That Apostle Asia Bebenimibo from whom death walked away
BY EKANPOU ENEWARIDIDEKE
Ubiquitously blazoned with inimitable embellishment is the rumour about the death of a prominent Ijaw man in Gbaramatu Kingdom but this personality can never be Apostle Asia Bebenimibo. Apostle Asia Bebenimibo has not died; Apostle Asia Bebenimibo did not die.Apostle Asia Bebenimibo will not and cannot die as rumoured when viewed eschatologically. Nobody has told me he died because he did not die. This my authoritative knowledge of Apostle Asia Bebenimibo cannot be faulted by anybody, not even Dr. Paul Bebenimibo the media guru, because everybody knows I know what I know concerning the great apostle.Yet I am baffled and puzzled that many have irrationally chosen to challenge me argumentatively and break bottles over what I know with a certainty. Or has this absurd world dizzied again in its dizzying dance towards every direction and towards no particular direction?
I know Apostle Asia Bebenimibo.He was born into the royal family of Bebenimibo in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri South West Council of Delta State. I do not only know him. I have had a warm handshake with him. I have also engaged him conversationally and see him as a conversationally inspiring personality who is soft-spoken. Hale and hearty the man was on all the occasions I met and engaged him conversationally. But it is being ubiquitously bandied that this man is dead. The story of the man’s death has begun to travel from lips to lips with incremental ornamentation and idiosyncratic pathological variations.This man feverishly rumoured dead has a son who teaches Mass Communication at the Delta State University, Abraka. They call him Dr. Paul Bebenimibo who is the current Hon. Commissioner representing the Ijaw ethnic nationality on the board of the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) but from whose lips nothing has been heard about Apostle Asia Bebenimibo’s death. Could this be a plot to embarrass Dr. Paul Bebenimibo and his father Apostle Asia Bebenimibo over something that never happened?
The rumoured story being bandied about the death of Apostle Asia Bebenimibo would not be believed until I have seen him lowered into the grave shrouded with white cloth, or until Dr. Paul Bebenimibo tearfully tells the story with his own mouth without trembling lips. Yet the rumour-mongers continue to tell the story with some elements of believability though I have conditioned myself not to fall ‘Pataru’ for that deliberately embellished story.
Apostle Asia is a fiery and passionate preacher of the word of God whose vision is to chart a safe religious path for his generation and the future generation. He is also an astute business man who rightly rebelled against his forefathers’ known tradition of African traditional religion in pursuit of his spirituality in a manner that the Bible became his only endearment and preoccupation from the beginning of his earthly existence. It is this fiery,passionate, inspiring preacher and astute business man about whom the confusing storytellers say is dead. Rather methodically,with all the known rhetorical flourishes, the bandied story of Apostle Asia Bebenimibo’s death is told in variegated colours without verification.
Once in the life of Apostle Asia he was reported ill. He had never suffered any affliction by disease right from birth. When it came to the fore within a day that his sudden illness would grow progressively worsened, he was quickly taken to Grace Hill Clinic, Warri, from Okerenkoko for corresponding better medical attention. At 4am on 26 February 2023 after three days of fruitless battle against the stubborn visitor carrying death pickaback, Apostle Asia Bebenimibo slept peacefully without waiting for the survival theatrics of medical doctors even when they know nothing fruitful will emerge from their dramatised efforts at resuscitation. He had no wish to be subjected to the disgusting dramatics of medical doctors who are wont to overexaggerate their power of resuscitation. He was peacefully gone before the arrival of the medical doctors and their resuscitation dramatics.
Obtrusively and feverishly, some persons who have positioned themselves as self-acclaimed masters of intelligence-gathering to propagate the transition of Apostle Asia Bebenimibo further maintain without thorough knowledge,authoritatively authentic information and corresponding authorisation that Apostle Asia Bebenimibo was biologically thrown into the great royal family of Bebenimbo and Edikongha on 10 January 1932 and was the last child of his mother, Edikongha, in a family blessed with numerous siblings. The aboriginal roots of Bebenimibo were traced to the Ogeh quarter in Kunukunuma town in Gbaramatu Kingdom and Opuaro quarter in Egrangbene Community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State unlike the roots of his mother,Edikongha, aboriginally buried in Agbo quarter in Kunukunuma community and Ogbeintu Family of Okiri quarter in Okerenkoko community in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State. Ozuyamene was Apostle Asia’s maternal grandmother whose roots were traced to Epu quarter of Arogbo town in Ondo State.
With an astounding confidence that should rightly belong to the likes of Dr. Paul Bebenimibo and the immediate members of the Bebenimibo Family, the disbelieved questionable storytellers awakened the dead world to the fact that Apostle Asia Bebenimibo was a former secretary of Kunukunuma for years who attended STANDARD SCHOOL in Kunukunuma town in 1944 and left the school after he got to Standard Four. Asia’s secretaryship of Kunukunuma town for years began after his formal education. Historical data reveal that Apostle Asia became a household name in the business world when he returned to the business world in 1950 as an astute businessman. Commercially, he was a dependable distributor to Nigeria Breweries Plc. He was also an Ogogoro merchant who took Ogogoro gin to Northern Nigeria and other parts of Nigeria in commercial quarters where he was always hailed and patronised as a dependable business partner. As a born business magnate he had a shop at Okere Junction now popularly known as Ibo market in 1959 where he was into drapery as a dealer in men cloths, clothes and other accessories. He built a solid reputation for himself from his business dealings which spread to different parts of Nigeria.
Amazingly dedicated to his business world, he saw the need to settle down as a family man after some years of commercial engagement. In 1954 Apostle Asia married Miss Blacky Ojuyaina; this marital success was later followed by seven wives with whom he had 26 children, 105 grandchildren, 25 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild.
Dr. Paul Bebenimibo’s father was remarkably known in the maritime business.In the business world of water transportation and timber business Apostle Asia Bebenimibo was known as he had an outboard engine boat engaged in transportation in the River. This water transportation was embarked upon in addition to his lucrative thriving timber business he was commercially initiated into in 1970 by his brothers from Arogbo Kingdom in Ondo State.
Right from early age Apostle Asia Bebenimibo rejected the traditional religion of his parents and became a devotee of Jehovah witness until 1963 when he left Jehovah Witness and registered his membership with the Cherubim and Seraphim church of Zion Worldwide in Kunukunuma town. He later took on a migratory journey to Bibopre Zion in 1964. For more than two decades he was the chairman of Bibopre Zion.
Apostle Asia was as much devoted to Christianity as he was to the business world. As a practical demonstration of his devotion, Apostle Asia Bebenimibo attended Seraphic School of Theology from 1985 to 1986 in Ugbonla in Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State. Right there in Ondo State he was ordained by St. Elisha Lene, King of Zion 1, as RABBI (teacher) and much later he enjoyed elevation to the rank of BOANERGE by St. I.O Jeremine, King of Zion II.
The fiery and passionate preacher named Apostle Asia Bebenimibo was as politically active as he was religiously. From the First Republic to the Fourth Republic he was politically active. He was the Chairman of the Warri South West Local Government Area chapter of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). This chairmanship was his last political engagement among many others – though at death they said he was survived by three wives.
The man bandied as being dead, survived by three wives, recently celebrated his 90th birth. As a friend of the family I promisingly volunteered to tell his story from the cradle to the 90th day and showcase his achievements. Dr. Paul Bebenimibo had already been detailed to furnish me with the relevant details of his nonagenarian father. Still somewhere waiting for biographical details from Dr. Paul Bebenimibo required for the celebratory piece on his father, foreigners and busy bodies told me that Apostle Asia Bebenimibo died on 26 February 2023 and was buried in Okerenkoko on 24 March 2023, memorably celebrated by his church people where he had been an Apostle before he died peacefully. Is Apostle Asia Bebenimibo now dead without my promised biographical piece on him? Is Dr. Paul Bebenimobo aware Apostle Asia Bebenimibo is dead? Why has he not communicated me up till now?
Weary of waiting for Dr. Paul Bebenimibo for a supply of the details of Apostle Asia Bebenimibo needed for my promised celebratory piece on him, I called up Dr. Bebenimibo as a confirmatory telephonic conversation. With a noticeably apologetic voice, telephonically echoed and reinforced like the landlady on the other end of the conversation with the persona in Wole Soyinka’s ‘Telephone ‘Conversation’, Dr. Paul Bebenimibo responded thus: ‘Dear Erudite, very sorry I did not inform you my father Apostle Asia Bebenimibo died on 26 February 2023 and was buried on 24 March 2023 at Okerenkoko town. I could not give you his biographical details for your promised celebratory piece on my father when he celebrated his 90th birthday until his death at the age of 91!’ I ended the conversation after Dr Paul Bebenimibo’s last word, ‘birthday,’ without words uttered in response. My inside immediately became like the eye of the sky that has gone bad,spewing volcanoes frighteningly cast as thunderclap,thunderbolt and cloudburst in identifiable outlines in the infuriated sky.
So I have been a rootless laughable apologist all this while defending the indefensible! I was unarguably the odd one in this bandied story of Apostle Asia Bebenimibo’s death. The seeming unassailable authority with which I initially put up a defence for Apostle Asia Bebenimibo has disappointingly become an exercise in futility. Dr. Paul Bebenimibo, why did you treat me like this and have me ridiculed by supposed professional information-carriers, sometimes derogatively designated as ‘foreigners’, and inebriated rumour-mongers?
Dr. Paul Bebenimibo, though you have laid the foundation for self-acclaimed masters of intelligence-gathering and rumour-mongers to mock me over your father’s confirmed death, unto my stand I still hold that Apostle Asia Bebenimibo did not die because his achievements in evangelism,politics,business and community development are proudly there to tell his story for centuries and immortalise him. Therefore it is Dr. Paul Bebenimibo, the self-acclaimed masters of intelligence-gathering and the idle rumour-mongers who have got it blamably wrong on the story of the death of Apostle Asia Bebenimibo – who is currently both away from us viewed through the prism of the mundane world, and with us when viewed theologically and philosophically through the prism of eschatology and mysticism.
Ekanpou, writes from Akparemogbene, Delta State