I spoke with Chief Bob Ogbuagu (fondly called Dee Bob by his admirers) late July, this year, after I heard that he took ill and was hospitalised. He told me that he had bounced back and was kicking. I was relieved that he was doing great again. He told me that he had followed my progress at my place of work, THISDAY. He said he was very impressed with my progress so far. I promised to visit him any time I was in Umuahia. I never knew that would be my last conversation with Dee Bob.
He was a father to me. He treated me as his own biological son.
My first ever personal encounter with him was when he was the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of Champion newspaper. The meeting was at his instance. That was few weeks before I completed my compulsory one year national service at The Guardian newspaper. The meeting which took place at his Ilasa office, along Oshodi/Mile 2 Expressway, was convivial. He wanted to know my plans after the NYSC. He didn’t mince words, he wanted to give me a job at Champion. But I told him that I had already secured a job with Daily Times. At this juncture, he read my mind and wished me well. When I wrote about late Michael Iheonukara Okpara, former Premier of Eastern Nigeria, he personally called to thank me for the article which was published in Daily Times. That singular action boosted my morale to do more for my fatherland, Nigeria. He never stopped calling me to find out how I was faring.
When I was appointed Chief Press Secretary to former governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Ahamefule Orji, now the senator representing Abia Central Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Dee Bob led a powerful delegation from my village, Umukabia, to Government House, Umuahia, to thank the then governor for appointing “his son” as one of his aides.
Dee Bob was always there for me. He understood the bureaucracy very well and he ensured I discharged my duties diligently.
After two years of working with Governor Orji, Dee Bob invited me to his country home in Umukabia, to sound me out. He told me he would make out time to meet with my boss to “find out his plans for me”. I told him that I had made up my mind to go back to THISDAY. Again, he wished me the very best in all my future endeavours.
Dee Bob ensured I followed my dream and he gave me all the necessary support for me to succeed. Apart from being endowed with wisdom, he had this superb native intelligence which he used very well throughout his life time. He was simple, courageous, truthful, punctual to meetings and above all, a good family man.
At a thanksgiving service to mark his 90th birthday anniversary in 2015, he displayed his dancing skills while singing this particular song: I’m bouncing in the Lord everyday. Dee Bob, who died at age 92 last month, bounced in the Lord till the last breath!