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Imo loses renowned journalist – Prof Onuekwusi, others devastated

Imo State residents woke up to a rude shock, Tuesday, as news of the death of Sir Innocent Eberechukwu Oparadike, one of Nigeria’s foremost journalists, filtered into the media.
Social media commentators sprang to life on receiving the news, streaming emotional eulogies for the departed journalist.
Sir Oparadike, 66, who was a consultant before he died, had a string of firsts in his glorious career.
An old boy of Obazu Community Grammar School (popularly called (OCOGRAM) he had Grade One in the West African School Certificate Examination (WAECE), First Class at the mass communication department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and was the first Nigerian from the south to edit the New Nigerian newspaper based in Kaduna.
He was a pioneer staff of the late Moshood Abiola’s National Concord, a founding editor of The Democrat as well as a significant managing Director of Daily Times of Nigeria and also a pioneer manager of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Owerri.
Oparadike was also a commission for information in the short-lived administration of Chief Evan Enwerem as Governor of Imo State.
An astute administrator, the late Oparadike went for further studies at the University of Lagos where he obtained his masters degree in mass communication.
One of his contemporaries, Prof Jasper Onuekwusi, of the Imo State University (IMSU) who could not contain his bewilderment, released a tribute on the veteran journalist in which he described him as a respecter of knowledge and achievements, a great commentator on public affairs and a great lover of his family and friends.
“You made idols of your teachers who tasked you, mentors who showed the way and world politicians who improved the world. Fidel Castro, the revolutionary leader of Cuba, was one such and you took his name in those days when students identified with great and significant names”, he stated.
He wondered why he had to take his exit barely two months after Castro died on Nov 26, 2016.
Another journalist, Rose Moses, described the news as “so unbelievable,” that “a great man” had gone.  She stated in the social media, that she would be missing the mentorship of the departed journalist.
The late Oparadike hailed from Ogwa in Mbaitoli Local Government area of Imo State.

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