Dignitaries, colleagues, protégés and family members on Thursday extolled the unique qualities of the renowned broadcaster and administrator, Ben Egbuna at the public presentation and book launch of his memoir entitled ‘A Destiny Fulfilled’’
Egbuna who was the first Executive Director (News) of Voice of Nigeria (VON) and Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) had retired in 2008 and died this year, January 28, 2021.
Speaking at the book presentation in Lagos, Mr Gbenga Adefaye, Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard Newspapers who officially unveiled the memoir to the public, said that Ben Egbuna was a great and decent man.
He urged all journalists and media practitioners to eschew professionalism in the course of their duties like Egbuna did.
“I am proud to have known this man (Egbuna). He was really a thorough professional and a decent man, a shining example of the media profession. We can all learn from him, even from the book review we just heard. The book is his legacy to us all. I am grateful to him. Egbuna led my campaign when I was to be the president of Nigeria Guild of Editors.
The book reviewer, Mr Kunle Ajibade, Executive Editor of the News Magazine, said the book ‘A Destiny Fulfilled’ makes for a compelling read and had fascinating stories all through the chapters.
Ajibade noted that the memoir chronicles the times he was born and groomed, his experience during the civil war in which his dad who was a sergeant in the Nigerian army, had to relocate his family from Lagos to the south-east and the sad encounters afterwards.
It also chronicled his eventful journey in broadcasting having learnt under the tutelage of Dr Christopher Kolade, Victor Olufemi Adefela and others, to his golden years at VON and FRCN, climaxing to his retirement and lessons learnt.
“ Egbuna’s memoir documents the corporate history of broadcast journalism in Nigeria. Under Christopher Kolade, the editorial meetings were impactful. Victor Adefela, who was one of those who laid the foundation of his career advised him to always learn to explain his action and defend it. The memoir also documented how he was almost frustrated out of the broadcast house. In a twist of fate, he was made the 13th DG of the FRCN by the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Egbuna lived a simple life. He lived a contented life. His book is a gift to journalism and Nigeria,” said Ajibade.
The book presentation is a celebration of the professionalism of Ben Egbuna who was called Uncle Ben and later Oga Ben by those he worked with. According to Mr Demola Oyinlola who anchored the event, the book, A Destiny Fulfilled is a celebration of his values and epitomizes a mission accomplished.
The book, ‘A Destiny Fulfilled’ is made up of thirty-three chapters and three hundred and eighty-eight pages. The chapters is built into 5 segments and makes for interesting reading with the segments having titles such as SET-IN, CIVIL WAR, BROADCASTING, VOICE OF NIGERIA and BACK TO FRCN.
According to his wife, Mrs Betty Egbuna, it took him years and years to write the book. “He would have launched it earlier in 2019 when he celebrated his 70 years birthday. My husband touched so many lives. Ben is a good man, this is aside being his wife. I still speak about him in the present because I believe he is still with me. The book is all he had dreamt about. There are so many things he wanted to do, just like the book title, he fulfilled’ destiny. He is a great mentor to his children.
According to Mr Lanre Idowu, CEO of Diamond Publications, publisher of the book, he said, “Ben’s Memoir, A Destiny Fulfilled. details not only his exploits in the media, but provides useful nuggets in his socialisation and worldview. it is a study in the development of an individual and the institutions destiny took him through. The book provides 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.”
Among dignitaries that graced the occasion were Mr Lanre Ojo who was the chairman of the occasion; Mr Gbenga Adefaye, Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard Newspapers; Prince Bisi Olatilo of BISCON Communicatios; Kehinde Taiwo, former Director of FRCN, Gbenga Onayiga, Mary Atolagbe who represented Mr Mustapha Isah, president of the Nigeria Guild of Editors; Lawunmi Idowu, Funke Atohingbe, Taiwo Akere, Chuka Abadin from Chevron and children or Ben Egbuna among others.