By C Don Adinuba
The Anambra State Government has expressed profound grief on the passing of the renowned broadcaster, Ben Egbuna.
Ben Egbuna had the distinction of being the first Anambra State personage to serve as a Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation (FRCN), with headquarters in Abuja.
Born as the first son of the family of Mr and Mrs Peter Nnaemeka Egbuna in Adagbe Avomimi Village, Enugwu-Ukwu in Njikoka Local Government Area on Anambra State on July 13, 1949, Ben Ndubuisi Egbuna died in the early hours of Saturday, January 30, 2021, aged 71.
The son of a committed police officer, the young Ben had a peripatetic early life which saw him educated in many towns across Nigeria following the frequent transfer of his father to Sapele, Warri, Enugu and Lagos.
This way, Ben began his primary education at St Anthony’s Primary School Enugwu Ukwu, Anambra State, in 1955 and completed it in Lagos in 1962.
He began his secondary school education in 1963 in Gaskiya College, Lagos but then changed to Iganmode Grammar School, Otta, before moving on to Lagos City College, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos.
It was in Lagos City College that his talent as skilful footballer was discovered. He also excelled in drawing, painting and woodcarving.
His secondary school education was temporarily disrupted in 1966 following the political upheavals in the country.
He perforce had to return to the Eastern Region and enrolled in the Biafran Army to fight in the Nigerian Civil War of 1967 to 1970.
He obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC) at the end of the war in St. Michael’s Secondary School Nimo, Anambra State.
Ben was at first employed as a Postal Assistant in the Post and Telecommunications Department of the Nigerian Postal Service in Lagos before becoming a broadcaster in 1973 as a News Assistant Trainee at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC).
Ben Egbuna was a much sought-after international broadcaster who travelled far and wide to countries such as Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Senegal, Namibia, the United Kingdom, the then West Germany, Canada, The Bahamas etc.
In the course of his broadcast journalism career, he rose through the ranks from a Newsreel Reporter to Principal Editor, to Head of Special Programmes Unit, to Head of the Reportorial Unit.
He was to bag a bachelor’s degree in Mass communication from the University of Lagos.
He was in 1990 transferred to Voice of Nigeria (VON). He was promoted to the post of Controller of News in 1991.
He became Manager News in 1992 and was promoted to Assistant Director News in 1995. In 1999 he became the Deputy Director of News and soon got promoted to the post of Head of the News Directorate.
In 2001 he participated in the Senior Executive Course 23 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Plateau State where he was awarded the coveted Member of the National Institute (mni).
He was appointed the pioneer Executive Director News of Voice of Nigeria in 2005.
The year 2006 became the crowning glory of his career as a broadcaster when he was appointed as the Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, the largest radio network in Africa, by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
He served as the President of the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB) from 2006 to 2008.
Ben Egbuna retired in 2008 after 35 years of meritorious service to his fatherland.
In retirement, he became fervently involved in the peace initiatives and grassroots development activities in his beloved hometown Enugwu Ukwu.
A devout Catholic, Ben Egbuna was married to Beatrice Uchenwa Egbuna for 40 years, and the marriage was blessed with four children and seven grandchildren.
Anambra State has indeed lost a pathfinder, an urbane and detribalised professional whose word was his bond.
He will be buried in Adagbe Avomimi, Enugwu Ukwu on Thursday, March 25, 2021. (MOI)
Mr C Don Adinuba, is current Anambra State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment