The Urhobo Voice
A Newspaper Covering Events in Urhoboland and Offering Diverse Perspectives on Urhobo History and Culture
March 21, 2005
Benedict Etedjere Onokpasa, Foremost Scholar of Urhobo Language, Laid to Rest
By Okpa Anagbo
A foremost scholar of Urhobo language, Benedict Etedjere Onokpasa, has been laid to rest in his hometown, Okwuvo, near Adeje, in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State.
Pa Onokpasa, who
died at the age of 76, was a pioneer Urhobo educationist and researcher
Urhobo Language, having been trained at
Onokpasa became the first scholar to standardise the Urhobo Language into grammatical form, with the following publications to his credit: Modern Urhobo Readers I-IV (1963); Urhobo Poems (1962); Hero of Sharpville (1962), among others.
public-spirited person, desirous to leave his foot-print in the sands
Onokpasa in 1964 founded and became the principal of
In his funeral oration, Rev. Fr. Albert Onokpasa described his father as well-travelled, accomplished and fulfilled man. He said he was a disciplinarian, principled and lover of high standards. “As an industrious man, Onokpasa planted all the numerous fruit trees that formed the large acres around his compound. He does not believe in mediocrity and laziness and hence ensured that his children are well molded after his industrious character.
“As an agriculturist, he farmed successfully and was rewarded bountifully in his labour.”
The cleric said his father was a leader, who commanded respect in coordinating his numerous engagements and affairs. “As a great motivator, Onokpasa inspired the younger generation to be dedicated and work hard. He inculcated the spirit of honesty, accountability and transparency in young people whom he taught at his school. He was a stimulant to the educational appetite, growth and development of everyone that he came across. He was a gem, an astute elder, a pacesetter, a goal-getter, a man of truth, honesty, righteousness and fairness.”
In a chat with The Urhobo Voice, Rev. Fr. Albert Onokpasa said his father’s death caused confusion and bewilderment in his family, but that they had to quickly recover from the shock when they realised that life is a reality of birth and death, and of womb and tomb.
Professor Omafune Onoge said the late Onokpasa was a man of dignity, honesty and hard work. He said that Urhobo has lost one of the best men who pioneered private sector education in the country. He prayed his soul to have eternal rest in peace.
present included Prof. Abednigo Ekoko of
Others included His Lordship, Bishop of Warri Diocese, Most Rev. Dr. Richard Burke, his auxiliary, Most Rev. John Afareha, including monsignors and priests, as well as Chief Patrick Gbinije, Okpagha of Okpe Kingdom; Mrs. Felicia Aziza (wife of General Aziza), among others.