To God Almighty be all the Glory as today marks the birthday of my mentor, friend, associate, brother, Mr Akanimo Sampson who have the rare privilege to teach me the rudiments of Journalism and the brand of Journalism that I practices today.
I could recall when I met this great man in 1987 at Calabar where he interviewed me in my capacity as the then University of Calabar Director of Sports and Football Team Manager, then he was the Correspondent of Champion Newspaper that was the beginning of the actualisation of my potentials in the Pen Business.
The circumstances that brought me before this sage was when we failed to defend the NFA/PEPSI Cola Tournament amongst Higher Institutions in Nigeria in 1987 which University of Calabar won in 1986 under my Leadership. This feat made the University to became the second Club from Cross Rivers State to have ever won a national championship.
We came back dejected from Ife after we were unable to defend the cup and this great man, a veteran Journalist and Activist who is known in some quarters as the Chief Priest met me and interviewed me in his position then as the Correspondent of Champion Newspapers and the next day the entire State was set on fire with the front-page caption, “Uneasy Calm in UNICAL as TM Eze explodes” Since then I became his disciple
We lost contact when I was sent for my National Youth Service to the defunct Gongola State in 1989 where I lived for over 20 years and by the time I was appointed the National Media Officer of the famous Turaki Vanguard in 2003, I showcased my lessons under the tutelage of this great man and the nation was blessed as my inputs to save the nation from the third term agenda of the then President was something the entire nation was happy with. My exploits in those days still stand out as my most memorable days in life as in one of the occasions President Obasanjo have to call for a Security Meeting on how to handle me.
When I came back to Rivers State in 2007 to project one of the shining stars from the State, Prince Tonye TJT Princewill, I met my Teacher once again and by the time Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi continued to read my reports from far away Ghana, he confided with his friend, Dr. Sampson Parker who later became the Health Commissioner under his regime, “that if this Eze actually resides in Port Harcourt and has continued to issue the type of press statements that comes out from him in a volitive environment as was the case then in Port Harcourt then he is the type of person including his Principal that we must work with if we succeed to reclaim our mantle”. This was the beginning of my relationship with the erstwhile Governor of Rivers State and incumbent Minster of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Dr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi till date.
Akanimo! God alone will bless you for what He used you to do in my life. As I join thousands of your other disciples to celebrate you this day, my only prayer is that God to keep you until we are in position to accord you your rightful place in our lives.
Happy Birthday the Chief Priest! Happy Birthday the Sage!! Happy Birthday the Great One!!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY and many happy returns.
Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
APC Chieftain & former National Publicity Secretary, nPDP