Emeka Obasi left footprints saying ‘A giant has passed’
By Tony Icheku
Prince Emeka Obasi was a dreamer who saw visions and translated them into physical realities. Intellectually, he stood taller than his peers. He was a giant and would not cower for lesser mortals. He saw the world as a land where everyone must conquer and own their own little space. He conquered his own and held on.
Prince Emeka tells the true Nigerian story of rising from the grass by grace and entering the palace. He was a man of ideas and an excellent writer. He read voraciously and was a leader who led from the front.
His demeanor was that of a soldier: stern, unsmiling, it was a facade. “Prince Emeka Obasi was serious, committed to all the causes that interested him – very focused. He had a great sense of humor and was sociable,” says Mr. Silas Udo, a journalist and fellow student at the University. from Calabar.
“We worked on so many projects, and you were a fantastic boss and a perfect gentleman,” Iyabo Adeline Lawanni wrote in a tribute.
Attracted by the glitz, glamor and influence of journalism, Emeka, after serving as a Youth Corper at the late May-Ellen Ezekiel’s Classic magazine, aspired to play high stakes in journalism.
Its first offering, the Hallmark newspaper, which started as a weekly, attracted virtually who’s who in the Lagos newspaper arena at the time and Mr. Igbonekwu Ogazimorah, who later served as the Commissioner of Enugu State Information, was its pioneer editor.
Hallmark, a newspaper of general interest in the newspaper industry, was like a ship competing for space on the high seas with ocean liners. Emeka kept her thinking hat on and Hallmark’s much later collapse brought National Mirror to the fore.
National Mirror was a big hit and attracted the interest of the new rich, Jimoh Ibrahim, who bought it out.
Prince Emeka, endlessly tinkering with ideas, always analytical, resurrected Hallmark as Business Hallmark – a niche he had always been at home in…
Beyond writing newspapers, Emeka was the brains of the Awolowo Foundation, he was at heart an Awoist although he never strayed into partisan politics.
Expelled from the Awolowo Foundation, he founded the Public Policy Research and Analysis Center, PPRAC, which annually awards the Zik Leadership Prize to deserving individuals.
He also served as Information and Strategy Commissioner in his home state of Abia under Governor Orji Uzor Kalu.
His biography, “Saved for His Praise”, focused on the disease he fought and overcame.
Prince Emeka is survived by his beloved wife, Dr (Mrs) Betty Obasi. Emeka. Junior, Onyedikachi, Kamsi and Miracle.
Goodbye my Prince of Niger, South! You were a beautiful soul. Goodbye Ezenwata from the ancient kingdom of Ibeku. Rest in peace. Rest brother.