By Uche Amunike
Frank Talk today is dedicated to a beautiful piece of God’s creation who has touched my life in more ways than one. He is my boss, friend, brother, father, confidant and mentor of sorts. He is a true inspiration, a great influence and a man larger than life. He is the wind beneath the wings of all that come close to him. In the media world where I belong, I am popularly called the Queen. In my place of work, my fellow members of staff call me Queen Mother. It might seem just like mere title, but it isn’t. It’s a status. I’m like a symbol of womanhood. Call it the woman who wears the cloak that easily portrays what every woman should be. I am that woman who represents all other members of the female gender. It gets tiring sometimes. It truly wears me out.
Sometimes I feel society expects so much from me. I realize that simply being ME takes a lot of mental, psychological, emotional energy. Did you just ask why? Well, peeps look up to u, expecting u to be near perfect, strong, unbreakable, forgiving, tolerant, and just the ideal woman. My family look up to me to be the pillar that they draw strength from. My children look up to me as their role model that should have no flaws. My daughters tell me they want to be exactly like me when they grow up. My only son tells me he prays to marry someone exactly like me. My dear husband looks up to me to be his strength, his haven and his peace. It is tiring. It drains my energy. It really is tiring being strong most times and smiling through tears and the struggles of my daily existence just to give hope and energy to all who look up to me. That’s where this amazing gentleman I celebrate today comes in. He is Rev Fr (Dr) Martin Anusi.
He is that man I go to, just to talk, laugh and unburden my mind most times. Such visits to his office are very therapeutic. I just look at him listening and gisting and telling me his life experiences. It doesn’t matter the weight his shoulders carry. He always offers his shoulders. Each time, I leave his office during such visits, I see myself feeling lighter and better. It truly is a priceless feeling. Today, I celebrate him on this column as a man who has touched many lives in his earthly sojourn. I thank God for the gift of him. He truly is the best definition of God’s gift to humanity. He remains my fortress, strength and true inspiration.
Kindly read the posts of some of his friends and acquaintances during my interaction with them about this amazing gentleman…
Fr Tony Godonu
Director of Communications, Archdiocese of Lagos
He is a gentle and committed Priest/Communicator with readiness to transmit knowledge to others. I wish him many happy returns in the Lord’s vineyard. Cheers!
Very Rev Fr Patrick Alumuku
Director Catholic Television Network, Abuja,
President, SIGNIS Nigeria.
I will like to wish Fr Martin Anusi a happy birthday. He is an outstanding member of the Communications team in Nigeria today and the efforts he has made to beef up the communications work in Awka is outstanding. I wish him a very happy birthday. I look forward to great collaboration with him in the years to come. I know that we have a lot to share in common and together in the future of communications in the church in Nigeria. I see him as a great mobilizer for us in the sector of communication. I also applaud his work with his staff and colleagues in the Onitsha Province, especially at the Fides Media. I pray that God will give him strength and good health as he moves forward
Rev Fr Engr Chetanna Jude Chukwuneke
Chaplain, St Camillus de Lellis Catholic Chaplaincy, College of Health Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Okofia, Nnewi Campus.
Don Martino and Nnamukwu are very common names I call him. Our paths crossed from the mid 90s, then as a mentor I secretly admired. He was the first Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen I read through his homilies and reflections. His spirituality, pastoral availability, dynamism, creativity, passion, convictions and zeal is unrivalled. I had never seen a pastor whose words and logics are so convincing and convicting. After 16years, we reconnected but now still as mentor, motivator and facilitator, his mastery at understanding uncommon approaches, tactics and skills is his greatest selling point. He brings out the best in his friends and subordinates and taps on new opportunities and talents. He is a product of books and experience. He is a living and mobile encyclopedia and there is no dichotomy between his wealth of knowledge and his life, himself and his priestly ministry! Happy birthday to my friend and mentor that has given me (and us), the inertia to fly and soar beyond limits and a big brother who believes in me like one believes in the bible!
Rev Fr Prof. Anthony B.C Chiegboka
Prof of Religion and Society, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Fr Martin, as a priest in the diocese is quite remarkable and distinguished. My first encounter with him was when I served as an Auxillary when he came in as an external student of Isuaniocha. He took over from me in teaching mathematics and he extraordinarily handled that course for the final students. And when, eventually we gathered in the Senior Seminary and he eventually became a priest, the distinction flowered and his industry, impeccable. His wisdom is actually something else in terms of the growth and development of the diocese in all the positions he handled until he ended up as Director of Fides. So, today on his birthday, II wish him goodwill and God’s blessings for greater years ahead so that he will continue to make impact, not only in the diocesan level, but also in the wider society. Happy birthday to him!
Rev. Fr Benjamin Achi
Director of Communications, Catholic Diocese of Enugu
Fr Martin Anusi is a brother and friend who I admire a great deal. Highly endowed intellectually and otherwise, he is yet so humble and down-to-earth. His love for justice, predilection for rectitude, penchant for excellence and administrative competence not only commands respect, but makes him an inspiration to those that come across him. I’m very happy to be associated with Fr Martin and I wish him many more years of joy and fulfilment as he celebrates his birthday.
Comrade Emma Udeagha
Secretary, NUJ Anambra State Council
Rev. Fr. (Dr). Martin is a study in humility. Greater or lesser men with his outstanding background and worldview may be naturally inclined to be pompous, bossy and difficult to please and possibly intolerant as managers of men. But those who know him will readily attest to the fact that Fr. Martin’s greatest asset is his disarming humility and ordinariness in his priestly vocation, his office at FIDES Media and his outside life. He will smile you into his office even if you are not welcome, listen attentively and even sympathetically to your problems and even calm you down. At the end of the interview, you might go away, rightly or wrongly believing you have won. But he is seldom carried away by your rosy side of the case. He must hear the other side and reach a balanced, if not faultless conclusion. This calmness of mind and objective analysis of issues singles him as a man.
Rev Fr Chris Anyanwu.
National Director of Communications/Dep. Secretary General, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja.
Martin is a committed and serious minded person. I wish him many more fruitful years of God’s blessings .
Fr. Pat Amobi Chukwuma.
St. James Catholic Church, Neni
There are priests and there are priests. The man and priest called Martin Anusi is one among equals. He was conceived of man and born by a woman. His birth was unique. Right from his conception God was preparing him for the priestly ministry. He is not a giant nor is he a dwarf. His height and hard work add meaning to his being and his vocation. He is blessed with extraordinary intelligence and wisdom. As a priest he is philosophically and theologically a genius. His simplicity, humility and cheerfulness are additional virtues in him. Indeed Father Martin Anusi is a big blessing to God, to the Church, to humanity and to his family. Happy birthday to Padre Martino!
Nnaoma Gab Okpalaeze
Director, News and Current Affairs, ABS Awka
Friends, Nigerians, people of the world: Lend me your ears.
I want to give my own narrative of the man whom it pleases God to count among his priests in the order of Melchizedek, as he marks his birthday. Before now, as a lay faithful in the Catholic faith, I happened to be among those who erroneously believed that reverend fathers not assigned to parishes are those that have a ‘comma’ in their way of shepherding the flock, or put simpler, those causing their Local Ordinaire (Bishop) some serious ‘headache’.
After meeting Father Martins Anusi, a priest of Awka diocese, Anambra state, Director of Awka diocesan newspaper, Fides Media and Director of Social Communications in Awka diocese, all those wrong impressions erased permanently from my mind and I guess, in the minds of all whose paths have crossed with his. This is because, through his brand of service to God and humanity, Padre Martino has made that biblical ecstatic pronouncement by the ancient city of Athens, ‘the gods have come down to us in the likeness of men’, a recurring thing in the sub consciousness of his staff in the office, clients, professional colleagues and the rest of internal and external publics of Fides Media.
Here is a thoroughbred professional, who aptly combines his mission of soul winning for Christ with the act of transforming a well thought out vision into reality. Fr Martins’ input has tremendously manifested in Fides becoming a force to reckon with in the media industry, playing alongside other secular and national dailies and breaking new grounds in commercial printing.
If Padre Martino’s foray into areas that appear to have long been exclusively preserved for business gurus is tripping you already, wait till you see how he comes down the level of the lowest of the wrung of the ladder to deploy men, money and materials to achieve high class results. I have heard the talk by Pope Francis that good shepherding entails the shepherd mingling with the sheep, tending to their needs for food, shelter, companionship, warmth, good health and care, which in the process, taints the shepherd with droppings of the animals, and making him smell like them. Ever since I heard the papal admonition and exhortation, I have only been asking God to help my unbelief as I considered this a tall order for priests and the religious.
But again, Fr Martin, makes you believe that by practical demonstration, he is not a boss, but a colleague to all his staff the rank and file inclusive. No wonder he is a friend to his gatemen, gardeners, proof readers, computer operators, editors, reporters and co-priests who work with him. In summary, here is a marriage counsellor (many journalists have been encouraged to marry from Fides in recent times and are living happily thereafter), a bridge- builder,(though owned by the Catholic Church, Fides under him employs professionals of different denominations and varying orientations), above all, Padre Martino is a social communicator, call it social mixer or socialite, and you ain’t far from reality.
As this prince of the church marks the anniversary of his birth here on earth, the heavens are rejoicing that here is an ordinary mortal, making himself available for use by the holy spirit, in achieving extra ordinary feats. HBD, Fada Martin Chuks!!!