ODOGWU EMEKA ODOGWU, THE TRAGEDY OF THE AUTHORITY NEWSPAPER, THE MISCHIEF-MAKER: SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT
On Monday, December 11, 2017, I was in my house at Abube-Uno Nando in Anambra East, where I went to mark the 4th anniversary of my father’s separation from the family. I was sitting by his graveside reflecting on life generally when I received calls from my colleagues in the media, who told me that Emeka Odogwu went viral on the social media discussing me.
I logged-in and scanned through the information. Initially, I was reluctant to reply because I felt it was unnecessary dignifying him with my response. Initially, I did not want to join issues with a character whose stock-in-trade is to go about impregnating people’s wives and widows. When I later made up my mind to respond, I reasoned that it was necessary to wait; first, to know what would be the response of Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah and Mr. Madu Onuorah, the publisher and MD of The AUTHORITY Newspaper respectively; and also to hear the opinions of the leadership of NUJ as well as those of my friends in the media within Anambra State. After due consultation, I decided to come up with a response.
SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT
In Emeka Odogwu’s write-up, he raised issues like Solomon forging the MD’s signature to get accreditation from INEC to cover the November gubernatorial election in Anambra; forging an appointment letter from The AUTHORITY to secure membership of the Correspondents Chapel, threat to his life and the issue of suspension.
First, I will start by telling the general public, especially my colleagues in the media that I am appointed as the Sub-Editor of The AUTHORITY Newspaper in the South/East Region by the management of The AUTHORITY Newspaper and nobody has taken it away from me. When I read Odogwu’s write-up, I alerted both the publisher and the MD of the newspaper and they distanced themselves from Odogwu’s write-up. Nobody at the hierarchy of the organization knew where Odogwu was coming from. Even if anything like suspension or dismissal will come the way of any staff, it will follow due process. The staff will be notified through his mail address, and a copy of such correspondence duly signed by relevant person(s) will also be communicated through the Admin Officer in the Bureau. So, whatever Odogwu presented for the consumption of the general public was faked, and was aimed at maligning my person.
Secondly, on the issue of Solomon forging somebody’s signature to secure INEC accreditation; I will only say that Emeka Odogwu alone knows what he intends to achieve in peddling lies. After the November election, I have met with Emeka Odogwu for over 15 times. Each time he came my way, he would either wave at me and pass or move from one corner; but I was surprised that he went about telling people that he was instructed to arrest me with police. I confronted him with that allegation and he said he had compassion on me not to arrest me because both of us are from the Omambala region. If I forged any signature, Emeka Odogwu should produce the document and also provide at least, three forensic experts, who will conduct separate and independent investigations to prove that he did not cook-up something himself to bring me to disrepute.
Again, on the issue of forging letter in order to secure membership of the Correspondents Chapel, I will only say that Odogwu has exposed to the world his myopic view of the profession he is into. He is unaware that it takes a personal letter and an appointment letter from a media house to secure such membership. I wrote to the Correspondents Chapel eight months ago for membership and, being satisfied with my application, the committee in charge of recommendation promised that it would ratify the letter alongside others before February 2018 general meeting alongside other ones pending. I don’t need anybody’s approval to seek such membership. Odogwu thinks I will require excuse from him.
He also alleged that I was parading myself as staff of The AUTHORITY Newspaper. Before nko? I remain the Sub-Editor of the Newspaper in the South/East and the status quo has not changed; even if Emeka Odogwu should hang himself. The word “parading” as he used is one of the mischievous coinages he would use to insult his victims. As I said earlier, Dr. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah and Mr. Madu Onuorah are intelligent enough to know that there is something called rule of engagement. If for any reason somebody who does not like my face in the organization is sponsoring Emeka Odogwu to frustrate me out of the organization, the person should start by paying me my outstanding salary arrears of 15 months, and then, give me letter of disengagement. If not, somebody will know that a private entity like that could be taken to industrial court.
On the allegation of threat to life, I can only say that I did not say that I would kill Emeka Odogwu or any of his relatives. I did not give life to anybody, so, I have no business taking it. Out of anger for maligning my person, I told him I would give him permanent injury. He posted my voice on the social media, crying widely and wildly that I have the intention of taking his life.
HOW EMEKA ODOGWU SUBDUED OTHER STAFF UNDER HIM
When Odogwu was employed in the organization, he came in as one of the correspondents in Anambra. Soon after, our then South/East Bureau Chief resigned and Odogwu was asked to fill the gap. As soon as he took over, Odogwu became “Lord Lugard”; and frustrated many staff of the newspaper out of the organization. Just like what he is doing to me today, Odogwu frustrated Chuks-Collins Adimba (Awka Correspondent) out of The AUTHORITY. He did same to Simeon Nwogha (Graphic editor, South East), Theo-Rays Ejikeme (Onitsha Correspondent) and Alphonsus Nweze (Onitsha Correspondent). Through Emeka Odogwu’s handwork, the above staff of the organization were laid-off with their accumulated salary arrears not cleared. His reason was to be the only editor and the only reporter in the organization within the South East. What he does is to get information of assignments; and he will send his “boys” to those assignments at different parts of the state, who will bring “returns” to him. He wants to be the only man standing. Some of the errand boys he employs have started representing him even in NJU congresses and press conferences organized for journalists.
ODOGWU IS USING THE MEDIUM TO INSULT CATHOLIC BISHOPS, OBIANO
One of the major reasons that triggered my conflict with Odogwu is the fact that he sees The AUTHORITY Newspaper as a tool at his disposal to cast aspersions on Catholic Bishops in Anambra State, as well the governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano. He devotes parts of the newspaper to do his acts because he is not a Catholic. At one time, he would write that Bishop Ezeokafor of Awka Diocese has committed this abomination or that. At the other time, he would publish that Archbishop Valerian Okeke of Onitsha Archdiocese has soiled his hands in this or that. Another time, he would write negative things about the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi. On every edition of the newspaper, he would write on a page he called “Cornucopia”. He uses that page to vent his mischief on Governor Willie Obiano and other people in government. On several occasions, I made efforts to talk to him as a colleague but he would not listen. I told him of the potential dangers of his actions and inactions, but he would not listen. At a time, when I started foreseeing the evil effects of his deeds, I wrote to the management but I wouldn’t know what actions they took. He continued. I wrote to the management again and copped the publisher, because, I wouldn’t watch the source of my livelihood being destroyed.
HOW ODOGWU REACTED TO ME
Emeka Odogwu did not welcome my approach to his behaviour in good faith. He actually saw my continued stay in The AUTHORITY Newspaper as a threat to his office. What he did was to write to the management telling them that I am employed as a Sub-editor, not as a reporter, and that I must not be going to the field. When I protested, he then told them that whatever report/news I bring must go through him; so they approved it and I started sending reports through Emeka Odogwu. Each time I filed stories; Emeka would either put his own by-line on the story or kill it. So, I started filing my stories straight to Abuja; and Emeka tagged it “act of insubordination” and said he has suspended me from the organization on his personal capacity as Odogwu Emeka Odogwu. I continued filing stories straight to Abuja and they continued using them until Emeka told them to stop using my stories, and they did. That however, did not stop me from working or going for assignments. Each time I write any story and file, if they refused publishing it, I don’t break my head; rather, other platforms would publish it for me; so, no story is lost or wasted. I only told Odogwu that he has no muscle to frustrate me out of The AUTHORITY as he did to others. As far as I am concerned, since I have not been paid-off, each day I stay counts, and I must receive my due. I relayed this fact to the management and the publisher.
HOW EMEKA ODOGWU KILLED THE AUTHORITY NEWSPAPER
Though series of appeals I made to Emeka Odogwu and petitions I wrote to the management seemed to yield little or no fruit, yet, I am vindicated. Presently, due to Odogwu’s style and level of knowledge, the newspaper is seen as “enemy” newspaper in the church, at the government circle and at the social circle. Under Emeka Odogwu’s watch, the much favoured Authority newspaper is now the most hated. Under Odogwu, the print supply, which used to run in thousands, is now 50-copy supply to Anambra State: 10 to Awka and 20 each to Nnewi and Onitsha. Within his 15-month regime, workers are owed 15 months’ salary arrears. Under him, the daily newspaper now publishes once or twice per week and so on. I told him that since Anambra is the soul of the newspaper, we must do things differently here but he would not listen.
MY PERSONAL VIEW ON ODOGWU’S PERSONALITY
With apologies to other people’s views on Odogwu Emeka, I would say that mischief-making is in his blood. Blackmailing is part of him. Sadism is an integral part of him. I do not have any form of respect for him because of his unrepentant nature. I do not even have respect for those that respect him. If Emeka succeeds in displacing me from the newspaper organization, it will only be 1/3 because he worked with Champion newspaper with the spirit of mischief, and he was sacked. He joined The Nation newspaper with the same world view, and was also sacked. He sojourned into the Orient Daily and was also laid-off. It is only in The AUTHORITY Newspaper that has provided a safe haven for a character like Odogwu.
Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, I wouldn’t want a repetition of what you did with my name on the social media. Facts are emerging on the relationship of your family with the rest of Amanuke community; don’t let me discuss it on the social media. Facts are emerging how your M.A thesis and the present one is written by a journalist in Anambra; don’t allow me to pay him to speak on the social media. Facts are emerging how you went about impregnating widows; don’t allow me to go that dimension. More and more facts are emerging from reliable sources and I will not hesitate to publish them in the social media if you mention my name again. Once you repeat this act, I will introduce your wife into the dance. You know what I mean by that. If you mention my name again in any strata of the media, I will send image destroyers after you and your wife; and your family image will be on the social media for negative reasons for the rest of your life. If you don’t know how to settle disputes peacefully without being crazy, go and learn it!