–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Patrick OCHEI:
The veteran journalist and Chairman, Board of Delta Broadcasting Service, DBS Asaba, Comrade Felix Ofou has been showered with encomiums by friends and staff of DBS to celebrate his birthday.
The man, Ofou, born on the 3rd of March, was fantastically celebrated at the Boardroom of the Television Station by the staff who were enthusiastic about the man known by all as a thoroughbred professional journalist and jolly good fellow.
Giving a Goodwill message as Ofou cut the cake, the General Manager of DBS, Lady Evelyn Binitie eulogized the Chairman who had brought enormous innovations into DBS since his assumption of office.
She described the Chairman as a leader who had brought renewed vigour towards moving DBS to greater pedestal. Maintaining that the Chairman was a blessing at this moment when professional transformation was earnestly desired, Binitie affirmed that together, the whole DBS family would march into greater heights with the goal getter chairman.
Meanwhile, Felix Ofou’s old time friend and trusted Senior Special Assistant to Governor James Ibori, Executive Assistant and State Director of Protocol and and former Governorship hopeful under Uduaghan, Mr. Paul Owumi ran an emotional commentary on the person of Felix Ofou.
He said Ofou was his backbone when he was appointed Executive Assistant on Foreign Relations, helping him to promote his activities in the media at no cost.
Owumi, now Chief of Protocol to Ibori, affirmed that the relationship was so strong that when Ofou was involved in an accident, he was the only one allowed into the ICU and theatre to be with him.
The politician turned pastor, however, implored all present to pray for Comrade Ofou to be guided henceforth by wisdom, stating that a prayer for a friend is a straight way answer from God.
At the end of the prayers, another friend of Ofou, Chief Zanders this time decided to speak on what he termed the ugly side of Felix Ofou.
He claimed he knew Ofou as a Punch correspondent over 24 years, then he too was with the National Orientation Agency. He posited that Ofou was so stubborn and radical as a journalist that the military was always looking for him over one damaging report or the other on Government.
Zanders said while he was always promoting the good image of Government, his friend, Ofou was busy attacking Government; but when the bubble would burst, he was always the one giving him cover as a friend.
Moreover, Zanders concluded by saying that no matter how stubborn, carefree and enjoyment freak Ofou could be, he never joked with his profession. “He loved journalism profession with passion”, he said.
Of course, the celebration in Ofou’s office was partly staged by members of the Media Think Tank that projected Governor Okowa’s reelection, which Ofou was a prominent member. The group members took turn to speak on the sterling qualities of the jolly good fellow veteran journalist.
Mr. Pius Mordi, SA (Politics) to the Governor, described Felix Ofou as easy going, carefree, and one that doesn’t bother on anything but his profession.
The media guru revealed that Ofou was the last Chairman of the Punch Chapel of the NUJ, where the Punch Newspapers had to proscribe unionism in the organization due to the way Ofou was fighting for the rights and welfare of journalists.
Mordi testified that Ofou resigned his appointment with the Punch as a result of that, and that had marked the end of unionism in the Punch ever since.
He therefore admonished the DBS staff to cooperate and support their chairman, warning that he would never condone indolence. He said that even though Ofou loves life and enjoyment, he had never taken half measures in professional practice and he would not take it even in DBS.
Another highbrow journalist and member of the Think Tank, Comrade Norbert Chiazor succinctly described Ofou as a product of grace.
The SA Media to the Governor said every human enjoys amazing grace every now and then, but that Ofou’s story was one of extraordinary grace where God has to declare that He had not finished with his case on Earth.
Chiazor narrated the accident that almost took the life of Ofou, maintaining that until God says it is over it is never over. He confirmed that Ofou was one journalist who had succeeded successive administrations in the State as a political appointee right from Chief Ibori to Dr. Uduaghan and now Senator Okowa.
According to the man known as The Strategist in NUJ parlance, “Felix Ofou is one of the most iconic journalists in the South-South of Nigeria. I draw inspiration from him; he is a man that can turn the earth upside down with his pen.
“One of the greatest challenges of journalism today is that there are willing mentors but impatient mentees. We can never have the likes of Ofou again, except the younger ones are ready and eager to tap from his fountain of knowledge”, Chiazor revealed.
Taking his turn from the list of Think Tank members, the then Deputy Director, Media and Publicity of Governor Okowa’s reelection campaign organization and currently, SSA to the Governor on Communication and Orientation, Prince Obaro Unuafe took time to tell the story of the Think Tank. He said he had known Ofou before, but when he saw him again during the composition of the Think Tank, he knew he was bound to succeed with the task under his purview.
Obaro ascribed Ofou as a unique human, lucidly maintaining that he was not a brown envelope journalist. He said Ofou usually was the one that would shun inducement in the course of doing his professional job, confirming that it was this rare trait that brought both of them together.
He further admonished him never to ever change in his ways of doing good, especially in his journalism field of endeavour.
Fred Akpewe is also a thoroughbred journalist who functioned as the Secretary of the Think Tank. He revealed how Ofou rediscovered him, especially in using his voice as an advantage in broadcasting.
Akpewe averred that the appointment of Ofou as Board Chairman of DBS Asaba, was not an appointment for one of the boys.
He further described Ofou as a slave driver, maintaining that he has the capacity to recognise one’s talent before one knows it.
However, as the only female member of the Think Tank group, Vida Modelo said she only knew Ofou just two years ago but it’s like 20 years.
She affirmed that Ofou is a father to her, saying “He made me realised my dream. I told him my story, how I was trafficked as a girl and had remained bitter about the experience since my miraculous return. He encouraged me to tell my story with a smile and this informed my mission statement, ‘Telling my story with a smile’.
“Today, I have set up my office to tell my story, mentor people, enlighten potential victims of trafficking and fight human trafficking with the right strategies. Today, I am happy, because you made it possible. Thank you for this encouragement sir”, Vida submitted emotionally.
It was a huge celebration in DBS, after which, there was party after party, where the party continued with grass cutter pepper soup and palm-wine at Okpanam road.