From Ayodele Samuel,Lagos
The media industry has since slipped into mourning after the death of one among its finest, Vice Chairman of The Sun Newspapers, Mr. Dimgba Igwe.
Igwe died at 58, last Saturday after he was knocked down by a hit-and-run driver while he was performing an early morning exercise around his house located around Okota, Lagos State, Western Nigeria.
He sustained serious injury, according to a statement on the website of the newspaper organisation, which said he was jogging when the car hit him.
He was rushed a private hospital where he underwent surgery but died few minutes after the surgery was done.
According to the statement, Orji Uzor Kalu, chairman of the Sun Publishing Limited described the incident as "the darkest day in the history of the organisation."
Dimgba Igwe, together with his bosom friend, Mike Awoyinfa, managed the media organisation from inception and he grew to the position of Vice Chairman before his death.
Igwe and Mike Awoyinfa added verve to Nigerian journalism when they set up Weekend Concord in 1989. The duo pioneered The Sun Newspapers in 2003, with Awoyinfa as Managing Director/ Editor-in-Chief, and Igwe as Deputy Managing Director/Deputy Editor-in- Chief.
Igwe was appointed Vice Chairman of the company last year. Before joining the Sun, he had worked with the Concord titles, where he made the Saturday title a must read as deputy editor.
Igwe died a committed Christian, as Deputy General Overseer of Evangel Pentecostal Church, Okota, Lagos.
The prolific author and columnist, was a Fellow of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. He is survived by a wife and four children. Though his burial plans is yet to be announced, tribute has continued to pour in his honour, with many of his associates tasking the Nigerian police force to track down his killer.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, called on the police to find and bring to justice, the driver of the vehicle that knocked down Pastor Igwe while he was jogging around his residence, while consoling family and friends of the late Pastor Igwe.
The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria on its part described his death as tragic irony, that a gentleman, who was exercising to keep fit and live well, ended up being knocked to death by a vehicle.
IPC Director Lanre Arogundade, said "Dimgba Igwe was a distinguished editor and columnist; he was a quiet diligent worker who happened to be one of those that the younger generation of journalism professionals looked up to for inspiration. His death is therefore a major loss to the Nigerian media community."
Also Ndigbo Cultural Society of Nigeria (NCSN) said the Igbo nation will deeply miss 'the igwe of journalism'
According to NCSN, President Chief Udo Udeogaranya there is no argument that our country and Ndigbo nation will have to grapple with the challenge of an irreplaceable vacuum that no other person can fill in, except the departed.
"Our heartfelt condolence goes to his family and fans all over the world, while we pray to God to console the family and fans and give them the fortitude to bear the loss."
A Non-governmental organization- Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) however wants the Federal Ministry of Information, the Nigerian Union of Journalists and the Nigerian Guild of Editors to jointly work out comprehensive policy on how to immortalize the memory of this credible and cerebral creative writer and quintessential journalist, who edified the practice of what we may call stylistic and humorous and comical writing of otherwise very serious thematic issues
to the admiration of millions of readers.
HURIWA through the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Affairs, Ms. Zainab Yusuf also wants the proposed headquarters of the Nigerian Guild of Editors in Abuja named after Mr. Dimgba Igwe because of his immense contributions to journalism in Nigeria even as it called on the Nigerian University Commission to erect a professorial seat in the faculty of mass
communications in one of the Federal Universities to document and pass on to generations yet unborn, the large volumes of journalistic activities of the late scholar and journalist.
Besides, the Rights group has called on state governments and the ministry of the Federal Capital Territory to restore the once admired right of way for pedestrians and bicycle ridding citizens in the planning and execution of city and township's infrastructure to save pedestrians from the menacing threats of extinction by rough and sometimes drunken drivers in most Nigerian cities. This was contained in a statement in reaction to the report of the killing of the famous journalist and a clergyman.