July 5, 2013

Unegbu, ex-editor, West African Pilot dies at 89


First generation journalist and former Editor, West African Pilot, Chief Herbert Unegbu, is dead.

He died at his home in Onitsha, Anambra State, on  Wednesday, June 3, 2013. Details of circumstances surrounding his death were not available at press time but family friends said his death might have resulted from old age-related sickness.

His close friend and former Press Secretary to the Head of State during the military regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo, Igwe Ezeoba Alex Nwokedi, disclosed the news of his death to Vanguard yesterday.

Born November 9, 1924, Herbert Unegbu had his education in Onitsha and started writing in the same place.  He was a renowned columnist and anchor of the popular Unu Habib which became his alias. He made his marks in journalism having served as news editor, Daily Times; editor, West African Pilot, one of the chain of newspapers of late former Governor-General of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.

Also, Unegbu was eastern regional editor, Radio Nigeria and, at the declaration of Biafra, became head of news, Biafran Broadcasting Corporation when it had Voice of Biafra and Radio Biafra for foreign and local contents respectively.

Unegbu, a notably detribalised Nigerian of eastern extraction, had good relationship with late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, which led to the opportunity he had to meet with the former Premier of Western Region in his prison abode; the story of which he told Vanguard in an interview in 2010 entitled, “What Awolowo told me in prison.”

His media contemporaries in that era included Peter Osugo, Alex Nwokedi, Peter Enahoro, Peter Obe, Emmanuel Jaja who emerged later as managing director of Daily Times, Olu Fadairo, Sonny P. Chu Okongwu and many others

He was survived by two wives and children.