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Rasheed Olanrewaju

by crossriverwatch admin

Rasheed Olanrewaju
Rasheed Olanrewaju

Writing about Jude Okwe’s death at this time is not what I prayed for, but as a Muslim, we believe in “Inalahi Wainalahi Rajiunnah” meaning, “It is from Allah we come and to Him alone we shall all return”. This portion from the Holy Quran is what has been my consolation because as a Muslim, I believe in death.

However, writing about Jude Okwe, a senior journalist who I have been reading his reports since his days as the News Correspondent of the defunct Post Express Newspapers, should not have be about his death.

This is because when I met him in 2007 as the Bureau Chief of New Age Newspapers, we easily became friends even though he was my senior and we discussed current issues of politics, economy and even religion which made me to show interest in him the more.

For the few years I knew him in person, I appreciated the trust and love that people felt for this crusading journalist ,Jude Okwe, all you have to do was stay around him either as a journalist, neighbor, relation etc. It was like staying with a friend, brother and a thorough bred professional.

I have been privileged to co-ordinate a couple of rigorous works that involved him and others, his simplicity was simply unequalled.

After I met Jude Okwe personally in 2007 when I resumed as Correspondent of Galaxy Television from Lagos, Jude was one of the few senior journalists that told me about the journalism terrain in Cross River State and I reminded him and Okokon Okpayang of FRCN of being their fan due to the peculiar nature of their news from Cross River State.

Okwe was an inspiration, mentor and friend to many old , young and even new-comer journalists. His news analysis and rigorous reporting, research and features /opinion write ups clearly distinguished him among his colleagues. He humbled a lot of journalists and many of his contemporaries copied this to stretch their boundaries of comfort in both journalism and family life.
Reminiscing the poem of Annemarie Castle “Why You?”

I ask Why You?

Why you Jude, that death suddenly took you away ‎from us…

I sit and wonder why?
why you were taken
without a chance to say goodbye
and as I start thinking and asking this question
with tears running down my cheeks

I remember that Jude did not die a coward. He was brave journalist who loves equity and justice.

And that is why I think God took him away in the holy month of RAMADAN, a month that every Muslim would love ‎to die due to the blessings, piety and spiritual significance of the month.

Also, not many people know that due to his forthrightness and fight for common man, Okwe died on the same day with another renowned and celebrated Human Rights Lawyer, Bamidele Aturu and about the time 17years old Pakistani, Malala Yousafzai came to preach peace in Nigeria. These were clear signs of the departure of a great human.

Okwe, your professional colleagues in NUJ and in particular the Correspondent Chapel in Cross River state will leave to miss and remember your good works.

‎No wonder, early callers at your home after your death were the high and mighty, His Excellency the governor of Cross River State sent a high-power delegation led by the State Commissioner for Information, Akin Ricketts and his Chief Press Secretary, Christian Ita to condole the family and the NUJ.

The Leader of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba did not only visit the family, but also personally signed Jude’s condolence register thus: “you lived for values and stood for principles, you will leave forever in our hearts, great, courageous and principled journalist. Rest in perfect peace”.

Others included elders and veteran journalists in the state,‎ like Chief Victor Effiom, Dr Okpo Ojah, Chief Oqua Atu, professional Unions and senior members of NUJ at the State, Zone and National offices among others.

Jude Okwe was a family man that loved education; he ensured that all his children are given academic foundation. Already four of his children are university graduates with one of them serving as a senior Police officer‎.

Mr. Jude Osang Okwe, was born on the 15th of June 1966, to the family of late Mr. and Mrs. Robert Okwe Alang of Babuan- Alang in Okweriseng village, Ubang in Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State.

He attended Alege Primary School, Obudu between 1972- 1977 and community Secondary School Obanliku beween 1977-1982.

Upon finishing his secondary education, Okwe who was desperate to liberate his community using journalism as a vehicle, enrolled for Success correspondent Exam in Yaba, Lagos state between 1983-1984 where he obtained Correspondent Diploma in Journalism and Business Communication.

Not done yet, young Okwe was admitted into the Polytechnic Calabar from 1988-1990 where he obtained OND in Mass Communication and got his Higher National Diploma (HND) at Federal Polytechic Oko, Anambra State between 1992-1994 in Mass Communication and went for NYSC 1994-1995 in Plateau State.

His desire to get higher qualification continued as he bagged the Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Advertising and Public Relations from Imo State University (IMSU) between 1999-2000 and in 2002 he obtained a Masters Degree in Advertising and Public Relations from the same institution.

A prolific writer, Okwe has worked with several newspapers some of which include The New Agenda and Nigerian Economics Magazine from 1990-1991, National Light Newspapers 1996, The Post Express Newspaper 1996- 2003, New Age Newspaper 2003-2011 and THISDAY Newspaper from July 22, 2011 till his death as a senior correspondent and Bureau Chief of Cross River State.

Adieu Jude Okwe! We Love you but God Loves you more. Till we meet to part no more.

Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair works with Galaxy Television as a Senior Correspondent in Calabar.

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