By Omonu YG Nelson
In February 2018, I traveled on an assignment to Zamfara State, in company of some senior journalists, prominent amongst which is, the former President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Waheed Odusile of The Nations Newspaper, Victorson Agbenson, a political editor with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN); Emma Ujah of the Vanguard Newspapers; Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche, then the Editor of Abuja Enquirer; Patrick Okon, one of the top guns at the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ forum and a host of others.
As we criss-crossed the length and breadth of the State, I heard Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche say, “I am a man of ideas, I can make things happen. I can fix anything.” To be clear, he wasn’t directly talking to me but the statement caught my attention because of the law governing my own thoughts. Since then, I have never missed any opportunity to call him “Mr Fix it!
The following year, Comrade Ogbeche threw his heart into the ring to vie for the chairmanship of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists. Of course, despite the stiff opponent, he triumphed. That was the opportunity for him to validate the earlier statement that, “I am a man of ideas, I can make things happen. I can fix anything.”
Suffice it to put on record that, before Ogbeche emerged chairman of FCT-NUJ, there was nowhere to call a secretariat, as the building that was under construction for many years, offered very slim hope of completion. The abandoned project was a perfect den for street urchins and phone thieves from Berger junction, who take refuge in the dejected environment. The building, which was overgrown by weeds was the most convenient place for those pressed and looking for where to defecate.
It’s also important to put on record that before this era, respect for FCT-NUJ, even by its own members was at lowest ebb because of concatenation of occurrences and uncoordinated way of handling affairs.
However, tides began to turn, immediately Ogbeche mount the saddle. At this time, a hotel around Utako serves as the secretariat with the hotel pool side as the meeting venue. Soon, work on the secretariat project resumed. And, with the speed of light, the main secretariat building was completed. Journalists in FCT, never had it so good, as social life at the FCT-NUJ Press Centre was fully activated. Finally, the Gentlemen of the Press now have a place to unwind after a hectic day, in the Nigeria’s ‘anti-press’ environment.
Not only did Ogbeche build, furnish and beautify a relaxation spot and press centre for the men of pen profession, he laid the foundation and completed an event hall of about 300 hundred seating capacity.
The crown of it all is that, Ogbeche is a comrade to the core. In an environment that is reprehensibly hostile to the Press, Ogbeche has sticked his neck for his members. Because he’s wired with the tenacity of a bulldog, he respects but fears no one. Whenever any journalist is the hook, he exploits contacts to the highest level, but when authorities remain recalcitrant, you can be sure Ogbeche will mobilise and lay siege to your gate.
Suffice to buttress with one or two examples. The case of journalist Tordue Salem, a National Assembly Correspondent with the Vanguard newspapers, aptly captures Ogbeche’s unparalleled generousity of spirit. In the case of Omonu YG Nelson, a former diplomatic Correspondent with Leadership newspapers and publisher, SUMMIT POST News, even when he wasn’t a registered member of the NUJ, out of magnanimity, he stood for me. He went all out against the authorities, which led to my being charged to court in record time, as against the original plan.
One important leadership lesson from Emmanuel Ogbeche’s management of FCT-NUJ, is “When the purity of motives of a leader is not in doubt, trust by followers becomes effortless.”
Another important leadership lesson from him is, unwavered power of believe or, what the Christians calls faith, is the first and most potent currency or recipe for accomplishments, both in public leadership engagement or private life. Like he said in February 2018, “I am a man of ideas, I can make things happen. I can fix anything.” Pronouncements such as this are the spillover of what’s abundant inside.
As a preacher and televangelist, Dr (Pastor) Paul Enenche said a few years ago, “Excellence destroys prejudice.” No matter how unbalanced factors are, nothing is impossible to a man that’s dogged and driven by divine ideas. That’s why the Monday’s announcement of Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche as the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Otu, may not come to many, who are familiar with Ogbeche, as surprise.
A visit to the FCT-NUJ secretariat today… Evidence, they say, is the end of argument. Since he proved his mettle, I have changed from calling him “Mr Fix it” to “Chairman Wey Sabi.”
On behalf of Highland Media Ltd, publishers of SUMMIT POST News, I congratulate you and wish you a successful outing.