By Assin Godstime

Publisher of Urhobo Current Affairs.

I had just returned to Urhoboland after years of my father’s demise. The Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa had recommended me to the late Ovie of Ogor (my paternal home) and the Ovie of Ughelli (my maternal home), and with such a powerful letter coming from one of the country’s foremost kings in my hands, I could enter where others find difficult. More importantly, I returned home having written quite a number of books to my name.

A year after there was a need to meet with the Owhorode (King) of Olomu Kingdom. I actually needed someone who would call Papa that one of his sons needed to see him, even if it was a brief meeting. While I battled with whom to recommend me, I remembered my cousin, the late Professor (Engineer) Philip Kuale who was then resident in Ogoni-Olomu, the headquarters of Olomu Kingdom. Kuale’s mother was Assin’s sister. Therefore Kuale and I are cousins.

Assin Godstime, Publisher of Urhobo Current Affairs

To cut the story short, Kuale facilitated my meeting with the Owhorode of Olomu for the first time. On that fateful day, Ajuwe had just returned from a meeting of kings. Kuale had earlier notified him of my visit. I was already in his palace when he entered in his entourage. I was temporarily agape upon sighting him. Everyone stood as he approached where we sat. Presently, we paid obeisance to him. He seemed to have known everyone except me. Briefly, turning to me, he asked: “Who are you?”

Confidently and courageously, I replied, “I am Assin..”. He asked me if I were the son of Assin who hails from Oviri-Ogor and responded politely. He told me he knew my father more than 70 years ago and that they once lived together while growing up. He asked me to follow him and I marched with him like a colossus. We got to the sitting room, large and classic. He sat on the throne raised above a platform. I remained standing until he sat and he instructed me to sit in a jiffy. Soon, happily, we began to feast. He called on one of the palace home keepers to bring drinks and a neatly washed bowl. He presently had two bottles of wine to me and a cash sum and then prayed for me. He urged me to be of good character and prayerful. In the end, he insisted I gave him my number, asked his aide to save it and he gave me his. We snapped some photographs with my phone. Papa was full of simplicity as we related. I was fulfilled.

After my first meeting, Papa and I became much more familiar. Severally, he would reach me. I remembered one account when he mentioned my full name at the palace of the Ovie of Ughelli Kingdom and everyone was shocked. I remembered another account when he wanted to reach someone and he mistakenly called my line. The happy memory is endless, truly.

HRM Ogbon was a father to us all. He was kindhearted, versatile, and patriotic. Above all, he was widely loved beyond Urhoboland. He was, at death, Nigeria’s oldest monarch in terms of physical age. His physical age of 106 years was remarkable. He lived a fruitful life that everyone must be proud of. He did not die, he transited. We can boldly say that he has chosen to sleep on. Akpokedefa Ajuwe!

Verily, verily, he came, saw, and conquered. Tode, Ajuwe! Tode Owhorode!

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