By Our Reporters

NIGERIANS from all walks of life have continued to express shock at the sudden death of ace columnist, Chief Pini Jason Onyegbaduo, Saturday morning, with  former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, describing it as “another haemorrhage of distinguished professionals that has befallen the country at large and journalism in particular.”

Similarly, Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, described the sudden passage of the celebrated writer as a sad loss, while his Delta State counterpart,  Emmanuel Uduaghan lamented that he died at a time when his wise counsel and respected foresight on national issues were most needed.

In a statement issued on his behalf by his media office in Abuja on Sunday, the former vice president said the late veteran columnist had distinguished himself as a fearless writer that never hesitated to be on the side of what was right, regardless of whether it was pleasing to the ears of the powers that be or not.

According to Atiku, whether you agreed with the late Jason or not, you must not fail to respect his courage of conviction and the bluntness with which he expressed those convictions in his servings in his Vanguard column.  The former vice president also commended the extraordinary humility of the late Mr. Jason and the passion with which he was committed to his trade. He recalled that the deceased returned to his column writing after serving in the administration of former Governor Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State, saying that few Nigerians would have demonstrated such humility once they had inhaled the aroma of power.

He extended his condolences to the family of the late distinguished columnist and the Vanguard newspapers.

Pini Jason a quintessential writer —Oshiomhole

In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Peter Okhiria, Comrade Oshiomhole described Pini Jason as a quintessential writer in a class of his own. “He was a wordsmith who used the right coinages to convey his message which the high and low found endearing. I always looked forward to reading his robust and incisive columns in the Vanguard every week, as he always had something new and refreshing to offer.

His death is a big blow not only to the journalism profession but to all of us, his admirers. I commiserate  with Uncle Sam Amuka, the Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers who, undoubtedly, has lost a good friend; the entire Vanguard family and indeed every member of the Journalism profession on this sudden loss. I pray God to grant his immediate family the fortitude to bear the loss and for the deceased to find rest in the Lord’s bosom,” the Governor said..

*Pini Jason
*Pini Jason

He was a consummate writer —Uduaghan

His Delta State counterpart, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan described the late Pini Jason as a consummate writer whose passion for the journalism profession was unmistakable and a source of pride to those who read every week. In statement signed by his Press Secretary, Mr. Felix Ofou, Governor Uduaghan  lamented that the celebrated columnist died when his wise counsel and respected foresight on national issues were most needed. He noted that it will be difficult to fill the void left behind by the Imo State-born journalist.

Celebrated columnist

”You did not have to agree with everything he wrote. You may even think he was biased sometimes about what he wrote. But you could never miss the fact that he was very passionate about his passion. His sense of history also made him a compelling read. And I dare say he has left a void very difficult to fill,” he stated. Governor Uduaghan expressed his heartfelt condolences to the Publisher of Vanguard, Mr Sam Amuka, the management and staff of the newspaper as well as the family of the deceased on the irreplaceable loss.

Ohakim mourns him

Immediate past Governor of Imo State, Chief Ikedi Ohakim, whom the late Pini Jason served as a Special Adviser, described his death as “a rude shock, especially as we were never told that he was sick.” Ohakim, who made his feelings known in a telephone interview, also lamented that he has lost a very dear friend and brother in Pini Jason.

“I am as shocked as I am totally confused over the reported death of my very good friend and brother, Pini Jason. He worked closely with me and religiously for the state. His sudden death is indescribable.” While calling him “a rare gem, who did everything to print his name on the sands of time,” Chief Ohakim, however, lamented that Jason died barely three or four days after Dr. Aloysius Aguwa, former Commissioner for Petroleum and Environment, died in a ghastly road traffic crash.

“I recall that I went out of my way to invite quality human beings to serve in my cabinet. That was how I brought Dr. Aguwa from the United States of America and Pini Jason from Lagos,” Ohakim said. Continuing, the former Governor said: “It is true I am today, grieving over their death but I have no reason to regret ever bringing them to serve the state. They were very dependable”.

Pini was a man of integrity —Orji Uzor Kalu

Former Abia State Governor and Publisher of Sun Newspapers, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, also expressed deep sorrow over the death of prominent columnist. In a statement by his Special Adviser, Oyekunle Oyewumi, Dr. Uzor Kalu stated that even in the season when a lot of men of integrity were losing their heads, the late Pini Jason kept his integrity intact and this reflected in his writings.

He described the prominent columnist who died on Saturday, as one of the few consciences of the nation, adding that he excelled in his chosen profession. Kalu said: “Pini Jason’s death is quite lamentable, especially at this time when such intervention as he makes with his column is quite needed. Inasmuch as we cannot decide for God when any man should die, his death at this point in time is quite painful.” Kalu commiserated with the family of Onyegbaduo and wished him eternal rest.

He was one of journalism’s finest —Ayogu Eze

Senator Ayogu Eze, who once edited the defunct Platform Magazine with Pini as a regular columnist, said he was shattered by the news of Pini Jason’s death. “It is really shocking and very sad. “Nda Pini” as we used to call him, was one of journalism’s finest. Above all, he had above average grasp of the issues of the day.

In the field of politics, economics as well as sociology, Pini had the intellectual clarity to comprehend and break very complex issues down, He was always one of the first to write on issues that touch directly on the people; he was a true Nigerian, a true Igboman and a first class professional. We shall miss him very sorely and we pray God Almighty to grant his soul eternal rest and grant the family he left behind  the fortitude to bear the loss,” Senator Ayogu who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Works said.

Journalism impresario is no more —Delta Information Commissioner

Also reacting to Pini’s death, the Delta State Commissioner for Information, Chike Ogeah, described him as a journalism impresario who exhibited a high sense of duty and commitment to his country.  In  a statement yesterday, Ogeah described the death of the Vanguard columnist as a loss to the journalism profession.

His words: “Every democratic culture is nurtured by the deep insights and analyses of news and political developments by commentators. Pini Jason was one such writer for Nigeria.

His death is a sad loss not only to journalism and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, but the entire country. At this time of Nigeria’s search for a perfect union and enduring democratic culture, Pini Jason’s professionalism, candour and deep thoughts will be sorely missed.

I had the privilege of meeting him in 1986 during his time at This Week Magazine through my friend, Nduka Obaigbena and my impressions of him as a writer that valiantly sought a country where justice and equity reign have been reinforced over the years.

I pray for eternal rest for his soul and may the ideals he espoused through his weekly column find a new set of disciples within Nigeria’s media community.”

Mr. Yushau Shuaib, the man whom the late Pini Jason wrote a letter to in his last column published on Tuesday, April 30, also joined to pay tribute to the late columnist. “Pini Jason was not only a detribalised personality, he strongly believed in our Nigerianess and oneness of our great nation. His humility and courage were clearly reflective on the titles and contents of his topics.

I regret my inability to see him in life or speak to him on phone after his literary intervention on the place of activism in civil service, on the one side and whether one could take into writing as a hobby. He was one of those great columnists some of us read and study while we were still in school We couldn’t judge him by the sound of his name because he was truly a nationalist, peace lover, humble and veteran columnist,” he wrote.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.