Heroes: Remembering Chief Festus Sam Okotie-Eboh
Post created on 2:44 pm
On Saturday, January 15, 2022, marks 56 years since Chief Festus Samuel Okotie-Eboh was killed during the first coup in Nigeria.
To mark the occasion, Dr. Mrs Dere Awosika (with some of her siblings) is launching the nine storey Okotie-Eboh Overlook Condominiums built on the grounds of the former estate of their father, Chief Festus Samuel Okotie Eboh, one of Nigeria’s most prominent historical figures and the country’s first and longest running Finance Minister.
Born in 1912, this year (2022) makes it 110 years ago. Assassinated in 1966, this year makes that to be 56 years ago. He lived for only 54 years (1912-1966). That means that a child born when he was assassinated would today have lived longer than he did. It could easily be surmised that his life was short. The essence and significance of life here, however, is neither the longevity nor the brevity of it but the quality of that life, as defined by the value(s) it contributed to the improvement of life and living for all and sundry in the course of the said life.
The impact of Chief Okotie-Eboh’s life was so widely pervasive that the effect on our national life remains very visible today. “Omimi” is the Itsekiri word for waves. One can vividly recall that in the early 1950s, his car in Sapele was known by most people that when the horn was sounded, people (especially children) would chant “Omimi” in excitement and admiration. It was because of the massive impact he was known to be making on people’s lives in those days. He was just about 40 years old then.
Although he was assassinated when he was only 54 years of age, he is still alive and by the grace of God, will continue to be while Nigeria remains. This is because of the undeniable contributions he made in the founding and building of this nation.They are pillars that have remained and on which the country stands as a modern and developing economy. They are legacies which cannot be ignored.
We remember him today and always in order to draw inspiration not only to confront the challenges of the present but also to have an expanding vision that stretches far beyond the moment and our immediate surroundings.