruption.
As the government of Rivers State changed hand to Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, Ogbonna Nwuke was among the lot of Nigerians who were on the altar of praise, sang melodious tones to the judiciary for standing up to the occasion, and a lot more, thanked God for the person of President Umar Yar'Adua (now late) for believing in the rule of law on October 25th 2007.
This date was when Amaechi got open justice to reclaim his mandate as the governor of Rivers State. A lot of people questioned Nwuke's democratic authority – just as Truman was questioned – because he stood irrevocably for justice to come to Rivers State by the contest of the now Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, no matter all the odds, even as Amaechi ran out the state, and was said, hid in Ghana then.
Nwuke had a lot of write-ups, utterances and interviews on the air and on the pages of the national dailies, yet fighting for the stable prevalence of justice. There was no where that he sold Amaechi even with a kiss for injustice. He represented a rare spokesperson of Amaechi in these times of moral decadence of a country, when people have become their brother's kidnapper instead of their brother's keepers. Nwuke protected Amaechi and didn't want the situation to derail where somebody would come to cut the ears of any Jew, as an expression of obedience.
Ogbonna stood stoical all through the period of temptations and trials of Amaechi. His life, that of his children and family members were threatened; but today, Nwuke has no face to hide, but a lot of people have hidden their faces in shame since the 25th October 2007, victory came Amaechi's way.
As the event of Amaechi's victory burgeoned, Nwuke didn't waver. He faced the many rented writers raining abuses on Amaechi and on him through their fictitious names and write-ups on the pages of the newspapers. Nwuke exhibited seldom mettle and deserved being killed a cow for his many acts as Amaechi travails lasted then. But quite unfortunate, politics were not a traditional fiesta.
The magnanimous level of penury in the country, yet, didn't make Nwuke to sell himself. But a lot of known reverenced dignitaries in Rivers State sold their selves so cheap, something less than 30 pieces of silver. Their self-aggrandizement didn't perturb Nwuke, but their pervasion of the truth and justice were his major concern. Nothing more! Nwuke didn't build his ark on mischief, even when a lot of Rivers people hid under the pretext of 'stateism' and patriotism and caused a lot of havoc on the person of Amaechi and tagged it for "Rivers Unity".
The umpteenth time, Nwuke didn't genuflect. Some of the contributing writers to his no-less newspaper, The Port Harcourt Telegraph, and the journalists with the newspapers, who stood on the track of justice, started to see him as a beacon of hope, justice, equality and all the goodies for humanity. Ogbonna clamoured for a 'true' democracy stand in Rivers State, which was nearly pummelled to the ground, if not for the good intervention of the court.
Ogbonna Nwuke dislikes lies and its agent, but loves the truth. Because of his belief in the later, people had many times casted vituperations on him, and in many occasions, threatened to kill him. However, Nwuke is not a man to be threatened with death on a course he believes in.
As a Commissioner for Information in the Governor Amaechi-led government of Rivers State, before he was re-appointed to head the Rivers State Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ogbonna Nwuke has become a role model to many youths, not only in the state, but in the Niger Delta region. He made sure he was in the forefront to avoid any hoodwinking information in the state. His imprints, when he was the Commissioner for Information, the Ministry was noticeable in the areas of dissemination of information, encouragement of people's empowerment, repealing of drug abuse among young people, warning against child trafficking, encouraging girl-child education, alleviating poverty and encouraging youths to desist from social vice.
Ogbonna Nwuke, without doubt, was able to transform positively, the lives of children and adults, and by extension, the importance of information in the state. As a journalist of international repute, Nwuke was constantly and effectively a frontier of the campaign against cult wars and criminality then raging in the Niger Delta, by personally flagging a house-to-house, village-to-village and town-to-town campaign the need to put a stop to violence in the Niger Delta region through the Rivers State Information Ministry.
Apart from the house-to-house, village-to-village and town-to-town campaign to send violence on errand in the Niger Delta, Nwuke mobilized people through jingles on Radio and Television to eradicate restiveness in the Niger Delta. He also sent people to the nooks and crannies, especially newsmen, to sensitize the locals the danger violence portends in the society, especially at the grassroots. Nwuke was able to procure and distribute vital information worthily, to adequate its driving force on the sustenance of democracy in the country.
Nwuke's campaign against any form of violence in the state and in the Niger Delta at large is evidence, in the peaceful co-existence in Rivers State today. He brought to zero the epidemic called Ignorance in the people on the scheme of things on-goings in the Governor Amaechi-led administration, when he was the state's information Czar. It was based on this that criminals were detected, among the good agitators of the Niger Delta struggle. His activism has influenced more Rivers people and beyond to actively be involved in the integration of all the regions of Rivers State and the Niger Delta like the Siamese twins. He improved the quality of information in the state, and similarly, did all his best to seeing and making sure that there was a conducive circulation of information for the people's consummation.
By and large, because of Nwuke's informative crusade against the spread of criminality virus in Rivers State, he is today seen as the symbol and hero of the struggle to rid Rivers State and the entire Niger Delta of criminality and violence. He solicited with the general public in the state of their support to report to the nearest police station or to any security agencies of any uncivil happenings they perceived in their localities. Nwuke did everything humanly possible to make life meaningful for people with good intentions in the state.
While the people in Rivers State have always supported him, because without their support he would not have attained his present political stature, it will do the entire people of Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency good to massively support this selfless man whose other name might be humble in the general elections. His antecedents, just few have been stated, are not far to fetch.
Ogbonna Nwuke has gotten every pre-requisite to represent the Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency in the House of Representative. He is experienced, formally and informally groomed. He is amiable and affably and is not inconsiderate of other people's views and feelings. Ogbonna Nwuke adheres to the rule of law and the freedom of all. Because of his amiable posturing, he could be in the mind of Mahatma Gandhi when he said that freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes Gandhi's comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right. Nwuke dislikes evil. The people of Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency should always remember Nwuke when quoting Samuel Johnson, British Author, who lived in 1709-1784, that some desire is necessary to keep life in motion, and he whose real wants are supplied must admit those of fancy.
The people of Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency, Ogbonna Nwuke is a desire that is necessary in the Rivers State House of Assembly; support him to go there and meet your fancy in a democracy. The people of Etche/Omuma Federal Constituency have the reason to support Ogbonna Nwuke, who has not only brought government presence in the area, but did that in the absence of egocentrism. No wonder majority in the area are singing his praise day in, day out. He will do more than have been chronicled he has achieved for Rivers State, when he served as commissioner, if he becomes a member of the House of Representative. Hon. Prince Ogbonna Nwuke means a lot in the Niger Delta. He is a publisher with a difference.
Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Author, Media/Writing Consultant and Motivator, is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA). He writes from Oyigbo, Rivers State. For Public Speaking invitation or Donation to his Project, contact: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]