–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):
Prof. was cooking something big. He asked for my contributions. I did and on October 28, 2021, he sent me this on WhatsApp: “This is brilliant. Again, big congratulations. God bless you greatly.” Days after, Prof. passed on.
Since I was a teenager, Prof. envisaged a future for me. He saw my tomorrow when he advised me to take that fateful step that forever changed my identity and which set me on the trajectory of successes. He had asked me that fateful day in his house at the University of Ibadan, “Why are you avoiding what you must confront in the future?” The circumstances were foreboding, but that was a great leap for me. It was all about my education and future. And my identity. Before then, my surname was Akparewa, my maternal grandfather’s name, as determined by near abandonment. But I had Prof.
Professor Abednego Edho Ekoko was my maternal Uncle, I grew in his wings. His care was uncommon, his discipline was gentle but strict, if you understand that flogging with the mouth could be much more effective than with the cane.
I am traditionally versed, partly due to the grooming of Prof, who taught me the nuances and components of our culture and traditions, especially the oral tradition which stand me in good stead today as I get wiser and greying.
My Uncle, Odio (Prof.) Ekoko adopted History before he professed it, he was versatile and entitled with an authoritarian stamp.
As a Professor of History and expert on Boundary Matters, the renowned history scholar, Professor Ekoko was a rare genre of scholar that devoted his research to resolving numerous disputes in Nigeria.
In his time as a National Commissioner, National Boundaries Commission, he became a national asset through his diligence and application of innovative instruments in the amicable resolution of boundary disputes across the country, especially in Delta State.
The feeling of emptiness, deep loss that struck me when news of his passing reached me was overwhelming. Prof. Ekoko, who was the Oketa of Uzere, was a symbol of brotherhood in the Isoko nation and espoused the virtues of education, peace building and good community relations, especially as Odio of Uzere Kingdom. He believed and expanded the frontiers of cultural and traditional values. He was a core traditionalist. He was admitted into the revered traditional institution of Ogba-Edio Uzei (Edio-in-Council) of Uzere.
Prof. Ekoko was always involved in the task of evolving strategies for uplifting the people from poverty and improving the quality of education for the younger generation.
His commitment to ensuring that issues bordering on boundary disputes are handled with requisite expertise made him to work closely as an Adviser to the Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, on Boundary Matters. A role he played in previous governments.
I am saddened by his death at a time we were looking forward to seeing him celebrate his 80th birthday April this year. Isoko Nation has lost an illustrious son, Delta State has lost an erudite scholar, Nigeria has lost a statesman and I have lost a mentor and leader, who thankfully saw me attain what he envisaged for me, prideful that I am Askia Samuel Ogieh.
May the Almighty God grant his soul eternal rest. Amen.
Bashorun Askia Ogieh, FCNA, CrFA
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