By Cyriacus Nnaji
It was dream come true ascolleagues, former and present staff of Champion Newspapers gathered after so many years to exchange pleasantries,recall old memories and celebrate their worthy ambassadors who have excelled intheir various areas of human endeavours.
The event which was held at PJDanny’s Bush Bar and Rest, Ejigbo, Lagos on Saturday saw long time and oldfriends meet again. It was fun-packed and laced with jokes and vivaciousnesswhich brought back sweet old memories. The event was also designed as basis fornetworking.
The name Champion continues toreverberate as far as the media industry is concerned, it was not just a brand,it was a training ground as almost everybody practising journalism in Nigeriahas had one stint or the other in Champion Newspapers. That is even nothingwhen compared to the excellent achievements of those who have left the outfitand are practicing in various areas of human specialties including the media.
The meeting which was themaiden edition under the name Media Friends witnessed the celebration of someof the finest of Champion family still flying high the flag of excellence forwhich the company was known. Those honoured include, Willy Eya, PoliticalEditor, The Sun Newspaper, FelixNwaneri, Group Political Editor, The Telegraph Newspaper, Charles Okoh, News Editor, Independent Newspaper and Iheanacho Nwosu, The Editor, The Sun Newspaper.
Speaking on the occasion, theformer Managing Director, Ugo Onuoha, who disclosed that he stayed in Championfor 23 years and 26 days, said he was supported and encouraged during histenure as the MD.
“I enjoyed every bit ofchampion, there were difficulties no doubt, we had challenges, and challengeswere immense, but I found support and succor in the family members, every oneof them, when things came to a head, even when the union held me by the balls,we survived, they looked at me with compassion, and then we moved on.”
He stated that he is indebtedto the Champion family. “I am indebted to each and every one of you and I meanevery word of it. I got support, I got encouragement, I was not isolated eventhough I was the MD, I retained my friends, and who are my friends? They are everybodythat worked in Champion. I didn’t have cause to have enemies; I may haveoffended some people no doubt. When you are up there, you must step on sometoes in the course of the job. So I want to thank the organizers of this eventfor bringing us together after a while.”
Onuoha commended the fourhonorees saying “For our four colleagues who have been singled out for thismaiden edition I want to tell all of us, this is just the beginning, all of usplayed unique roles in Champion, and it is not for nothing that wherever we goto we also excel. “
Speaking on national issues,Onuoha said “I am trying not to be partisan, but I am frightened by thedirection of this country, I am really frightened by it, not for me, God hasbeen kind to me, but I must also appreciate our younger ones, including my ownchildren, if you ask anybody who has the opportunity, he will want a one-wayticket out of the Nigeria. And the only thing that builds a nation is faith ofits citizens; if we don’t have faith in this country the country is doomed.”
Former Executive Director ofthe organization, Sam Ibemere disclosed that the occasion for him was a specialone. He stated that Champion was a training ground for him. “This is specialoccasion for me, I look back to our days in champion, for me it was a trainingground; I owe everything that I am today and will be tomorrow to Mr Ugo Onuoha,it is not because he is here, he is somebody I hold in very high esteem.
“Ugo Onuoha is not only astickler for time; he is a stickler for excellence. I am talking about values,he has that in abundance, wherever I goes, I have never stopped celebratingChampion Newspapers.”