Encounters (10/9/19): You Must Always Dare, By Azuh Arinze


I was still a greenhorn then and fresh from OSISATECH Polytechnic, Enugu, from where I came to do my one-year industrial training.

Looking for where to channel my bustling energy, I volunteered to accompany Mr. Michael Effiong, our Society Editor and others to Asaba, Delta State, where Chief Sonny Odogwu, one of Nigeria’s richest men was having an event.

And no sooner did we arrive than I sighted them, the one and only Dim Chukwuemeka and Iyom Bianca Ojukwu, walking majestically into the venue. Seeing them ‘live’ for the first time and no doubt fear-stricken, I still don’t know how I broke loose from where we were monitoring proceedings to see if I could chat them up.

The Ikemba, of course, scared me away with his stern looks. But not Aunty Bianca. Heavy with her first child, which she still tried unsuccessfully to hide then with what looked like a shawl, she nonetheless managed to oblige me a smile, with a ‘no interview’ quip.

Anyway, after trying unsuccessfully to get her to change her mind, I reluctantly went back to where my bosses were. But on getting back to Lagos, I told Mr. Kunle Bakare, our CEO what transpired at Asaba and he asked me to put in writing. Of course, accompanied with some images of Aunty Bianca and I taken while I was trying to ‘woo’ her by our photographer, Mr. Ajayi Oyebo, who was also part of our crew.

Nearly a page was devoted to it in our next edition, which Aunty Bianca must have seen and relished, especially as it concerns all that I wrote about that memorable encounter. To cut a long story short, our paths crossed again and instantly she recognized me.

Not only that, she also gave me an interview appointment in Enugu. Which I grabbed with both hands. We had our maiden interview when I visited the Coal City to tidy up things for my HND at the Institute of Management and Technology, IMT. Which obviously resonated very well with her again. And thus began our whirlwind relationship, which even till date still stands solidly.

As a matter of fact, I want to believe that I must be among the journalists who have interviewed her the most. I’ve equally broken a lot of exclusives on her – from when she was pregnant to when her twins arrived, their christening and so on. The clincher, however, remains that on May 7, 2005 when I had my traditional marriage in Nnewi, she honoured me with her esteemed presence. A gesture that really, really humbled me.

For emphasis, Iyom Bianca Ojukwu is an extraordinary woman with exceptional education and good breeding. Her father, Chief C.C Onoh, was a revered professional and businessman who later became the Governor of the old Anambra State during those turbulent periods in our national history. A one-time Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, her astonishing and astounding looks also fetched her the diadem of Nigeria’s first Miss Intercontinental.

Now, what am I driving at today? It’s that you must always dare. Believe me, you may not win at your first. But trust me, you will surely win if you persist.

Your persistence, interestingly, will most times yield more than you had thought. Just like that my first encounter with her which eventually did not only yield a couple of interviews, but also a beautiful friendship that I will eternally cherish.

Finally, I urge you to attempt that thing you had been wanting to; hang it on God’s shoulders and then watch Him provide you wings to fly with.

You will fly, you will also succeed. But of course with God; the only One with whom all things are possible. Including, yes, that thing that’s been giving you sleepless nights.

Enjoy your day and thanks so much for reading!



– Azuh Arinze is a journalist, author and motivational speaker

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