Malian ethnologist, Amadou Hampâté Bâ once said that the death of an old man or sage in Africa is like the destruction of a whole library. Edo and Delta states,indeed Nigeria just lost a library.
Legendary journalism sage,Mr.Eric James is dead, gone with so much wealth-a mountain of knowledge.Doyen of journalism in the defunct Bendel state,he was former General Manager of Delta Broadcasting service Warri.
According to family sources, Mr James died in Agbor last Sunday,31st of January 2021 at the age of 70.
A British trained journalist,the late Mr.James attended the famous
London school of Journalism,where he launched a phenomenal career beginning with Scotland Yard tabloid.
He returned to Nigeria in the 70s and joined the Bendel Newspapers limited,publishers of the Benin-based Nigerian Observer as a pioneering editorial staff rising to the top echelon.
The late James subsequently moved over to Bendel Television when it made its debut, in 1981 to establish the news and current affairs unit,opening a long drawn stint in broadcast journalism,culminating in his appointment as Chief executive officer of DBS Warri on the 26th of March 2009.
He was best known for his lucid, racy and colourful writings on contemporary issues and also earned high reputation and critical acclaim for his masterful hosting of the popular “BBS TV GUEST”a current Affairs Programme which was renamed “DBS TV GUEST” following the creation of Delta state in 1991.
He was the iconic host of the longest running Television Programme in the defunct Bendel and later Delta, where he interviewed hundreds of personages including presidents, all the military and civilian governors as well as captains of industry, frontline traditional rulers, religious leaders and celebrities.
He also created a flagship programme on Delta Radio, “Make Country Better” a didactic talk show on the ills and fortunes, trials and triumphs of the Nigerian society.He had an eventful journalism profession in his life time, which took him to Britain, Bulgaria and several parts of Africa.
The late Mr. James was a mentor to a generation of journalists from the old Bendel to Edo and Delta.I am a grateful mentee.Tutelage under him was more profound than a PHD class.
A prodigious script writer, he could churn out a masterpiece in 5 minutes on any topic in the world. He was so patient in teaching but finicky in details.He was a man of two worlds.African and Eurocentric.He had spartan home grown values of decency tinged with polished English manners.
This twin cultural heritage gave him an archetypal effect- extremely disciplined,self assured in carriage and cosmopolitan in character.He dressed so neat,ever natty whether in native or shirt. He was also a pious man who took the service of God seriously. A model of journalism and life.
Our sombre thoughts are with his loving family, his wife Irene ,children ,grand children and ralations.
Eric James… farewell master!