BY EKANPOU ENEWARIDIDEKE
King Robert Ebizimor – a legend legendary for his legendary futurological capability, his legendary embarrassment and disorientation of death, his legendary humanism and undiluted, unstinting, love for his protégés/apprentices, particularly that his indescribably appreciative protégé called Aguiyi-Ironsi, later lovingly ‘ROBERTED’ as Izonebi – is a household name in Ijaw whose 71-year resonance originated from Angalabiri town in Bayelsa State where he is paternally rooted and Ojobo town in Delta State where he is maternally rooted. As William Shakespeare and Wole Soyinka are to the world in Literature so is King Robert Ebizimor to the entire Ijaw nation and beyond in music because his like can only be spotted in a century – the music genius whose wise words were philosophically 99 years old when he was only 20 years old in age, though 25-September-1943 is the indisputable claimant of his birthday.
The life of King Ebizimor began as a palm wine tapper, lumberjack, fisherman and sand excavator and ended up as a politician and music philosopher of immiscible colour even where there is emulsion added to produce a beautiful paintwork. In his progressive evolution through the different phases of his life he was guided gingerly by his cardinal philosophical theories, ‘Bibobraism’ and ‘Nanaowei-Oborism’.
The political life of King Ebizimor was comparatively rosy. In the rosy political life of KIng Ebizimor he had once contested election as a Local Government Chairmanship candidate in Sagbama Local Government Area of Bayelsa in 1999 on the ticket of National Solidarity Movement and failed but memorably left behind WAZIRIC echoes of politics without bitterness as he openly embraced and struck everlasting acquaintance with those known to have piloted and plotted his electoral failure while the political game lasted.By the available electoral statistics got from the the field, it was King Robert Ebizimor who won the Chairmanship Election based on his immeasurable popularity but he lost the election eventually due to political manipulations from the top.However,as a politician of towering height who has amazing capacity for mass mobilization,sensitization and orientation of the masses towards the production of impressive electoral result, King Ebizimor was appointed Senior Special Assistant on Culture by Governor Timipre Sylva in the twilight of his administration.Governor Seriake Dickson also appointed King Robert Ebizimor a Senior Special Assistant on Culture on 2 April 2012.
There is only one musician in Ijaw nation whose songs philosophically transcend and encapsulate all the components of life. For every phenomenon in life King Ebizimor’s songs have a cardinal philosophical path of direction charted for mankind. Enormously gifted in music, some see his political involvement as an aberration though to King Robert Ebizimor and the realist progressives in the society, his political involvement is tied to a pragmatic attempt to test his cardinal theories on the administrative plane where he would have demonstrated his humanism and sensitivity to the plight of his own developmentally impoverished people – his own developmentally deprived people whose cause he has always championed musically from the cradle of his life to his moment of ‘transfiguration’.
‘Bibobraism’ as a philosophical theory that says everyman has a destiny but destiny can never be realised except there is hardwork, and ‘Nanaowei-oborism’ as a theory that says human beings are goats to God who kills any of them for supper at his own convenience, were the cardinal philosophical theories which dominated the life of King Ebizimor and his musical compositions. Beyond these cardinal philosophical radiance, King Dr Robert Ebizimor psychically saw his death in clear outlines, packed his luggage and bravely waited for death at the departure lounge to take him away without death displaying his usual arrogance and flourish.
Conscious of his impending death detected futurologically, King Ebizimor timely had somebody under his tutelage and apprenticeship as a musician and anointed him to take over after his death, having already constructed his grave where he would be peacefully interred at death. It was Alfred Izonebi of Ndoro and Torugbene towns whom King Robert Ebizimkor personally bathed, baptised and anointed to continue his musical heritage.
Izonebi who is today seen as a music king was anointed first as a junior music king and later as Ijaw music king before King Ebizimor eventually yielded to the ice-block hands of death .This is a story that also reveals King Ebizimor’s philanthropism and humanism as he saw Alfred Izonebi as his own personal project and investment in both educational and musical terms.
Historically chronicled is the fact that Alfred Izonebi was first discovered as a musician inside mosquito net in a remote raffia palm-tapping forest singing Bestman Doupere’s hit song ‘Ofuroagha’. He was eight years old when Izonebi’s father(Alfred) caught him singing inside the white mosquito net. Alfred began a close monitoring of his son’s musical talent until he was twelve years in age. At twelve Alfred formed a great music band named Mosquito Band made up of five persons who were all his children except one, but the band was led by Izonebi.In Ndoro town Izonebi’s father habitually brought mosquito Band to entertain any gathering of visitors and strangers. Izonebi, as the leader of the mosquito Band, was taken to perform in Burutu town for the entertainment of Godday Orubebe who was the Chairman of Burutu Local Government Area.At every performance there were always enthusiastic encores because the Mosquito Band was talented and impressive in performance.
In the chronicles of Izonebi as the mosquito net-born musician, it is recorded that the famous Mosquito Band of Ndoro town had once entertained Intelligent Emeka Odogwu of Tamigbe town who was on a visit to Ndoro.Characteristically, the Mosquito Band was brought by Alfred to entertain Intelligent Emeka Odogwu as a mark of honour for the talented musician popularly hailed as Intelligent Emeka in Ijaw nation.
Because Alfred was enthusiastic about the growth of his son’s promising music career, he took Izonebi to King Robert Ebizimor’s stage in Ndoro town where he skillfully sang Robert’s hit song ‘Duamabou’ to the captivation of all. On 2 November 1992, at the age of thirteen, Mr Alfred personally handed over Izonebi to King Robert Ebizimor at Ojobo town after Izonebi, had again, memorably sang the hit song ‘Duamabou’.
Alfred Izonebi became King Robert Ebizimor’s own son right from 2 November 1992.He was in primary five when he was handed over to King Ebizimor. King Ebizimor the music guru immediately took over the sponsorship of Izonebi’s education from primary school to university. Alfred Izonebi studied Theatre Arts at the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State and graduated in 2009. Having equipped him educationally and musically, Izonebi was then allowed to accompany King Ebizimor in all his music stage performances and visits to the studio for production of new songs.
Izonebi had never been shocked in life by anyone before but the greatest shock came the way of him from King Ebizimor one day. That was the day King Robert Ebizimor and His Izon Brothers Band was divided into two parts – one part to be led by Izonebi and the other part led by the King himself. Izonebi, King Ebizimor’s protege, was damned too afraid to lead the part of the band that providentially fell on him but he was persuasively ‘piloted’ by his music father. With King Ebizimor’s persuasive pilotage Izonebi’s stage fright evaporated and he began to lead the band with the music stamina injected into him by King Ebizimor through persuasive pilotage. King Robert Ebizimor divided his band inot two parts because he had already had premonition of death as a philosophical futurologist and would turn in his grave if his protege,Izonebi, was not fully equipped for stage performances apart from producing songs in the studio.
Another shocker stormed Izonebi again in 2010 when King Robert Ebizimor declared that he was ready to crown him (Izonebi) as music King to continue the music heritage having got himself prepared to retire from the stage. The music guru sent message to all Ijaw musicians to congregate in one love in Angalabiri town and witness his coronation of Izonebi as music king to take over from him in February 2010 at Angalabiri town. However, two days to the coronation day, there was a protest from Angalabiri town made up of King Ebizimor’s core believers and well-wishers. This is obviously a love-induced Ijaw music kingship-protectionism because the Angalabiri people were not yet tired of King Ebizimor’s stage performances.This is a development open to the deductive stand or inference that the music kingship can only vacate its original space to its choice space of King Robert Ebizimor’s conceptualization subject to the retirement of King Ebizimor from the earth – a retirement-affirmation which has been already received from Robby in metaphysical terms now that he is on the other side of the world that valorises metaphysical communication.
For Angalabiri town it was not yet time for king Robert Ebizimor to retire from the music stage and that he should continue. It was a fierce loved-induced protest staged by his core believers; so fierce King Robert Ebizimor was circumstantially compelled to change the ceremony from coronatoin of Alfred Izonebi as music king to February 2010 Angalabiri Music Festival – an intelligent device quickly created by King Robert Ebizimor to placate the loved-induced Angalabiri protesters as the bridge for him to give the music kinship coronation of Alfred Izonebi a metaphysical affirmation and consummation from the underworld by being the invisible force behind the musical compositions of Izonebi, the accredited protege of King Dr Robert Ebizimor.
To the futurologically equipped King Robert Ebizimor – but unknown to the Angalabiri people – that he wanted to crown Izonebi music King was a remote metaphysical communication of his death and retirement from the earth of stage performance.He knew his death was near but did not want to tell anybody – only wordlessly channelling his energies futurologically into the activities concerning Izonebi’s music career which only metaphysically equipped discerning mind can detect as the near-arrival of King Robert Ebizimor’s death.
The excavation of the aborted coronation of Izonebi as music King is to tell the ‘knowing-nothing’ world that the current music kingship of Izonebi enjoys the blessings and affirmation of late King Ebizimor who is always with him in spirit as a consummation ritual,having openly enacted the first part of the ritual that carried the JUNIOR-KING-ROBERT- EBIZIMOR RECONGNITION.This must not be mistakenly viewed as a chronicle of Izonebi as the only King with the exclusive right of music kingship as there are other music kings in Ijaw nation – King Fezena Pius Alabeni, King Pereama Freetown and King Alabor Allen.That Izonebi’s music kingship coronation came from late King Robert Ebizimor strikingly rings a bell of high decibel that the ‘knowing-nothing’ world can never ignore – even in deliberate pretended companionship with ignorance,forgetfulness and ‘not-knowingism’.
That king Robert Ebizimor actually believed and loved Izonebi with the whole of his heart is an understatement. King Robert actually loved Izonebi.No greater love had a man for another man than the love King Robert Ebizimor had for Izonebi.
King Ebizimor, the reservoir of shockers, gave Izonebi the most memorable shocker when he summoned him with these words in 2011: ‘all the musical instruments in the music band you currently leading are all yours now. Start your own musical career now’. This was how the pleasantly shocked and surprised Izonebi was fully anointed to continue King Ebizimor’s music heritage. This last shocker came while King Ebizimor was on a progressive lane in his recovery from a brief illness that caused him some momentary discomfort. It was the last anointing from King Ebizimor.
King Ebizimor had never fallen ill in his entire life as an exceptional musician.Only once in the life of King Robert Ebizimor did he falll ill but when he fully recovered, he stormed the studio for two new albums – ‘My Story’ and ‘My Leg’.In a song entitled,’My Leg’, he prayerfully appealed to God to take his life peacefully without the chastisement of illness. He told God in clear terms he was ready to die but the death should be the type devoid of the pains of illness. This shows his premonitory knowledge of his death and his total acceptance and submission to death – though he had earlier musically communicated his impending death in one of his songs when he gave three categories of people that went to Heaven straight at death: The first oldest man, the second oldest man and the third oldest man in a community. Because he knew he would not fall into any of the three categories, he intelligently added with a futurological air of authority that he would go straight to Heaven at death even if he did not fall into any of the three categories of Heaven-goers. This was king Ebizimor’s first immediate signal that he knew his time was around the corner – a death signal that preceded his alert in his ‘My Story’ song that he had prayerfully chosen death in his forthcoming song entitled ‘My Leg’ which was released after his death.
King Robert Ebizimor was a great musician phenomenally faithful to his cardinal philosophical theories of ‘Bibobraism’ and ‘Nanaowei-oborism’ until his chosen retirement from earth. As exemplification of his own philosophical theories of ‘Bibobraism’ and ‘Nanaowei-aborism’ he sees himself as one destined to live the life of a highlife musician from childhood to adulthood (bibobraism) ,who,at the peak of retirement from earth, must submit himself willingly to be slaughtered by God for supper because human beings are goats to God almighty who is at liberty to kill any of them for supper.
Displaying a legendary faithfulness to his philosophical theory of Nanaowei-oborism, King Robert told God that he was ready to be slaughtered by Him for supper. This readiness was prayerfully channelled to God in a song entitled ‘My Leg’ – a song that eventually became King Robert Ebizimor’s swansong.
Death promptly visited King Robert Ebizimor shortly after his prayerful wish to God for a painless death – which was less than a month from the day he musically communicated to the world in his song ‘My Story’ that he had chosen death over his existence in another song that was on the way entitled ‘My Leg’.He died in a road accident in Delta State on 31 July 2014. His prayerful wish to God for painless death in his hit song ‘My Leg’ was simply cast as: ‘Mud or earth knows no pain and trouble. Let me become mud and depart in peace. I am not scared of death. Death, come and take me away. I am ready but you must not come to me in the form of illness. Death, take me away from this earth without any form of pains. God, please let me die without pains. I am ready. I see no farther than I can from here’. His prayerful wish was granted and he departed full of pride and joy as the music genius who intimidated and commanded death to take him away from the visible earth because he had completed his earthly mission.
King Robert Ebizimor saw his death like the way Nostrodamus saw tomorrow. There is indeed Nostradamus in late King Robert Ebizimor who has already gone down in history as the philosophical futurologist because only a philosophical futurologist can alert the world to his own chosen death in a song before the actual arrival of death.King Robert Ebizimor was psychically smarter and faster than death and so he bravely challenged death to dare him because he was a study in overmuchness in terms of readiness to retire from the earth.
And for a genius like King Dr Robert Ebizimor, futurologically equipped to lay a great foundation for Alfred Izonebi, his protege,it is no wonder that King Alfred Izonebi remembers his music boss King Dr Robert Ebizimor in every musical composition – a very clear indication that King Izonebi is the Bishop of gratitude over good deeds received from others.May all the young Ijaw musicians and music bosses emulate the late pure-hearted and humanistic King Dr Robert Ebizimor, the Nostradamus of our generation,and anoint music proteges to take over from them before their retirement from the earth of stage performance and song-production in the studio.Similarly, may Ijaw music proteges learn to fly on the eternally appreciative wings like King Izonebi when their masters die – I mean King Alfred Izonebi who appreciates and promotes the image of late King Dr Robert Ebizimor every second in every song because he(Robert) was his music master,mentor,sponsor and father – a great father both in parental and music-mentorship terms.
Enewaridideke, writes from Akparemogbene, Delta State