CHIEF DENNIS OSADEBE TAGGED AS THE ''PRIMUS INTER PARES'' AMONG YESTER-YEARS POLITICIANS


OSADEBE COMES ALIVE IN 1ST MEMORIAL LECTURE
Live Report by Cerutti MIKE Osagie,in Grand hotel Asaba
THE  former BRITISH Prime minister Sir James Callaghan was most categorical in a 1978 historical speech when he divulged in  quote that: ‘’A leader must have the courage to act and to act against an expert’s advice. In any crises, the leader has the most freedom at the onset when he had the least information at his disposal’’
This quality of a great leader brings us to the great Nigerian  leader called Dennis Osadebe, GCON,COS, the first Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Premier, Midwest region of Nigeria, who was to later rose to the enviable position of acting Head of State of the great Nigeria  nation
The man may be dead but his memory lives on, and only last weekend, May 31st 2014 in the historic town of Asaba, inside the Nnebisi Hall in Grand Hotel Asaba his memories came alive like a burning fire-red and smoking hot
Indeed the 1st ever Chief Dennis Osadebay Memorial lecture has come and gone, the memories will no doubt continue to linger on in the mind of the discerning guest that witness the August gathering with a topic titled: THE MINORITY QUESTION-Some thoughts on Identity, Justice & Incorporation in Nigeria’’ So successful it had eminent speaker like Dr Rev Hassan Mathew Kukah,  Chief John D Edozien the Odafe of Asaba who is a onetime deputy Governor of old Bendel State, among several top politicians and business mogul across the nation
Apart from the grandeur of the event, it turned out as a case study how we can honor our heroes and founding fathers who put their lives on the line to enable us enjoy the emancipation that we today experience. This Osadebay’s memorial which was put together by the collective effort of the young and upwardly mobile organization called ASDEV 81 CLUB ASABA, was witnessed by politicians, business leaders, and captain of industries from across the Country and in the Diaspora.
The most colorful day, was flagged off by the welcome address speech by Ogbueshi (Engr.) Tony Molokwu, the President of ASDEV ’81 CLUB ASABA-the body that put the whole event together. In his most eloquent speech, the Ogbueshi of Asaba thundered: ‘’Let is officially be on our national record that late chief Dennis Osadebe, the Ojiba OF Ahaba in his life time was the ‘’PRIMUS INTER PARES’’ the first among equal among) among Asaba politicians of yester-years who eloquently stamped the name of Asaba in gold in Nigeria’s political map
‘’It is most pathetic that we are only just awakening up to acclaim our son after over three decade of our existence as a club as  nobody else would do this job for us, but our believe is that it is far better now than never and we are hopeful that this series of lectures in honor of our great son and father will expose Asaba further and put records in correct perspective as to its place in history of our great Country, Nigeria so that denials of what is due to this great town will be curtailed’’

Not a man to shy away from the benefit of speaking on the big stage, the ASDEV’81 CLUB President used the opportunity of the august event to profoundly pour encomium on his Excellency, the executive Governor of Delta state Dr Emmanuel Udughan who not long ago graciously approved the reconstruction of Osadenis high school, Asaba which was names after the great son to international standard, which is apart from another landmark legacy which is the construction of Asaba international airport, which has today brought tremendous economic  benefit to all Deltans.

SIR OSADEBE: A ROBUST PROFILE OF A LEGEND



Chief Dennis Chukudebe Osadebey, lawyer by profession, was the first premier of the then Mid-west Region (August1963-January1966).
Born in Asaba on June 29, 1911, Chief Osadebey had his elementary education at Government school, Asaba, Sacred Heart College and Hope Waddell Training Institute,both in Calabar. He later joined the civil service and worked in the Department of Customs and Excise from 1930 to 1946 when he proceeded to study law at London University and Lincoln’s Inn from 1946 to 1949 On graduation, he was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn. He subsequently returned to Nigeria and went into legal practice.
Chief Osadebey’s political career began in 1951 when he was elected to the western House of Assembly and in 1952
to the House of Representatives. He was a member of those two legislative houses till 1954 when the new constitution made it impossible for person to be a member of two houses. He then decided to retain his membership of the western House of Assembly.
From 1954 to 1955, he was leader of the opposition party in the western House of Assembly. He became Deputy Speaker of the House from 1956 to1958 when he again became leader of the Opposition Party.
Chief Osadebey was one of Nigeria’s representatives at the constitutional conferences held in London in 1953, 1957 and 1958 for the drafting of a new constitution for Nigeria.
He served in numerous bodies and committees including those of the Governor’s Privy Council in the then western Nigeria, the western Regional Scholarship Board, the western Region Law Revision Committee, the western Region Finance Committee and the Nigeria Customs and Excise Law Revision Committee.
His political career got a further boost in 1960 with his election as president of the Nigerian Senate from where he led the Nigerian Parliamentary Delegation to the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom in 1962.

Chief Osadebay with members of the interim Administration

He acted as Nigeria’s Governor-General in 1961 and in that year he was awarded Commander of the order of Senegal By the president of Senegal.
On the creation of the Midwest Region on August 9, 1963, Chief Osadebey was appointed administrator.  On February 1964 he became the first premier of the state after his party, National Convention of Nigeria Citizens {NCNC} won the first general election held in the state.
He was one of the one founders of the NCNC of which he was national legal adviser. He was also the National Vice Chairman of National Party of Nigeria {NPN}.
Apart from holding numerous Chieftaincy titles including the Ojiba of Asaba, Chief Osadebey was also awarded the revered national honour of Grad Commander of the Order of the Niger {G.C.O.N} by the president of Nigeria in 1964. He was also conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws {LL.D} in the same year by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Chief Osadebay delivering his inaugural speeh in Benin City
He was made pro-Chancellor and chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, Lagos in 1980. In the same year, he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters {D.Litt} of the University of Benin, Benin City.
Among other interests of Chief Osadebey was his deep involvement in the Boy Scouts Movement. He represented Nigeria at the Boy Scouts world jamboree in England in 1929 and in 1933 he founded the 13th Owerri Group of Boy Scouts at Port-Harcourt and subsequently became the first Scouts- master.
In 1960, he became the chairman of the parliamentary Guild Old scouts in Lagos and was appointed International Commissioner of Nigeria Scouts.
He was a recipient of the silver Eagle Medal of the Boy Scouts.
Following the creation of the Anglican Diocese of Asaba in 1977, Chief Osadebey was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese.
An author of several publications, Chief Osadebey’s works include “Africa sings”, a book of one hundred poems, and the “poems of Osadenis”. His autobiography “Building a Nation” which X-ray his life as well as the political and constitutional development of Nigeria was published in 1978.
Chief Osadebey was also interested in African Affairs particularly the political and constitutional development of English speaking Africa.
TYPICAL SAMPLE OF SIR OSADEBE’S POEM
Like many poets, Osadebe wrote first for journals and newspapers such as the West African Pilot. His first anthology, Africa Sings was published while he was studying in England. As an African born in the colonial era, his poetry resonates with others rising across the continent at that time, talking about Africanness and the desire to carve an identity for a continent fighting to put herself on a more-deserved pedestal.
WHO BUYS MY THOUGHTS
Who buys my thoughts
Buys not a cup of honey
That sweetens every taste;
He buys the throb,
5 Of Young Africa’s soul,
The soul of teeming millions,
Hungry, naked, sick,
Yearning, pleading, waiting.
Who buys my thoughts
10 Buys not false pretence
Of oracles and tin gods;
He buys the thoughts
Projected by the mass
Of restless youths who are born
15 Into deep and clashing cultures,
Sorting, questioning, watching.
Who buys my thoughts
Buys the spirit of the age,
The unquenching fire that smoulders
20 And smoulders
In every living heart
That’s true and noble or suffering;
It burns all o’er the earth,
Destroying, chastening, cleansing.







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