Remembering Ernest Okonkwo!

Remembering Ernest Okonkwo!!

The Legendary Ernest Okonkwo. Golden Voice over Nigeria’s Radio Airwaves.*
Could anyone remember hilarious clichés like these?
_“He beats *Christian Chukwu!*, he beats *Christian Madu!*, he beats *Christian Nwokocha!* . . he beats three *Christians* in a row!, who is this man?”_
_“He must be a Moslem; Oh! it is *Shefiu Mohammed* sending a diagonal pass to *Baba Otu Mohammed.”*_
*On another account he quipped.*
_“The lanky ebony black goal-hungry *Ranger* is ranging alone in the goal area of the *Water Corporation Football Club of Ibadan*. Can the one-man riot squad make it four for *Rangers*? A hat trick, that is one, two, three goals are already in his kitty”._
_“ *Ifeanyi Chukwu* means *’Nothing is insurmountable to God’*. Four goals are also not beyond the ability of *Ifeanyi Chukwu Onyedika*”._
_“It is a goal! Goal number four for the indomitable *Rangers International Football Club of Enugu*, all scored by *Ifeanyi Chukwu Onyedika*”_.
*His apt description*, _“After ninety minutes of play and extra time, the match has ended one goal apiece, but a winner must emerge”._
_“Five players have on each side been selected to take the penalty kick. The players are praying to their God to give them this day, but it is not who prays more but who plays better.”_
_“ *Okey Isima*, with a short pass to *Sylvanus Okpala*, they both play in *Portugal*. They can communicate in *Igbo*, they can communicate in *English*, they can communicate in *Portuguese* and they just communicated with *the ball*.”_
_“ *Etim Esin*, he shilly-shallies, he dilly-dallies, and he tries to beat one man, but only succeeds in beating himself.”_
_“ *The Super Eagles* are gathered in the centre of the circle, they seem to be saying, *”Oh! God give us this day!.”*”_
Those are the fond memories of the quintessential *Ernest Okonkwo* whose voice lighted up every football game then.
Names and coinages were his trademark; *Emmanuel* _‘Man Mountain’_ *Okala*, *Aloysius* _‘Blockbuster’_ *Atuegbu*, *Christian* _‘Chairman’_ *Chukwu*, _‘Mathematical’_ *Segun Odegbami*, *Kelechi* _‘Caterpillar’_ *Emetole*, _‘Midfield Maestro’_ *Mudashiru Lawal*, _‘Justice’_ *Adokiye Amasiemeka*, *Uwem* _‘Harmattan’_ *Ekarika*, or *Sylvanus* _’Quicksilver’_ *Okpala*, _‘Commander’_- *Louis Igwilo*, *Sylvester* _‘Bahama’_ *Oparanozie*, *Benedict* _‘Surugede’_ *Ugwu*, *Idowu* _‘Slow Poison’_ *Otubusen*, _‘Shortish’_ *John Benson*, _‘Diminutive’_- *Amaechi Otti*, *Nnamdi*_‘Polic
eman’_ *Anyafo*, *Davidson* _‘Okada Air’_ *Owumi*, _‘Penalty Specialist’_- *Christian Madu*, _‘Masters of Long Throw’_- *Moses Otolorin*, and _‘The Man with Bullet Shot’_- *Emmanuel Osigwe*
_Those were days when people would put their television set on mute and prefer to listen to Okonkwo’s commentary on radio._ He was a creative mind who had a unique style of commentating, giving appropriate qualifying adjectives to each of every persona, be they player, administrator or referee. He was indeed a heavyweight in the broadcast industry when he ran commentaries on the radio for Radio Nigeria in his days.
He was the soul of every game and Nigerian league was alive with his voice running like wild fire describing both the ball and the players on the field of play. Someone once thoughtfully asked whether Ernest Okonkwo died with the league football commentary because ever since his death the country has not producer any other that can surpass his style.
So many argued and still argue that if *Ernest Okonkwo* is to be from a different clime, he would have been immortalised. To immortalise him of course is the sports community’s expectation from the federal government.
Undoubtedly, he popularised the term _“Intercontinental ballistic missile.”_ He was witty, intelligent, and never was there a dull moment when he is on the commentaries during a football match.
How can anyone that knows something about football in Nigeria forget the one and only evergreen *Ernest Okonkwo* with his very vivid and spirited commentaries? He was a genius, a class act and Mr. Total football.
When you remember memorable matches like *Rangers* versus *IICC Shooting Stars*, African Cup Winners Cup Semi final of *1976*. *Rangers versus Mehalla of Egypt* where came the phrase, _“Mehalla saw wahala”_ Green Eagles versus Tunisia in 1978, where *Godwin Odiye* scored an own goal and Nigeria failed in their bid for the ‘78 world cup in Argentina, Green Eagles versus Morocco in 1988 semi final nation’s cup penalty shoot-out, what readily comes to mind is the memory of *Ernest Okonkwo*.
*Okonkwo* looked like a colossus in his chosen career, particularly in radio sports commentary from 1957 when he joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) till *August 7, 1990* when he breathed his last, having given illustrious *33* years to broadcasting.
He started his journey in the media at the *Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Enugu* in *1957* as programme assistant,but was later trained at Australian Broadcasting Commission between 1964 and 1965. He later became Head of outside Broadcasts at the *Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)*.
He was from *Nando* in Anambra-East Local Government Area, Anambra State. As a sport commentator, *Okonkwo* made his debut at the _1976 African Nations Cup in Addis-Ababa_ and later went on to cover many other international sport competitions, including the All-Africa Games, Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games. On the home front, *Okonkwo* was there running commentaries on the local sport competitions, particularly football matches, in addition to analysing matches involving the national football teams.
Remarkably, *Okonkwo* distinguished himself with his witty and flowery language and deep sense of analysis. Like *Moses Kpakor* described, _“The speciality of this man which surprised me was how he knew all the actions that would end in goal! He would readily tell you this action would lead to a goal and it would be so.”_
He brought verve into radio commentary and interestingly many were entertained, enlightened and informed by his art. In essence, during his days many fans and footballers alike would record his commentaries as every outing was a masterpiece. According to *Yisa Sofoluwe*, “He was a master on the job who is greatly missed by all of us. I used to ask that his commentaries be recorded for me and always listened to them after matches.”
*Ernest Okonkwo* who could be rightly described as a man with the special gift of the garb might have gone, but obviously his legacies in Nigerian football remains, especially memories of his exceptional works.


To all teachers!!!

Dedicated to all the teachers.

From A School Principal’s speech at a graduation……

He said “The Doctor wants his child to become a doctor…
the Engineer wants his child to become an engineer…
The Businessman wants his ward to become CEO…
BUT a teacher also wants his child to become one of them, as well..!!
Nobody wants to become a teacher BY CHOICE”…
Very sad but that’s the truth..!!

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He
argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best
option in life was to become only a teacher?”

To stress his point he said to another guest;
“You’re a teacher, Mrs Sharma. Be honest. What do you make?”

Teacher Mrs Sharma, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness
replied, “You want to know what I make?
(She paused for a second, then began…)

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents
can’t make them sit for 5 min. without an I- Pod, Game Cube or movie

You want to know what I make?

(She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)

I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them how to write and then I make them write.
Keyboarding isn’t everything.

I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in math.

They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to
know about India while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were
given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.

(Mrs Sharma paused one last time and then continued.)

Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing
money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no
attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make?


What do you make Mr. CEO? Only money?

His jaw dropped; he went silent.


Actually very worth sending again & again – especially to those from
other professions who think they are above teachers.

– Author Unknown.

You cannot get by prayer what you should get by character!!!

I don’t know who authored this fantastic piece: it’s powerful, full of knowledge, wisdom & educative! Please take time to read it over and over again….


A man’s character is his fate. Heraclitus Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States (US), said: “Nothing can stop the man with the *right mental attitude* from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the *wrong mental attitude.”

As a clergyman, I have watched pitiably how people self-sabotage themselves by seeking spiritual solutions to character-deficit issues. They look around at everybody as suspects for their predicaments when their greatest demons lurks within them – their character.

What we often call our destiny is truly our character, and since that character can change, then destiny can be altered. *Character is destiny* .

Is prayer actually EVERYTHING? Many would begin to argue back and forth on this intriguing question, but my main purpose of writing this piece is not to get involved in arguments. _Arguments don’t improve the validity of a ‘truth;’ they only determine how long it would take before you realise it._

Most people believe that we can pray ourselves to success and get away with virtually anything if we become a stickler to some prayer routines. There is no amount of spiritual penance that can substitute for character. Sometimes, you need character, not prayer.

Dutch Sheets said: *“Prayer is not a check request asking for things from God; it is a deposit slip- a way of depositing God’s character into our bankrupt souls.”*

British writer and politician, Thomas Macaulay (1800-1859), said: “ *The measure of a man’s character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out.”* I have often said that what would ultimately destroy a man going to high places in life is not really the enemies that are waiting for him there, but the character that followed him there.

I want to emphatically underline the fact that this write-up is not meant to trivialise prayers in any way. I have observed that many people take character for granted, while overzealously tuning on into their spiritual mode.

We have become so spiritually in tune through prayers that we neglect the place of character and our relationship with people. Many are actually ‘heavenly’ bound, but with no earthly relevance. You can speak with spiritual eloquence, pray in public and maintain a holy appearance, but it is your behavior and character that will actually trigger the manifestation of all that God has for you.

*You must learn to treat people with courtesy* .
The Shunammite woman must have been praying for a child all through her life. By being hospitable to a man of God, she eventually got her much-awaited miracle. *It wasn’t prayer that opened the door for her; it was her character.* Assuming she wasn’t hospitable, she would have missed a critical miracle.

Many times, we pray, fast and bind demons that don’t exist when our real demons are just our greatly flawed character. _Many have insulted people that were divinely placed and orchestrated to help them fulfil their destiny._ Some people are keeping malice with their destiny helpers.

Treat people with respect.
Treat strangers with courtesy.
Never look down on anybody. God can use anyone to change your story.

Abigail Van Buren said: “The best index to a person’s character is _how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”_

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. The way we treat people we think can’t help or hurt us, like housekeepers, waiters, and secretaries, tells more about our character than how we treat people we think are important. _How do you treat people?_

One of the most impressive architectural feats and the greatest military defence project in history is the Great Wall of China. In 1987, UNESCO designated the Great Wall a World Heritage site, and a popular controversial claim that emerged in the 20th century holds that it is the only man-made structure that is visible from space.

Originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang (c. 259-210 B.C.) in the 3rd Century B.C. as a means of preventing incursions from Mongolians and barbarian nomads into the Chinese Empire, the wall is one of the most extensive construction projects ever completed.

History has it that when the ancient Chinese decided to live in peace, they made the Great Wall of China; they thought no one could climb it due to its height. During the first 100 years of its existence, the Chinese were invaded thrice and every time, the hordes of enemy infantry had no need of penetrating or climbing over the wall, because each time, they bribed the guards and came through the doors.

The Chinese built the wall, but forgot the character – building of the wall-guards. Though the Great Wall has over the years become a powerful symbol of the country’s enduring strength and spirit, but it has actually been a good reminder to the Chinese of the superiority of human character.

The Chinese realised much later that the best defence against the enemy is not a fortified wall, but a fortified character. Thus, the building of human character comes before building of anything else.

Prayer is not EVERYTHING! Build relationships, and don’t ever forget that God will always use man. Be mindful of your words and how you speak to people. Work seriously on your character and attitude towards life.

I want to say emphatically that *character is not optional;* it is sacrosanct to the future that God has planned for you. No matter where you place prayers, character matters. *The greatest fraud in life is religion without character.* A man without character is recklessly alive.

William Shakespeare captured it succinctly when he said: *“The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves* .”

Peter Schutz, the former chief executive officer of Porsche said: “ *HIRE CHARACTER; TRAIN SKILLS* .”

Lastly, back in the days when Germany was divided, a huge wall separated East and West Berlin.

One day, some people in East Berlin took a truck load of garbage and dumped it on the West Berlin side.

The people of West Berlin could have done the same thing, but they didn’t.

Instead they took a truck load of canned goods, bread, milk and other provisions, and neatly stacked it on the East Berlin side.

On top of this stack they placed the sign:


How very true! You can only give what you have.

What do you have inside of you?
Is it *hate* or *love* ?
*Violence* or *peace* ?
*Death* or *life* ?
*Capacity to build* or *capacity to destroy* ?

What have you acquired over the years?
*Team spirit* or *pull down* architecture ?


Think about it!

– Author Unknown.



I counted my years
& realized that I have
Less time to live by,
Than I have lived so far.

I feel like a child who won a pack of candies: at first he ate them with pleasure,
But when he realized that there was little left, he began to taste them intensely.

I have no time for endless meetings where the statutes, rules, procedures & internal regulations are discussed,
knowing that nothing will be done.

I no longer have the patience
To stand absurd people who,
despite their chronological age,
have not grown up.

My time is too short:
I want the essence,
my spirit is in a hurry.
I do not have much candy
In the package anymore.

I want to live next to humans,
very realistic people who know
How to laugh at their mistakes,
Who are not inflated by their own triumphs
& who take responsibility for their actions.
In this way, human dignity is defended
and we live in truth and honesty.

It is the essentials that make life useful.
I want to surround myself with people
who know how to touch the hearts of those whom hard strokes of life
have learned to grow, with sweet touches of the soul.

Yes, I’m in a hurry.
I’m in a hurry to live with the intensity that only maturity can give.
I do not intend to waste any of the remaining desserts.

I am sure they will be exquisite,
much more than those eaten so far.
My goal is to reach the end satisfied
and at peace with my loved ones and my conscience.

We have two lives
& the second begins when you realize you only have one.

*This lovely poem was written by Mario de Andrade (San Paolo 1893-1945) Poet, novelist, essayist and musicologist. He was
one of the founders of Brazilian modernism.

Send this to all your friends aged 50 and over

(It is forbidden to keep it)