Home OPINION COLUMNISTS Augustine Madu-West, A Journalist Who Lived For 20 Extra Years By Yusuf...

Augustine Madu-West, A Journalist Who Lived For 20 Extra Years By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

Augustine Madu-West
Augustine Madu-West

One of the many things the creatures of God have not understood and which would remain a mystery till the end of time is death.
The mystery of death is ensconced in its unpredictability. Sometimes, when you think that death has come knocking on the door, by human calculation, it would not come. At other time, when you think that death has no cause to strike, based also on the calculation of mortal, it descends.
The mystery of death played out yesterday on a long time friend and professional colleague of mine, Augustine Madu-West, fondly called Ogbefi by us.
Ogbefi, who was in practice as journalist/reporter for over 31 years, died in the early hours of Thursday after a brief illness at the age of 53.
According to his wife, Patricia, Madu-West died at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday. She said: “We were discussing in the Parlour and at a point, he quietly complained of a slight pain in his chest. Within a space of 10 minutes, he passed on.”
Ogbefi, a native of Nazi, Owerri in Imo state had had a running battle with death since 1993 when he was downed with diabetes and had been ridden since then with High Blood Pressure too.
When he came under heavy attack of diabetes in 1993, people thought he would die, because, the sight of him then was very frightening.
In that year, diabetes reduced his bulky size to mere skeleton, and how he managed to come out of that condition and regained all that he lost in his physical outlook was one of the wonders of God.
Of course, I have not been in Kano in the past 12 years to reconnect with him, but those who were closed to him confirmed that Ogbefi bubbled with good health and life for the better part of the period between 1993 and a few days before he died on Thursday morning.
Ogbefi, though a consummate editorial man, also established a flourishing media consultant, called The West-End.
Described and, in deed known as a socialite and groomed professional,
Madu-West was also Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Kano state chapter, and at one time, Deputy Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Kano chapter.
There was one thing that was peculiar about Ogbefi, and that was his love for Kano state. Even though he hailed from Imo state, Ogbefi had come to love Kano so much that when Punch newspaper, which he worked for as its Kano state editor deployed him to Lagos on promotion as Assistant Editor, he resigned his appointment and joined the newspaper organization that asked him to remain in Kano, in the same capacity.
Ogbefi, in his hay days, was a personification of investigative journalism, and was endowed with courage to publish news items that ordinarily would put him in trouble with men and women in power.
As a matter of fact, it is unimaginable for an Igbo man to remain in Kano for almost all his professional life and touching virtually every powerful people in the land. And to remain without the fear of being killed. Especially, a city that breeds a lot of ‘yandaba,’ ‘yantauri’ and ‘yan dauka amarya.’
Ogbefi, a keen in active unionism, was one of my backbones when I was chairman of Kano state Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists between 1987 and 1991.
He died while still in active service with National Mirror and left behind a son, wife, three daughters and two grand-children.
In a condolence message, Kano state Government through the office of the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje, described the late Madu-West as a peace-loving man and detribalized Nigerian.
“We receive the news of the death of Augustine Madu-West, Bureau Chief of National Mirror with a great shock. He is a friend to Kano state government and has done a lot through his profession to promote the ideology and principles of Governor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso’s administration.
“We will miss him and we send our sincere condolence to members of his family and the leadership of Nigeria Union of Journalists,” Alhaji Salihu Bala, Director of Press to the Kano state Deputy Governor said in a statement.
An elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai who granted an interview to Madu-West a day to his death, Wednesday evening, described his death as a great shock and huge loss to journalism in Nigeria.
“I feel sad over this tragic news. I was with him in my house on Wednesday when we had a brief chat. He was healthy and did not complain about anything. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace,” Yakasai said.
The President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Mohammed Garba, described Madu-West’s death as a big blow to the journalism profession.
“He is a professional to the core, a fearless journalist. He is peace-loving and has groomed many journalists. He is a bridge builder and a detribalized Nigerian. May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace,” Garba stated.
On my own, while comforting the dearest ones he left behind, one would have to admit that for Augustine Madu-West (Ogbefi), it was a life well lived. For, as it is said, it is not how long one lives but how well.
It is even better sometimes for one to live well than long. And, in any case, how long can one live to be satisfied with lfe?

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