By Bose Adebayo
The service of songs was part of an elaborate funeral programme organised for the late media guru, Dr. Stanley Macebuh who passed on last March at the age of 67 and was buried at the weekend.
And to underline the respect the man commanded among his peers, the occasion drew an appreciable crowd of well-wishers, especially many Old Boys of Kings College who came from far and near to pay their last respects to the departed. Venue was the Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church Hall, Oba Akinjobi Road, Ikeja, Lagos
Indeed it was a solemn gathering and many could not hold back their tears as they wept profusely even when the occasion demanded for a song. For them, words alone could not express the sorrow they felt that day. Former Minister for Information Dr. Walter Ofonagoro often comes across as one enamoured of the desire to demonstrate his love for music at any given opportunity.
But that Tuesday the photograph of his late friend which was conspicuously displayed on the wall robbed him of this passion. He was among several in the gathering who remained visibly sorrowful till the curtain was drawn on theÂ programme. In fact, he lost his voice on that day as the congregation solemnly chanted: â€œFor all the saints who from their labour rest, O lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, have you been to Jesus for the cleasing power and amazing graceâ€.
The rich presence of people from different ethnic backgrounds proved quite a befitting honour for the veteran journalist and pioneer Managing Director of The Guardian newspapers.
Macebuh was also an Editor-in-Chief of The Post Express newspaper before assuming the role of Senior Special Assistant on Public Communications to former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
â€œI love Stanley so much and I came for the service of songs. But when I came here and saw his picture, I could not sing throughout the programme,â€ Ofonagoro told Vanguard Metro.
In his tribute, he described the late journalist thus: â€œStanley made an impact in his life time. He had no knownÂ enemy; he was everybodyâ€™s friend and gave his all to his friends, country and to any cause he stood for. He is one of the human beings I know who believe in being his brotherâ€™s keeper and loved his neighbour as himself.
He has a first class intellect and he gave it to his country. He held powerful positions but he stayed away from accumulating wealth. He was more interested in making an impact than making an empire. He was a patriot. Nigeria should mourn him because we have lost a great manâ€.
On his part,Â the PresidentÂ of Kings College Old Boysâ€™ Association, Dr. Sonny Kuku described the deceased as a student of classics who was top of his class in Latin. â€œIt is with great pride that I claim his lifeâ€™s work and achievements as another glaring evidence of his greatness. From the plethora of tributes that have filled the print and electronic media in Nigera after his demise, it has become quite manifest that he has earned his place in the history of journalism in Nigera as the founding father of apolitical, constructive, well reasoned, cerebral and soul searching analysis in Nigeriaâ€™s development of the fourth estate of the realm. The news of Stanley Macebuhâ€™s passing away came as a rude shock. I was privileged to know and associate with him first, as a fellow kinsman, as a close friend and then, as an icon of his chosen field of professional journalism,â€Â he said.
In his tribute, the Chief Operating Officer, Guardian Press, Dr. Alexander Thomopulos described Macebuh as a core professional who disliked idleness. â€œHis death is painful and a great loss to this country; we shall continue to mourn him,â€ he noted.
Cousin of the deceased, Mrs. Silva Esajire said he was caring and compassionate. â€œHe was somebody of a remarkable character. We have lost a great man whose vacuum cannot be filled by anybody,â€ he submitted. In his exhortation, Venerable Oluwagbemiga Onayemi described Macebuh as a symbol of humility. â€œWe are what we are by the grace of God and should not be full of ourselves and refuse to come to Christ as we did not know when the heart started to beat; in like manner, we do not know when we should go,â€ he said.