BY EKANPOU ENEWARIDIDEKE
In the beginning, was the world and the world was God and in the world was Otuaro’s morning. Among many mornings in the world was the one ‘achebeically’ designated as Morning Yet on Creation Day.
That ‘achebeically’ designated morning is not Otuaro’s morning. Otuaro’s morning is the morning on a day after creation – a theoremed, not a conjectured morning, blessed with the linear alignment of creation from morning to evening. It is a multi-coloured morning but linearly aligned from dawn to dusk but within the context of creation in a world that valorises theorems and relegates conjectures to the background – a morning seated on a balanced sofa with a smiling evening.
Sometimes morning and evening form a progressive linear alliance. When morning and evening strike a congruent balance in progressive linear alliance, paths of heroism are opened up. For a man whose morning and evening have not collided, the story of retirement from morning and evening into night would be a memorable one, especially when night is not that Wole Soyinka’s poetic ‘night’ that is a nursery of fears. With creational dexterity Otuaro’s morning journeyed and collapsed into evening for another journey into night, but some nautical miles away from Soyinka’s night and yet some nautical miles close to King Alfred Izonebi of Ndoro, Torugbene and Oyangbene.
In the chronicles of Otuaro something that bears one-dimensional resemblance to a character in one of my literary works is noticeable. Like ‘The morning rays of the sun’ that ‘shone on Ofoniye’ and make him ‘spring up to his feet’ in my own collection of short stories entitled, THE ROAD TO KEN SARO-WIWA(37),the morning rays descended on Otuaro in Okerenkoko and Benin City. On the rousing and awakening morning rays of the sun Otuaro woke up and journeyed, burdened with a dark morning that later turned procreative and built a birth bridge to evening and night.
On a day and time beyond everyone’s imagination a nameless creature found its way into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Napoleon Burutu Otuaro in Okerenkoko. 16 April 1968 was the arrival date of the nameless creature later named Kingsley. The two parents in whose home kingsley arrived are from Okerenkoko and Obotebe towns in Warri South-West Local Government Area and Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State. Identified and named Kingsley on arrival in Okerenkoko, he later became what everybody called Kingsley Burutu Otuaro.
It was Asoro Primary School, Benin City, in defunct Bendel state in 1980 which gave him primary education. Certificated at Asoro Primary school he proceeded to immaculate Conception College, Benin City, from 1981 – 1983 and later had his West African School Certificate (WASC) from 1983 – 1985 at Isaba Grammar School, Isaba, in Warri South-West Local Government Area. Having had his secondary education in 1985 in the morning session of his journey to Okerenkoko town, he was engaged as a Technical Staff by Nisco Nigeria Ltd in Jones Creek Flow Station in SPDC Northern Swamp Operation. He was also later employed as a deck-hand in the marine department of Nigerian Dredging and Marine Limited in Warri. After years of working in the morning of his journey which gnawed at his dream for higher educational achievement when viewed retrospectively, he decided to journey away from the seductive/enticing world of gainful employment.
In the pursuit of higher educational dream Kingsley Burutu Otuaro found his way into the full arms of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, and studied Law in 1994. Like Ogogoro gin distilled in the raffia palm forest of Akparemogbene, he was refined and produced in Ambrose Alli University as a graduate of Law in the 1999/2000 session and was subsequently called to the Nigerian bar in 2005.
Educationally equipped, Otuaro was the democratically elected Chairman of Okerenkoko Federated Communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom from 2000-2006. In the duration of his chairmanship he became the Managing Director of Bruz-otus Nigeria Ltd. in 2004.
Between 2005 and 2007 he was appointed Special Assistant to Governor James Ibori on Community Affairs. On 1st June 2004 the raging inter-ethnic hostilities in Warri were finally brought to an end through vigorous sensitization campaigns mounted on the fighters/warlords on both sides of the inter-tribal wars. It was as Chairman of Warri-Itsekiri Grassroots Peace Front, an active non-governmental Organisation/initiative, that Otuaro worked collaboratively with the likes of Hon. Daniel Reyenieju, the immediate past member representing Warri Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, the present member of House of Representative representing Warri Federal Constituency, Mr. Matthew Itsekiri, Mr. Mofe Pirah, late Rev. Sam Ken, Chief Dan Ekpebide, Engr. Christopher Mala and many other prominent Deltans to achieve final cessation of hostilities in the Warri crisis. Otuaro’s Special Assistant appointment must have originated from his wonderful performance as the Chairman of the Warri-Itsekiri Grassroots Peace Front!
Proverbially, the whiteness of a river egret (Oboi) can never be hidden from the eyes of the people. Similarly, Otuaro’s performance whiteness was again spotted by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan who appreciated him as member of the Prof. Sam Oyobaire-led Delta State Technical Support Committee charged with the responsibility of providing relevant materials to the Delta State Constituent to the Ledum Mittee Committee on the Niger Delta where he had the rigorous task of defending the interests of Delta State. Because the Technical Support Committee was impressive in performance, it was retained as standing Ad-hoc committee to study the strengths and weaknesses of enabling instruments of state-owned institutions, agencies and make recommendations for the attainment of better and efficient service delivery. Community Development Committees (CDCS), Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Ministry of Housing and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are the agencies and institutions to be studied and given possible recommendations in relation to Delta State in the provision of efficient service delivery.
Because Otuaro performed creditably in his appointed capacity, he was again appointively engaged by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. Otuaro must be the proverbial performance ‘ABIKU’ whose services are so indispensable he cannot be let off to have some rest at home! In 2009 Otuaro was deservedly appointed as the Chairman of Delta State Rehabilitation Committee for Internally Displaced persons in the in the gory days when the military Joint Task Force bombarded innocent Niger Delta communities and agitators in the Warri axis. This was a very challenging task but Otuaro, characteristically, did the job commendably.
Again, the indescribably appreciative Governor Uduaghan appointed Otuaro as Commissioner that represented the Ijaw ethnic nationality on the board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) from 2011 to 2012. In 2012 the board was dissolved but reconstituted within the same 2012; Otuaro was again appointed as Commissioner on the DESOPADEC board to serve from 2012 – 2014. Has Otuaro become that famed Chief Igbugburu known for endless appointive positions in Ijaw nation?
Educationally insatiable in his dreams, Otuaro had a Masters Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Ibadan in 2014. By this academic exposure he is empowered intellectually to implement the SMART agenda of governor Okowa in complementary terms because the SMART agenda itself revolves around peace-building.
From 2016 till date Otuaro has been the Chairman of Delta State Advocacy Committee Against vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities. Because notable achievements have been made here too, many other states in Nigeria have admirably seen the Committee as a reference point when it borders on advocacy against illegal Oil bunkering, maritime criminality, Oil facilities destruction and kidnapping. Indelibly in the historical record of the people is the fact that Otuaro made possible the release of Lagos State School Students using this committee as a point of regional security collaboration – a feat that has projected Otuaro as an Owlish peace-maker in the eyes of the Presidency.
The Deputy Governor of Delta State His Excellency, Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, whose wife Mrs. Ebierin Otuaro (a Ph.D holder, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers), is a member of the Deaconry of Christ Embassy, a fellow of the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (FSPSP), President of Prison (now correctional) Outreach Fellowship of Christ Embassy, Warri, known for his increasing philanthropy-consolidated aids to old people’s homes across the State.
A revelation from the chronicles above shows clearly that Otuaro’s life enjoys two divisions or roads – two roads leading respectively to his morning and evening. The first road that leads to morning in his life is characterised by a journey to assuage his educational thirst and carve a survival niche or space for himself and his generation. The second road is the one taken to occupy functional seats in the society from where he will better the lives of people in this generation and beyond. It is the road of appointive and elective positions geared towards the betterment of humanity taken only in the evening as a bridge to the waiting night.
Towards the sustainability of the evening for the growth of his own generation and beyond, Otuaro feels ideally obligated to soar higher and higher like the eagle so he can put smiles on the faces of his believers. Hardwork is needed in the evening so that at night Otuaro can relax well and be developmentally excited by the luxuriant growth in the Garden of Otuaro.
Healthy evening produces healthy night of verdant vegetation and productive plants. A wilted evening produces a wilted night. For great result the evening of Otuaro must be fertilised for a fertile night in the offing. And to fertilise the evening, the achievements of Otuaro’s morning and evening must be increased and disseminated across Delta State for the inspiration of the people everywhere.
The story of Otuaro phenomenally strikes a familiar note.Even with its silvery note of familiarity, if the story of Otuaro,which draws strengths and experiences from both the grassroots and the national level in his morning and evening journeys, could be spread like seeds dispersed by agents of wind and birds to grow in different towns, villages and forests in Delta State and beyond, Otuaro’s morning and evening can be sustainably maintained to guarantee a healthy night.
And to perform the job of dispersal of Otuaro’s morning and evening to every space, musicians with the anointing of metamorphosis must be engaged.Like the unstoppable silvery tidal dance on Akparemogbene River, King Alfred Izonebi naturally tides into the mouth and mind when musicians with the anointing of metamorphosis become the nucleus here in the voyage of Otuaro’s morning and evening programmed to be terminated in the Garden of Otuaro.It is therefore to King Izonebi we must turn for the dispersal of Otuaro’s morning and evening if silvery notes must be lyrically struck on this matter!
Retrospectively, few years after King Robert Ebizimor’s death King Alfred Izonebi has already climbed the rungs of the music ladder into a formidable highlife musician – which was what the master musician King Ebizimor predicted before his homeward journey. Now that King Izonebi has remarkably built himself into an exceptionally talented highlife musician with striking instrumentation and edifying lyrics coupled with inimitable stage performances, he should become the vocal carrier of the story of Otuaro’s morning and evening so that Otuaro’s echoes càn be heard in the forests far away and beyond. This is another mechanism for King Izonebi’s Metamorphosis into a remarkable highlife musician who can journey musically with ease with any material at his command can be verified by the people everywhere on earth. To megaphone Otuaro’s morning and evening to the listening wide world should therefore be King Izonebi’s task to tell the story of his musical versatility and remarkability as long predicted by late King Robert Ebizimor.
Definitely, Otuaro’s morning and evening will procreate a healthy night of paradise, bliss, laughter, calm and transformation if King Alfred Izonebi willingly morphs into the Otiti bird (coucal) and the Akpolokpolo bird (bulbul) in striking lyrical language as a remarkable highlife musician and musically disperses the seeds of Otuaro’s morning and evening. We do not need the prophetic communication of Senior Prophet Jeremiah Omoto Fufeyin Owomowomo as regards the awaited bumper harvest if King Izonebi is ready to be engaged as the musical agent for the dispersal of the seeds of Otuaro’s radiant morning and evening likely to become the Garden of Otuaro for all the deprived people on the surface of this earth, particularly Niger Deltans in our own Niger Delta. That would be a sail into political paradise,political heroism, in the Garden of Otuaro where Otuaro’s morning, evening and night live together in progressive linear alliance!
Ekanpou, writes from Oyangbene, Delta State
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