There was Benike Tamaraumiemene Joseph
By Ekanpou Enewaridideke
At a known time in the history of man rather than once upon a time in the history of man, there once lived an adorable creature on earth – an adorable creature that often radiated the aura of a magnetic pull upon any person met either through casual interaction or cohabitation in the race of life. With a distinguishing constancy this adorable creature clothed itself with intellectuality, integrity, credibility, transparency, fearlessness, outspokenness, resourcefulness sincerity, honesty, frankness, humanity, kindness, philanthropy, altruism and morality. This adorable creature called Benike Tamaraumiemene Joseph, referentially and infectiously decorated with varied crowns of achievements, clear-headed, level-headed, cultured, focused, visionary, foresighted, cosmopolitan and latitudinarian in philosophical outlook with an implacable hatred for injustices of any species before whom his directional codes of behavior never wavered and failed, has departed this world. He left this world without any signal of his impending departure. No presentiments or presages were seen before his departure.
Precisely, Benike Joseph had a fatal road accident in Kwale while on his way to Asaba on an 18-seater bus on 20 February 2023. He was immediately thrown into coma after the accident. In the state of coma at the General hospital, Kwale, he was later moved to a Specialist Hospital in Asaba at 3pm on the night of the road accident for proper medical attention. From 20 February 2023 till 8 March 2023 Benike Joseph was in a state of coma though there were intermittent moments of improvement on his condition during which he became wordlessly but gesturally responsive to commands to an extent the oxygen had to be removed before he suffered a relapse. Having suffered a relapse, at 5pm on 8 March 2023, this harmless, adorable and principled creature named Benike Joseph (fondly called Benjo) inhaled and exhaled his last breath and confirmed his ultimate retirement from this visible world. Our relationship with Benike Joseph has been sadly and rudely severed. Counting from this day, away from us Benike Joseph shall be forever. What a saddening reality!
This hardworking, responsible, principled, sincere and intellectually charged man called Benike Joseph, a one-time member of Burutu Local Government Transition Committee and currently, a Special Assistant to the Delta State Governor on Political in the office of the Senior Political Adviser to the Governor of Delta State, remains dedicated to any ideological leaning or persuasion adopted in any political group he finds himself without any badge of betrayal flaunted.In his short-lived sojourn on earth Benike Joseph pursued his political convictions within the PDP political family without any form of traitorous idiosyncratic ground-shifting.
Philosophically, Benjo does not believe in biting people but believes in being bitten by people as an existential reality because he believes the law of karma will be eventually invoked upon the biter who will unfailingly reap in arrears what he or she had negatively sowed or planted.In everything Benike Joseph did while alive his dedication to duty or service in any capacity was superb and legendary.He had no vision for society other than his now silenced vision to better the society through his various engagements. Incontrovertibly, Benjo was an active member of the 2023 Delta State PDP Campaign Council who was always an integral part of the stumping journeys of PDP aspirants across the state.
Benike Joseph was born on 16 June 1972 and attended Community Primary School in Ossiama(1988) and Community Secondary School in Otuan(1989-1992), Bayelsa State.Between 1993 and 1994 he attended Burutu Grammar School, Burutu, and proceeded to College of Education, Warri(1995-1997) where he studied Social Studies/Geography. In furtherance of his educational dream he studied Social Studies at the Delta State University, Abraka, from 2000 – 2003 and later obtained M.SC (Ed) in Social Studies from the same Delta State University (2005 – 2007).
Benike Joseph was a doctoral student of Curriculum Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His PH.D programme at the University of Nigerira has already been completed. At the time of his demise Benike Joseph was only waiting for his external defence which was the last rung on the PH.D ladder for him to be authoritatively pronounced a PH.D holder.
The academically sound and formidable Benike Joseph is a multidimensional personality who is a politician, lecturer, activist, sports enthusiast,political strategist, political analyst and Deputy Director-General of Hon. Julius Pondi Campaign Organisation. At the time of his graduation from the Delta State University, Abraka, with a Second Class ( Upper DIivision), he was engaged immediately as a graduate Assistant to teach Social Studies at the department of Social Science Education. As an intellectually charged and equipped person, Benike Joseph rose to the rank of Lecturer I before his unfortunate retirement from this world.
It is noteworthy that while Benike Joseph’s 51-year sojourn on earth lasted, he was also reputed as the owner of a tireless biro that could birth striking essays and stories as attested to by his published articles and commentaries on issues. Beyond his various articles published in both national and international journals and The Pointer newspaper, he was the author of the revolutionary book, HOW THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE MULTI-NATIONALS UNDERDEVELOPED NIGER DELTA. Notably, he was a man who embodied and radiated radiant scholarship in his field of study and beyond whose tireless pen journeyed to any corner of the world with ease.
Historically speaking, Benike Joseph was paternally from Opuapale community in Obotebe Kingdom and Ayakoromo in Ngbilebiri-Mein Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State and maternally from Ossiama town in SagbamaLocal Government Area of Bayelsa State. The biological roots of Joseph’s origin also spread to Agbarha Kingdom in Warri South Local Government Area.Just as his roots spread to the Akodeware/Tanyin Family of Ossiama in Bayelsa State, Joseph’s roots were also traceable to the Emo-Agbarha Family in Oteghele town in Agbarha Kingdom and Edumulaje quarter in Egbokodo-Okpe town in Okpe Kingdom. He was biologically brought into this world by his late parents Chief Lolowei Benike Dugbo and Mrs. Bomoere Lolowei(nee Dagala). His own late father, Chief Lolowei Benike Dugbo, was a monogamist married to Bomoere from Ossiama town in Bayelsa State whose biological association with him produced three children – Newyear, Demebide and Joseph. Joseph was the last born of the family whose saddening demise has left behind his two surviving elder brothers in a mourning mood.
Available data validate the fact that Benike Joseph had an enjoyable,trouble-free and peaceful marital life while alive. He got traditionally married to Esther Akpevweoghene Peremoboere from Agbarho town on 5 December 2008 and had a white wedding on 6 December 2008 at Christ Ascension Glorious Ministry, Warri.
Predicated on an encounter Benike Joseph had with the word of God on invitation to the church by a friend in Nsukka,he later became a member of the Living Faith Church in 2012. He was baptized on the 22nd of July 2012 at the Living Faith Church, Obiaruku, Delta State.
This adorable man called Benike Joseph often loved humanity. Because of his love for humanity, he joined the Hospitality Service Unit, a charity arm of the church. He became the leader of the Hospitality Service Unit in 2021 until his departure.
Dedicated and active at church, Joseph was ordained a DEACON in 2022.Benike Joseph was an embodiment of wisdom, honesty, boldness and integrity. He was a man of great principle who stood by his principles without wavering however the challenges and threats he was confronted with. He was a role model whose sterling qualities and life style transformed many who came in contact with him. He was a relentless cheerful giver who has touched many lives through his generous giving. He was a dogged fighter who always stood on the path of truth. He was fearless and daring. He was a man who was never willing to shift his moral high ground no matter the pressure mounted on him. He always loved and cherished his wife whom he fondly called Peremoboere. From his cradle to his grave Benike Joseph has philosophically carved a space for himself as a principled man.
It is a known fact that geniality,joviality and good-humour are Benjo’s natural endowments – his second nature.He left no one idly alone without creating a comic relief which usually threw people into unplanned paroxysms of laughter through his comedic jokes.Genial,jovial and good-humoured, Benjo occasionally strayed into the world of stand-up comedy without being aware because he was a grand master at effortless creation of laughter in the company of people.Benjo could have made a huge success as a stand-up comic if he had consciously strayed into it though that was far from his thinking as a scholar.
However, in a special case of reawakened analysis,the thought of conscious stray into stand-up comedy is even no longer necessary because that adorable man with the amazing capacity to crack jokes to enliven every gathering has just been given an ex parte injunction to beat a retreat to the underworld, now perpetually denied the right to renew his operational licence to resume his jokes in any gathering.
A multidimensional personality Benike Joseph(Benjo) was while on earth – incapable of negative and vindictive thought held against his fellow humans – he was majorly recognised for active lecturing and active political engagements. In all these engagements he did not depart this world without attestable crowns given to him as indelible marks of achievements in his valued numerous engagements because he had long been chronicled by his well-wishers as a man of remarkable achievements.
Among many notable achievements identified while on earth, Benike Joseph told striking stories of achievements in the areas highlighted below:
1. Expanded Faculty of Education Strategic Planning Committee – Member, 2019
2. Nigeria Union of Education Students’ Association (NUESA): Certificate of Recognition – 2020.
3.Centre for Niger Delta Studies, Co-ordinator for Delta South – 2019.
4. Member of Governing Council, Joemarine Institute of Nautical Studies & Research – 2021
5. Honorary Award by National Association of Ijaw Female students (NAIFS) – 200
6. Headmaster, Ogini Primary School, Obotebe – from 1999 – 2004.
7.Award of Excellence by Ijaw Youth Development Association (IYDA) – 2006
8. Special Assistant (Political) to the Governor of Delta State in the office of the Senior Political Adviser to the Governor of Delta State – 2022.
9. Certificate of participation given by the Directorate of Local Government Affairs, Delta State, on improved Revenue Generation & Attitudinal Change: A Panacea for effective Administration of Local Government Councils in Delta State – 2014.
10. Award of scholarship by Delta State Government, 2001.
11. Certificate of participation given by Social Studies Association of Nigeria (SOSAN) on Needed Paradigm Shift for Repositioning Social Studies Education to meet vision 20:2020 challenges in Nigeria (27th SOSAN National Conference), 2011.
12. Certificate of membership by social Studies Association of Nigeria.
13. Certificate of Merit given by Social Studies Students Associatuon of Nigeria (SOSAN) as Chairman, Electoral Board and most prolific writer on campus – 2001
14. Certificate of Honour as member Students’ Ruling Council by College of Education, Warri – 1994 – 95
15. Certificate of Honour as the Staff Adviser by Nigerian Universities Education Students Association (NUESA) – 2006.
16. Certificate of Registration by Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria – 2007
17. PRO, Obotebe Kingdom Youth Council – 1996 – 1998
18. Twice Lawmaker in the Students’ Representative Council, College of Education, Warri.
19. Assistant Secretary-General of Students’ Representative Council, College of Educatoin, Warri.
20. National Co-ordinator, Niger Delta Movement for Restoration.
21. Founder and Chairman of Benike Educational Foundation.
From the highlited positions and achievements credited to late Benike Joseph, anyone would have wished him a longer longer life-span on earth but ,alas, at the morning age of 51 when it is still ‘Chinua-Achebeically’MORNING YET ON CREATION DAY, it pleased God to take him away from us when he is still full of life and promises. Because we have been habitually conditioned right from the cradle of civilization to accept the ultimate position of God on any issue no matter how it burns and pains us, we can only swallow this psychologically devastating calamity as another bitter pill but not without our prayerful wish and stand that may we never experience a tragic death of this kind again anywhere on earth and that the soul of Benike Joseph be granted a peaceful eternal rest in the world of the Universal Intelligence called God.
More emphatically, from this day till the close of this age our prayerful wish and demand shall be that, henceforth, in Obotebe, Ngbilebiri, Okpe and Agbarha Kingdoms may we never witness or be subjected to this heart-rending spectacle of the fall of green leaves from any tree but only dry, tired and dead leaves in their dotage whose lives have been lived to the fullest. However, even at that we know with a certainty that there was one adorable Benike Tamaraumiemene Joseph who lived a memorable life on earth and left us at a time he was most needed, and who will never be forgotten until the close of this age because, by his impactful 51-year sojourn on earth, he has created for himself a gilded,indestructible and immortal seat in a world he is now perpetually embargoed and denied re-appearance.
At last, finally, very finally and very very finally, like Chinua Achebe who confirmed ‘Biafrally’ that ‘there was a country’, there was actually Benike Joseph from 1972 to 2023 but suddenly left to the underworld without collecting his waiting doctorate degree from UNN, though his growing image,now ‘growth-barricaded’, will always feature prominently in the daily discouurse, conversation, dialogue, monologue, soliloquy and interactions of this generation and beyond.
Enewaridideke writes from Akparemogbene, Delta State.