Ben Egbuna was many things to the media: reporter, editor, analyst, administrator, colleague, friend, and mentor.
In a distinguished career, characterised by diligence and dedication, he traversed the studios and suites of the Voice of Nigeria and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, rising to be the first executive director (News) in the former, and director-general in the latter.
Aside from being a fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, he was, for a season, also the president of the African Union Of Broadcasting. He was also one of the brains behind the Broadcasters Guild initiative.
Ben Egbuna was also a committed family man, who loved his wife, trained his children, and doted on his grandchildren. Like good wine, he held the promise of much fruitfulness even in advanced age until death snatched him away in January 2021.
Before he answered his maker’s call, Ben completed his memoir, A Destiny Fulfilled, which details not only his exploits in the media, but provides useful nuggets on his socialisation, and worldview.
Pungent and lucid, the 388–page book is a study in the development of an individual and the institutions that destiny took him through. It provides candid close-ups on leading names in the media and politics of his era and unfolds a lot of behind-the-scene happenings in high quarters in public service.
From the classrooms in Enugwu-Ukwu and Enugu in the South East to Sapele and Warri in the South-South, to Lagos and Ota, in the South West, and Kuru in the North Central, Egbuna was at home with excellence anywhere he found it.
From the trenches in Abia and Anambra states as a soldier to the clerical post at Post and Telegraphs Department in Lagos, to the broadcast studios in Ikoyi and Abuja, to reportorial duties in Dar’ Salem, where he interviewed an unassuming President Julius Nyerere at a moment’s notice, Johannesburg, Nairobi, where he confronted racism; London, where he sparred with his boss; Ndjamena, where he escaped gunshots by whiskers, Egbuna weaves a compelling narrative.
It is a picturesque account of grit, of family ties and professional relationships, and of the forces that shape the content and tone of public broadcasting, and Nigerian politics. It is a great gift to the growing literature of the Nigerian media (with a focus on broadcasting) and our politics.
This is Egbuna’s gift to the media, and our country, Nigeria. It is one that deserves to be read by the thinking public for the enduring lessons it offers in Journalism Education Broadcast Journalism, Management, and Leadership.
Ben Egbuna may have shed his earthly vessel, but his soul lives on in this great work.
** The book, A Destiny Fulfilled, published by Diamond Publications Ltd will be unveiled on Thursday, August 12 at the MUSON Centre in Lagos