“Biography is highly recommended for the reason that the study of the lives, times, experience, trials, triumphs, failure and successes of great men and women should provide us inspiration that we ourselves can achieve greatness”
Prof. Scott Pegg eulogises Patrick
In my earlier tribute published in the last edition and online as well as in local and international media, I described Patrick Naagbanton as a positive tornado. May I express my appreciation to National Point Newspaper a paper that you were once the editor-at large for publishing that article in soft and hard copies. But apart from being a positive tornado personality, you were also an institution for mass emancipation. I remember with nostalgia when I wrote a 100 page proposal on the agony of kindergarten education in Ogoni and greater Niger Delta to the Canadian High Commission Abuja, Nigeria, in 1998 for which I used your office at 13 Agudama Street, D-line, Port Harcourt as my contact point.
When the proposal was approved and the Canadian delegation came calling on an inspection visit, you did to me, Bodo and the Ogoni people, the real honour to accompany Dr. Kenna Owoh, leader of the delegation, to see the young school that I and other Ogoni patriots were nurturing at the auditorium of Saint Andrew’s Anglican Church, Bodo City. Following your inputs and that of Comrade Oronto Douglas (RIP), the Canadians approved my proposal and a grant in aid material for the erection of a five-classroom block was given to the Bebor Board of Governors.
You introduced me to the art of journalistic writing and you went further time without number to submit my articles mostly with ghost names to notable media outfits for publication. You advised that in spite of my intimidating credentials and life experiences, as an Historian, Educationist and ordained missionary teacher, I should take up a programme in journalism which I obeyed religiously. It was after these episodes that I nick-named you a media king par excellence.
Children of Bebor Group of Schools pay tribute to Patrick Naagbanton
It was through you that I got connected to notable media organizations both in Nigeria and overseas. During the memorial service of the legendary Ogoni leader, Gbene Terh Ken SaroWiwa in 2000, you, in your usual way of ensuring that your valued friends enjoy the better part of any meal that you have, introduced me to Chief (Prof.) Scott Pegg, a scholar of Political Science, History and International Relations. As at that time, he was teaching at Ankra University, Turkey. The three of us got to St. Pius X College Bodo City, where I was history teacher/teacher librarian and I entertained the scholar. On his leaving my house, he handed over to me his complimentary card. Unknowingly to you, I forwarded a new multifaceted proposal to the scholar on ways through which the Canadian grant can be consolidated, the building of more infrastructural facilities, granting of scholarship to vulnerable kids as well as the extension of the school to other Ogoni villages which, through your efforts, the school was extended to Bane and Bori thus becoming an Ogoni project.
On the sudden demise of Rev. (Dr.) Baritema Brandt Vizor Paago as chairman of the Bebor Board of Governors, you were unanimously appointed as acting chairman and with a subsequent confirmation following your tremendous contribution as board chairman. Our closeness was such that I was there when you married the beautiful, charming Avary and you, and members of the civil society groups stood by me when I married Grace.
The formation of the Bebor International Friends Committee, was an idea mooted by Chief (Prof.) Scott Pegg and accepted by all of us being board members and it was modelled on what the late Ken Saro Wiwa did with MOSOP. The galvanization of more supports leading to the continuous growth and transformation of Bebor at Bodo City, Bane and Bori as well as the extension of supports to other allied schools like St. Patrick’s Nursery/Primary and the school at K. Dere (also owned by the Catholic) were done following your inputs, cooperation as well as that of your successors, Dr. Neniibarini Zabbey, a Hydro-Biologist as CEHRD coordinator and the principal project director at Bebor group of schools.
Patrick is survived by four children, his wife Avary and his aged mother, Lekie. The civil society group, Patrick’s primary constituency should ensure that several of his amazing legacies continue without him. His son, ERNESTO just secured admission into the nearby Rivers State University to read one of the engineering courses, while his three daughters; some are on the verge to access higher educational studies. The state of his mother is very pathetic because instead of Patrick organizing her burial, the octogenarian to whom Patrick was an only surviving child, on November 23, 2019, stood on the poet’s grave to bid him a most painful goodbye.
Civil society groups, local and international charities and other organs should take up the challenge of ensuring that a trust fund is instituted towards the educational training of Patrick’s children and a periodic relief measure through a dedicated bank account bestowed on his aged mother, Lekie. Patrick’s immediate constituency, CSOs world-wide should take up the gauntlet by ensuring that his legacies live on as only through this that we can groom those who will take after us.
This was a man that has written about four books prominent among which is, “Foot Print of Nkpoo Sibara, Ken Saro Wiwa, Gani Fahwehmi and Dele Giwa”. He was a man that has written over 2000 articles published in the newspapers, magazines and in the Social Media. He was one of the most consistent, dependable, creative, resourceful, analytical, environmental and human rights activist, investigative journalist, researcher, poet and author. He was one of the best brains that Ogoni, Nigeria and the black race has produced. An Ogoni and Niger Delta super-hero, one may say, and a literary sage of a positive tornado who through his brain could pull down corrupt and decaying institutions.
Patrick was magisterial in oratory, with a swagger that only intellectuals such as he contrive. He was a must heard. He was a rare breed, a consummate thinker with such a brilliant mind garnished with good looks and sophistication. He was a man well made. Action for good was his watch word.
Hear him, “You can save your community already in flames through your philanthropic actions. Be dogged, be spirited, be daring, be unafraid and arm yourselves with knowledge and confront the corruption, personalized gluttony, dissections, pretence and abuse of power and money Do it now, tomorrow is too far, victory is certain solidarity”.
It is my wish to document here that the Patrick Nagbanton scholarship scheme, his brain child will continue, the Patrick Nagbanton News Casting Skills and Center for Creative Writing, Environmental Information & Development, a unit of UECEF that he co-founded with me and Alloy Khenom will continue through our sacrifice. The Better School, Brighter Future Farm, Chief Prof. Scott Pegg Research Public Library and Prof. Ben Naanen Kindergarten Library as well as the Bebor Jolly Phonies Center of Educational Excellence will continue to live towards eternity. We will uphold his exemplary life of industry, clear thinking and uprightness and these epitomize the life that Patrick Nagbanton lived while on earth. Adieu!
Finally, I want to assure you comrade, that my manuscript on “Ogoni Antiquities” which you edited and the second one on “Ogoni abandoned communities” which was the products of my second master degree will be published and dedicated to you and Chief Prof. Scott Pegg, Chairman, Bebor International Friends Committee and the Mene Eedee I of Bodo City, Gokana, Ogo