The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Governors of Enugu, Bayelsa and Imo States, Ifeanyi Ugwanyi, Henry Seriake Dickson and Emeka Ihedioha respectively, yesterday, joined Nigerians from all walks of life for the unveiling of the book entitled “The Powers that Be: Thoughts and Reflections on People, Power and Politics” authored by the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief of The Sun Newspapers, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh.
The book launch also witnessed the presence of the Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, who chaired the occasion; the Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 presidential election and former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi; the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by the Acting Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Press Council, Victor Egharevba, and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
Also in attendance were the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, the Senator Representing Enugu East, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, the Chairman of AMCON, Mr Muiz Banire, the Chairman of the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), Engr Buba Galadinma, amongst others.
In his remarks, Gbajabiamila noted that the efforts of patriotic journalists assisted in no small measure towards the return of the country to the civil rule about 20 years ago after several years of military rule.
Gbajabiamila who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon Benjamin Kalu, said during the inglorious days of the military, the nation, like other developing nations, had to grapple with defining political and socioeconomic events which were inevitable on the nation’s path to peace and prosperity.
“This is why the observers of these events, who pinned them together, must be celebrated as historians because events filled history and history is always there for the coming generations to learn from, to avoid the mistakes of the past and improve on our achievements for the future,” Gbajabiamila said.
Gbajabiamila further said Ukeh has played his role, adding that if events documented for over two decades of the nation’s democracy covering four Presidents and six Governments do not qualify as a history book, what else can be so qualified.
“What we have here today is a bird’s eye view of the author on critical events of the last two decades. A quick glance through this book truly reflects his thoughts about our people, our nation, politics, and real issues harvested from raw events at the time they were happening,” Gbajabiamila also said.
The Speaker added that the fact that Ukeh was not thinking of compiling the book while he was penning the contents made the book a sincere inspiration of his thoughts on national issues devoid of the colouring of prioritization, but fuelled by his desire to contribute on important issues and fearlessly so.
“For this, I sincerely commend you. The 9th House of Representatives under my leadership sees the media as more than a mere source of news, but as an instrument of unity, peace and national development,” the Speaker stated.
Speaking earlier, Onu said through his writings, Ukeh has done so much for the country, even as he said Ukeh was not just an author, but a unique author who has spent time to lead the country into his thoughts about the country.
Onu further said he was overjoyed by the unveiling of the book, adding that the day was a very important day for him as the nation was celebrating excellence, the best that the country can get from her people. “This author is a unique author. He is not just a journalist, but he is also an intelligent journalist. The Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the Sun Newspapers, Mr Onuoha Ukeh, has spent time to lead us into his thoughts about our country,” Onu said.
Onu further assured Ukeh that his writings are taken seriously by very many people from the reading public, including feature articles and columns written by very distinguished journalists in the country.
“Because we are all interested in making Nigeria a truly great nation and we know that it is ideas that rule the world.
“So, those of us who are in government will go to any extent to look for the best ideas that can help us to do the very best for our nation,” Onu also said.
Onu also said Ukeh’a efforts were highly commendable for making out time from his tight schedule to put the book together, even as he said the scholarly work will be read by so many people, including students of mass communication and journalism.
Also speaking, Dickson said as someone who had always encouraged the author to document his thoughts, he regretted not present at the event due to exigencies.
Dickson who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Hon Francis Agbo, also said Onuoha, a political prophet, has done well by putting his thoughts into a book.
“He has asked me to congratulate the media and to also thank Onuoha for all the good works he has been doing for this country and that all of us should follow that footstep and ensure we work very hard and hold the government to account,” Agbo said.
For Governor Ihedioha, Ukeh is an engine room who delivered on any task assigned to him. Ihedioha who was represented by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Steve Osuji, said: “He is someone you will consider as an engine room. Any task you put him at, be sure that that task will be done.”
Also speaking, Nnamani said from the outcome of the event, it was evident that things have fallen apart and the centre could no longer hold. He recalled that 20 years ago when he ventured into politics, a good number of the journalists present at the occasion were with the people, alleging that they had moved overtime to join the bourgeoisie, the oppressors.
Nnamani, however, said as the country goes through contentious times; it was expected of the upgraded media leaders to remember their responsibilities to the society.
According to Nnamani, “As our country goes through contentious times, that we expect these new bourgeois class to remember their responsibilities to society and defend the poor and reverse the current trend of hypocrisy pervading the land because indeed, things have fallen apart.” On his part, Runsewe said the book was an inspirational piece that showed happenings in the society, saying it will throw open, a new chapter of discussion in the nation’s political space that power is transient.
Runsewe said: “The Powers That Be is an inspirational book that mirrors what is happening in our environment. I see it as one book that will open up a new chapter of discussion in this country.
“It will help people to see that power is transient. That if you have power, it is for the good of the people. Not something for you to hold strong for yourself.
“I believe very strongly that it will be reawakening our consciousness in our struggle for power. I commend the author. I see this book as one that will help our political environment. Power is not anything permanent, but what you get to help the people.”
Speaking with Daily Sun, the President of ITEM Union, Abuja, Hon Joseph Chukwu, eulogised the author, declaring that Ukeh is a very articulate man.
“He is a man we are proud of and he is a man Nigeria already knows about. He is an articulate man, a man who is very articulate in his dealings,” Chukwu said.
In his welcome remarks, Ukeh said the book was written over the years, saying it is a book that talked about people, politics and power.
Ukeh said: “Someone looked at the title of the book and exclaimed: “The Powers That Be!” He asked if I really had the nerve or temerity to talk about the “Powers that Be.” I was not surprised by his reaction. When we hear “The Powers that Be,” the general impression is that we are talking only about those in government and corridors of power, who make things happen. Some people would say we are talking about that “Secret Political Clique” or what we like to call the cabal in government.
“Yes, “The Powers that Be” are people in government, who command influence and power, those whose actions and inactions make or mar the nation or society.
However, “the Powers that Be” are much more than that. We are all “The Powers that Be.” Whether you are the President, Governor, Minister, Commissioner, Political Party Chairman, Permanent Secretary, Lawmaker, Vice-Chancellor, Ambassador, Journalist, Lecturer, Managing Director, Civil Servant, Judge, Husband or Housewife, we are all “The Powers that Be.” Whether we consider ourselves among the top class or the dregs of the society, as long as our decisions and actions have an effect on others or influence the society in one way or another, we are “The Powers that Be.”
Therefore, we should mind what we do, as our actions have consequences.”
Ukeh further said the book is about Nigerians as a people, adding that it was his views on things that happened in the country and elsewhere.
“As a journalist and columnist, I express my opinion on issues without let and hindrance. My positions may be popular, they may not be popular. Whether popular or not, I write to provoke thoughts, action and reactions.
“My experience as a journalist and columnist has taught me that Nigerian journalists and columnists are patriots. They do much for a nation and people do not appreciate them.
They daily offer free consultancy in their analyses and views, which are beneficial to those who use them without paying consultancy fee.
While people hire consultants to advise them on things and issues, journalists and columnists, in their articles and insights, give advice daily, free of charge. Ironically, journalists/columnists’ views are not taken seriously most times by those who ought to.
“I am persuaded to tell those in government who may want honest advice on any burning issue this: Take time out to personally read columns or articles in newspapers. In doing so, they will get different perspectives on the subject matter and would, therefore, have a better understanding, which would help them to find a solution to problems.
It may sound simplistic, but it is true. Columns are products of deep thinking, research and intellectualism. Being free agents, columnists are dispassionate in their writings and call a spade a spade. Columnists daily offer solution to our problems.
“Sometimes, when I read some of my previous articles and those by other columnists, with the insights and perspectives therein, and I remember that those who should have tapped from the offerings heeded no advice, I tell myself: If only they knew. In one of my articles published in November 2013 entitled “PDP, watch out, APC is coming,” which is in this book, I warned the once biggest political party in the country, the PDP, about the consequences of some of its actions. That was way ahead of the 2015 elections. The PDP leadership then did not give a damn. Looking back, perhaps, the PDP may say: “had we known?” Ukeh also said. News Express
Pix: The book, ‘Powers that be.’