On Saturday June 1st 2013 my Oga in the literally world, my mentor and teacher Chief Pini Jason will be buried in Obizi, Mbaise Imo State, Nigeria. He died at the age of 65. Just last week on May 23 2013 in Ogidi, Anambra State, Prof Chinua Achebe, an internationally acclaimed author and one of Africa’s great writers joined the saints triumphant. For Igbo nation and Nigeria to lose such great men of letters almost the same time is something that is difficult to comprehend. To lose two of such great scholars and masters of subtlety in one fell swoop at this critical point in the nation’s history is just too much for Ndigbo. These two men were great intellectuals who spoke truth to power no matter whose ox is gored. They were two great men, who understood the duties of the intellectuals at a time like this and consequently did justice to truth. A big vacuum has been created in Igbo land and Nigeria and I do not know how we can fill it. Chief Pini Jason, Onunaekwuruoha (voice of the voiceless) was one of the great writers in Nigeria who taught me how to write. Even though I had interests in the business of writing in my Secondary School days, my love for science subjects led me to study Mechanical Engineering. And even as I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Nigeria, the General Studies (GS) still brought me close to humanity and Social Sciences. In 1983, I started picking interest in Newspapers and Magazines.
When I left the university my interest in these periodicals grew like wildfire. I then developed great interest in Nigeria’s great writers like, Chief Pini Jason, the late Dele Giwa, Dan Agbese, the late Chris Okorie, Ray Ekpu, Yakubu Mohammed, the late Chief Bola Ige (in Sunday Tribune) Edwin Mbadinagu, Duro Onabule, Dele Omotunde, Dare Babarinsa, Dr Shobowale, Prof Akin Osuntokun, Layi Olorude, Prof Lamikanra etc. These men taught me how to develop skills and styles in the literally world. First I started contributing letters to the Editors and from there I moved on. In 1995 I wrote my first book, Igbos: 25 years After Biafra. Incidentally, my mentor, my teacher Chief Pini Jason was the Reviewer of that 115 page book. His deep knowledge and the professional manner he put to bear at once catapulted the book and me to the point of public recognition.
Since then I have not looked back.
The search for a new Nigeria where social justice, equity and fairplay will prevail had in the past put both of us together in various committees and this great man, and rib cracker never disappointed anybody. He had the gift of the garb, he was eloquent, fearless, versatile, consummate analyst, historian and yet humble. Chief Sam Amuka, the publisher of the Vanguard Newspaper which Pini Jason enriched with his numerous writings for 10 years had this to say of the man of letters in the years of the locust: “for over ten years, weekly, in Vanguard Pini Jason has spoken out forcefully and beautifully, what many Nigerians thought of privately and have been afraid even to whisper to their friends, for fear of their safety especially in these times when some outspoken persons have died in their bedrooms and on the streets”
As a Hero of Democracy I had this to say about Chief Pini Jason in my second book Heroes of Democracy published in 1999: “Chief Pini Jason (Onunaekwuruoha), is a prolific, consistent and committed writer, an author, thinker, leader, publisher, a renowned and widely travelled international journalist, and of the most powerful and popular voices in Nigerian journalism, Chief Pini Jason is detribalized Nigerian, the voice of the voiceless, one of the most consistent critics of military dictatorship in Nigeria, defender of the defenseless, a man of letters and strong believer in social justice and rule of law. Like Voltaire and Rousseau, Chief Pini Jason believes that society can be changed through writings and publications. For 10 years Pini Jason contributed over 140 compelling and readable essays high-lighting Nigeria’s political, economic and social travails and triumphs every Friday in the Vanguard Newspaper. On March 31 1998, Pini Jason put all his tremendous works in various magazines and newspaper in one book, A FAMILIAR ROAD, a 400-page document that tells it all in a beautiful prose. In the prodigious book, Chief Pini Jason wrote 14 essays on the leadership question in Nigeria, 16 essays on Nigeria’s National Question, 36 on the military’s endless transition, 13 on the beauty and pains of journalism, and 14 on the economy”
I am shedding tears for these great writers, Prof. Chinua Achebe and Chief Pini Jason because replacements will be too hard to find in this present stage and age. Our brightest and bests are going home to rest with no replacement in sight. This is the tragedy of our times. May the souls of those who died for freedom, peace and defended those who could not defend themselves rest in perfect peace with the Lord. May God Almighty grant the widow Chief (Mrs) Priscilla Onyegbadue, Amamdi and other siblings the fortitude to bear the great loss.
Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.