Thursday, 17 September 2015

How Mike Awoyinfa invited Dimgba Igwe to Lagos Book Launch | Says “Even though he is dead, we still write together”


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The GDA, Mike Awoyinfa & Late Dimgba Igwe with two of their best selling books'

Tabloid Legend Mike Awoyinfa has described his late Friend and literary partner of over two decades, Dimgba Igwe as an inseparable entity that will continue to be a part and parcel of his life even in death. In series of lines deducted from a moving tribute the 63 years old King of Tabloid journalism paid to the late Dimgba Igwe who was killed at age 58 by a hit and run car driver while observing his jogging exercise in the early hour of Saturday September 6, 2014 in his Okota, Lagos neighborhood. Awoyinfa expressed his sincere loyalty to a great friend who he described as the best man he ever knew.
“Weather Dimgba is here or not, I will not allow his name to be forgotten. Death will not separate or break our friendship”. In another line, Awoyinfa went philosophical “We used to play doubles in the tennis game of life. But now, I must play singles. It is not easy playing alone, all, all, alone. I feel so lonely, but life must go on”.
The moving tribute which was delivered at the first year remembrance of Dimgba Igwe and launching of the book “50 World Editors: Conversations with Journalism Masters on Trends and Best Practices” which took place on Tuesday September 15 at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) had the presence of eminent Nigerians like President Muhammad Buhari who was ably represented by Mrs. Oluseyi Abegunle, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information. Veteran journalist and politician, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; Secretary to State Government,  Lagos State, Mr Tunji Bello and Professor Adebayo Williams who represented the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu among  many other top Nigerians. The tribute titled “A Letter to My Friend” was obtained by your Africa’s number 1 celebrity encounter blog Asabeafrika and represented here for your reading delight. Please, don’t read this tribute if you are highly, highly emotional. Enjoy!  

'Even in grave, death will never separate us' Mike Awoyinfa says of Dimgba Igwe
My friend, my brother, my Ogbeni Dimgba Igwe, one year after your Painful exit, the wound is yet to heal. And I don’t know weather or not it will ever heal, even though they say time heals every wound.
I was far away from you when the news of your death broke. Your death hit me like a thunderbolt, like the arrow of the unknown enemy lurking in the dark, like the bullet of an assassin. Your death was like my own death. Yes, I died the day you died. Except that the Good Lord took pity of my soul, revived me and brought me back to life, because He knows there is so much to do and the business you started with me must not be left unfinished.

“We used to play doubles in the tennis game of life. But now, I must play singles. It is not easy playing alone, all, all, alone. I feel so lonely, but life must go on. I must do all the things you did in your lifetime”
Late Dimgba Igwe shows Asabeafrika's GDA one of their best books '50 Nigerian Corporate Strategists'
Your death brought me a harvest of pity. Everybody was pitying me. Everybody felt sorry for me. Everybody was wondering; “How will Mike cope? How will Mike live without you, my bosom friend and my rock of ages?” I was down and out, screaming; “My pillar is gone, my pillar is gone. Who will be my friend now?” In my agony, I heard my wife consoling and rebuking me, saying; “Jesus is your pillar. Jesus is your pillar”
I was angry with the same Jesus. Why did Jesus allow this to happen? Why must a man who served God with everything that he had be allowed to die such a shameful and painful death? Why didn’t God intervene? These are normal questions or abnormal questions people ask when tragedy strikes. We all question God. In certain situations, we question God. I am sure God will not blame me for questioning Him.
The Tabloid Legend showing a finished edition of the book '50 World Editors; Conversation with Journalism masters on trends and best practices' to the GDA couples of weeks back
My friend, my brother Ogbeni Dimgba Igwe; our story is straight from the Bible. Our friendship is like the friendship of David and Jonathan. You were like Jonathan. And I was like David. Yes, David. The same David. The King who saw a beautiful woman bathing from the balcony of his palace and went haywire.  The King whose story would have hit the front page of the tabloids amidst screaming headlines; oh, how I would have loved to write that headline!
I remember our days in the Weekend Concord. Oh, those glory days. We were the Kings of Tabloids. We were the masters of the art of casting headlines. The more sensational, the better for us. From Weekend Concord, we went to create The Sun, using our same winning formula. The Weekend Concord was the father of The Sun. We did our best. And the rest is history.
The Tabloid Legend Mike Awoyinfa to Asabeafrika 'My Life is incomplete without this Dimgba'
We gave our lives and our best to journalism. We loved journalism with passion. From Weekend Concord to The Sun, we proved that thunder could strike twice. We were not journalists, managers but teachers of journalism. Together we wrote our first book, The Art of Features Writing, which is being used in all journalism schools as a training textbook.
Today, our new book is being presented to the world. You are supposed to be here but you are not here, my friend. Your seat is empty. You were the one expected to stand on this podium, talking, explaining why we wrote this book. Now, I must do everything that you used to do.
“We were the masters of the art of casting headlines. The more sensational, the better for us. From Weekend Concord, we went to create The Sun, using our same winning formula. The Weekend Concord was the father of The Sun”.
The Newly Published Bible of Journalism Produced by the Living Tabloid Legend Mike Awoyinfa & His Late Friend, Dimgba Igwe
We used to play doubles in the tennis game of life. But now, I must play singles. It is not easy playing alone, all, all, alone. I feel so lonely, but life must go on. I must do all the things you did in your lifetime. I must play to win. And I must win for you and me, my departed friend.
So, the big question: Why did we write the book, 50 World Editors, the book we are launching today? It all boils down to passion, love and commitment to journalism, the only profession we know and are ready to live and die for. It all boils down to curiosity, hunger and thirst for knowledge. For ten years, we travelled around the world, researching this book which we consider our magnum opus. We were like that philosopher who claimed to know nothing. And so, he decided to travel around the world in search of knowledge. In our case, journalism knowledge. We wanted to meet editors of the great newspapers in the world, to hear their story and to share their journalistic wisdom. The idea is to come up with a book that the younger generation of journalists will read and be educated. We wanted a book strong on practical experience of celebrated editors who had led a good life in journalism. We interviewed great editors like Sir Harold Evans, the editor of editors, the most famous editor of the Western world. We interviewed Jill Abraham the woman who broke the glass ceiling to become the editor of The New York Times and the first woman to occupy that position. We interviewed another powerful woman, Charllote Hall, the editor of Orlando Sentinel. We interviewed Hamid Mir, the brave Pakistani Journalist who interviewed Osama Bin Laden a couple of times, at a time when no one knew where to reach him. In Nigeria we interviewed Alhaji Babatunde Jose, the grand old father of modern Nigerian journalism and his protégé Segun Osoba, the reporter’s reporter. We interviewed Dele Olojede, the Pulitzer-winning Nigerian Journalist. The list goes on and on.
The Lived their lives for journalism and books were their best friend
“The Dimgba Igwe Memorial Book Launch would be an annual affair. For me, nothing has changed. Weather Dimgba is here or not, I will not allow his name to be forgotten. Death will not separate or break our friendship. Even in the grave, he will still be my co-author”.
A list of 50 solid editors around the globe with each editor taking a chapter of the book to talk about journalism, our beloved profession
Most of these interviews were conducted when we attended journalism conferences around the world mainly IPI-International Press Institute and WAN-World Association of Newspapers. While the conferences were going on, we had our own plans, to look for celebrated journalists and interview them; the result is the book we are launching today.

Late Dimgba Igwe in a heart to heart with the GDA in his life time
I thank you all for coming to share with me this great occasion. I promise to keep alive the Dimgba Igwe dream. I promise not to disappoint or betray my friend. As long as Mike Awoyinfa is alive, Dimgba Igwe is alive. In his memory, I hope, by the grace of God to launch a book every September. The Dimgba Igwe Memorial Book Launch would be an annual affair. For me, nothing has changed. Weather Dimgba is here or not, I will not allow his name to be forgotten. Death will not separate or break our friendship. Even in the grave, he will still be my co-author. Every book I write will bear his name and my name. That is how we started. And that is how we are going to end. Dimgba Igwe will live forever. Thank you for coming. Thank you for all your prayers, particularly my friend, Pastor Sam Aiyedogbon of Realm of Glory, a prophet sent by God to pray and minister to me in my hour of pain and sorrow. Thank you all and see you next September at Dimgba Igwe Memorial Book Launch.
May God keep us alive till we meet again

(Get a copy of the new book at a discounted price through MCDee Books, 26 Ago Palace Way, Okota, Lagos or call 080-33-44-5125 for delivery)

The Late Dimgba Igwe, Mike Awoyinfa's twin brother
The Late Dimgba Igwe with best friend, Mike Awoyinfa & his twins Taiwo & Kehinde Awoyinfa

The Late Dimgba Igwe shares a joke with the GDA during an encounter in his life time
The Late Dimgba Igwe & his brother Mike Awoyinfa inside thier literary factory
The GDA with the two legends when Dimgba Igwe was still alive
Mike Igwe & Dimgba Awoyinfa in their library

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