My Journey To “Award of Great Achievement”

By Odimegwu Onwumere

My people in Oyigbo, Rivers State, celebrated my journalism achievements. The date was May 6 2018. The venue was D’ Truth Lounge, Union Street.

The organizers of the event had taken me uninformed. It was a surprise to me. I was barely notified of the ceremonial five or thereabouts hours to the kick-off.

Mr. Casmir Ogaraku and Lady Geraldine Chukwu deemed it wise that they put up the event in service of my Pan African Re/insurance Award 2018, which I received in Namibia on April 9, 2018.

Ogaraku and Chukwu’s insight was that in a safe and sane environment, the government ought to have celebrated me, given that I won the overall of the awards across Africa, organized by Continental Reinsurance Plc. But since the government was yet to do so, they, my beloved ones had to celebrate me.

Anyways, according to a press release by Continental Re within the period of the awards titled “Winners of 2018 Pan African Re/Insurance Journalism Awards Announced”, it read, “Odimegwu Onwuwere, a journalist with Nigeria’s Africa Prime News has bagged the Pan African Journalist of the Year Award for the 2018 Pan African Re/Insurance Journalism Awards sponsored by Continental Reinsurance
.
“His winning article titled “Africa emerging new frontier in the reinsurance markets” investigates how foreign insurers that once rebuked Africa due to economic instability are now swarming for businesses on the continent because the sector is becoming alluring and dynamic due to unswerving GDP growth…”

Being the third edition of the journalism awards, “It received 61 entrants from 15 English and French speaking countries including: Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Namibia, Mauritius and Zambia for Anglophones; Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Senegal, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo for Francophones,” stated the release.

Conversely, at the celebration in Oyigbo, D’ Truth Lounge, Air Cas Service LTD, and Oya Industries LTD, gave me “Award of Great Achievement”. It is an honour that a prophet is recognized at home.

Before this time, friends and well-wishers had celebrated with me as the 2018 Pan African Re/insurance Award winner. Many media platforms like the revered ThisDay Newspapers gave my winning a wide coverage. The news was also awash online. Friends and well-wishers and my family members on social media escalated the news.

My experience in Swakopmund, (the place for the awards) this coastal city in Namibia, west of the capital, Windhoek, was a relish. Haboured in one of the best hotels in the country known as Strand, the sandy beaches around the hotel made my nearly one week stay in the city fascinating.

I was made to understand that Swakopmund faces the Atlantic Ocean. According to history, it was “Established by German colonialists in 1892, the city’s colonial landmarks include the Swakopmund Lighthouse and the Mole, an old sea wall. Next to the lighthouse, the Swakopmund Museum documents Namibian history. Inland, the elegant Swakopmund Railway Station, now a hotel, also dates to the colonial era.”

Desert takes a vast land of the city. There were calls for duty among the authorities. Hardly were there potholes on the roads. Their vehicles are not like Nigerians. Their vehicles are majorly German.

Namibia is about two hours from South Africa, and Nigeria to South Africa is about six hours. There was no direct flight from Nigeria to Namibia, occasioned by lack of Nigerian Carrier.

It was SA Express aircraft. And I took off from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), located in Lagos State. History says, “MMIA is the major airport serving the entire state. The airport was initially built during World War II and is named after Murtala Muhammed, the 4th military ruler of Nigeria.”

At this airport, those that checked my papers were beggarly. Officials that were supposed to mind their various posts begged. “Anything for me?” they begged.

This habit was not the same in South Africa where I first landed to connect another aircraft to Namibia after hours. In Namibia and South Africa, no officials at the immigration units begged for money. They concentrated on their work.

While the MMIA was overcrowded by officials and the environment oozed with putrefying smell, O. R. Tambo International Airport, South Africa, was well organized. History says, “It is a major international airport in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa, near the city of Johannesburg and, to a lesser extent, the executive capital Pretoria.” The same was applicable to the airport in Swakopmund.

Many experiences were gathered on my journey To “Award of Great Achievement.” I can’t thank Coss Williams enough for his advise at the earlier stage of my career. My parents and family have always been around.

I thank Elsie, Cess, Eniola of Continental Re, and Nike of The Punch Newspapers, Nigeria, who guided the way I travelled to Namibia. I thank my friends on social media who amplified my triumph. Ogaraku and Chukwu and Chukwudi Nlewem are not left behind. I thank all of you.

-Odimegwu Onwumere is a Media Consultant who has won many journalism awards; he is based in Rivers State, and can be reached via: apoet_25@yahoo.com

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My Arrogant Classmate

By Odimegwu Onwumere

I saw Onyekachi on May 13 2018, after eight years or thereabouts. The place was along Shell Location Road, Oyigbo, Rivers State.

{Odimegwu Onwumere winner Pan African Reinsurance Journalism Awards 2018}

Onyi, as he was fondly called, was my classmate in the secondary school. He was driving an expensive car, although a rickety one. I was riding my motorcycle.

Crossing a road bump, he was looking at me, but I was quick to recognise him and shouted, “Onyi!”, then veered the roadside in excitement and packed.

He packed his ‘expensive car’ just on the road, came down, with his shoulders very up, twisting himself like the peacock’s. I sensed his arrogance and hated him immediately with passion.

His style, for me, was odoriferous. I knew he was no body before the eight years he disappeared from Oyigbo. He was nobody even in our school days and is no body to me today, as far as I’m involved.

With his shoulders very high and with an aura downsizing me, I concluded that this guy was EMPTY. I had known that the greatest drum makes the greatest noise. I saw a very fat Onyi but an EMPTY person.

I bought in his downsizing of me and made him feel above life, above board.

Onyi asked from my family to some other things, just as a teacher would ask his pupil. I allowed him feel important while I remained the unimportant person, as his body language suggested the latter.

He mentioned a crème de la crème party in the town he was attending before we met. I allowed him express his foolery self.

Besides, he was not my mate, even though we were classmates. I’m about two or thereabouts years his elder. That apart. I went to pick my motorcycle from where I packed it, after the unpleasant pleasantries.

When I have done this, I watched Onyi twisting himself back to enter his ‘expensive car’ the same way he came down from it.

We greeted again and zoomed off. But while I was riding, I was looking for a statement to qualify Onyi. Luckily, I found solace in one of the quotes by John Calvin Maxwell, an American author, speaker, and pastor with many books, primarily focusing on leadership, to his credit.

John Calvin Maxwell says, “There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”

Sadly, Onyi had ‘Bad pride’!

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Odimegwu Onwumere Makes Finalist In West Africa Media Excellence Awards

By G.U Chukwu

At the maiden edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Awards held on Saturday night, October 28 2017, at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra, Ghana, your dogged and multiple award-winning journalist Odimegwu Onwumere emerged finalist with his article published in The Nigerian Voice, Nigeria.

Onwumere emerged finalist in the Anti-Corruption Reporting Category. According to a statement issued by a three member judges of the awards in the persons of Ms. Sophie Ly who is an experienced Senegalese journalist, media trainer and media development expert; Mr. Lanre Idowu who is an accomplished and highly respected Nigerian journalist, editor, author, publisher, media owner and trainer; and Ms. Elizabeth Ohene who is a veteran Ghanaian journalist, over 400 published stories that were sent in by journalists from 12 countries across West Africa, 15 journalists made the finalists from six categories.

Conversely, in the well competed awards, Jesusegun Alagbe of The Punch, Nigeria, won in the Anti-Corruption Reporting Category.  But Onwumere was elated that his name was not among those who entered for the awards but were not finalists, adding that having made a finalist showed that he is doing better in his chosen career than the poor leaders in Nigeria.

He added that objective journalism pays better than an oppressive government anywhere in the world, especially such that Nigerians have come to endure in the recent times in the name of democracy.

Onwumere said that objective journalism is hated by oppressive leaders but journalists inclined in objectivity in their reportages would stop at nothing to expose the highhandedness of the looting leaders and keep in touch with the different communities of their ill behaviours.

He, therefore, called on moneybags and the authorities to help journalism and journalists in this clime by pumping in money to sustain them. He, nonetheless, thanked those who have helped in one way or the other in making him the renowned journalist he has become today.

G.U Chukwu, Owerri.

October 30 2017.

Hard Times (poem)

By Odimegwu Onwumere

We face hard times in different ways:

They could be marital, job, health, educational,

relationship, monetary, spiritual challenges.

Just name them.

But the worst of all the challenges is

when a person or persons you had thought

would say “Hello, take it easy”

do/es not care.

It pains when you reach out to people

and not even a text message from them

comes to you.

They feel above the board and do not care.

Anyway, we will not give up no matter

the challenges and the downgrading habit

of those we have reached out to.

Their downsizing of us

is part of the hard times, part of the challenges

we must overcome.

Their crass behaviour helps in shaping us

to win against all odds.

The key is we must have confidence in ourselves

and work harder to break the jinx

of the hard times.

Hard times are part of life

and we cannot run away from them.

Yes, they pinch us; they make us to cry in our closet,

but we will never give up.

In all, we have to remain positive in such negative situations.

(c) Odimegwu Onwumere; Oct. 23 2017. +2348032552855)

{POEM} I killed My Neighbour Several Times In My Mind

By Odimegwu Onwumere

{Picture: Culled Online}

All through the night

Sleep eroded my eyes

Caused by the killing-abuse

Of a neighbour against me.

It was on Twenty-first of June

I nearly thought that killing was not forbidden

As I killed the neighbour several times in my heart.

The neighbour fumed from the head filled with marijuana;

My resentment heightened more than the eagle could go

Or more than the semen could go to form a foetus.

I thought of inviting the security agents;

I thought of dying or killing to defend my right

Even though I knew that nothing is worth dying or killing for.

The neighbour’s abuse was a war against my personality

Just as abortion is a war against the innocent child.

The neighbour was busy talking about its feelings

Not minding its feelings were killing me gradually.

That night, I killed the neighbour several times in my mind

Even though I woke up seeing the neighbour alive.

© *Odimegwu Onwumere*; June 26 2017.

Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Because S/he Is Married {POEM}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Because he is a married man
We leave him bereft of love.

Because she is a married woman
We leave her bereft of love.

We become selfish in the ways
We express and show love to each,
Even in the ways we accept love
Because traditions and cultures
Make us believe the taboo
Of showing love to the married.

The married man travels overseas
And courts as many spinsters as possible

While the wife at home
Becomes an outcast if she accepts love
From the men in her neighbourhood.

Love and time cannot be hidden
Only cultures and traditions
Tell us who we love, and the time to love,
Whereas in our hearts, we are battling with desire.

© Odimegwu Onwumere (May 18 2017).

Our Heart Of Love {POEM}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Okafor Franklin Ekene tells me on Facebook:
The eye can see love
But true love belongs to the heart.

Robert Green tells me in ‘Seduction’:
We are bisexual,

only cultures and traditions
checkmate our impulses.

We have seen many loves
we didn’t express
And do not forget.

Our hearts are a museum of love affairs
And only the heart knows where our love belongs.

We share similarities with each other
Yet yearning for great love our heart envisages.

© Odimegwu Onwumere (May 18 2017).