A Reminiscence of the Man, Fr Martin Añusi, As He Bows Out

By Alexander Johnson Adejoh

According to the Holy Bible, there is time for everything: Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Añusi (Digital Director I of Fides Media) has completed the cycle and time here in Fides and has been transferred to St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Neni, for his next pastoral assignment.

Fr. Añusi had seen it all and has, therefore, bowed out in a blaze of glory, after seven glorious years of directing the affairs of Fides Media as its Director, even though he has been a part of Fides as far back as October 1996.

This quintessential communications pundit, who brought to the zenith, the name “Fides” to the world of multimedia, remains one of the best personnel one can work with.

He was born on September 18, 1963, as the fifth child of the family of Nze Michael Igbekwe  Añusi and Mrs. Monica Añusi, both of blessed memory, in Agulu.

Growing up as the third son of Pa Añusi, the young Martin was instilled with mysterious intellect. He was a brilliant pupil who dazzled all with electrifying academic performances that stood him on a pedestal for higher educational pursuits.

Had the back-and-forth of factors that eventually steered his life towards the priestly journey, Fr. Martin would have ended up an erudite scholar, with loud academic accomplishments. In fact, till date he is often referred to as “the Academic Giant”, other call him “Encyclopaedia of Knowledge”.

However, the successes and glories that he would have garnered in the academic world, Don Martino as he is fondly called, got into the priestly vineyard.

Thus, from August 19, 1995, when he was ordained a Catholic Priest of the Catholic Diocese of Awka by the then Bishop of the Diocese, Most Rev. Simon Okafor of Blessed Memory, Fr. Anusi has remained an exceptional priest, known for his quest for the youth apostolate as well as an admirable passion for Media and Communication. Till his last day in Fides, He was on a steady upward swing of success, conquering and dominating the communication and media business environment with his trademark in New Media and Digitalization.

Indeed, the dutiful young Clergy, who started priestly life in the mid 90’s as Assistant Secretary to the late Bishop Okafor, had, also veered into Inculturation and Liturgy; a mark which made him one of the longest serving members of Awka Diocesan Liturgy and Inculturation Commission, (ADLIC).

Though, he began his task as Fides Media Director in October 2015 under some difficult and challenging financial conditions, he indeed was the saviour Fides needed as at the time of his appointment, due to some of the following initiatives and inventions.

He cultured work environment in Fides with his great sense of human management. He worked on the staff working environment by harnessing and equipping most offices, fixed air conditioner in most offices, installed a 48-intercom PABX system with Panasonic digital display phone sets, paid salaries of staff not later than the last day of each month for 7 years, instituted Fides Best Staff Award (FiBSA) as well Fides Best Reporter of the Month Award (FiBROM). He reviewed staff salaries and other working conditions like their maternity leave, etc.

He organised staff formation and skill acquisition, and Fides became a Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, he midwifed the formation of CAMPAN (Catholic Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria) and resuscitated CAEAN (Catholic Artistes and Entertainers Association of Nigeria) as directed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN. He tarred all roads within Fides complex, and gave it such landscaping features that made it look like an establishment usually found in developed countries.

Under him, Fides newspaper won the 2018 Nigerian Catholic Newspaper Award as the “Best Proximity Value/Balanced News Winner”, from the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, CSN, Abuja.

Under his leadership as Fides Media Director,  Fides Newspaper was recognised as the newspaper with the best online presence among Catholic newspapers in Nigeria by Rev. Fr Gerald Musa, lecturer at the Centre for the Study of African Culture & Communication (CESACC), CIWA, Port Harcourt, during the presentation of his paper, “Bridges and Barriers of Online Communication Network: A Reflection on the 2019 World Communications Day Message” at St John Paul II Pastoral Centre, Makurdi, Benue State, in March 2019.

Fides received its greatest online robustness under his leadership. He and his team of Deputy Directors working with him developed Fides Media App in both Android and iOS versions. The App is all encompassing, housing all of the company’s online platforms: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, website, bulletin and newspaper subscriptions, etc. He got D-U-N-S or DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) for Fides Media Limited in October 2020, Fides News Flash and Fides Trends in Anambra Initiative to mention but a few.

As a champion of human capacity development and large-hearted man, Fr. Martin trained and mentored several young people from different parts of Nigeria. Many of them are today successful professionals in their rights. I am a benefactor.

There is hardly a Communication Director in Nigeria that does not have a business or professional relationship with him, directly or indirectly. His impact in the world of social communication has been so profound that his mentees and beneficiaries go as far as almost unionising to keep his legacy.

His footprints will surely remain indelible in the sands of time as he was a youth builder who was passionate about the development of young people.

Don Martino was not from a wealthy background, however, not a slave to wealth. He believed in decent and good living to demonstrate the goodness of God in one’s life. He believes that cleanliness godly. This explained why, he was fashion-conscious, always neat, classic and healthy.

It was not unusual to see him dressed in well-made, trendy traditional wears: Isiagu (for birthday shoot lolz), well-tailored clerical wears, T-Shirts, French suits, Senator, etc.

The Teacher Who Never Gets Tired by Amarachukwu Okpunobi (Your daughter and Last born,)

The most difficult part of every experience sometimes, is recounting and writing all of it down because as time passes, we are warmly overtaken by new events and memories.

You came into my life and casually took charge of every part of it, becoming my father, brother, best friend and mentor.

I am still learning leadership and guidance from you with all necessary discipline and courage to pursue even when it seems tough.

Your sweet chastisements have opened my eyes to new stages of opportunities and strength, guiding me towards standing my grounds and having the kind of career I am proud of.

Not only have you groomed me to be a sound professional, you made working with you an interesting and fascinating experience. I could never understand how you easily fell in love with us, not minding our tribe, colour or tongue.

Having to write this gets me emotional because it gives me the sad chills of goodbye.

We know how impacting you can be and I can only envy the people in your new station.

You’ve been sent to another part of the world to continue to do what you know how to do best; Loving people unconditionally.

Keep being sweet; the teacher who never gets tired.

I Will Miss You Fr Martin by Adejumoke Aminat Alebiosu (From your Adannaya)

One major thing I will miss about Fr Martin is the impact he has made in the lives  of  young people. I’m however convinced that he wont stop impacting young people.

One of his favourite quotes is “You do not meet people, you encounter people”. He has ensured that he made impact on the life of every young person he encounters. He ensures they develop at least one skill. I will be eternally grateful to God that our path crossed.

Don Martino, as many call him, is also an encyclopedia of knowledge, you cannot stay with him for an hour and not learn something new from him. Most times, he does this unintentionally because it has become a part of him to always make people learn and keep learning. Although, very knowledgeable, he ensures that he learns from you as well, irrespective of the age, He is teachable

Looking at Fr Martin, you will be interested in priesthood, he has made priesthood seem very easy.   Fr Anusi carries on with his vocation like it is an easy one. This alone is a great lesson to most of us despite not  being in the vocation.

His dedication to work keeps you going, and you do not want to get tired of working. I often wonder how he keeps up with work and never gets tired. He is always working, he also never complains of work.

Padre, thank you for all the push and support to ensure our lives get better by the day. Thank you for the lessons we have learnt from you. Thank you for all your love. Thank you for your corrections. Thank you for always scolding us when necessary. We do not take all of these for granted.

Farewell Nnamukwu, as you move to Neni for your next pastoral work.

An icon, a trailblazer and a good man bows out.

Congratulations Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Anusi on your new appointment as the Parish Priest of St. Michael’s Catholic Church Neni. You will be greatly missed.