Remembrance: Exit of “A Good Man,” Elder Bernard Angulu Adoji sent off in a blaze of glory

From the sea of heads that thronged Ejule and the never seen before long convoy of vehicles that accompanied his body through the hot savannah to Okula Aloma, his ancestral home, in Ofu, Local Government of Kogi State, it was clear that a leader of his people, lover of his community, whose life was an inspiration to many has departed. As Emma, our local guide puts it, a good man, who readily made his shoulder available to his community to lean on in times of need, has gone home and the community will miss him.
At a recharge card seller’s shop, an elderly woman in the community narrated how the deceased was responsible for her only son’s success in life by offering financial assistance for his education after he lost her husband years back.
Were the 75 year old community leader and elder statesman, Pa Bernard Angulu Adoji a politician, the carnival like atmosphere in Ejule when a mammoth crowd welcomed his body home for the service of songs on Thursday 21st of May 2015 could be described as addressing his last rally and the people trooped out in their thousands to catch a last glimpse of the ‘big masquerade’ having his last dance.
A prince of the Achadu Igala Royal family, Bernard Angulu Adoji was born on November 18, 1940 in Okula Aloma to the God fearing, humble Christian family of Mr. and Mrs. Adoji. Nicknamed ‘Angulu’, he was the second child in a family of eleven children. The lad named Bernard by an Ibo man, who was a close associate of his father grew up imbibing the moral and civic virtues of hard work, integrity, honesty and humility springing from a highly disciplined and religious upbringing.
He was not denied the strict moral discipline of a father as well as the lavish love and care of a loving mother at his youth. Even in Okula Aloma and beyond, his father’s reputed meekness, generousity, kindness and humility were attributes that were known and acknowledged as a trait that Pa Bernard Angulu inherited from his own father and the same run in his own children.IMG_3820
In 1956, he began his quest for when he enrolled as one of the few pioneer students of the Igala Native Authority Primary School. He was described as a very brilliant and highly intelligent student. He proceeded to Dekina Middle School where his outstanding academic performance manifested as he came 3rd in the highly competitive common entrance examination. At the Dekina Middle School, he was nicknamed ‘Ichekpa’ in recognition of his wizardry in mathematics. In Igala mythology, Ichekpa is the goddess of wisdom.IMG_3644
He continued his education by sitting for the Royal Society of Arts Examination two years after he finished from Dekina Middle School. Armed with those qualification at that time, his working career at Paterson Zochonis was exemplary as he rose through the ranks to become Executive Regional Manager for the entire Northern Nigeria, to his hard work and energetic pursuit of his responsibility, the company, under his watch, penetrated Nothern Nigeria and returned good profits. In 1980, he registered as a private student and obtained a diploma in Bussiness Administration and by 1986, he graduated with a Higher National Diploma in Marketing.IMG_3588
He also worked at the UAC and later the Nigerian Bottling Company from where he joined Sterling Products Plc as Sales Supervisor for the whole of Northern Nigeria. He successfully managed the affairs of the company in Eastern Nigeria during the Nigerian civil war to the admiration of the management and was promoted Area Manager. IMG_3516
His career at Paterson Zochonis which began in 1971, took him to every major cities in Northern Nigeria ranging from Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Mambila Plateau, Gembu, Yola and as far as Niger Republic and Cameroun. He was PZ’s Regional Manager for the whole of Norther Nigeria and on June 30, 1996, after about 25 years of selfless service and untainted record of honesty, dedication to his work and loyalty to the company and very high personal integrity, Elder Bernard Adoji drew the curtain on an exemplary sojourn in the organized private sector. _MG_3173Then he was just 56 years.
For a workaholic, energetic and highly resourceful technocrat, who has spent the better part of his life managing men and resources, a full retirement from active work life became impossible. He planned a quiet but self sustaining post retirement life. He saw in Anyigba, the economic and political capital of the Igalas, an emerging city of the future. So at a time when most sons of Igala who were better placed economically were reluctant to invest in the city, Elder Adoji, established the Abuche Guest Inn. It was one of the leading pioneer hotels in Igala land.
He was involved in local politics as a dignified Elder who sees politics as a legitimate instrumentality of service. His contributions were highly respected and sought out by all stakeholders Kogi politics a testimony was the caliber of political leaders who graced his burial ceremony.
In 1964, he met his wife, the very beautiful Rebecca, a morally matured woman whose exemplary life makes her the virtuous woman and role model to many women in the community. They got married in April 1965. Very respectful, loyal and totally committed to her husband, she opined in a tribute “I still reference God for leading such a master piece to me…Adieu Sir” She concluded.
God blessed the couple with eight children who are well educated, vastly travelled and exposed to cosmopolitan life, but taking a cue from their parents, they mix and associate freely with the locals.
As per goodwill, the Adojis have it in abundance as two the communities; Ejule and Okula Aloma, in accord shut down their economic lives for two days to do honour to a man generously described as ‘kind to a fault’

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