By Idris Katib
As I browsed the Internet late Sunday afternoon, I saw the news. I whistled like a singing bird from my room. The sound of my whistle pierced through the living room to my wife who rushed out of her room to enquire what was amiss. I would hardly do that except something miraculous or extremely saddening happened. As she hurried into my room to get the gist of the singing Nightingale, she perceived a note of sadness in my countenance. She withdrew to my door entrance, beholding my dirge to the late guru of journalism.
Calmly she approached me because she knew I had just lost something important in me.I announced to her “Dimgba is not dead”. I soliloquised aloud. Who is Dimgba Igwe? she quipped. Her look further quizzed me on the name which is neither Yoruba nor Muslim. How important is this Igwe? Her consoling look seemed to asking. “ He was one of my mentors in writing”,” I had learnt so much from him in my career”, I lamented to her in a sorrowful voice from my bed.
Had my wife been a reading type, especially newspaper articles or informed commentary, she would have had an idea of who Pastor Dimgba Igwe was. My wife is a business woman who will only read a few headlines in the newspapers once in a while. Her favourite column is the entertainment page of any print. Except there is big news. Period. As I mourned my compendious teacher whom I never met, I pitied my wife for not knowing the literary juggernaut Mr. Igwe was a writer whose words instructs as though in the classroom of journalism. I remember one of his write-ups themed “10 Lessons from Japan” published in Daily Sun of April 4, 2011. He wielded his pen to commit the following words, “The typical hunter does not say everything he sees in the jungle. Indeed, the society- our society- is a jungle. Social jungle.Political jungle.Religious jungle.Jungle, jungle, jungle everywhere. In such a jungle, only a socially responsible media can cure it”. MrIgwe was making reference to the social responsibility of the media and practitioners as agents who should bring the society from the plane of conflict or violence to the plane of resolution. Only real professors of journalistic endeavour and communication could cast those words.
Although I never met him till death snatched him after being hit by a car in a jogging, I had ‘met’ him in the literary world many times, educating me in the art of writing. His writing would speak from the print as the ghost rose from their graves. His sharp pen could open minds of his audience with surgical syntax. His words would persuade the reader to trudge on and on till the end of the story. His diction was always a marvelous window of literary scenery. His chosen theme at every point in time always sold the news. Through his pen, he had taught many brains and numerous fingers the art of penmanship. A discerning mind would always long to read him because he had a particular style of writing unique to him. He would carve his words as a skilful sculptor would. As a matter of fact, his back page column, just like Steve Nwosu’s and later Femi Adesina’s, compelled me to be buying a copy of Daily Sun. I thank God for knowing you, Mr. Igwe, in the literary/journalistic world.
I read his last SIDEVIEW column entitled “From Katsina with Ibrahim Shema’s Good Tidings” in Daily Sun of September 2, 2014, where he openly expressed his fear of death and a sigh of relief he eventually heaved after the last Guild of Editor’s conference held in Katsina state. After all, one only takes solace in the words of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that “when beggars die, there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes”.
The world of journalism bows for your soul. I commiserate with his family, Mr. Mike Awoyinfa, the Fourth and the Fifth Estates. As you leave the stage and draw the curtain, I salute you, the Igwe of journalism.
Idris Katib wrote in from Crescent University, Abeokuta