ASHIEN, AN EXCEPTIONAL ICON, EPITOME OF SELFLESS SERVICE

Celebrating 70th birthday of any Nigerian at this period is a rare feat in a country where the life span of citizens hovers round 50 years of age. If we consider the environment and economic challenges facing us as a nation, we can then appreciate the foresight and wisdom of the organizers of the epochal birthday event to celebrate an icon and Publisher of Ika Weekly Newspaper, in the person of Mr. Steve Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien.
X-raying the life and activities of a very versatile, all-round, exceptional, multi-talented and broad-based character like Mr. Ashien, is not only an uphill task, but also one which is bound to make one to be lost as to how and where to begin.
However, it is in this light that I decided to project this icon whose threat to the enemies of democracy is not only effective but also infectious.
Having monitored him very closely for about six years to note his unique feats, I came to understand Abraham Lincoln, the foremost world leader, properly when he stated, “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
The story of Mr. Ashien has been told and heard by majority of Ika sons and daughters, but permit me to say more about this exceptional icon who has touched lives positively and still doing so.
Ashien as a vibrant and intelligent man became an employer of labour in 1979 when he established his tissue industry in Agbor. He is an example of a patriotic Nigerian and illustrious son of Agbor kingdom who enjoys preaching love, equity, and an advocate of peace and one united Ika nation. His impacts on lives that cross his path need not be overemphasized. His philanthropic gesture helped many less privileged ones to pay their school fees and he also provided educational materials to pupils in rural areas in order to encourage their academic pursuit.
He is principled, a rare gem and a man who is not given to too many words, but would only reiterate if need be for the purpose of emphasis. He is a dogged fighter, honest, trustworthy, an embodiment of Christian virtues. He is a recipient of numerous awards which I cannot completely mention.
Here are some views about him:
Chief Nkemchor Okwokeyen, the Ineh Owa Kingdom

IMG_3281 ASHIEN, AN EXCEPTIONAL ICON, EPITOME OF SELFLESS SERVICE
Chief Nkemchor Okwokeyen, the Ineh Owa Kingdom

The man Central as I may call him has been a great man who has encouraged us a lot. My school, Calvery Polytechnic has benefited from him as he supported us with lots of books for our library among others. We are happy with him and grateful to him.
Professor Leonard F. Ozorba Obika
IMG_3281 ASHIEN, AN EXCEPTIONAL ICON, EPITOME OF SELFLESS SERVICE
Professor Obika

Ashien is a hardworking man and kin in learning. I started buying books from him when I was in Ika Grammar School as he was the only person providing us with books , so coming to know him as an adult, he is excellent and not barely different from what he was in those days. He welcomes people and tries to understand their issues. So I think he is just a wonderful man.
Chief Elder John Ehikwe
IMG_3281 ASHIEN, AN EXCEPTIONAL ICON, EPITOME OF SELFLESS SERVICE
Chief Elder John Ehikwe

It is pleasant to welcome Steve Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien into our club of the 70s. He has been a close brother and friend. By his way of life, he is humble, unassuming and very hardworking and I recommend that for any inspiring man or woman. I wish Ashien many more fruitful years ahead of him.
Mr. Lucky Ojei
IMG_3281 ASHIEN, AN EXCEPTIONAL ICON, EPITOME OF SELFLESS SERVICE
Mr. Lucky Ojei

God is with Ashien, the man whom we are celebrating. If you go through his biography and listen more to those who knew him from the cradle, he was able to come out successfully despite all odds even from primary school. In business today, he is among the first to be reckoned with. He is very intelligent despite his educational background. So I am very sure that it is not his power, but God using him through the Holy Spirit.
Sir Anthony Chuks Obuh
IMG_3281 ASHIEN, AN EXCEPTIONAL ICON, EPITOME OF SELFLESS SERVICE
Sir Anthony Chuks Obuh

He is somebody I met as a very senior neighbor in the sense that while I was in secondary school, he was already running a bookshop and my late father was also involved in the book business. He had the biggest bookshop in the locality so that whenever there was short fall in supplies, we always had him as the last resort to get what we needed.
Talking about his pedigree, Mr. Ashien is somebody who has taken his destiny into his hands and from there onward I had the opportunity of following his progress from selling of books to the printing and now publishing.
However, if you hear that he is the publisher of Ika Weekly News paper, many people will think It’s all rosy and that the path has been so easy for him as he is moving, but I also know that there were times when many people will not envy his situation, that is, he has his own rough times, but I think the strength in him gives him the ability to stand his periods of adversity and being able to overcome them.
The above responses have also proved that Mr. Ashien has been and will always be a source of joy and strength to many. Therefore, as he celebrates his 70th birthday, I and my entire family rejoice with him and pray God to grant him good health, sound mind and more fruitful years in his efforts to continue to impact lives positively.

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