Tragedy struck the Egbuna Family in Adagbe Avomimi Village, Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State, in the early hours of Saturday, January 30, 2021. That was the day our father and mentor, the motivational speaker, foremost Enugwu-Ukwu patriot, social mobiliser, initiator and executor of worthy causes passed on. Since then, it was as if the entire world had collapsed on us and we were in total darkness. But given the fact that in his 71 years of life on earth he lived and exemplary Christian life and left for us noble legacies, we thank Almighty God for the worthy life he lived, as attested to by many friends, associates and colleagues. We are consoled by these messages of sympathy, condolence and support.
Mr. Ben Ndubisi Egbuna was born into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Nnaemeka Egbuna on July 13, 1949. He was the first son and had nine siblings, five brothers and four sisters. He started his educational pursuit at St. Anthony’s Primary School, Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra State, in 1955. As the son of a dedicated police officer whose expertise on the job was sought by every police command in the country to help combat crime and make the community a safe place, together with the entire family, young Ben Egbuna often moved from one city to another, changing schools as the journey went by. From Sapele to Warri to Enugu and finally to Lagos, where he completed his primary school education in 1962.
In 1963, he enrolled in Gaskiya College, Lagos, for his secondary school education but soon after changed to Iganmode Grammar School, Ota, and then to Lagos City College, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos State. In Lagos City College, he was quickly discovered to be very skillful on the football pitch and enrolled into the school football team. He also discovered and nurtured his artistic flare and gift in this school and proved to be very good at drawing, painting and wood carving.
However, in 1966 his secondary school education was halted as a result of the political situation in the country then, resulting in the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970. He returned to his roots in the Eastern Region of Nigeria where he enrolled in the Biafran Army and fought in the war, which lasted from July 6, 1967, to January 15, 1970. At the end of the war, he went on to complete his secondary school education at St. Michael’s Secondary School, Nimo, Anambra State, where he obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC).
After completing his secondary school education, Ben got employed as a postal assistant in the Post & Telecommunications Department of the Nigerian Postal Service in Lagos. Due to his commitment and diligence, he was immediately discovered by the postmaster of the General Post Office, Marina. He was sent for the Junior Postal Officer’s Course and soon began handling greater responsibilities at the parcel section and the general counter of the Ebute Metta Post Office.
In 1973, he began his beloved broadcast journalism career as a news assistant trainee at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. In the course of his career, he travelled far and wide around the world to get raw data from the field, not minding the challenges and dangers ahead. His passion for the job made him always chase after the truth. He literally covered the length and breadth of his home country, Nigeria, while performing his duties.
On the international scene, he journeyed through Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Senegal, Namibia to the United Kingdom, West Germany, Canada, The Bahamas, and, after every assignment, he was always praised for being “incisive, industrious and professional.” Within the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, which was under the umbrella of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, he rose through the ranks from a newsreel reporter to principal editor, to head of special programmes unit and then to head of the reportorial unit.
In between his broadcasting career, he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in mass communication by the University of Lagos in 1984.
In 1990, he was transferred to Voice of Nigeria (still under the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation) and in 1991 he assumed the post of the controller, news. He later elevated to manager, news in 1992. In 1995, he was promoted to assistant director, news, and, in 1999 he became the deputy director of news.
He got promoted to the head of the news directorate and soon rose to the position of the executive director, news, of Voice of Nigeria, in 2005, a position he pioneered at the corporation.
Mr. Egbuna returned to the cradle of his broadcasting career when he was appointed as the director-general of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, the largest radio network in Africa, in 2006.
After an eventful, intriguing, groundbreaking and memorable 35 years of public service to his beloved country, Mr. Egbuna retired in 2008 as a well-decorated, accomplished broadcast genius, leaving behind a trail of major achievements, milestones and a spotless record to his name.
Mr. Egbuna was very committed to his professional development. In 2001, he participated in the Senior Executive Course 23 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Plateau State, where he was awarded the prestigious Member of the National Institute, aka MNI. In 2003, he was made a Fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and was also a member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.
Mr. Egbuna was a member of the Central Working Committee of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, as well as the president of the African Union of Broadcasting, from 2006 to 2008.
He was fully involved in grassroots development activities in his hometown, Enugwu-Ukwu. He was a patron of the Enugwu-Ukwu Community Development Union (ECDU), secretary, ECDU Peace Committee, and a pioneer member of Enugwu-Ukwu Forum, Lagos. He was also a member of the Abomimi Community Development Union. He was the chairman of the electoral panel that organised the election of the Jude Ekwunife-led executive of the ECDU in 2009. It was this executive that organised the peaceful process that led to the election of His Majesty, Igwe Ralph Obumneme Ekpeh, Eze Enugwu-Ukwu na Igwe Umunri and ascension to the throne in 2011.
He was a member of the building committee of St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, Yaba, Lagos, between 1993 and 1997 and member of the building committee of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Iwaya, Lagos, between 2005 and 2006.
Mr. Egbuna and three other parishioners championed the building of the priest’s house for St. Ben’s Catholic Church, Adagbe Avomimi, Enugwu-Ukwu. The building of the parish priest’s house led to the attainment of a parish status for St. Ben’s Catholic Church. He was also a proud member of the Catholic Men’s Organization in St. Domnics, St. Stephen and St. Ben’s parishes.
On April 7, 1980, Mr. Egbuna got married and, as of the time of his death, he had been married to his beloved wife, Beatrice Uchenwa Egbuna, for 40 years. Their marriage was blessed with four children, Chukwuemeka Uchendu Egbuna, Chiedozie Jideofor Egbuna, Chinelo Maudlyn Abajuo and Chukwuka Maduabuchi Egbuna. He was also blessed with seven grandchildren.
From the galore of tributes in memory of our dear father sent to us by many eminent Nigerians, we are satisfied that Mr. Ben Egbuna, mni, left indelible footprints in the sands of time.
A service of songs was held in his honour at The Church of Transfiguration, VGC, Lagos, on March 16, 2021, with requiem mass at the same church on March 18, 2021. Christian wake would be held for him on March 24, 2021, at his residence in Enugwu-Ukwu, while his remains would be laid to rest on Thursday, March 25, 2021, after funeral mass at St. Ben’s Catholic Church, Adagbe Avomimi, Enugwu-Ukwu.
Ben Egbuna, mni, it is well with your soul.
Fare thee well Nnanyelugo.
•Chukwuemeka Uchendu Egbuna