God’s Burning Bush
By Osondu Ahirika
When I read it, I didn’t know whether to smile, wink or weep. This was the affidavit of ace broadcaster and a Phenomenon of the airwaves, Michael Bush, on his 27th Anniversary on Radio and Television. He wrote on his verified Facebook page:
“Hurray! The Boss is 27 on air!
1.0 5th June, 1993 was the first day I presented on live radio, FORMALLY. Today makes it 27 solid years. 27 years is not moi-moi, even if I say so myself.
2.0 With thanksgiving, I congratulate me. Many thanks to all those who played a role or two at the beginning, in the middle, and going forward. See you all at the top!
3.0 God bless broadcasting/journalism. God bless Akwa Ibom state of Nigeria. God bless our World! …B”.
Of a truth, a Prophet has no honour in his hometown. Aware of this, and seeing the numbing, even eerie indifference from us all, who have been blessed, informed, educated and entertained, listening to him as he hit the 27 marks, all Bush could relate with and resort to, was, imitate the forlorn, self-comforting example of the lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground, insisting, he would praise himself if no one else did” I was guilty of that abdicate act of not celebrating Michael Bush. Indeed, we all are, especially, his kith and kin, Akwa Ibom State. Were Bush to be from other climes, he would have long been hoisted as a totem of broadcast journalism for upstart’s to look up to and veterans to look back at. He is an Institution as far as this turf is concerned. I shall shortly return to that.
But let me talk about the essential makeup of this icon.
This Son of a fisherman, who by self-attestation, says, he saw the first vehicle and electricity at teenage, (having grown up in a remote fishing port in the Republic of Cameroon), hates to be described as a self-made man. As apt as that description may sound in defining his rise to stardom, he is correct, because, in truth, only God can make a man. For Michael Bush, God’s grace found and propped him up against the most formidable odds of life.
Since he emerged on the scene, Michael has kept a matchless record of living for others. He is a model of what a humanist should be. He gives his all and keeps giving to a fault, time, resources and effort, all exerted at helping others find their feet and hold out, with hope. He does not give because he got into government, having been recently appointed Special Assistant on Electronic Media by His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, but because, he was born with a charity in his heart. Like a Nollywood sensation, Aniebiet Francis, noted, “If Mr. Michael Bush posts half of the support he gives to people on social media….!” If he did, we would be left prattling for ages on the incredible feats his Help Ministry has accomplished.
Michael is God’s burning Bush in this miserable world that breeds hope after all. As a broadcaster who pioneered independent production on Akwa Ibom State Broadcasting Corporation, AKBC Radio/TV and historic penetration of Radio Nigeria Network as an independent Producer, Bush has set a pace and carved his peculiar, unique niche amongst the pantheon of the greats in the art.
When he founded Worldwin Media Resources 27 years ago, he christened it The BUSH HOUSE, with, ‘The House the Lord Himself buildeth’ for the sloganeering. From thence, he has set the airwaves on fire with unprecedented creativity, innovativeness, panache and class manifest in his many apartments, including, 20 Questions, Udom Cares, Akwa Ibom Calling among others. With what he code-named, BUSH HOUSE HOSPITALS, Bush mounted with devotion and inspired sense of duty, outreach to the sick, with a spirit of responsibility towards God and compassion for man. He made it his struggle to look out for the traumatized, pay their hospital bills, clean the Hospitals and provide supplies where necessary. Broadcasting gave him the window to put his humanitarian principles to practice, and by his heroic deeds, a lamp of hope was lit in countless distressed lives and impoverished homes.
To many other’s, who have gone on to thrive and excel on the broadcasting turf, he was a mentor, who gave them a shoulder to stand on and blossom. His legacy will never wither, even for ages to come. On social media, his page is a living spring of ancient and modern wisdom. Following him is like having refresher courses in Cambridge or Harvard, or any such lofty institutions which pride in their offer of composite learning. His every Monday Column, ‘Talking Nonsense’, with the Sun Newspaper, is a readers’ intellectual feast.
Among his peers, his style abounds with elegant erudition, ease and sweetness. As he is wont to say, he is the love of our ear’s, whenever he is on air. His creativity and stagecraft set a standard and gave the inspiration a new generation of broadcasters have compulsively followed.
He is an exceptional ‘improvisatore’, ever springing up with new dimensions. He seems to have risen above his profession. As a describer of events, a professional storyteller, a writer and a presenter, he has fashioned for himself, a great tradition and history. He is, perhaps, more than anyone else I can quickly call to mind, the paragon of excellence, the epitome of the audience’s delight and the expression of the total gamut of the electronic medium which he has mastered and made his habitat.
Akwa Ibom State is blessed to produce illustrious citizen’s who are firsts’ in many endeavours. Gen. Wellington Bassey was the first Nigerian to be registered in the Army. Prelate Emeritus Sunday Mbang was the first Nigerian to be elected President of the World Methodist Council, Dominic Ekandem was the first Nigerian Catholic Bishop to attain the rank of Cardinal, Inspector Samuel Peter is the first flying the Nigeria flag to become World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and Michael Bush, unarguably shares this platform, as the first Nigerian to pilot an Independent production on Radio Nigeria Network programming.
Akwa Ibom State should roll out the red carpet and celebrate her own. He should be aided, abetted, supported and empowered to stand tall, and possibly create a CNN, CBN or BBC equivalent here in this beautiful State. That’s his dream, which I sieve from his parodic musings annexed hereunder. Bush wrote:
“Since the first week of this month when I marked 27 years on air, one recurring question I’ve been made to field on and off air is when would a Bush House Nigeria radio or television station come on stream? The untold pain that this pressure evinces per time is better imagined than experienced. Most Nigerians work so hard and qualify so well but find ourselves limited or denied by the Nigerian factor.
If those who always pose this question would leave me alone once they know, I applied and fulfilled all the protocol for a licence in 2012. On the eve of leaving power, President Goodluck Jonathan -as he then was- came quite close to signing it but. Sadly, with 2020 half gone, things remain as they were. Notwithstanding, I’m convinced that if God keeps Jesus from returning soon, our radio and television stations shall hit the airwaves sooner than the mockers believe.
As for Nneka, Winnie, EbubeAbasi and the rest of The BUSH clan and me, we shall never ever give up.
We know that because our Father is the referee of life, there’s no way the whistle would go without we winning”. I say a loud Amen to this prayer. May we see this vision come to fruition. Michael is God’s burning Bush in our world. We are blessed he is of our generation. Congratulations The Boss on clocking 27 on air. Here’s wishing you many more splendid years of keeping the Bush Burning with flames of revealed knowledge and enlightenment.