Abuchi Anueyiagu: Salute to a 'Good Man' @60

By Sunny Igboanugo on 06/05/2021

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Anueyiagu

There's none of my friends that I've disagreed more than him. There's none I've quarrelled with more. Yet we've remained together. Our friendship has been glued together by a singular element - understanding of each other.

Somehow, we've come to appreciate the wisdom in the Igbo saying that even twins, though of the same mother have their individual, different Chi - the personal God to which every Igbo submits for guidance and opportunities. Yes, the Igbo say it, ofu Nne n'amu ma ofu chi adighi eke.

So for the three decades we've known each other, our relationship has been shaped by individual differences and the appreciation of it. That's the magic wand for the sustenance of that relationship, even with the longer period of it, lived apart.

Besides, fate has played its own part in araditing this affair and pushed it further beyond the individual to the collective. It's now a family affair. Just at the infancy of our relationship, he married my sister from another mother, thus extending the frontiers to the three structure of the Igbo family tree that recognises the in-laws as the third branch - Ogo bu ikwu ito.

So, for many things that could have created a gulf or wedged our relationship, there exists more than enough that act as buffers to engrave it deeper into the innermost fortresses.

Fate had actually brought us together as young journalists hitting the streets of Enugu in search of front page banner headlines, the pride of every practitioner. Of course, the competition, as state correspondents for our individual organisations in this regard, was quite stiff, but so was the collaboration. Yes, as much as we tried to outwit each other with exclusive stories, we still watched each other's backs.

Indeed, he was one of those who made me welcome when I arrived Enugu as a reporter for The Guardian in 1992 and helped to integrate me into the pen fraternity in the city, where he was already well-established.

If you say you have nose for news, then you didn't meet him in the field. If you boast of your contacts, you're simply a learner. He could smell news several kilometres away, his eagle eyes would spot newsmakers in a sea of heads at an event, while his ability to worm himself into the ambience of the high and mighty stands him as the quintessential reporter per excellent.

That ThisDay, the newspaper he once worked for as a pioneer, broke the news of the death of the late Owelle of Onitsha, Nnamdi Azikiwe, one of the greatest news ever broken from the South East, if not Nigeria, stands to his credit. 

It was an event that practically put all other reporters to shame and emphasised him as a master of the art.

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It's indeed a big loss that he moved on to public relations, another branch of journalism, apparently due to the vicissitudes and vagaries of reporting, compared to the quieter, cooler, mega-bucks environment. Yet, he hasn’t lost the knack for the other side. A human encyclopedia or modern-day Google, call him up anytime and he supplies information on any buried and long-forgotten incident. His mind is that sharp.

These days, whenever he learns that I’m in Enugu, he smokes me out from my hole for the usual raucous interactions, over pepper soup, abacha or any other delicacy in the day’s menu; for not only does he know how to give one a treat, but the best location to do so.

Outside his prowess as a professional, he is a deeply gifted man of wisdom - native wisdom and intelligence - the type described by Chinua Achebe. Like the legendary writer said of idiom as the palm oil with which words are eaten, his ability to craft words with the dexterity of a weaverbird is amazing. 

Yet, on a deeper level, he cuts the image of Shakespeare’s depiction of constant as the Northern star. For instance, he is still an ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, even long after his compatriots on that ship have abandoned it and joined the camp of wailers. You need a truckload of pressure to convince him otherwise. His vices do not include abandoning his friends, no matter what. If you’re plotting evil against anybody, don’t invite him or the project would fail. He’ll make sure he it does. Why? He doesn’t like oppression. But if you’re able to sell a project to him and he buys into it, you could go to sleep, sure that you have a partner.

A knight of the Catholic Church and a soldier of Christ, he lives the life, in fact and indeed. Today, May 6, 2021, he turns 60 years on earth. His name is Abuchi Anueyiagu, a worthy son of Eziama Obire, in Nkwere Local Government of Imo State.

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In a special message by President Muhammadu Buhari himself, conveyed by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, the President, praised his steadfastness and patriotic spirit, congratulating him, his family and the media fraternity on the milestone.

The statement, read: “President Muhammadu Buhari felicitates with journalist and fervent Buharist, Abuchi Anueyiagu, as he clocks 60 May 6, 2021. 

“The President salutes the staying power of Anueyiagu, a long-time supporter, who has weathered all storms to stand by his convictions, saying; “more of such men are needed at times like this in our country.” 

“President Buhari rejoices with the media fraternity, the Anueyiagu family, friends and associates on the milestone occasion, wishing the journalist good health and length of days to continue serving his community, profession, and the country at large.” 

The President has based his reason for celebrating Anueyiagu purely on his support and allegiance to his government. Of course, as a certified pioneer wailer, I don’t agree. I see the government he runs as the most underwhelming, inept, insipid, nepotistic and parochial in the history of Nigeria, a sharp departure from what my friend thinks.  

Regardless, Buhari captures it all when he said that more men like Anueyiagu are needed in today’s Nigeria. On that, I totally concur. Saluting him on this day, I declare that Abuchi Anueyiagu is Good Man! Yes, we shall disagree on all things, but shall remain friends forever. FOREVER! Happy birthday, Yeye Man!

Igboanugo, a journalist, writes from Lagos

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com.ng

Posted on May, 7 2021

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