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- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
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- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
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- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
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Osaigbovo: Exit of an Icon
SINCE the demise of Nosa Osaigbovo on the May 3, 2012, a lot has been said, written and expressed by way of tributes, encomiums and eulogies about this erudite journalist, amiable character and one of the finest writers of our time.
In deed, no amount of tribute or encomium is sufficient to describe this highly intellectual and resourceful journalist, who came, saw and conquered. Yes, words cannot be sufficient because of what Nosa meant to the development of journalism and to us who we his friends and colleagues. And so, those of us left behind to mourn Nosa, must bear one fact in mind, and that is, God will continue to harvest us one by one until when we will all meet at His feet.
No wonder, that renowned poet, Dr John Donne, who wrote more than any other poet on death said in one of his poems, “Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and, therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
In retrospect, Nosa and I met for the first time in the early 80s as staff of the defunct Sketch Newspapers. He had migrated from the Daily Times, where incidentally I also cut my professional teeth some years back. Nosa, was on the Features Desk, while I was on the Sports Desk with the likes of Olu Akindele, Bode Fijabi, Bola Ijandipe, Adegbemi Adesina, Olu Akerele and Yemi Fetuga of Lagos office.
Others who are now deceased are Samson Adeoti, Folu Oke and Kayode Ojo, who was our sports editor.
Nosa and I immediately became friends, as he would leave the features desk, which was the next room, to chat with me while I was always visiting him on the Features Desk, discussing professional issues. He was always excited about my exclusive stories on sports, politics and entertainments. It was not long when we discovered that Nosa was not just a star, but a shinning one for that matter.
When I left Sketch for Radio Nigeria, also located at Oba Adebimpe road, it made little or no difference as we exchanged visits regularly. Whenever I read any piece written by Nosa, I always admired such, and praised him for the gift of writing. In the early 90s, when I was posted to the old Ondo State as correspondent of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, the transfer, rather than breaking our relationship, made it stronger, as many journalists who were interested in writing for Sketch gave me articles for onward transmission to Nosa in Ibadan.
Nosa was encouraging them by publishing their contributions, a development which made some of them to contribute gift items to appreciate his gesture. Although I had told them that Nosa would not accept any gift from anybody, yet they insisted that that was the only way they could reward his assistance to their writing skills.
The gift items were brought to Ibadan and as predicted Nosa rejected the items and he simply said, Steve, as he used to call me, do these people think I am doing this because of material gifts? Tell them to keep their gifts and continue to write brilliant articles that would attract more readership for Sketch.”
That was Nosa Osaigbovo for you. This was a man who would never take any material gift for doing what he knew best.
In 1994, when Sketch was celebrating its 30th anniversary, Nosa called me and said Steve, as an alumnus, wouldn’t you write about (your sweet experiences during your years of service? I said I would and I gave him a piece which was published on a full page with my picture on the 30th of December 1994.
Again, in 2003 I was posted to Ado-Ekiti to set up the News and Current Affairs Department of the newly established Radio Nigeria Progress F.M 100.5 Ado-Ekiti as the pioneer head of News, I did not lose contact with Nosa as he also joined the Nigerian Tribune as a columnist.
I was always appreciating his contributions each time I read his piece.
When in 2007 I retired voluntarily from the services of Radio Nigeria as Acting General Manager, one of the first persons I contacted was Nosa, who wished me well and advised me to use my wealth of experience in mentoring the new entrants into the profession.
The fact here is that there are only two extremes in journalism. It is either one is good or bad, there is no middle course. It is a profession that cannot be practised by proxy. For Osaigbovo, he had fought a good fight, he had finished the race, and there awaits him a crown of righteousness. For in all our over three decades of friendship, I never, on one single occasion, saw Nosa angry or fight with anybody. He chose the most honourable and respected path which include honesty, integrity, hard work and godliness.
The lesson here for our up coming journalists is that it pays to pursue honesty and integrity rather than emergency wealth. Some of our present day journalists live as if there is no tomorrow, or that there is nothing like death. But Samuel Buttler wrote this piece for those who care to read it “To himself every one is an immortal, he may know that he is going to die but he can never know that he is dead.” No doubt, Nosa is greatly missed, not only by friends, colleagues and relations, but by the millions of readers who read and respond to his highly intellectual inventions.
While we console ourselves with the assurance that one day we shall meet to part no more. The piece from Thomas Grey’s Elergy written in a country churchyard wraps everything up. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, the lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lee, the plowman homeward plods his wary way, and leaves the world to darkness and to me.
May Nosa’s gentle soul continue to rest in the bosom of his Lord. AMEN.
Akinwale can be reached on akinwalestephenatyahoo.comShare