On March 22, another bright star who exited Nigeria’s literary and academic firmament on March 3 was buried. Even if his departure did not elicit the kind of attention devoted in this country to the death of political heavy weights, wealthy moguls or social celebrities, the late Mr Peter Alexander AshikiweAdione-Egom, was a truly great and remarkable Nigerian. Born in 1943, Mr. Peter Adione-Egom had a solid education at various institutions, including King’s College, Lagos and later Cambridge College in the United Kingdom, where he studied Social Anthropology and Economics.
Not only did he distinguish himself in academics, this indigene of UkalaOkpumor in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State was also an outstanding athlete in his youth. A restless and uncommon spirit as well as widely travelled man, Adione-Egom lived for some time in Denmark before moving to Tanzania in the early 1970s. In Tanzania, he not only taught economics at the University of Dar-es-Salam, his intellect was recognised at the highest level when he was appointed Financial Adviser to the government of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere.
It was no doubt in the fields of journalism, book publishing and public intellectual advocacy that Peter Adione-Egom made his most memorable and enduring contributions to the country’s development. He forcefully registered his presence in the public consciousness of Nigerians when he became one of the leading columnists of The Guardian newspaper in the early 1980s as a member of the publication’s Editorial Board.
Writing under the rubric of the ‘Motor Park Economist’, Adione-Egom had a unique and unconventional approach to economic analysis that sought to break down complex issues for the illumination and enlightenment of the ordinary reader. Despite his attempts to demystify economic issues in line with his ‘Motor Park’ sobriquet, Adione–Egom’s writings could sometimes be obscure and impenetrable, even to the most erudite experts in the field. In 1985, he was moved to The African Guardian as Economic Editor.
In 1987, Adione-Egom joined the founder of Business in ECOWAS magazine, the late Fred Brume, as a partner, with responsibility for the editorial aspects of the business. He continued his adventures in journalism when he founded and ran his own publications – the Financial Post and Commodity Post – between 1988 and 1992. Between 2003 and 2005, he was a member of the Editorial Board of the Daily Trust newspaper.
Ever restless to explore new frontiers, Adione-Egom began to investigate a new area of specialisation known as Economic Theology. He carried out, in this regard, extensive research at the Ibru Ecumenical Centre, Delta State, between 1999 and 2000, and at the Pope John Paul 1 Catholic Social Centre, Abuja, from 2001 to 2003. Adione-Egom served as Consultant/Publisher at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos, between 2004 and 2011.
It was obvious with time that Adione-Egom’s mind had begun to acquire a more religious orientation when he established the Foundation for Christian Economic Evangelism (FORCEE). His intellectual fecundity and ingenuity was underscored by his adoption of a unique economic model, which he called the Joseph Economics for Social Reconciliation (JESOR). This foundation articulated the view that all can genuinely become citizens and non-subjects in any nation that adopts interest-free and debt-free equity money.
In a bid to familiarise the public with these rather abstract and abstruse ideas, he authored about 10 books in his life time. Adione-Egom’s brilliance, humanity, originality, sense of humour, innocent capacity for mischief and large- heartedness made a deep impression on all those who came across him. He was highly regarded by his peers, even if he did not get the kind of recognition he deserved from the Nigerian state and wider society. We commiserate with his loved ones and pray that his soul rest in eternal peace.