NDUKA OBAIGBENA AT 60

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On July 14, 2019 the founder, publisher and the Editor-in-Chief of this paper and the founder of Arise TV, Nduka Obaigbena turned 60. Suffice it to say that much had been said and written on this already. I have nothing to add, except that I would like to mention briefly that, like Prof. Obikili’s inaugural lecture, Obaigbena’s birthday celebration was well attended by the crème-de-la-crème and the plebeians as well.

Nduka Obaigbena has successfully extended his hands of friendship to different people on the strata of society. Therefore any social event that has his imprimatur is usually so well attended by both his friends and foes alike, including people on the far left, far right and at the centre. Obaigbena is fearless. He is unafraid of stepping where others had feared to step on. A foreigner friend, whom I have known for many years, narrated to me one incident that endeared him to the heart of Obaigbena.

One day, he said, Obaigbena commissioned Simon Kolawole to write a story relating to a certain state governor. Simon promptly carried out the assignment. But after reviewing the story, Obaigbena requested Simon to present the other side of it in order to give the story the necessary balance. Simon tried reaching the governor’s aide by phone but to no avail. He informed Obaigbena about his fruitless efforts to reach the aide. In response, Obaigbena said: “Then reach the Governor himself”. This speaks volume about Obaigbena’s personality and tenacity of purpose.

He does not accept No for an answer. He is unhindered by any storm or tempest. The word failure does not exist in his dictionary. Obaigbena is a big man, both in stature and in ideas. He walks big. He talks big. He dreams big. Small wonder this paper born in 1995 as the first free market and libertarian newspaper in Nigeria has continued to soar higher and higher. Indeed, Obaigbena’s remarkable personality and charisma has become a force to reckon with. For instance, Obaigbena recently pulled his weight and thus was able to bring the hitherto lingering feud between the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and AIT/Dr.Ray Dokpesi to an end.

As we continue to celebrate Obaigbena at 60, I would like to invite all of us to reflect on the above question posed by the Reggae Superstar Bob Marley, “Are you satisfied with the life you`re living?” Unexamined life, said Socrates, is not worth living. This is because tempus breve est (time is short). In fact one’s birthday should remind one of one’s death day. To ignore this is to ignore the most important aspect of your life.

It is not enough to merely exist: we must learn to live a useful life. Life is living for an ideal. Life is savouring the real meaning of human existence. Life is accumulating real treasures that would accompany one beyond the grave to the life hereafter. A person who strives to cultivate a mind that is only satisfied with subjective, partial and circumscribed truths may be seen to be having appetite for great things or making great progress but such a person is not properly nourished. Only truth satisfies and nourishes the human heart. Only truth paves the way for embracing broader horizons, for greater knowledge and greater happiness.