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Rather than dwelling on sanctimony, it is not immodest to give banquet to those who deserve it when they are alive. Any epitaph that is written when one is gone only satisfy the curiosity of the living. The Odoma ATTAH Igala, Chief Sylvester Onoja(OON) deserve our banquets while he could feel the flavour of the fruits of self fulfilment.

When my community required exemplar as an educationist among comity of others, he was readily available.

When the entire North had the opportunity of providing the first principal of the elitist and age-long Kings’ College,he was found as the most qualified.
When there was need to get a principal for St.Peter’s College, a man who has audacity of self conviction to stand on disciplinary gravitas, the Catholic missionary pulled him out of academic ambience of A B U, Zaria ,to serve that purpose. The product of that disciplinary ambience, is the recently installed ATTAH Igala, Alaji Matthew Opaluwa Akpa and several others including yours sincerely.
When Kogi State under governor, Ibrahim Idris require educational renaissance, he was found worthy to be Commissioner of Education.

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When he saw that all schools in Imane were community-driven, he brought Govt Science Secondary School to his ancestry and remain one-man crusader against Exam malpractices.

Even after serving as commissioner in Kogi State and there was need to revitalised the secondary sub sector,the Captain Wada administration found him suitable for the job as Technical Adviser on Education (TSC).

The innate ability and the educationally induced qualifications that made him to qualify for appointments, followed his footprints from the old Benue State as he previously served on the board of Teaching Commission and on the board of Benue printing and Publishing Corporation.

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When it was time to find an educationist worthy for national honours award,he was found most suitable to be conferred with Officer of the Order of Niger(OON).
When the need arose for all descendants of Ayegba Om’Idoko to be united behind a new Paramount ruler(ATTAH Igala) with prayers and resources, he was found most honourable to chair the Central planning Committee for the coronation.

He is one of the most talked about. But the worst disease in humanity is somebody that is not being talked about at all. If the Oguche Akluma sub clan in Imane, had not had one like this forerunner elite after the end of the Second World War, during which Comets were seen for emergence of great men, the Maker would have invented one like no other. May the health of this self taught and eloquent historian, remains as radiant as Biblical cedars of Lebanon as he adds more years.

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Donatus Okpe.


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