By Qasim Akinreti, Ph.D
January 1st, 2023, Ben Shemang marks his 60th birthday. That signifies a glorious exit from Voice of Nigeria as an International State Broadcaster. Medium height, black, handsome, soft-spoken, and always full of jokes. That was my boss, Ben Shemang. A multi-lingual international broadcast journalist, trainer, and news administrator, Ben as popularly called by his peers, will be remembered for making significant contributions to Voice of Nigeria.
Immense Contributions To VON
He took over from John Elaigwu, as the Bureau Chief of VON in Abuja in the early years of the movement to Abuja. Yemi Fakayejo, ‘FAKAS”, was the State House Correspondent then. He gave VON more visibility and presence in the nation’s capital. The story of the VON transmission station in Lugbe cannot be completed without the unique inputs of Ben Shemang. Thank you, Oga Ben.
Part of My Tutelage
I met him in 1993 during my internship at Voice of Nigeria, after my post-graduate programme at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, NIJ, Ogba, Lagos. Then he was the VON DEFENCE CORRESPONDENT, with concurrent accreditation to all security agencies. I accompany him to the State House Dodan Barracks, carrying “The Nagra Equipment”. After the state house assignment, he took good care of me. Jokingly, Ben will say in passable Yoruba ” Brother Mi So ti Jeun, Omo Iya wa strong fun ise yin ni o”.
Ben taught me, along with other seniors, news writing and news production, and tagging the audio tapes were quite tedious in those days. Apart from being a Correspondent on beats, you must produce VONSCOPE, SIXTY MINUTES, AND OTHER NEWS PROGRAMMES. Indeed, you are an all-rounder in the newsroom.
He rose through the ranks to become the Director of Training and later the Director of News.
Oga Ben was concerned about my selfless service at NUJ Lagos State Council and pray for me. INDEED, I WILL MISS HIS WISE COUNSEL IN THE NEWSROOM, BUT TECHNOLOGY WILL ASSIST ME TO REACH HIM ANYWHERE.
Enjoy your retirement, Sir. It is well deserved. Surely but slowly, we are also coming to join you as Senior Citizens.
Qasim Akinreti, Ph.D.
Deputy Director Digital Media, Voice of Nigeria, Headquarters, Abuja.