Ngozi Nwozor: Forever in their hearts

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It was two years ago yesterday that Ngozi Agbo, popularly known as Aunty Ngozi by her admirers, especially campus journalists she took under her wings, died. These journalists that cut across higher institutions nationwide, who she fondly referred to as “my children”, pay tribute to her. OLUWAFEMI OGUNJOBI (Language Arts, Obafemi Awolowo University) writes.

Sweet is the remembrance of the righteous.” This biblical verse aptly describes the feelings of students, who passed through the tutelage of the late Mrs Ngozi Agbo (Nee Nwozor).

Yesterday made it two years that their mentor and pioneer Editor of CAMPUSLIFE died. To them, the time they shared with Aunty Ngozi, as she was fondly called, remains fresh. To the students, she lives on.

The late Mrs Agbo, according to them, left a platform for youths to pursue their dreams. Through her weekly Pushing Out, she reached out to them, counselling them to be responsible citizens.

Two years have gone, but the tributes have not ceased coming.

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Aunty Ngozi left us two years ago, but her memory cannot be erased from our mind. Her absence cannot make us to forget her values and legacies. We believe she is not dead because the platform through which she reached out to us is still intact. We are also proud of CAMPUSLIFE because it promoted and is still promoting good governance, transparency, and accountability on campuses. We acknowledge the role the platform played during the last Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike; indeed, there is no way we can talk about CAMPUSLFE without mentioning Aunty Ngozi.

Taiwo Isola, 300-Level Anatomy, University of Maiduguri

Indeed, great men die but death can never kill their names or erase their impact. Really, Aunty Ngozi’s brief stay on earth was a blessing to us. She touched and impacted the lives of youths within the short period. She promoted good virtues and detested vices. She was a motivator par excellence. Through the CAMPUSLIFE, I developed passion for writing, and each time I put pen on paper, I remember the person who encouraged me to do so. That was Aunty Ngozi.”

Hammed Hamzat, 300-Level Educational Administration, University of Ibadan

For me, CAMPUSLIFE represents hope because of the quality of young people it is breeding for the nation’s future. Personally, it gave me the opportunity to contribute my quota through writing to develop my university.

Hannah Ojo, NYSC, Delta State.

Aunty Ngozi remains that gallant heroine who bridged the generational gap by advocating a forward-thinking Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) through the annual workshop being sponsored by Coca Cola System for students in higher institutions. She saw a need and she gave her all to ensure that young people are moulded in character and good values. For me, writing for CAMPUSLIFE was not just an experience in campus journalism; it taught me journalism with social responsibility, value, character and the quest for excellence.

Msonter Anzaa, 300-Level Medicine, Benue State University

Since I joined CAMPUSLIFE, I have never had cause to regret because it is a network of young leaders, who are writing to make Nigeria a better place. While I really wished Aunty Ngozi lived longer, we must not lose sight of her immense contributions to this country. I firmly believe that in the years to come, when the story of this nation is told, people will remember that Aunty Ngozi was a significant part of it.

Dhikrullah Akinola, Political Science Graduate, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife

My biography cannot be complete without the mention of the late Aunty Ngozi. This is because she influenced me to write. Apart from the fame my writing skill gave me on the campus, Aunty Ngozi taught me morality and selflessness through her weekly column. She mentored many of us to the extent that some of us are being celebrated within and beyond. However, we must take solace in the fact that someone has been able to maintain the platform. We are happy that one of us continued from where Aunty Ngozi left it. This means that Aunty is not dead; she’s alive and with us.

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Aunty Ngozi: Forever is thy memory

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Philip James Bailey, an English poet, rightly observed that “it matters not how long we live, but how.” An anonymous writer also said: “What will matter is not your success, but your significance. What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone. What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what. Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.”

I totally agree with these opinions.

Exactly two years ago, student-writers across campuses woke up on Democracy Day and got a shocking news of the death of Mrs Ngozi Agbo, who was fondly called Aunty Ngozi by CAMPUSLIFE correspondents. Like a wild fire, the news spread across campuses and higher institutions were almost shut as though, she was the Visitor to all Nigerian schools.

Aunty Ngozi’s demise dealt a terrible blow on students’ collective psyche. The matriarch of our much-cherished pen family, we learnt, had kicked the bucket on Monday, May 28, after giving birth to a baby boy. We were sad and, indeed, we almost thought an end had come for the well-thought CAMPUSLIFE project.

However, two years after her departure, it is heart-warming that her brainchild, a weekly pullout in The Nation, is still making impact across campuses.

Since its inception, CAMPUSLIFE has been a veritable platform for students in higher institutions to make their voice heard, and has given them a rare opportunity to practise journalism, as it were, regardless of their disciplines. Her Page 30 column – Pushing Out – spoke volumes about her passion for youth development and rebirth of the country through morality and spirituality.

Like I wrote in my piece titled: Good night, Aunty Ngozi Agbo, published on this page on May 31, 2012, “she (Aunty Ngozi) was an Amazon; tall and strong. She bestrode the journalism firmament like a colossus, armed with a tall dream and a strong determination. Her dream was to salvage the future of the Nigerian youth; to raise role models in a depraved society through the instrumentality of the media. So, she launched into her dream, believing passionately in its reality and efficacy. And then she hit the ground running.”

It needs to be repeated here that the late Aunty Ngozi was not only a trailblazer as her brainchild – CAMPUSLIFE – became a template for several other newspapers, she was also a mentor, a teacher, a source of inspiration, a friend, a change agent, and an enabler of dreams to many young persons, not only to those of us in the pen family.

The fact that Wale Ajetunmobi, one of her mentees in the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), has been coordinating the affairs of CAMPUSLIFE since her demise speaks volumes about Aunty Ngozi’s efforts at mentoring and building young people for the good future she dreamt about. Wale, who observed his National Youth Service at The Nation, worked closely with her for two years until her “leap into the dark”, apologies to Thomas Brown.

To be sure, the story of my journey into journalism as a career, after a hard-earned strong 2:1 degree in Accounting, cannot be complete without a mention of the impact Aunty Ngozi made in my life through CAMPUSLIFE. The first time I met her in 2009, my passion for writing literally shot up because her advice boosted my confidence in honing my writing skills.

Like I wrote in 2012, “she will eternally be etched in my memory because she made positive indelible impact on me.” And I know there are many young people, who are very grateful that they met her because she left them better than the way she met them.

“A teacher affects eternity,” said Henry Brooks Adams. “He can never tell where his influence stops.”

Although Aunty Ngozi is no more, her impact is very much alive. It is alive in me and many others who are poised to make the society better in our own unique ways.

Femi Asu, a former CAMPUSLIFE reporter in Ekiti State University, is a reporter with a Lagos-based finacial newspaper

Nigeria’s unsung Amazon – ngozi agbo: one year after

“And I ask myself could this be true? I couldn’t sleep last night. A jewel, my mentor is gone! It’s unbelievable! They said aunty ngozi died of childbirth complications – Gerald nwokocha”

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Was it cold shivers that ran down my spines? I can’t just explain the reason for the goose pimples all over my body! Was I just befuddled or distraught by the above message sent to my phone? The feelings of May 28th, 2012 are so hard to explain; it’s indescribable. The skies were grey! The rain was coming down in torrents! Heaven has lost one of its Angels! Yes! That’s whom Mrs. Ngozi Agbo (Nee Nwozor) is!

She needs little or no introduction. Indeed, she was an amazing Amazon: tall and strong. She bestrode the journalism firmament like a colossus, armed with a “tall” dream (as tall as the biblical Tower of Babel) and a strong determination. Her dream was to salvage the future of Nigerian youths; to raise role models in a depraved society through the instrumentality of the media. So, she launched into her dream, believing passionately in its reality and efficacy. Am I surprised that giants like Coca Cola, Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), Fidelity Bank and The Nation saw your dreams and keyed into it by providing the platform for the actualization of all projects by Campuslife?
An English Language graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Aunty Ngozi bagged a Masters degree in History and International Relations at the University of Lagos. She also attended the Pan African University. Mrs. Agbo joined The Nation in 2007 having previously worked with New Age and a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), Fate Foundation.
I could not write a tribute to you nor pay my last respect to you, because I was lost, shell-shocked and dumbfounded to believe it is true. I thought I was dreaming! Today marks the 1st anniversary of your demise from this hollowed space, and it’s so hard to fathom that I am left with a Hobson’s choice. It took me one solid year to realize you are no more!
How can I recount the details of my journey into the world of journalism without you filling every page of it? My first contact with you was in my sophomore year in Abia State University, Uturu; that was in late 2007 through your brain-child – Campuslife, a Thursday 8-page pull-out in The Nation. I stumbled on the page while I was at the Vendor’s stand in the School Motor Park. I quickly called the number I saw on the page, and did I say I was surprised you picked my call? I told you how much I loved the revolution that Campuslife is heralding and my unequivocal desire to be part of it. You there and then welcomed me to the family!
You brushed me up! Gave me a preliminary guideline and introduction into the practical world of journalism! You counseled and mentored me. I won’t forget the words you spoke to me that night at the Events Center in Ikeja, Lagos when I emerged the maiden winner of the Campuslife/NBC/Coca Cola Best Investigative Reporter of the year 2009, “The sky is no longer your limits; it’s your stepping stone. Aim for the outer space!” You made me an agent of change and imbued me with a desire for social justice. This is not peculiar to me, but a general feeling anyone who has ever been into the Campuslife family will attest to!

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It was not lost on you that patriots, journalists and brave Nigerian students alike played an essential role towards the attainment of our independence in 1960. You combined these qualities and infused it in all the students you mentor, since they will be needed in restoring the lost glories of our fatherland. There has never been anyone who has not been held spell-bound by your unending hopes of a better Nigeria; a Nigeria that will meet the hopes and aspirations of her citizens.
Little wonder we weren’t dismayed or horrified by the excessive intimidations, embarrassment, flogging, and all sort of punishment meted out on us by our different university authorities, or the insults howled at us in our quest to expose the wrongs in our microcosm, and even the cultists who stole our equipments to dissuade us from fulfilling our role as agents of change in our campuses. Little did we know that you were preparing us for the harsh realities that have become the fate of the members of the fourth estate of the realm in this part of the clime!
One year on, and your desire of seeing a nation that will honestly and earnestly work towards the development of her numerous human and capital potentials seems to be an effort in futility, but we are never daunted by the enormous task ahead.
You may be gone, but your legacy will continue to outlive you! Your memory will forever be evergreen on my mind. Your stars, the ones you nurtured in Campuslife are becoming illustrious in this firmament: Wale Ajetunmobi, together with your husband, Mr. Agbo Agbo, has been holding the stead for you in Campuslife. Engr. Dayo Ibitoye has become an award-winning journo with his blog, http://www.dayoibitoye.blogspot.com. Poetry has been given a new life with Kolo Kenneth Kadiri at http://www.kolokennethk.blogspot.com. Dr Laz Ude in far away Kentucky in the United States has been among the voices calling for reforms in the Healthcare sector via http://www.donlaz.blogspot.com. Gerald Nwokocha has already co-authored a masterpiece on Nigeria’s Centenary Celebrations, titled “The Metamorphosis of Nigeria”.
The broadcast arena has not been forgotten though. Shola Ilesanmi has been an outstanding On-Air-Personality (OAP) at Orange Fm. Obioma Okezie, the hilarious one, is making it hot at NTA Ibadan. What about the queen of the airwaves at Unizik Fm, Ngozi Marion Emmanuel? She has shown to be a chip of the old block! Stanley Ibeku’s effervescent stride as a show host cum script writer at Love 104.1 Fm has almost reached the efflorescence!
Ashogbon Adenike is trailing the blaze in Public Relations, as well as a reporter in The Nation. Darmy Ayinde, who like me, studied Microbiology, is turning out to be one of the finest Public Relations executive Nigeria has ever produced. Hannah Ojo, the pearl of the pack, is now a graduate intern at The Nation. Barr Jumoke Awe has gone on to become a great marketing communication expert as well as running an NGO that fights the cause of the less-privileged in our society.
What of Fisayo Soyombo, Vincent Nzemeke, Tunmise Oladapo, Charles Udenze, Opeyemi Samuel, Chisom Ojukwu, Olusegun Adegbenro, Basil Ikpe, Onyinye Nkwocha, Chinyere Bassey, Emmanuel Attah, Nnamdi Ezike? All are emerging emeralds whom you’ve positioned to set the world alight!
The list is endless! I can go on and on… It goes a long way to show that the amount of time spent here on earth does not determine the impact or legacy that will be enjoyed by those whom you left behind. You might have lived close to 38 fruitful years here on earth, but the impact of your short stay will surely last through the times.
With regards to the impact you made in my life, and in the life of numerous other Nigerians, I dedicate this blog – http://www.iheanyiigboko.wordpress.com to your loving memory, hoping to continue the good works you left behind!