The Anambra State government has expressed grief on the passing away of the respected journalist Uche Ezechukwu and the iconic musician Daniel Ian Mbaezue, popularly known as Dan Ian.
Uche Ezechukwu was a much travelled journalist and linguist who had the interest of his beloved Anambra State dear to his heart. A foundation staff member of the defunct Satellite newspapers in Enugu, and Daily Triumph in Kano, he later became the founding editor of Ikemba Odumegwu-Ojukwu’s magazine New Globe and was on the editorial board of Haroun Adamu’s Nigerian Economist. He ranked as one of Nigeria’s most resourceful columnists with his much sought-after column “Capital Matters” in Daily Sun.
Fluent in German, French, Igbo and English, Ezechukwu was educated at St. Peter’s Secondary School, Achina, and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, before furthering his linguistic studies in France. He was the author of a handful of books such as Ojukwu: The ‘Rebel’ I Served, Abacha: The Man and The Myth, and AVM Canice Umenwaliri: In God’s Hands etc.
It is a mark of Ezechukwu’s endearment to Anambra State that Governor Willie Obiano was among the highest donors when the veteran journalist was hospitalized and operated on two years ago.
The other Anambra doyen who departed to the great beyond, Dan Ian-Mbaezue was a master musician who honed his craft in the time of war on the band of the Biafran Air Force. After the war, he upped the ante of his musicianship in the city of Aba, the acclaimed culture capital of the then East Central State, and formed Wings with other great musicians like Spud Nathan, another great son of Anambra State, who incidentally held from Ihiala Local Government Area like Dan Ian. He released two monster hits, Fuel for Love and Money to Burn, with his musical group named Wrinkars Experience. Wrinkars Experience was one of the musical groups whose exploits went a long way to revive the spirit of Eastern Nigerians after the Nigerian Civil War which ended in January, 1970. Their exploits are comparable to those of Rangers International Football Club of Enugu which no sooner than the War ended dominated the Nigerian football scene and heroically represented Nigeria in various international competitions.
Dan Ian was a star attraction on Easter Sunday, 2017, when the Anambra State Government played host to the acclaimed old musicians and Rangers players who helped to shore up the psychological makeup of the Igbo people. It was commendable that the musical festival took place at Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka to honour these maestros and footballers who performed with an infectious sense of history and mission at a time that the country was engulfed by crass philistinism. The event portrayed the Willie Obiano administration as steeped in history, culture and enlightened values.
Governor Obiano was to specifically invite Dan Ian to do a special performance at his second term inauguration, a rousing performance that brought all the dignitaries throbbing on the dance floor.
The Anambra State Government condoles with the families of Ezechukwu in Amesi, Aguata Local Government, and Mbaezue of Ihiala, praying fervently for the repose of the noble souls of Uche Ezechukwu and Dan Ian-Mbaezue.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment, Anambra State.