…My wish is to continue to love my wife – Chief Gbenewei
The Tubainghanwei of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Clark Gbenewei, along with his wife, Dame Chief (Mrs) Blessing Gbenewei, both celebrated their birthdays with a thanksgiving service at the St Peters Anglican Church, Igbudu Branch, Warri and at a reception party at the KFT Place, along NNPC Housing Complex Road, Ekpan on Sunday 29 April, 2018 to the admiration of prominent guests present to witness the rare occurrence.
Chief Clark Gbenewei and wife, Dame Chief (Mrs) Blessing Gbenewei were both born on the 21st day of April, 1947 and 1958 respectively, culminating in Chief Clark clocking 71 years, while his wife turned 60.
GbaramatuVoice also learnt that Chief (Mrs) Blessing Gbenewei also retired officially on her birthday as a Vice Principal and Guidance Counselor from Ogbe Secondary School at GRA, Effurun, Delta state after putting in 30 years of meritorious service to her nation.
Speaking with GbaramatuVoice at the occasion of the triple celebration, Chief Gbenewei dedicated the celebration to God Almighty, and said it was a rare privilege, even though they had not celebrated their birthdays before.
“Well, to God be the glory, because the Bible says that when you are sixty and ten (six score and ten), you are already an old man. Here we are, still kicking strong and enjoying our lives. God has made it in such a way that two of us have the same birthday. It’s very rare, for husband and wife; people who don’t know themselves before, coming together knowing their birthday the same day, it is God’s doing.
“I have retired for almost 30 years. I joined the military service at the age of 20, I served and left. I have retired and I am now a pensioner, she is also a pensioner, until thy Kingdom come. Some of us are no more on this earth, but those of us that God has given the grace to work and retire and to enjoy our benefits, to God be the glory.
“Actually, we have not really celebrated birthdays before, in our lives but we said that we must celebrate this milestone that God has made us to achieve”
When asked to make a wish on his birthday, he said his wish would be to continue to love his wife and for their love to continue to wax stronger as they grow older.
“My wish is that, I will continue to love my wife, to be with me, and maybe by the grace of God by the time I will be 81, we will celebrate again. Let God give us the good health for us to be alive to celebrate that time again. And let love continue to cement us together, now that we are getting old, that love should be there, more and more for us.”
For Dame Chief (Mrs) Blessing Gbenewei, she said she was full of joy for the achievement.
“Well, I am really overwhelmed to have this kind of celebration. I have seen parents having the same birth months with their children; I have seen people having the same birth month, but it is quite rare; perhaps it should go into the Guinness Book of Records, to see where a husband and a wife have the same birthday.”
Speaking on her retirement, she explained that she had been teaching for more than 30 years but because of missing records she had to adopt 1988 which culminated into 30 years at her birthday this year, with multiple milestones during service.
“Actually, I have taught for more than 30 years. I taught as an auxiliary teacher and I started teaching as a government teacher officially, but I lost some of my records. So it happened that my teaching record started from 1988 and it is compulsory, that I should retire at the age of 60.
“I functioned in different capacities; class teachers and all, but before I retired in the recent past, I held a dual position. I was the Guidance Counselor of the school, giving directions to students in their choices of career in other areas of life and trying to pilot them into positive behavior that will lead them to greater achievements in future; but I was also a Vice Principal in the school where I retired from.
“Actually when I became a Vice Principal, I was supposed to quit the position of Guidance Counselor but because that is an area that is dear to my heart and that is where I had my degree, I decided to still continue, to function in both capacities until I retired.”
At the birthday reception, guests who delivered their goodwill messages, praised the couple for keeping it going and congratulated them on their achievements, while extolling their marital virtues of love.
The highlight of the event was the cutting of the birthday cake, a dance by the couple, and the giving of gifts, which included a portrait painting of Chief Clark Gbenewei, presented to the Chief and his wife by members of Kunukunuma Federated Community, Gbaramatu Kingdom as a token of their appreciation to the chief.
Present at the birthday event were; Rt. Hon. Julius G. Pondi, member representing Burutu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives; High Chief P.T. Heavens JP; Chief J.G.B. Ari; Chief Godspower Gbenekama; Chief Samuel Okirika; Triple Chief (Mrs) Vero Tangbowei JP; Chief Jeffery Ojogun; Chief Ekomieyefa Uduboh, and a host of other prominent chiefs from Gbaramatu Kingdom.
Others are Mr. Matthew Tonlagha; Rev. Dr. I.C. Tolar; Snr Apst Amb Johnson Bibogha JP; Mr. Jimmy Ogida; Hon. Emomotimi Guwor; Sir Victor Tonlagha; Mr. Fred Igere; Barr. McDonald Igbadiwei, amongst other eminent personalities.
By Francis Abai