By Jonah Isibor, Ofure Oboh and Loveday Moses
August 8, 2022 marked the first anniversary of the sudden exit of an illustrious son of Edo State, the businessman and avowed philanthropist, Capt. Dr. Idahosa Wells Okunbo.
His family held a memorial service in his honour on the grounds of Wells Greenhouse Farm at the outskirts of Benin City, Edo State capital. The event brought the flood of praises and comments on the unusual life that the effervescent peace chasing man lived.
Although it was tagged “private” for family and close associates, it attracted hundreds well-wishers of Capt. Hosa, including religious and traditional leaders.
Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki was represented by his Deputy Governor, Mr. Philip Shaibu. In his eulogy, Shaibu told the audience that Okunbo “lives on and will continue to live on. We can go on and on on how he has touched lives. I have a personal relationship with him, and obviously we will miss him.”
Mr. James Ibori, former Governor of Delta State, said Okunbo was “Somebody who will never say no to any request no matter how difficult and after he has done it, he would say I have done it but it was tough.”
Speaking to the family, Ibori said: “We are your fathers, brothers and as long as I continue to breathe, the family have me by your side. He was a great man and we will continue to miss him. He has not left, he is still with us.”
The wife of the Olu of Warri, daughter of the deceased, Her Royal Highness Olori Ivie Atuwatse III, said the departure of her father “felt like a thousand pillars crushing my heart.
“It heralded a phase of grief that I didn’t know I could eventually conquer, were it not for the mercies of God through Jesus Christ and the fantastic people I have been gifted with.
“This is why we have converged here today at the magnificent Well Hosa’s Farm; one of my dear father’s entrepreneurial legacies while he was with us and where he continues to rest to give God thanks.”
Kingsley Okunbo, Hosa’s younger brother called for unity, which he said was what his late brother stood for.
He told the audience that, “It has been a long one year. Only one thing has bonded this family together and it is love and we will not trade it for anything. Cappy never played with the love that bond the family and this by the grace of God we will continue.”
The first son of the departed pathfinder, Hosa, Mr. Osahon Okunbo, said: “To brothers and sisters who are unavoidably absent, I’m always here for you. Just know that you have a big brother. I also want to thank all those who took time on a Monday morning to identify with us. We are indeed grateful.”
Osahon explained that the last one year, since the demise of his father, has been so challenging – noting that he missed those midnight calls and fatherly counsels.
Emissary from the palace of Olu of Warri, was among the guests at the event. Others were, Mr. Segun Awolowo Jr, Secretary to the State Government of Edo (SSG), Osarodion Ogie Esq, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu and some religious leaders.
The widow of Capt. Hosa, Mrs. Nosa Okunbo was not sighted by Midwest Herald reporters at the event.