By Elo Edremoda
The life and times of Hon. Raphael Avuakeoghene Essi will without a doubt remain evergreen in the hearts of his loved ones.
The Essi patriarch who was bade final goodbye on May 10, 2019 at his hometown, Uzere Kingdom, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, was aged 80, when he departed this world, last December 2018.
Although he lived to a very ripe age, the tears could not be held as the final rites of internment were performed.
He was once a teacher and an administrator and later held some managerial positions until his appointment as a lay judge in the Customary Courts Department attached to the district court in Uzere from 2000 to April 2013.
When he retired, Pa Essi became the Odio Orere (a member of council of Edios) of Uruehe, a sub-community in Uzere in October 2017 till his death.
Meanwhile, in a tribute to her late father, the first daughter, Comrade Dr. Felida Essi said, “you taught us that no matter how offended we are, we should forgive the offender and let God fight our battles and that in everything we do in life, we should always practice perseverance and be patient.”
Asked what she will miss most about him, the Comrade, who is the publisher of Isoko Mirror newspaper stated thus: “I will miss his comforting words, especially when I am down.”
On his part, the first son, Rotarian Brooklyn Essi, expressed gratitude for all the many lessons, including “the importance of humility, education and the remarkable power of emotional and financial generosity,” that he learnt from his late father.
One of his students, Dr Benjamin Ubreye Owhe-Ureghe in RCM school, in his tribute wrote: “the truth is that I benefited from your disciplinary action as your pupils, which helped shaped my life. Words are not enough to express my gratitude to the role you played during my formative years. Bye my teacher.”
With the demise of his second son, Evang. Jeff, Pa Essi is survived by a wife, nine children, including a step daughter, Mrs. Florence Emuobor and several sons and daughters in-law.
Other children are Mrs. Faith Ariekoko, Mrs. Efe Ubu, Rtn. Ifoghale Maaer, Bosco, Israel and Barr. Rafaela Essi.
Also left behind are 16 grandchildren and a brother, Mr. Ligourey Essi.
The ceremony which was a celebration of life, saw dignitaries, friends and families from all walks of life grace the occasion.
Some notable personalities present at the occasion are Isoko Mirror Director, Chief Jad Iboma, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, DESOPADEC, Bashorun Askia Ogieh, Uzere Grammar School Old Students Association led by its president, Chief Joseph Ubeleke, Isoko Ladies League International, led by Chief (Mrs.) Stella Ejeh and Community Newspaper Publishers of Nigeria, Delta State chapter led by Comrade Jude Obeyemenyego.
Also present were Isoko Development Union (IDU), Women’s Wing, Warri and Asaba branches, Enyaharo Eyana Warri, former colleagues of the late Hon. R. A. Essi in the judiciary led by Chief Uriri, the Akporeros from Olomoro, Uzere community, Asaba, Chief Godwin Awoso, Dr. Isaac Ejebe, Chief Isaac Agbajileke, Dr John Eru, Chief Richard Okogba and Chief Sunny Omoredo.
Others are Mr. and Mrs. Okorigba, Pastors Duke and Kelvin, Mrs. Christy Okotie, Chief Erume, Barrister Mrs. Mary Erijo, Hon. Mrs. Ilolo, Chief Richard Okogba, Mr. Festus Owhojero, Sir Akporuno, Director-General Delta Sports Commission, Chief Onogagamue Victor, Sir Evans Egbo among others.