I first met Mr. Godwin
Udemegbunam Ugwu in the year 2008 on the premises of the Kwara State Tourism Welfare Board.
Samuel Onibiyo, the then state chairman of Actors Guild of Nigeria, (AGN) Kwara State chapter had invited me to cover activities of the Guild and so most Thursdays I’d come around to get news item for my Entertainment page at The Herald Newspapers.
However, while Onibiyo treated me simply as a journalist doing his job, and rightly so, Godwin wanted me to join AGN and by extension, his Play House, U and I Entertainment.
Of course, our initial interactions were filled with frictions; Godwin, who we fondly call Presido or De-Oracle is not your ‘normal’ kind of human being. He loves questioning and challenging the status quo and he does it with such sheer conviction and confidence that is at first annonying then incredulous and finally infectious.
His ideas may, most of the time, sound out of place, outlandish and even stupid but as time went by I came to understand his driving force which in one word is ‘sacrifice’. He lived a life of sacrifice through and through. He believes so much in giving than in receiving and gives cheerfully.
Anyone who has had a close interaction with this enigma of a man will attest to his life of sacrifice. I remember vividly how he would mobilise members for AGN meetings back then and stay behind to give transport fare to each and everyone that cared to ask him for it and after exhausting his purse he trudges homewards.
I have witnessed him being bullied countless times because of his inadequacies by people who believe they are academically better than him but rather than get angry he seeks out ways to be better.
De-Oracle is not someone who gets angry unnecessarily and like someone once commented, “he’s not someone who is easily downcast or sad.” He always has a smile for every and all situations and even when any of his ‘crazy’ ideas fail he shrugged it off and with a smile reassure himself he did his best.
Best of all, Presido is a lion-hearted leader whose passion for success is infectious. He loves challenges and while others run away from it he embraces it wholeheartedly.
I remember in 2011 when he insisted we go for Sam Loco’s burial in Benin. He brushed aside all my excuses and with a little above N2000 three of us went and returned from Benin City. I can’t say specifically how he managed it but I know that we went, lodged, fed and returned home safely.
The icing on the cake for me on that trip was when, just before activities commenced for the Artist Night, he took me to Ibinabo and introduced me to her. The stark excitement on Ib’s face as she recounted memories of the glory days of The Herald, is something I will forever cherish.
Indeed, Iike all mortals Presido has many weaknesses but what he lacked in formal academics he made up for in his strong character, true life of sacrifice and sincere empathy. His desire and true hunger for knowledge is amazing and at times dumbfounding.
And so today, as we celebrate a go-getter, a bundle of talent and an astute mobilizer on his Golden Jubilee, it is only proper to wish him many more years of service to humanity, the entertainment industry and Kwara in particular.
Happy birthday to a friend and brother, De-Oracle!