Last week, my father, Benedict Elisi Asoya, a retired secondary school principal turned 83. The day would have just passed like any other but it occurred to us, the children and grand children, that the best birthday is sometimes more than a quiet, reflective and peaceful day away from the troubles of the moment. More so, birthdays are also a good opportunity to let people know that they are special. So, we decided to celebrate quietly indoors. We bought a few drinks and marked the day peacefully in the company of a few friends in Asaba, Delta State. To our surprise, we even received gifts from our friend and brother, Jude Ashikodi and his lovely wife, Marian. What an unforgettable experience!
But as we celebrated, we also remembered our loving mother, late Ezinne Bridget Obiageli Asoya, the torch-bearing teacher par excellence and school administrator who saw the best in others. Every day, we the children and others she touched, still feel her absence. Adieu, Miss!
Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light continue to shine on her.
Born in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, on September 21, 1937, Benedict Elisi Asoya had his early education at St. Thomas’ College, Ibusa and his tertiary education at the University of Benin and the University of Wales, United Kingdom. He was a career teacher and served in various capacities for thirty-five years in Primary, Teacher Training and Secondary Schools. He was the first secretary of the Unified Teaching Service for Oshimili Local Government Area and served briefly as Secretary to the Bendel State Board of Secretaries. He later served at St. Patrick’s College, Asaba for eight years running and retired meritoriously in December 1992 as a graded Principal 11.
Subsequently, he was appointed Supervisor of Schools by the State Primary Education Board. Asoya later served as the Principal of Onward Secondary Commercial College, Illah where he finally retired from service in 2000.
His publications include The Role of the Head; The Royal Shakespeare (Drama and Theatre); What We Do When We Worry All the Time, The March of Spiritual Development in Lumen Christi Family Adoration Ministry and Okpanam Folk-Tale: An Anthology of Okpanam Proverbs.
Happy birthday, young man!