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August 17, 2018

The Life and Times of Sir SBC EKE, KSM, JP

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Sir Samuel Boniface Chukwudi Ekenta, a committed Catholic and an exemplary civil servant, was committed to mother earth on Friday March 31, 2017, after a concelebrated Requiem Mass at St Columbus Catholic Church Amaimo, Ikeduru. The Mass was presided over by Very Rev. Fr. Benedict Agumanu, assisted by over 20 priests in Owerri Archdiocese. Among dignitaries at the occasion were the hierarchy of the Knights of St. Mulumba, Owerri Sub-council, renowned politician and businessman Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Chairman Owerri Archdiocesan Pastoral Council, Sir P.O.J. Ihemedu. Sir SBC is survived by a wife, many children and brothers including Mr. Kennedy Eke, a former columnist with The Leader newspaper and Chief Donald Ekenta (brother). Among his son-inlaws is Mr. Philip Ikechi Ejiofor, from Isiuikwuato, Abia Stata.


We publish below a funeral oration read by his first son, Mr. Patrick Eke.


Samuel Boniface Chukwudi was born 87 years ago to late Chief Fredrick Ohasiri Ekenta and Late Mrs. Theresa Ugonma Ekenta. He was the first in a family of 10, (8 boys and 2 girls). SBC attended Christ the King Primary School Amaimo Ikeduru, Bishop Shanahan Teacher’s Training College Orlu and University of Ibadan. He later attended a leadership course at the University of Nigeria Nsukka and excelled very brilliantly in all these institutions.


SBC as he is fondly called, held various public service positions while alive as follows;


School teacher/Headmaster in lkeduru L.G.A, Supervisor of Schools Ikeduru L.G.A, Principal Education officer Ahiazu Mbaise L.G.A, Pioneer Sole Administrator, Onuimo L.G.A, Sole Administrator, Aboh Mbaise L.G.A, Deputy Secretary Ohaji Egbema/Oguta L.G.A, Pioneer President Ikeduru Customary Court for 5 years, Member Mbaitoli/Ikeduru Land Use and Allocation Committee, Chairman Amaimo Clan Elders Forum, 4th Degree knight of the Order of St Mulumba, which order he joined in1980, Justice of the Peace, Member, Police Community Relations Committee Ikeduru L.G.A, Councilor in Ikeduru Divisional Council in his early years, Ohasiri 1 of Umuofor Amaimo Autonomous Community, Ikeduru LGA, Imo State.


In all of these, SBC acquitted himself and left very excellent records at each stage.

As Supervisor of Schools in Ikeduru, SBC was a disciplinarian of a sort. His teachers were always jittery whenever he visited any school in his supervisory responsibility, and even as a Head master, he could take the chalk from any teacher before the pupils once he felt dissatisfied at the level of delivery from such a teacher. He did also well in his teaching and supervisory roles to the admiration of notable people like Late Sir A.U.D Mbah KSM former Parliamentarian in the first republic. As a Principal Education Officer, he brought decency into Educational Administration and was a role model in that profession. Due to his immense administrative potentials, he was spotted by the Mbakwe Administration and appointed a sole administrator and deployed to open Onuimo Local Government in 1981 as its pioneer sole Administrator. He nurtured Onuimo to fruition and was later due to his excellent performance drafted to Aboh Mbaise and Ohaji/ Egbema/Oguta Local Government Areas as sole administrator and deputy secretary respectively.


When he retired in 1984, SBC who never became tired was again spotted by the Allison Madueke Administration and appointed the pioneer President of Ikeduru Customary Court.


He was not a lawyer, but the lawyers present in his various court sessions will attest to the very eloquent and incontrovertible judgement deliveries during his days at Ikeduru Customary Court, of course that was why the normal tenure of 3 years was extended by 2 years in his own case.


He delivered well over 1000 judgments and the few that were appealed against were upheld by all the learned jurists of the Customary Court of Appeal as quoted in the Imo State Law reports 1993-2003. Lawyers strove not to miss his judgement deliveries, perhaps SBC went into the wrong profession, because if he could demonstrate such level of prowess as a lay person in the legal system, one would then wonder what achievements he would have recorded if he had gone into the profession full blast abinitio.


Samuel was a man with great oratorical prowess and quite eloquent. He had mastery of the language of communication and went ahead to prove that he was a man to be watched and admired each time he mounted the rostrum. I remember one of my kinsmen now late who said during the occasion when SBC was drafted to swear in new transition committee members in Ikeduru Local Government Council, this late brother remarked that the reason for his presence in that ceremony was again to hear this voice; the voice of SBC. I am happy that SBC bequeathed most of these attributes to his children. He was quite bold and fearless. He used to tell me that the only thing anybody can do in any disagreement is to excuse himself from him but such a person will never slap his face, and for that singular reason, he had no reason to fear anyone.

He was a man of high integrity as could be attested in the various tributes and eulogies doled out on the occasion of his departure to the great beyond. I remember before SBC delivers any judgement in the court in those years, he would first announce that he never delegated anybody to receive any gift on his behalf and that if such a situation happened, such persons (givers) should go and demand their gifts back. This position he first takes before he reads his judgement.


As a community leader, he led the Elder’s Forum of Amaimo Community for three years and brought in focus in community leadership.


He had a dint in politics. He told us a story, how he was carried shoulder high when he won a councillorship seat in Ikeduru divisional council. SBC never closed his eyes completely from politics even as a public servant, he had his sympathies, and when he did retire in 1984, he became almost fully involved and ensured he voted in all elections even in his old age. Sometimes when we refused him to come out, you will suddenly see him stroll down to perform that civic duty.


SBC was a man around town, always suited, quite interactive and with a deep sense of humour and had so many jokes in his kitty. He used his mastery of the Latin language to intimidate his listeners at the least opportunity he got to address them. He could hold a crowd spell bound at the very least opportunity.


He had a successful married life with his late amiable and faithful wife Angelina Ejukaemeole Eke (Nee Oparaoguike) who left him 31 years ago. That marriage was blessed with 9 children, 7 of who are surviving today. My late mother was everything to SBC and it was by the singular grace of God that he survived the demise of his wife in 1986. He later got married to Virginia Eke and that marriage produced one daughter. De SAM was a devout Christian. He became a knight of the Order of St. Mulumba in 1980 and rose to the rank of 4th Degree; the highest degree of the Order.

SBC will be greatly missed by his family, friends and admirers but we are however consoled because he lived a life very worthy of emulation as epitome of honesty, integrity and hard work.

May his gentle soul rest in peace


Patrick O. Eke



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