ForeverMissed
Ekhaguosa Aisien was born in Egboha village, in what is now Ovia South West Local Government Area, Edo State, Nigeria on August 31st, 1930 to Pa Idemudia Aisien and Madam Egunmwendia Amadasun.

He spent his early childhood in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.

His elementary school education was primarily in St. Matthew’s CMS and St. Peter’s CMS elementary schools, in Benin City. He subsequently passed the entrance examination to the oldest Grammar school in Nigeria, the renowned CMS Grammar school in Lagos, which he attended from 1946 to 1951. He had a two-year stint at the University of Ibadan, from 1952 to 1954, obtaining an Inter B.Sc degree in Agricultural Sciences. He subsequently returned to his alma mater, CMS Grammar School in Lagos, where he taught Science until 1957. One of his notable students at that time was Chief Ernest Shonekan, who would eventually become Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 1957, he obtained a government scholarship to study Medicine at the King’s College Hospital, London, from where he obtained his medical degree in 1962.

On completion of his medical studies, he moved back to Nigeria and served as a medical officer in government service, caring for the people of Benin City and Forcados, respectively. Most memorably, when he was posted to Uromi, he was the doctor in charge of the whole of Ishan land in what is now central Edo State. He cared for combatants of both sides of the Nigerian civil war (1967 - 1970), and he was eventually conscripted into the Nigerian Army with the rank of Major.

Before the end of the civil war, he moved back to Britain to specialize in General Surgery, primarily in Edinburgh, Scotland. He returned to Nigeria with his family in 1973, and continued government service, at the General Hospital in Warri and the Central Hospital, Benin City. He served as the most senior Consultant General Surgeon in government service while at the Central Hospital in Benin City.

He retired from civil service in 1978, and founded Azuwa Hospital, the pioneer multi-specialist Hospital in Benin City, with his colleagues Dr. Idehen, an Eye Surgeon and Dr. Igbinovia, a Physician. He ran Azuwa Hospital for decades until his retirement from medical practice. During this time, he provided optimal medical care to the people of Benin City and environs, and he is remembered as a patient, kind, compassionate and ever-smiling doctor.

Dr. Aisien was a brilliant writer and historian, centering primarily on Benin history and anthropology. He was perhaps the preeminent voice in the history of the Edo people at the time of his passing. He has published 13 major books. His seminal work was arguably his first publication, the masterpiece known as “Iwu: the body markings of the Edo people”. As an adjunct to the publication of “Iwu”, he designed the “Iwu dress”, which today is seen as the primary dress signifying Edo identity. 

His impact on the codification of Edo history and culture cannot be overstated.

He also played a central role in the development of is ancestral village, Oben village of Edo State. He was instrumental in the building of the Oben Cottage Hospital, which has provided healthcare to the people of that area for many years.

Dr. Aisien also served as the Chairman of the Bendel State Library Board in the 1980s, a role of which he was extremely proud. He was also a farmer, running and maintaining a farm from the late 1970s until near the end of his life in the Amagba village, Edo State.

Despite all of his marvelous professional achievements, Ekhaguosa Aisien will be fondly remembered as a loving family man. He was married to his soul mate, Ebiuwa Mercy Aghedo, in February 1966. They spent over 55 fruitful and beautiful years together. He is survived by eight amazing children, all of whom adored their father. His extended family meant so much to him during his life, and he was the Okaegbe (oldest family member) of both his father’s and mother’s families, at the time of his passing.

Ekhaguosa was a man of simplicity, candor, grace and love. He left an indelible mark on his planet, and for that, his loved ones are eternally grateful.

He will be greatly missed.

Posted by Ugiomotiti Usuanlele on November 5, 2021
TRIBUTE TO MY UNCLE – Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien.
Ekhaguosa Aisien is an elder brother to my beloved mother of blessed memory Monica Uwazogie Obazee (nee Aisien). As children, we fondly called him ‘Daddy doctor’, but as we grew older, we simply called him Daddy or Baba.
Daddy was more than an Uncle to us. His closeness to his sister, my mom Uwazogie, which started from when they were very young certainly did rub off on us - Uwazogie’s children. My mom was only 6 yrs. old when her mother died, after which she was taken to Lagos to live with one of her maternal Aunties. When Ekhaguosa was at CMS Grammar School, Lagos, he naturally went in search of his younger sister. The story was that he didn’t like the situation he found his sister in and decided to ‘steal’ her from her aunt. He hid her in one of their father’s relative’s house for 3 days until he was able to arrange a passage for her to Benin City to meet their dad.
While in England, he would send her books and novels. It was through reading some of those novels myself years later, that I got introduced to authors like Bertha M. Clay. Both of them enjoyed a very close relationship until her death in 1999. After her death, he stood solidly behind my younger sister and me, taking interest in all that concerned us as only a father would. He never referred to his sister as dead. He would tell me in Edo “Uwazogie ma wu, to fiya” i.e. “Uwazogie is not dead, she only passed on” and then pointing to me and each of my children, he would say “Uwazogie na khin, Uwazogie na khin”, meaning “this is Uwazogie, this is Uwazogie”.
As we lived quite close to each other in the GRA, Sunday afternoons saw us alternating between visiting his house and my grandfather’s house on Sapele road. Those afternoons at his place were very memorable and opportunities to bond with our cousins his children. Mummy (his amiable wife) would always treat us to her delicious cuisine. The struggle for me then was to finish a whole 29cl bottle of Fanta. With our tummies bulging with rice and fanta we would roll and play with our cousins on the floor of his living room while watching TV until we were ready to go home. It was always a delight to go visit daddy doctor on Sundays.
My first summer holiday spent away from home was with my uncle and his family. Despite his busy life, he found time to make my visit very memorable. I remember it was the first time I visited Saidi centre to watch a movie with his family. It was also the first time I found myself in Benin club and actually went into a swimming pool! As an undergraduate, my first taste of a job was a summer job position as an accounts clerk at Azuwa Hospital. My 1st salary was judiciously used by my mom to make a wardrobe and a cupboard for me. Items that served me very well during my off-campus days.
A father that was always proud of the achievements of his children, I will never forget the delight on his face when I handed him a copy of my M.Sc thesis. He then encouraged me to go for my PhD.
His joy knew no bounds when he heard that the son of his very dear friend Mr. R.A Usuanlele of blessed memory had asked for my hands in marriage. He would later act as the go between for both families until all the marriage rites were completed.
He looked after us, as a father would, making sure he established that personal relationship with each of us. He was always approachable, and always delighted to see us. He never made us feel we were a bother to him.
His humility and amiability were very endearing. After I set up a private diagnostic lab in Benin, he personally drove to my lab on Costain road one fine afternoon to ask me to come set up a lab in Azuwa hospital. This was a game changer for my budding business. Always looking out for his own, he was an epitome of the word ‘Father’.
I was privileged to see him one more time on Aug. 12th, this year when I visited Nigeria with my dad. A stab of pain went through my heart because I saw him as I had never seen him before. He was sick and weak. I quickly forgot the pain because soon, his vibrant nature was seen radiating through his apparent weakness. He was very delighted to see us, calling me Ugiomo n’omo n’omo as he was wont to call me and even jokingly said that my dad looked like a 70 yr. old man. He was very engaged in our conversation and actually gave me a copy of one of his books for a friend that had asked for it. It was hard to leave at the end of our visit, but for night fall and the threatening rain.
A complete gentleman, that is who my uncle was, in every sense of the word. In my interactions with him, I learnt many life lessons, for it is true that he was a mentor to many, including myself. In these last few months he taught me that I am better for it when I forgive and do good to those who hurt me. There was something he wanted my younger sister and I to do for someone that has hurt us so badly which we were reluctant to do. Knowing the good it would do us if we did what he was asking, he made us tell him how we planned to carry out his wishes. We had to make a plan, which I discussed with him in August. He was happy and I was committed! In his wisdom, he saw and knew that I would be the happier for it. It took me only a few weeks to come to this realization. I am and will always be grateful to him. My Uncle is in Heaven because that is where saints go.
Circumstances would not let me come for his funeral, but I take comfort in the fact that I saw him about 6 weeks before he passed on. I can still feel his hands on my shoulders and back as I knelt before him for his blessing. The last time I spoke with him was on his 91st birthday on Aug. 31st after I had returned home to Canada. I called to wish him a happy birthday. His voice was very weak, but he was still very happy and delighted to hear from me. He couldn’t talk for long ……………………………………………., Sept. 19th, almost 3 weeks later, he answered the glorious call. My dear Uncle Ekhaguosa, daddy doctor has gone to be with The Lord! Today, Nov.5th, 2021, we bury him. Eternal rest grant unto him Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
Daddy, Baba, Okhionwie ghi no! Erimwin nuye, evbu evbu. U ghi tue otuen Uwazogie ne Iye mwen me o. Rest in perfect peace daddy.
Forever in our hearts,
Your daughter,
Ugiomotiti Usuanlele (nee Obazee)
Posted by Gabriel Obazee on November 4, 2021
A TRIBUTE TO LATE DR. EKHAGUOSA AISIẸN
I first saw Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisẹn face to face in September 1963 when he arrived home from Britain after qualifying as a medical doctor. Before then, I had seen his youthful pictures, taken on his arrival in Britain, with my friend, his sister Uwazogie. She had told me of his benevolence to her in various forms. She would always display with pride and gratitude some books Dr. Ekhaguosa bought and posted to her from Britain. According to her, he was her unfailing pillar of support and encouragement in her study in the college.
My acquaintance with Uwazogie was casual in the second half of 1950 as we were both in the St. Cecilia Choir at Holy Cross Cathedral Benin City. We became gradually closer when we met at the monthly Curia meeting of the Legion of Mary both at Ubiaja and in Benin City after graduating from school.
My expectation to see Dr. Aisien was obsessive because of the good tidings I had heard about him and the super-big reception Uwazogie prepared to welcome him home. So, I was a part of the enthusiastic big crowd at No 27 Sapele Road that welcomed him on that day of his glorious return home. I eventually became a member of the Aisien Family and a brother-in-law to Dr. Ekhaguosa in 1966 and I remember with nostalgia his love and support at my wedding on the 26 of December the same year.
My 55 years experience in the Aisien Family reveals that what I heard about Dr. Ekhaguosa was just the tip of the iceberg. As a young doctor, it was the first time we saw a doctor giving prescriptions to patients in the corridors of Benin General Hospital. How he could break even in the running of his own hospital puzzled me because members of his large families were treated free. My wife, children and I were beneficiaries of his lavish benevolence. 
It is a cliché in bereavement to say that the deceased is an irreparable loss to his family and community. In Dr. Ekhaguosa’s case, he left behind a great wealth of knowledge for the benefit of humanity. Therefore, his passing on is not a total loss because humanity and generations yet unborn will continue to benefit from his huge legacy of over a dozen books written by him. As members of his family, however, we have lost his fatherly love, care and support. On my part, my loss is overwhelming. Dr. Ekhaguosa had earnestly desired to read a copy of my yet to be published Edo-English dictionary which owed its completion to his unrelenting persuasion and encouragement. I had intended him to write the foreword for the dictionary which his demise prevents forever.
And it has just dawned on me that I will no longer hear his accolade, ÒRRÚANMWẸ̀, with which he endearingly addressed me each time he heard my voice.
                 Adieu Sir                            Ọ̀KHÍAN ÀRRÍAVBÉHÈ
Posted by Calixthus OKORUWA on November 4, 2021
Ekhaguosa Aisien: Thank you and farewell

By Calixthus Okoruwa

I disliked the manner in which the Omada, the sword-bearer of the Oba of Benin, was typically showcased. Holding aloft the Ada scepter, the symbol of authority of the Oba, and permanently by the side of the Oba or behind, he was in appearance, a stark contrast to the impeccably royal-attired Oba. His dressing was sparse, drab and in dull colours like brown. And he was either bare-footed or until much recently, in sandals.

Consequently, the Omada tended to appear nondescript and inconsequential, almost like a part of the furniture of the palace. Visitors would evidently not pay him a glance, let alone any attention.

Why would the institution of the Obaship be so unmindful of the outward manifestation of such a royal personage? I wondered. Were the Omada some sort of modern day slaves or were they repaying some sort of debt owed over the ages to the palace?

These were the questions to which I sought answers when I first put a call through to Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien, just under two years ago. From newspaper articles, I had learnt he was a writer and historian with a strong focus on Benin and had been fortuitous to obtain his phone number from his daughter. It was supposed to be a quick chit-chat, or so I thought, but I soon found myself grabbing a pen and scribbling furiously as I listened to this highly knowledgeable gentleman.

The Omada, he explained to me, actually come from very noble and highly-respected families. Indeed, families of the Omada are among the most influential in Benin. People realise that being so close to the Oba, the Omada have the Oba’s ears and his trust. As such, it is not unusual for people to seek to use the families of the Omada as intercessors of sorts, whenever they have a significant request to make of the Oba.

It did appear that the Omada were very content with their ranking in Benin traditional society and did not share whatever discontent I had expressed regarding their outward appearance. What they lacked in the glamour of their outward appearance, it seemed, they more than made up for in the enormous influence and respectability they wielded in traditional Benin Society.

Indeed, he explained further that in historic times, the Omada used to be unclad. It took the discomfiture of a visiting royal, Queen Victoria of England, he said, for this tradition to be modified. The visiting queen, he said, was visibly most uncomfortable witnessing a naked sword bearer.

Ekhaguosa Aisien went on to regal me with stories about his sojourn in Esan Land in the 1960s upon his return from training in the UK as a medical doctor. He had among others, been close to the family of my kinsman, Chief Anthony Enahoro, who famously moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence.

But if I thought our discussion was very illuminating, I had, as they say, seen nothing yet. I ordered for his books – as many as were in print, after our telephone encounter.

You cannot but be struck by the meticulous efforts this gentleman put into the quest to document different aspects of the history and heritage of the Benin people for posterity. A native speaker of the language, he had apparently spent countless hours seeking out and engaging the sages and local custodians of orature of the ancient Benin Empire. There is ample evidence to show that in order to strip these stories bare of their embellishments and exaggerations, he painstakingly cross-checked these stories with historical dates, geographical landmarks and other documented accounts as well, where these existed. And then many erstwhile mythical stories are unraveled and demystified with scientific evidence, occasionally, with the benefit of his medical training. Oba Ewuare, for instance, succumbed to generalized oedema, most likely a result of progressive heart failure arising from untreated hypertension or possibly, kidney failure. In his day, unfortunately, his affliction was thought to be a retribution for a transgression against the goddess of the Ovia river.

He penned elaborate and specific details of the Benin traditional order of wedding ceremony. He wrote about Benin-City including its relationships and historical connections to Ile-Ife, Owo, Ondo, Akure as well as the Igala, the Esan, Etsako, Urhobo, Itsekiri and many others. He wrote about the Benin pilgrimage stations, an incredibly detailed historical guide that would make for interesting reading especially for tourists, scholars and all those desirous of more knowledge of the history and heritage of this enduring civilization.

But it is his book, “Ewuare, the Oba of Benin”, that in my view, is his magnum opus. Masterfully researched, it reads in many parts like an adventure novel, something a Mark Twain or Cyprian Ekwensi would have been proud to have penned. How do you contain your thrill and excitement when you read about Edo the slave who saved the life of the future king, the young Prince Ogun who would later become Oba Ewuare? It is to this heroic slave who would later be executed by his owner that the Edo people owe the name, “Edo”. What about Emotan, whose statue was once a prominent feature in Oba Market in Benin, a woman whose reconnaissance efforts were invaluable to the eventual emergence of Oba Ewuare? What about Avan the companion of the prince who became separated from him in the forest in the course of the Herculean attempts to claim the throne? Avan would later mysteriously arrive in the palace and is the progenitor of the famed Osuma title in Benin Kingdom. Primogeniture in Benin Obaship also emerged from the crucible of the tortuous struggles that preceded Oba Ewuare’s accession.

After our initial phone call, I had thought that I would be privileged to sit with him to discuss in more depth. I planned to discuss my thoughts about modernizing aspects of the Benin monarchy in such a manner as to further enhance the global appeal of this institution. I also thought I would further interrogate him on aspects of the aftermath of the punitive 1897 British invasion of Benin. The Covid-19 pandemic and the unfortunate rise in insecurity across the country, both of which limited travel across the country, put paid to such plans.

Ekhaguosa Aisien passed on recently and will be interred on November 5. He was 91. His family deserves to be very proud. His contribution to the documentation of the history and heritage of the Edo people for posterity is a formidable legacy.

He was a physician and surgeon. But I can wager that he found a lot more fulfilment as a writer and historian.

I do hope that the government of Edo State and its people recognize the monumental significance of his works and that they will strive to ensure that his books remain in print. It would be great to have improved print- and photographic quality in subsequent editions of these books. Very importantly, too, I hope that his works will spawn a handful of emulators across Africa, inspired by his truly intellectual contribution to efforts to properly establish the history and heritage of Africa’s peoples.
Posted by Wola Akwenuke on October 27, 2021
I met Dr Aisien shortly after Uwa, his daughter and I commenced our Law degrees at the University of Benin, Nigeria. I lived in Lagos and Uwa's parents and siblings embraced myself and my family with friendship, love and kindness which was reciprocated by my family when Uwa came to Lagos to attend the Nigerian Law School. Uwa lived in our home and our families grew quite close.

Uncle had a winning smile, kind heart and jovial personality. He was also practical to the core. I remember that during the evening party on my wedding day, Ebenezer Obey was playing his music and as is the custom, Uncle and Auntie came over to 'spray' myself and my husband, Ernest with Naira notes. In his sweet and practical manner, instead of pasting the notes on our foreheads and allowing the notes to drop on the floor to be picked up and collected by our attendants, Uncle saved everyone concerned the trouble, took a huge wad of Naira notes and put them straight into the bag where the notes were being deposited and continued to dance with us. As usual there were words of wisdom and advice and best wishes from Uncle and I have never forgotten this one of his many acts of kindness.

The Aisien and Akinkugbe families have been and will always be friends for life, this is a painful loss but Uncle, your good works will continue to speak as your Maker and Saviour embraces you in your eternal rest.

Do mo sir! Rest in peace!!

With love

Wola Akinkugbe-Akwenuke
Posted by Wanne Mackay on October 19, 2021
Rest in peace Daddy. You were a great role model and always spoke with great kindness and welcomed all your daughter’s (Egunwendia’s) friends to your home. You spoke to us about our academics and took a keen interest in our University choices. Your home was like a second home to us all and I thank you for that. I pray the Good Lord comforts Mummy and all the children and grandchildren at this most difficult time.
Posted by Francis Agbonkpolo on October 17, 2021
Baba EKHAGUOSA. Love And Compassion was his Religion.
Today, with love and reverence, Iam blessed to cherish and share a kind word, give a loving memory and say an extra prayer for the repose of the soul of my beloved brother, role model, mentor and hero Ekhaguosa Aisien, who departed this earth September 19th, 2021. He made a mark in my life and blessed me with his wisdom and guidance. He helped me to become who Iam today.

I was in the womb when he left Benin city to attend CMS Grammar School in Lagos in 1946 and then to University Of Ibadan, on to Kings College Hospital London, to study medicine. Though I was born in his absence, his mother, our kind and nurturing mother, Madam Egunmwendia Amadasun, gave my mother all she needed to care for me. She looked after me as her own son. That was my close tie Mama Egunmwendia Amadasun until her death in 1973.

The link of destiny finally me and my brother Ekhaguosa Aisien together in 1963, when he returned Nigeria from the UK, a qualified medical doctor. I was already a teenager, who had adapted to the village life at Aduhanhan village, some 25 kilometers from Benin, now very adept at tapping rubber, collecting and selling latex and hunting down rodents and rabbits. Though I graduated top of the class at Niger Secondary Modern School, Benin City, our daddy told me that he couldn't afford the expenses of sending me to Grammar school.

Now that a brother I had never met was back home safely from Britain, my mother prevailed on me to come to Benin, stay long enough, perhaps, our path might cross. The gamble paid off when on my second day in town, my brother Ekhaguosa exited his room with a white long sleeve shirt in his hand, for whoever was there to iron it. I was the lucky one this time as all others had gone to school.

Needless to say that I passed the test and the short interview that followed changed the trajectory of my life forever. My brother got to know me and why I was not in school. He most have noticed my enthusiasm for education, when he asked me to pick a school. Expectedly, I chose Eghosa Anglican Grammar School because a tenant's son in dad's house attended that school. That day, after my brother's work day was over at the Specialist Hospital, I was riding in the back seat of the sky blue luxurious Vauxhall car to Eghosa Anglican Grammar School at Uselu. The School Principal, Mr Koshi Matthews, an India man, quickly deferred to my brother to have me the next day to sit with the new students for the competitive entrance exam. I performed so well that I was promoted to Form Two.

My brother was very impressed with my performance. From here on, he relentlessly, consistently and graciously played the role of a father, mentor and hero in my life, through Grammar school and Higher School Certificate(HSC). He provided everything I needed. When on school break, he was always on time to take me to his work station whether it was Warri, Forcados, Burutu, or Uromi. I remember vividly how my brother paid very close attention to me as he prepared me for the West African School Certificate exam in 1967. Little wonder that the results were exceptionally brilliant.

Apart from my education, my brother paid close attention to my job choices from Customs and Excise to the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lagos until 1974, when I proceeded to the University of Alberta, Canada for further studies. I returned in 1979 to his warm embrace and he sheltered me through the National Youth Service experience and my brief tenure at the NTA, Benin City as a producer, until I left again in 1982 to pursue a post Graduate degree at the Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York. I must at this point acknowledge the onerous fact my brother largely succeeded in all his endeavors and outreach to others, including my self, this great woman of impeccable character, our mother and grandmother, madam Ebiuwa Aisien, from day one, was not there to compete with the husband, but was there to complete him to the very end.

For fifty eight years, my relationship with brother was intact. We remained close until his death and I will miss him dearly. Like a warm breeze that softly touches the skin, he interacted with the world gently, responded to all people and situations calmly and lovingly. He listened with an open mind and gave with an open heart. He was compassionate and optimistic. He radiated hope. He saw blessings in every challenge. As Winston Churchill succinctly put it, " An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty and a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity". Ekhaguosa Aisien was an eternal optimist.

Therefore, losing such an optimist and a calm sage of the caliber of my brother, father and mentor In the family, delivered me to deep appreciation of his gifts and accomplishments. His existence was a magnificently crafted miracle to his family and mankind. He will be sorely missed.

I feel a deep tenderness for the wonderful family, wife, children and grandchildren he left behind to mourn him. I pray that everyone of us will continue to experience life with confidence and optimism. Farewell my beloved brother and sleep peacefully.
Much love and admiration from your brother.
Imadode.
Posted by Nekpen Obasogie on October 17, 2021
RIP To An Esteemed Benin Historian, Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien

Words cannot express how much I admire the legacy you left on Earth. Your pictures dominated the first edition of my magazine; It was my little way of showing the world how much I appreciate you and your work! My dream of meeting you (in-person) was not fulfilled!!!
After living a purposeful life on Earth, you peacefully joined your ancestors. May you climb Oke N’Alubode peacefully!
We missed you papa!
Adieu!

By Nekpen Obasogie
Posted by Ayo Dahunsi on October 12, 2021
What a pleasure to have known daddy. Daddy was father to my sister-friend, Uwa. I have known Uwa from our secondary school days. Not having my father in my life at the time, daddy was a man that stood out to me. He was larger than life. His love for his family was what stood out to me the most. Uwa was born on his birthday and they would celebrate together. On Uwa's 21st birthday, he read a poem he had written to her. What a father. The interaction between Uwa and daddy became a picture to me of who a father ought to be. Without our earthly fathers we cannot truly know Who God is. Daddy was one of those fathers who showed me what the Father God is like and for that I am eternally grateful. He will be greatly missed, a father indeed, a proud Benin man, a custodian of history, a poet, a writer, a doctor of great repute; a blessing to his generation. Until we meet at Jesus feet, good bye.

Ayodola Dahunsi
Posted by orobosa Agbonkpolo on October 9, 2021
Baba Ekhaguosa, In touching me you taught me

By Orobosa Agbonkpolo

My wife: Sweetheart, Did you say Dr Aisien brought you up and he is really your father?
Me: Yes.Why?
My wife: He is so nice .He is so humble. He is so polite. He says thank you for every gesture. This was an exchange between my black American wife and myself a few days into Baba visiting us in New York some yrs back.

This was the same surprise expressed by my office staff when Baba visited the office. Lesson one:Humility never diminishes a person but rather is an enhancer of worth.
It was some time early in my University of Ibadan days when an early morning brief chat with Baba went something like me trying to make a statement of status by saying I use Old Spice shaving cream.
I do not remember how we got there.

Baba told me a story of German born world renowned theoretical physicist,Albert Einstein (1876-1955) who declared lather is lather scented or not expensive or not.That he Baba since learning that, has used ordinary soap lather to do his shaving.
And he was always clean shaven.
Since that enlightenment, i have always used plain soap lather for my shaving.

Lesson two: The worth of a man/woman is not measured by what is adorned, the abode lived in or the car driven or any other material attainment.
It was an early Sept,1976 morning and I just had the result of my A/L exam.To his study by his bedroom upstairs in the big Igbudu qtrs,Warri house he called me.

After the customary “lagiesan” Baba,he asked vbua khian tie vbe a university (what do you want to study in the university)?
By this time,i had been the receptionist in his Medical Clinic,the Galen clinic named after one of his favorite clinicians, the father of medicine a greek, Claudius Galenus who lived in the 2nd century.
The clinic was directly opposite the famous Leventis stores, along Warri/Sapele rd on the 2nd floor in the Warri based Benin businessman Chief Idugboe`s house.I read the monthly Readers Digest,the weekly Time and Newsweek magazines and consumed every book and poem by his accomplished schoolmate, Wole Soyinka and built an impressive lexiconic prowess that needed display.

So to his question Vbua khian tie I responded “my life spring is Medicine”.
I could simply have said I like to study Medicine.
Baba Ekhaguosa was not one bit impressed by my exercise in playing to the gallery conveyed to me in a facies of near exasperation and fatherly understanding of my youthful exuberance.

Lesson three:Never play to the gallery.

Lesson four:Simple is beautiful still.
Once,we came to Benin-City from Warri and it was the 1st long drive in his newly acquired luxurious Toyota Crown.We had just left Mama Emily Obaseki`s house off Ikpoba slope and now driving up the slope along Ikpoba rd towards the City.
As we neared the 3rd East Circular rd junction,Baba had to veer severely and abruptly away from a rough driving Lorry lest we be crushed.
In a rare moment of expressed anger,Baba stuttered through the now rolled down driver`s window to the erring driver youuu arree aaa scalawag! aaa nonentity!
And on we drove.

No further reaction by Baba to the blaring of horn and tailgating by the unrepentant driver.
Of note, Baba`s dexterity saved the day.The acute reflexes of an astute surgeon in full display. But in that fleeting moment,Baba confirmed for me he is human after all capable of being rubbed the wrong way only he mastered his emotions.

Lesson five:Even our most revered is human entitled to the various experiences inexorably planted along our earthly sojourn.Our response is important.

Baba,you modeled how to be a doting husband.
How to be a loving father.
How to be a benevolent brother and cousin.
How to be a grateful and caring son to your mother mama Egunmwendia.I still vividly recall the quiver in your voice as you announced to my mum that mama Egunmwendia was likely very soon to succumb to death.
I witnessed the expenditure of emotions as you cared for papa GI when he had medical exigencies.

You taught me giving is not absence of our personal needs yet in giving we build others up and enrich our souls and make God smile.
Baba,as Bill Gaither penned in his 1963 best selling all time hymn:

HE TOUCHED ME
You,Baba Ekhaguosa touched me Orobosa Oh you touched me
And oh, the joy that floods my soul. Something happened, and now I know
You touched me and made me whole as God`s priceless love you exemplified.

What a blessed fortune that ordinary I knew extraordinary you.
In touching me, you eloquently taught me no nobler preoccupation than sublime pursuits. When the honor of God`s breath we still have.
To your ideals I commit.
Adieu!
Okhien ewere Baba!
Erin mwin nu ye evbu vbu,Ise!
Ovbue na khin ghe

Orobosa Agbonkpolo October 1st,2021
Posted by Eire Alufohai on October 9, 2021
Uncle, thank you for who you were. Your legacy lives on. Rest in peace. Eire. Ifueko Alufohai
Posted by Sandra Idehen on October 9, 2021
Dr. Aisien' as we so fondly called him! Officially first cousin to our father Dr. Francis Omorogbe Idehen, but known to us rather as our fathers older brother! It is sometimes even difficult to trace the actual relationship between the two great men, and frankly unnecessary to try as they were raised as brothers and thought of each in such a capacity. Whenever one or the other would speak about their dear brother, the stories would flow endlessly and their voice and smile would light up the room. This is how fondly they viewed one another. We each received a piece of the amazing history between the brothers growing up together, studying medicine abroad, etc… but it'd truly take a lifetime to unpack the full history! Their relationship set the stage for the unshakeable bond my siblings and I have today with our cousins, Dr. Aisien’s children.

When our father passed in 2020, the pain was eased by Dr. Aisien. He sat with us for over hours telling us the stories of our father’s first car, first trip out of the country, sense of fashion, plans for a better Nigeria, and countless other milestones from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s that only his brother could know and graciously shared about him posthumously. This is not our fondest memory of Dr. Aisien but it is undoubtedly one of the most important.

Dr. Aisien was a master orator and the greatest story teller I ever knew. We received countless stories (included those of our family lineage) piecemeal over many decades - when the Aisien's would visit the U.S. and spend some days in Walden, N.Y. or when one of the Idehen siblings would journey to Nigeria. My own personal favorite was on my last visit to Benin City in 2019. We concluded each evening huddled in the family room, listening to the amazing history of the story of Adesuwa. I must admit I only followed about half the story at best! But what was not lost on me was the amazing intellect and storytelling abilities Dr. Aisien possessed. Growing up in the U.S., a fair amount of our own family's history is lost but the bit that remains has predominantly come from Dr. Aisien via his books, his stories (often augmented by his lovely wife Mrs. Aisien!) and now through his children. Dr. Aisien made us proud of our heritage and led us to be curious to learn more. Dad was always so happy and proud to be in Dr. Aisien’s presence. A long-forgotten part of him came to life whenever they sat, joked and reminisced. 

Dr. Aisien, you and Dad are forever missed. We mourn your loss on Earth, but are consoled by the fact that your friendship and brotherhood has picked up in heaven where it left off (after 80+ years!). Without a doubt you are both together telling stories and passing jokes and smiling down on us. Job well done great men, and we hope to see you both again by the Grace of God

Sandra Osayuki Idehen and Brian Osayimwense Idehen (on behalf of the Idehen family).
Posted by ENGR BEN ANAGWONYE on October 8, 2021
TRIBUTE TO AN UNCOMMON BABA

Dear Baba,

I recall that many years ago, I was introduced to you by your classmate, the former INEC National Chairman, Dr. Abel Guobadia of blessed memory, whose memoirs and autobiography we (Mindex) were privileged to publish.

One thing that struck me about you was the fact that the first time you came to my office, you said to me with your gentle, cheerful and charming smile, “Ben, this office is home for me, this is my last bus stop”. True to your words, you stayed with Mindex even till the last moments of your days on earth.

Baba, your home became another home for me as you graciously and open heartedly received my family and I with uncommon love and affection everytime we visited you and ‘Iye-ima’ (Mummy). My children loved playing table tennis in your ‘Oteghodo’ (courtyard). It was indeed, an unusual moment of joy when they were given the privilege to play with their violins, the happy birthday song for you at your 90th Birthday celebration last year.

Baba, you were a father, a mentor and a life coach to me. I recall your constructive and honest answers to my inquisitive and sometimes mischievous questions such as “what’s your greatest mistake and regrets? What gives you the greatest joy?? What’s the greatest lesson life has taught you??? etc. Indeed, I always looked forward to visiting you and drawing from your well and wealth of wisdom. Not to mention the perfume, wristwatch, pajamas etc you bought for me from your various trips abroad. Baba, you were indeed a loving father and a sage. Your humility and humble disposition has no comparison.

We will miss your uncommon capacity to recall and tell stories and histories of yesteryears in a way that no one else, but you, can. Even in your sick bed and dying moments you were still emptying yourself in prints through the dictation of words for the publication of 3 new books which were commissioned days before your glorious exit. Baba, I like to let you know that in line with your wish, we have completed the printing of two of these new publications, namely:

1) Roots: The Family Origins by Ekhaguosa Aisien

2) Benin City: The Edo State Capital by Ekhaguosa Aisien.

For us at Mindex, it would have been a thing of joy to hand over these books to you and watch you admire in your usual way the fulfillment of yet another dream. However, you joined your ancestors days before these books were completed.

Baba, your footprints will continue to remain on the sands of time as one of the uncommon academic colossus, a rare gem, an author of many parts, a historian, an accomplished medical practitioner and indeed, a phenom. I am confident that you are resting in peace in the bosom of the One who has called you home knowing without a shadow of doubt, that you have fought a good fight and you have gloriously finished your course.

Your legacy lives on! Rest on Baba!! Rest!!!

Your son,

Engr. Ben C. Anagwonye
President, Mindex Publishing Co. Ltd.
Posted by HILARY INNEH on October 6, 2021
TO Everything there is a Season, and a Time to every purpose under Heavens. ECL 3:1! 

It is with heavy heart and gratitude to God when we heard about the passing of our late father, father to all the Edos' both young and old, and the encyclopedia of Benin Kingdom. He was a man, who cared, provided shelter, served his country, brought joy, happiness and satisfaction to others unconditionally. He was a father to more people than you can ever imagine.

There is no word in the dictionary to characterized our late father.
He was:
D – Dignified
R – Reliable
E – Exemplary
K – Knowledgeable
H – Honorable
A – Admirable
G – Gentle
U – Unique
O – Outstanding
S – Suave
A – Adorable
A – Authentic
I – Intelligent
S – Subline
I – Irreplaceable
E – Energetic
N – Nobel “He was the Noblest of them all”

For those who knew him, he exemplifies what it means to serve God by serving others. He served humanity with gratitude, compassion, integrity and honesty. He wrote several books about the Great Bini Kingdom and a lot has been written about him. He will be dearly missed.

May your Gentle soul Rest In Peace Papa! We Love You!
Posted by Titilola Akhigbe on October 6, 2021
I don’t remember the first time I met EG’s dad (possibly while we were in College eons ago). Over the years myself and my family have been privileged to interact closely with him. He treated us like family, each time he was intentional and made sure to enquire about specific details we had discussed before.For such an accomplished person he never had any airs or graces. Always had a bright smile which reflected the warmth in his heart.
A great man never leaves his world the same way he met it. This is exactly his story. He will be dearly missed but never forgotten.
Posted by Rebecca Agheyisi on October 5, 2021

The news of the passing of Dr Aisien filled me with that overwhelming sense of shock and sadness that only death, with its finality, can evoke. The experience can be particularly painful when the departed is a dearly beloved family member. So I understand what members of Dr. Aisien’s immediate family must be going through at this time. On behalf of my late husband, Joseph Nevadomsky, and I, please accept my heartfelt condolences.

While Dr. Aisien, by his departure, may have left a huge vacuum that will be hard to fill, fortunately for all of us who were privileged to have known and interacted with him, he also left behind the invaluable gift of precious memories that will forever keep him alive and dear in our hearts.

Dr. Aisien was an exceptional man. He lived a principled, purposeful and productive life, accomplishing in one lifetime what could have taken at least two human lifetimes to achieve. His education at elite institutions at a time when opportunities were few and far between, and his subsequent pioneering professional accomplishments as a surgeon, were not only a source of pride to his family and the larger Edo community, but also a major inspiration to me and others of my generation to follow his example and apply our God-given talents to the best of our abilities.

After retirement from a successful life of service as a surgeon, and as though that were not enough, he then embarked on another long-term interest of his, namely, the documentation of various aspects of Benin history, culture, and traditions. His deep love for Benin, his homeland, and pride in its heritage drove his strong desire to preserve this heritage for posterity. It came as no surprise, therefore, that his diligent and conscientious effort resulted in the production of numerous published works, in the form of books, monographs, and articles.

This amazing bundle of work, left behind for us and for future generations, is the priceless gift that will keep him forever fresh in our individual and collective memories. Also, the realization that Dr. Aisien lived a full, happy and fulfilling life, with the love, respect and appreciation of many, should reassure us that he is now in a happy place with his maker.

May his soul rest in peace!
Rebecca Agheyisi Nevadomsky
Posted by orobosa Agbonkpolo on October 5, 2021
Our Baba:
Thank you for being you. Thank you for having core values like a giving and kind spirit. You were always looking out for everyone in the family. You never demanded respect yet we gave it just because of the way you carried yourself. Thank you for all you have done within the family. Your name will forever live on.
Betty Agbonkpolo
Posted by Barnaby Phillips on October 5, 2021
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Ekhaguosa Aisien in Benin City in March 2019. I was conducting research on a book of the history of the Benin Bronzes, and he agreed to receive me at his house. He was a gracious, informative and entertaining host. His accomplishments in medicine and history spoke for themselves, and I had no reason to presume he would be so generous with his time. Our conversation lasted several hours, which flew by. Ekhaguosa was an original thinker, not afraid to hold unfashionable opinions but always ready to enjoy an intellectual debate. He was the authentic voice of a different era, one of the last spokespeople for the generation who grew up during colonial rule and lived through the hopes and subsequent disappointments of independence.
When I left Ekhaguosa’s house I could scarcely believe my luck. I was clutching a copy of his grandfather’s memoirs; ‘Aisien, Son of Erhunmwunsee and the British - the 1897 War’. This booklet, painstakingly compiled by Ekhaguosa, is invaluable; a contemporary Edo account of the British invasion of 1897 and as such a unique counterweight to the numerous British memoirs. As this British invasion is again the cause of international controversy, I hope this booklet can reach a wider audience.
Ekhaguosa wrote, ‘When an old man dies in Africa, a library is set ablaze’. And yet he defied his own prophesy, with his prolific output of historical works that will help preserve Edo culture, and his memory, for generations to come. Fear not, the library is intact. Thank you Dr Ekhaguosa Aisien, may you rest in peace, and deepest condolences to your loving family.
Posted by orobosa Agbonkpolo on September 24, 2021
Dr S.W.E AISIEN,
pinnacle beckoned

By Orobosa Agbonkpolo

In 1963 it was a great time to be in Nigeria and be a Nigerian.
A nascent nation like a new baby, it brimmed with the most lofty aspirations for a prosperous and egalitarian nation.
Royal welcome awaited Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,our inaugural Prime Minister as he strode the world and bellowed soon Nigeria will be mentioned with the same reverence as Japan,China,Brazil and could reverse the table on her erstwhile colonial master.
Still waiting!

With extra measure of audacity, almost omnisciently our nationalists, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Aminu Kanu, Obafemi Awolowo, Joseph Tarka, Anthony Enahoro boasted how our enormous endowments in human and natural resources guaranteed the certainty of our ascendancy.
Still waiting!

Benin-City had become the capital of the newly founded Midwestern Region of Nigeria and Journalist turned Dennis Chukude Osadebey ruled as the 1st Premier and Jereton Mariere as the 1st governor.
Stars abounded in the 1960s Nigeria in footballers Teslim Balogun,Dan Anyiam,Peter Anieke,boxer Dick Tiger etc etc.
But in the Idemudia Aisien family ,we had our very own star in Sunday Wilfred Ekhaguosa Aisien.

In those long gone days, our role models were our parents, aunties, uncles whom we were in close proximity with.
With the advent of TV, Radio, and social media, youngsters of today have their role models in far away characters for whom they can hardly vouch.
Though still far away in the UK, he was who our mothers and fathers wanted us to be like.
I know I heard much from my mother about her handsome, tall and intelligent brother in England.
He was a garland proudly adorned by all in the family.
And so in 1963,Dr S.W.E Aisien arrived from the Uk amid much fanfare.

In those days, such an accomplishment as going overseas and returning with a degree of higher education was a rarity.
He was all my mama said his older brother was.Handsome,tall, lean and dark complexioned skin that shun royalty.He carried himself with the calm confidence and demure of a worthy hero.
His assignments as medical officer were at the Benin-City Central Hospital, Asaba and later Forcados and Uromi.
He often visited grand dad at 27 Sapele Rd.
He drove his British made olive green Vauxhall Zephyr a huge car like the US Oldsmobile and Chevrolet to the house.Our young eyes fed longingly on the car, albeit with admiration and a dream what one day in the future we could own.

We now had a compass to our desired future.Just do what the pride of the Aisien family did. He had a predictable path to Edionmwan`s parlor and our mothers learned to position us along the path for the one we had heard so much about and adored to pass by us and maybe speak to us or touch us.
By his return to Benin-City in 1963, he had been gone nearly continuously since 1946 and so this afforded him chance to know those not yet born when he left and his siblings whose names and faces he needed to relearn since he left to pursue academic glory.

From the front of the house was a short passage that ended in the oteghodo.On the left a few steps to climb where one was greeted by the ever blaring Rediffusion,a wall mounted interference-free radio was.This was the common radio in much of the commonwealth in the 1930 into 1970s.It was a British owned broadcast service.
It was mounted right in front of auntie school teacher Uwazogie`s room.After auntie`s room was mama Atiti`s room before you entered Papa GI`s parlor where he ate and where he assembled us for morning prayers and the numberless miracle of ema (pounded yam) multiplication.
If you did not turn left and went straight ahead through the oteghodo,you went past auntie Maria`s room and mama Ayano`s room and past mama Omoze`s room and young wives Christine and Felicia`s rooms before you got into the kitchen.A right turn in the kitchen took you into Papa Gi`s Egun where he had his bath and a left turn took you into the back of the house.
It was good fortune when Uncle Dr chanced on us and for me it was always Ozeba na khin.

In hindsight, such encounters could not have been more than 2 times and it was profound enough to ignite our curiosity about the mystique alive and fuel our desire to be like him.
My mother never ceased to ask with eagerness vbo kha ma ( what did he tell you) after all, that was the purpose of my being strategically positioned on his predictable path.
It was mission accomplished and chest thumping if one narrated the short exchange between you and the star of the family.Many in the family had their fortunes changed after such brief meetings.
Ekhaguosa doted over his dad, papa GI.The visits were brief but he soaked in every detail in Papa`s narrations of our history and tradition.Soon he was bringing tape recorder to capture the stories.

After his stints as Medical Officer at Asaba,Forcados,he next was posted to Uromi.I would benefit from the goodwill he built when I became a young Medical Officer at the St Camillus Hospital, Uromi almost 20yrs later.
Even such a larger than life star can develop wobbling legs when the ordained damsel smiles at him.
Such was the case when head over heels, our hero fell for the young amiable, beautiful Ebiuwa daughter of Pa Aghedo of Iwehen street area of Benin and Mama Emily Obaseki.

At the time, she was a student at the renowned MaryMount College,Agbor.
Soon the best bachelor in town would in a lavish wedding at the St Matthew Anglican Church,Benin-City tie the marital knot.
Taut the knot remained until the transition on Sunday,Sept 19th, 2021.

Shortly after the wedding bell rang,Dr S.W.E Aisien was again on the move to Uromi as the area physician stationed at the General Hospital,Uromi though he actually was virtually the sole physician in the whole Esan land.
It was in Uromi that he became a commissioned Nigerian Army physician with the rank of Major taking care of the many war casualties during the Nigerian civil war.
His extensive surgical experience must have fueled his desire to further his training in surgery. No wonder, by 1969, he went away to Edinburg to specialize in General Surgery.
He was joined in the UK by his young family.

3yrs later, he would return to Nigeria in 1972 as a general surgeon.This is the yr Capt Victor Oduah led the Bendel Insurance football club to victory over the Mighty Jets of Jos.
He was immediately posted to Warri where he rose through the ranks to Senior Medical Officer. He would be transferred back to headquarters in Benin-City as Chief Medical Officer and most senior consultant surgeon in the then Bendel state stationed at the then much regarded Benin Specialist Hospital in 1976.
It has since become a dilapidated center since then.
He would retire in 1978 having attained the pinnacle in his chosen profession.and
He ventured into full time private practice with internist Dr Igbinovia and German trained ophthalmologist,Dr Idehen.

Together,they would birth the Azuwa hospital, the earliest multi specialty private practice in Benin-City.A novel idea at the time.
From Warri through Benin,i would witness a sure steady evolution into the stalwart he would become as a farmer, historian, fashion designer, writer and a venerable ambassador of the rich Edo heritage.
Stay tuned for the making of a legend.

Orobosa Agbonkpolo Sept 23,2021
Posted by Ruth Oviasu on September 24, 2021
TRIBUTE TO DR EKHAGUOSA AISIEN

My tall, lanky,handsome,charismatic dynamic Uncle is gone...We have lost Dr Ekhaguosa Aisien, a great Surgeon, a brilliant and astute medical Doctor, past Chief Consultant, General Hospital Warri, Chief Medical Director, Central Hospital Benin. Dr Aisien was an avid Writer and great Author of various books on the Benin Kingdom. He was a great Father, a great Grand Father and a great Uncle. A man of abundant talents, he was also a retired Major from the Army. Dr Ekhaguosa Aisien was the first non biological Uncle l ever had. I knew him from my toddler years as my Father's bosom friend. He and my Father, late Prof Emeritus Victor O. Oviasu had a very close relationship that spanned over 60 years. Their friendship started from their boyhood days at St Peter's Elementary School Benin where they were classmates of the late Ambassador Abel I. Guobadia, Hon Justice S.I. Aluyi (Rtd) and Chief S. O. U. Igbe the current Iyase of Benin. Their friendship continued after their boyhood days in the elementary school on the 1930s to their secondary school days in Lagos in the 1940s where he attended CMS Grammar School Lagos, whilst my Father attended Methodist Boys High School Lagos. I recall my Father saying he was very brilliant at school and picked up lots of prizes for outstanding performances. (Little wonder then, his eldest Child, Uwa, a renowned Lawyer, followed in the same steps by finishing as the best graduating student at the Nigerian Law School, 1988) Dr Aisien and my Father continued their rendezvous with destiny and went over to the United Kingdom to train and specialize in distinct medical fields. He became a Surgeon and my Father became a Cardiologist. They remained close and on their return home, they both worked at the General Hospital Warri and the General Hospital Benin. Later, my Father joined the University of Benin Teaching Hospital as a pioneer staff and Dr Aisien set up Azuwa hospital, Benin. They remained extremely close until death separated them at my Father's demise in 2013. They had a number of things in common...they were Selfless Dads to their Children. They were also great lovers of the Benin Kingdom, the Bini culture and the history of the Benin Kingdom. To this end, they aligned themselves with the culture and values of the Binis and wrote books depicting historical facts of the Benin Kingdom. A number of times when he visited, l would see them sharing and discussing historical facts for their respective write ups. I am tremendously, and immensely and eternally grateful to Dr Aisien for being a great Uncle to my late younger brother, Dr Victor O. Oviasu JNR and l, right from our toddler years. He was always extremely warm, receptive and always had a broad smile ready for us. I will mention a few occasions out of many where Dr Aisien demonstrated kindness and true and committed friendship towards my Dad. On one occasion, many years ago, my Father was out of the Country and one evening my brother and l were driving around the government reservation area. We were suddenly pulled over by about 8 armed soldiers. It was really scary. After some rigorous questioning and asking us to step out of the car, they eventually sent us away and thankfully we were untouched. However, we were visibly shaken as very young teenagers and my brother said Dr Aisien's house was close by and he was going to drive there. On arrival, Dr Aisien, quickly rushed us to safety, ensured the gates were securely locked and said it was best for us to stay the night over with my childhood friend Uwa and Odaro,my brother's childhood friend. On two other occasions my Father was unwell and my Dr Aisien, demonstrated pure and unreserved friendship towards my Dad. There was just no compromise. The first was in 1998. I had taken sometime off work in Lagos to spend time with my Father in Benin, when suddenly, my Father woke up one morning in excruciating pain. The first person he asked us to call, was his friend, Dr Aisien. Dr Aisien came over and decided he had to take him over to his hospital, immediately. We all followed and there he said he would have to perform a quick procedure on my Dad but that it was for something benign, not malignant. I then started crying uncontrollably and said to him, "Uncle, is my Dad going to be ok?" He said, "Yes, Ruth l will bring him back out soon" On another occasion at age 80, my Father suddenly required surgery at U.B. T.H. the same hospital where he practised medicine for years and retired from. I had to jump on the plane from London, within hours and when l got to the hospital Dr Aisien was right there by my Father's bedside. After he was discharged, Dr Aisien continued to visit his bosom friend at home spending time by his bedside and in the days leading to his demise at age 81. Thank you so much Uncle. I can never forget you and your memory will live on forever. In closing, l will just share some of your words from your tribute to my late Dad and again, l thank you Uncle: "With the transition of Professor Victor O. Oviasu, a fellow traveller in the journey of life has gone ahead. Victor, was to me a fellow traveller of six decades of life-experience. The trajectories of our journeys through life have been close and similar and marked by the same time frames. Victor was vivacious. His vivacity lighted up the world and gave pleasure to all he came across especially his friends. He was a great Scholar. With this diligently aquired attribute he enriched the profession which he practised and blessed the Church where he served his God. The trail of the wake which he leaves behind as he departs is one of sunniness and that is how those of us who were his mates will always remember him...." Thankyou so much Uncle, for honouring your friend, my Dad, in death and for standing by us. I am one of those who will always bless your memory. You have left a gap that can never be filled. You have made an indelible mark and put a stamp of your personality in the medical profession, in the history of the Benin Kingdom, the Bini culture and your presence in the Benin Palace. (Amongst other things, you designed a striking dress for the Palace) You lived an exemplary life, a life worth emulating and you have left legacies worth upholding. Adieu Uncle. Rest in the sweet bosom of our Lord.

Ruth Osaze Oviasu
Posted by orobosa Agbonkpolo on September 23, 2021
Ekhaguosa,a star born
By Orobosa Agbonkpolo

The year was 1930 and King George V reigned over Nigeria and the Commonwealth.
Sir Graeme Thompson was the Governor-General who held sway in the 16yrs old Nation,Nigeria with all her potential of a great land.
In the ancient City of Benin,Oba Eweka 11 was in the 16th yr of his reign on the throne of his ancestors.
Benin`s mystique shattered in the infamous 1897 British expedition that razed the city and in its aftermath, the Benins still reeled.

In the Ogbe quarters of Benin-City lived Omadan turned Palace clerk 38yrs old Idemudia Aisien,son of venerate warrior Aisien Erhunmwunse of Oben.
Pa Idemudia would ultimately become Court Clerk in the colonial Benin Native Judiciary, a position that allowed him to travel extensively in precinct.

Pa Idemudia commanded great reverence in the Palace and beyond.
He had many wives in his burgeoning and boisterous harem.No better testament to a man`s pre-eminence than the size of his harem in those long ago days.It was almost as though Pa Idemudia charmed a damsel wherever his court clerking took him to.
One of the members of Pa Idemudia Aisien`s harem was Egunmwendia, an ebullient, ever vivacious ebony dark complexioned woman.Her family hailed from the Ovia environ.

On Sunday,August 31st,1930,a baby boy was born to Pa Idemudia and Mama Egunmwendia. As was customary, he was named Sunday.
He was the only child by Mama Egunmwendia.
He would also be named Wilfred.
Thus,his name was Sunday Wilfred Ekhaguosa.
He would later shake off both Sunday and Wilfred and proud himself entirely as a Benin thoroughbred, Ekhaguosa Aisien.

Foreign names have become increasingly seen as vestiges and unwelcome accoutrements of our colonization among the emancipated.
He would be the most junior of the 3 children of Pa Idemudia Aisien at the time.
His most senior brother was Uhunamure.Uhunamure would die in a never to be forgotten tragedy in the Idemudia Aisien family when a wife and 2 sons died in one day during a hail of thunderstorm.

Uhunamure died a promising young adult.
This tragedy struck when the family had settled into the current house at 27 Sapele Rd from their Ogbe quarters.
His immediate senior brother was Solomon Osabuohien aka captain solo.
He Ekhaguosa was different in being taller than most if not all his siblings who were gifted with modest height bequeathed on them by Papa Idemudia Aisien.He also stuttered.

Young Ekhaguosa attended primary schools at St Matthews Primary School, Saponba rd,Oza Primary School in the Oza qtrs and St Peter`s Anglican Primary School,Iyaro Benin-City.
More education on his mind, the brilliant and studious Ekhaguosa went to Nigeria`s oldest secondary school, the CMS grammar School,Lagos for his secondary school.
From there he would gain admission in 1952 to the only university in Nigeria at the time,University College,Ibadan on scholarship to study Agriculture.

Per his account, after 2 yrs studying Agriculture he lost interest saying he did not see why less qualified students were studying the more prestigious Medicine.He sought his scholarship
changed to Medicine and when the request was rejected, he left and did a stint in teaching science in his alma mater, the CMS grammar school,Lagos.
In 1957,one yr after a visit to Nigeria by the then 31yr old Queen Elizabeth,Queen of England since 1952,ambitious 27yrs old Ekhaguosa gained a Western Nigeria Scholarship to study Medicine in the UK.
In 1957,on his broad shoulders, Ekhaguosa would carry the hopes and aspirations of his proud parents into the premier Kings College,London as a medical student.

Needless to say, this was a rare feat attained by the very few select in those days.
That he seized the day will be evident as we continue on his meritorious journey.
See you later.

Orobosa Agbonkpolo,
Sept 21,2021

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Ugiomotiti Usuanlele on November 5, 2021
TRIBUTE TO MY UNCLE – Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien.
Ekhaguosa Aisien is an elder brother to my beloved mother of blessed memory Monica Uwazogie Obazee (nee Aisien). As children, we fondly called him ‘Daddy doctor’, but as we grew older, we simply called him Daddy or Baba.
Daddy was more than an Uncle to us. His closeness to his sister, my mom Uwazogie, which started from when they were very young certainly did rub off on us - Uwazogie’s children. My mom was only 6 yrs. old when her mother died, after which she was taken to Lagos to live with one of her maternal Aunties. When Ekhaguosa was at CMS Grammar School, Lagos, he naturally went in search of his younger sister. The story was that he didn’t like the situation he found his sister in and decided to ‘steal’ her from her aunt. He hid her in one of their father’s relative’s house for 3 days until he was able to arrange a passage for her to Benin City to meet their dad.
While in England, he would send her books and novels. It was through reading some of those novels myself years later, that I got introduced to authors like Bertha M. Clay. Both of them enjoyed a very close relationship until her death in 1999. After her death, he stood solidly behind my younger sister and me, taking interest in all that concerned us as only a father would. He never referred to his sister as dead. He would tell me in Edo “Uwazogie ma wu, to fiya” i.e. “Uwazogie is not dead, she only passed on” and then pointing to me and each of my children, he would say “Uwazogie na khin, Uwazogie na khin”, meaning “this is Uwazogie, this is Uwazogie”.
As we lived quite close to each other in the GRA, Sunday afternoons saw us alternating between visiting his house and my grandfather’s house on Sapele road. Those afternoons at his place were very memorable and opportunities to bond with our cousins his children. Mummy (his amiable wife) would always treat us to her delicious cuisine. The struggle for me then was to finish a whole 29cl bottle of Fanta. With our tummies bulging with rice and fanta we would roll and play with our cousins on the floor of his living room while watching TV until we were ready to go home. It was always a delight to go visit daddy doctor on Sundays.
My first summer holiday spent away from home was with my uncle and his family. Despite his busy life, he found time to make my visit very memorable. I remember it was the first time I visited Saidi centre to watch a movie with his family. It was also the first time I found myself in Benin club and actually went into a swimming pool! As an undergraduate, my first taste of a job was a summer job position as an accounts clerk at Azuwa Hospital. My 1st salary was judiciously used by my mom to make a wardrobe and a cupboard for me. Items that served me very well during my off-campus days.
A father that was always proud of the achievements of his children, I will never forget the delight on his face when I handed him a copy of my M.Sc thesis. He then encouraged me to go for my PhD.
His joy knew no bounds when he heard that the son of his very dear friend Mr. R.A Usuanlele of blessed memory had asked for my hands in marriage. He would later act as the go between for both families until all the marriage rites were completed.
He looked after us, as a father would, making sure he established that personal relationship with each of us. He was always approachable, and always delighted to see us. He never made us feel we were a bother to him.
His humility and amiability were very endearing. After I set up a private diagnostic lab in Benin, he personally drove to my lab on Costain road one fine afternoon to ask me to come set up a lab in Azuwa hospital. This was a game changer for my budding business. Always looking out for his own, he was an epitome of the word ‘Father’.
I was privileged to see him one more time on Aug. 12th, this year when I visited Nigeria with my dad. A stab of pain went through my heart because I saw him as I had never seen him before. He was sick and weak. I quickly forgot the pain because soon, his vibrant nature was seen radiating through his apparent weakness. He was very delighted to see us, calling me Ugiomo n’omo n’omo as he was wont to call me and even jokingly said that my dad looked like a 70 yr. old man. He was very engaged in our conversation and actually gave me a copy of one of his books for a friend that had asked for it. It was hard to leave at the end of our visit, but for night fall and the threatening rain.
A complete gentleman, that is who my uncle was, in every sense of the word. In my interactions with him, I learnt many life lessons, for it is true that he was a mentor to many, including myself. In these last few months he taught me that I am better for it when I forgive and do good to those who hurt me. There was something he wanted my younger sister and I to do for someone that has hurt us so badly which we were reluctant to do. Knowing the good it would do us if we did what he was asking, he made us tell him how we planned to carry out his wishes. We had to make a plan, which I discussed with him in August. He was happy and I was committed! In his wisdom, he saw and knew that I would be the happier for it. It took me only a few weeks to come to this realization. I am and will always be grateful to him. My Uncle is in Heaven because that is where saints go.
Circumstances would not let me come for his funeral, but I take comfort in the fact that I saw him about 6 weeks before he passed on. I can still feel his hands on my shoulders and back as I knelt before him for his blessing. The last time I spoke with him was on his 91st birthday on Aug. 31st after I had returned home to Canada. I called to wish him a happy birthday. His voice was very weak, but he was still very happy and delighted to hear from me. He couldn’t talk for long ……………………………………………., Sept. 19th, almost 3 weeks later, he answered the glorious call. My dear Uncle Ekhaguosa, daddy doctor has gone to be with The Lord! Today, Nov.5th, 2021, we bury him. Eternal rest grant unto him Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.
Daddy, Baba, Okhionwie ghi no! Erimwin nuye, evbu evbu. U ghi tue otuen Uwazogie ne Iye mwen me o. Rest in perfect peace daddy.
Forever in our hearts,
Your daughter,
Ugiomotiti Usuanlele (nee Obazee)
Posted by Gabriel Obazee on November 4, 2021
A TRIBUTE TO LATE DR. EKHAGUOSA AISIẸN
I first saw Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisẹn face to face in September 1963 when he arrived home from Britain after qualifying as a medical doctor. Before then, I had seen his youthful pictures, taken on his arrival in Britain, with my friend, his sister Uwazogie. She had told me of his benevolence to her in various forms. She would always display with pride and gratitude some books Dr. Ekhaguosa bought and posted to her from Britain. According to her, he was her unfailing pillar of support and encouragement in her study in the college.
My acquaintance with Uwazogie was casual in the second half of 1950 as we were both in the St. Cecilia Choir at Holy Cross Cathedral Benin City. We became gradually closer when we met at the monthly Curia meeting of the Legion of Mary both at Ubiaja and in Benin City after graduating from school.
My expectation to see Dr. Aisien was obsessive because of the good tidings I had heard about him and the super-big reception Uwazogie prepared to welcome him home. So, I was a part of the enthusiastic big crowd at No 27 Sapele Road that welcomed him on that day of his glorious return home. I eventually became a member of the Aisien Family and a brother-in-law to Dr. Ekhaguosa in 1966 and I remember with nostalgia his love and support at my wedding on the 26 of December the same year.
My 55 years experience in the Aisien Family reveals that what I heard about Dr. Ekhaguosa was just the tip of the iceberg. As a young doctor, it was the first time we saw a doctor giving prescriptions to patients in the corridors of Benin General Hospital. How he could break even in the running of his own hospital puzzled me because members of his large families were treated free. My wife, children and I were beneficiaries of his lavish benevolence. 
It is a cliché in bereavement to say that the deceased is an irreparable loss to his family and community. In Dr. Ekhaguosa’s case, he left behind a great wealth of knowledge for the benefit of humanity. Therefore, his passing on is not a total loss because humanity and generations yet unborn will continue to benefit from his huge legacy of over a dozen books written by him. As members of his family, however, we have lost his fatherly love, care and support. On my part, my loss is overwhelming. Dr. Ekhaguosa had earnestly desired to read a copy of my yet to be published Edo-English dictionary which owed its completion to his unrelenting persuasion and encouragement. I had intended him to write the foreword for the dictionary which his demise prevents forever.
And it has just dawned on me that I will no longer hear his accolade, ÒRRÚANMWẸ̀, with which he endearingly addressed me each time he heard my voice.
                 Adieu Sir                            Ọ̀KHÍAN ÀRRÍAVBÉHÈ
Posted by Calixthus OKORUWA on November 4, 2021
Ekhaguosa Aisien: Thank you and farewell

By Calixthus Okoruwa

I disliked the manner in which the Omada, the sword-bearer of the Oba of Benin, was typically showcased. Holding aloft the Ada scepter, the symbol of authority of the Oba, and permanently by the side of the Oba or behind, he was in appearance, a stark contrast to the impeccably royal-attired Oba. His dressing was sparse, drab and in dull colours like brown. And he was either bare-footed or until much recently, in sandals.

Consequently, the Omada tended to appear nondescript and inconsequential, almost like a part of the furniture of the palace. Visitors would evidently not pay him a glance, let alone any attention.

Why would the institution of the Obaship be so unmindful of the outward manifestation of such a royal personage? I wondered. Were the Omada some sort of modern day slaves or were they repaying some sort of debt owed over the ages to the palace?

These were the questions to which I sought answers when I first put a call through to Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien, just under two years ago. From newspaper articles, I had learnt he was a writer and historian with a strong focus on Benin and had been fortuitous to obtain his phone number from his daughter. It was supposed to be a quick chit-chat, or so I thought, but I soon found myself grabbing a pen and scribbling furiously as I listened to this highly knowledgeable gentleman.

The Omada, he explained to me, actually come from very noble and highly-respected families. Indeed, families of the Omada are among the most influential in Benin. People realise that being so close to the Oba, the Omada have the Oba’s ears and his trust. As such, it is not unusual for people to seek to use the families of the Omada as intercessors of sorts, whenever they have a significant request to make of the Oba.

It did appear that the Omada were very content with their ranking in Benin traditional society and did not share whatever discontent I had expressed regarding their outward appearance. What they lacked in the glamour of their outward appearance, it seemed, they more than made up for in the enormous influence and respectability they wielded in traditional Benin Society.

Indeed, he explained further that in historic times, the Omada used to be unclad. It took the discomfiture of a visiting royal, Queen Victoria of England, he said, for this tradition to be modified. The visiting queen, he said, was visibly most uncomfortable witnessing a naked sword bearer.

Ekhaguosa Aisien went on to regal me with stories about his sojourn in Esan Land in the 1960s upon his return from training in the UK as a medical doctor. He had among others, been close to the family of my kinsman, Chief Anthony Enahoro, who famously moved the motion for Nigeria’s independence.

But if I thought our discussion was very illuminating, I had, as they say, seen nothing yet. I ordered for his books – as many as were in print, after our telephone encounter.

You cannot but be struck by the meticulous efforts this gentleman put into the quest to document different aspects of the history and heritage of the Benin people for posterity. A native speaker of the language, he had apparently spent countless hours seeking out and engaging the sages and local custodians of orature of the ancient Benin Empire. There is ample evidence to show that in order to strip these stories bare of their embellishments and exaggerations, he painstakingly cross-checked these stories with historical dates, geographical landmarks and other documented accounts as well, where these existed. And then many erstwhile mythical stories are unraveled and demystified with scientific evidence, occasionally, with the benefit of his medical training. Oba Ewuare, for instance, succumbed to generalized oedema, most likely a result of progressive heart failure arising from untreated hypertension or possibly, kidney failure. In his day, unfortunately, his affliction was thought to be a retribution for a transgression against the goddess of the Ovia river.

He penned elaborate and specific details of the Benin traditional order of wedding ceremony. He wrote about Benin-City including its relationships and historical connections to Ile-Ife, Owo, Ondo, Akure as well as the Igala, the Esan, Etsako, Urhobo, Itsekiri and many others. He wrote about the Benin pilgrimage stations, an incredibly detailed historical guide that would make for interesting reading especially for tourists, scholars and all those desirous of more knowledge of the history and heritage of this enduring civilization.

But it is his book, “Ewuare, the Oba of Benin”, that in my view, is his magnum opus. Masterfully researched, it reads in many parts like an adventure novel, something a Mark Twain or Cyprian Ekwensi would have been proud to have penned. How do you contain your thrill and excitement when you read about Edo the slave who saved the life of the future king, the young Prince Ogun who would later become Oba Ewuare? It is to this heroic slave who would later be executed by his owner that the Edo people owe the name, “Edo”. What about Emotan, whose statue was once a prominent feature in Oba Market in Benin, a woman whose reconnaissance efforts were invaluable to the eventual emergence of Oba Ewuare? What about Avan the companion of the prince who became separated from him in the forest in the course of the Herculean attempts to claim the throne? Avan would later mysteriously arrive in the palace and is the progenitor of the famed Osuma title in Benin Kingdom. Primogeniture in Benin Obaship also emerged from the crucible of the tortuous struggles that preceded Oba Ewuare’s accession.

After our initial phone call, I had thought that I would be privileged to sit with him to discuss in more depth. I planned to discuss my thoughts about modernizing aspects of the Benin monarchy in such a manner as to further enhance the global appeal of this institution. I also thought I would further interrogate him on aspects of the aftermath of the punitive 1897 British invasion of Benin. The Covid-19 pandemic and the unfortunate rise in insecurity across the country, both of which limited travel across the country, put paid to such plans.

Ekhaguosa Aisien passed on recently and will be interred on November 5. He was 91. His family deserves to be very proud. His contribution to the documentation of the history and heritage of the Edo people for posterity is a formidable legacy.

He was a physician and surgeon. But I can wager that he found a lot more fulfilment as a writer and historian.

I do hope that the government of Edo State and its people recognize the monumental significance of his works and that they will strive to ensure that his books remain in print. It would be great to have improved print- and photographic quality in subsequent editions of these books. Very importantly, too, I hope that his works will spawn a handful of emulators across Africa, inspired by his truly intellectual contribution to efforts to properly establish the history and heritage of Africa’s peoples.
his Life

Biography of Ekhaguosa Aisien. By Odaro Aisien

Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien was born on Sunday August 31st, 1930 to George Idemudia Aisien and his wife, Egunmwendia Amadasun, in Egboha, his maternal village. His father, Idemudia was an Omada (sword-bearer) to Oba Eweka II. A favourite of the Oba, he ultimately graduated to become his first confidential secretary. 


Born around 1894, Idemudia had the fortune, rare in those early colonial years, of receiving a few years of formal education early on in life. His literacy proved to be immensely beneficial, both to himself and to his children. 


Ekhaguosa began formal schooling at the St. Peter’s Church Missionary Society (CMS) School in Benin City. On completing his elementary education, he was admitted into the CMS Grammar School, Lagos in 1946. 


The country’s oldest secondary school, CMS was already eighty-six years old at the time of Ekhaguosa’s admission as a young ‘Grammarian’. He proved to be an excellent student and by 1952, he was admitted as one of only ten federal scholars to the University College, Ibadan, then the country’s only university, to study Agriculture. 


On starting at the University, however, he came to realize that his preferred discipline was Medicine rather than Agriculture. His request for a conversion of his course of studies from Agriculture to Medicine was turned down by the University authorities. Two years later, in June 1954, having obtained his Inter B.Sc qualification in Agriculture, he abandoned his course at the University, along with his Federal scholarship, and returned to Lagos. 


Following a three–year hiatus from University education, during which he returned to his former school (CMS) as a science teacher, he was ultimately admitted in 1957 to King’s College, University of London, to study Medicine on a scholarship from the Western Region of Nigeria. He qualified as a Doctor in 1962 and the following year, he returned to the newly-created Mid-West Region of Nigeria as a Medical Officer. He was deployed, first to the General Hospital, Benin City, and shortly afterwards to the General Hospital, Forcados, the only facility catering for the entire riverine territory of Western Ijaw. It was during this posting that he met Ebiuwa Aghedo, his wife & life companion for the following 56 years. They got married in February 1966, after he was transferred to Uromi, where he oversaw the General Hospital. 


In April 1968, the Uromi Hospital was declared a Military Base Hospital and Ekhaguosa was commissioned into the Nigerian Army as a Field Officer with the rank of Major. He ran the hospital until August 1969, when he returned to Britain to undergo specialist training as a Surgeon. By December 1971, he had become a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. 


The family departed for Nigeria in February 1973 aboard a Nigerian-owned cargo ship, the ‘Nnamdi Azikiwe’. The cruise lasted for well over a month, with intermissions at such West African coastal cities as Dakar, Bathurst (now Banjul), Freetown, Takoradi, Tema, and Lome. 


On arriving in Nigeria, Aisien was deployed to the General Hospital Warri as a Consultant Surgeon. Two years later, in 1975, he was transferred to the Specialist Hospital, Benin, where he headed the Surgical Unit. Within two years, he was appointed Chief Medical Director of the Hospital. A year and a half later, he retired from government service and, along with two colleagues, founded a group practice, Azuwa Hospital. 


Many years afterward, he was called upon by the Military Administrator of the then Bendel State, Col. Tunde Ogbeha, to undertake a reorganization of the State’s health services. Among other things, it was the ‘Aisien Panel’ that relocated the State Hospital Management Board to its present site, and conferred upon the Central Hospital the name it presently bears. 


Dad also served pro bono as Chairman of the Bendel State Library Board from 1985 to 1988, an appointment which proved to be very apposite, considering his cultural and literary affinities. 

Shortly before his death, he was designated the Odionwere (‘Oldest Living Man’) of his paternal village, Oben, in Orhionmwon Local Government Area, Edo State, Nigeria. Unfortunately, he passed away before the investiture could be performed. 


Azuwa Hospital 

Aisien and two colleagues founded a group practice, Azuwa Hospital, in 1978, in Benin City, Nigeria. The practice flourished for almost three decades, serving as a model facility for younger medical practitioners. 


Interest in Writing 

Aisien’s interest in writing began to develop during his secondary school days in Lagos. His earliest efforts were generally fictional, some of them detective stories. On the precise morning during which he attended the interview that awarded him the scholarship to study medicine in England, it happened that the BBC had just broadcast a short story of his, titled ‘Ezana’. The panel was suitably impressed, with favourable consequences. 


Old Benin 

While living outside Benin, from 1946 to 1975, Aisien became acutely aware of the richness of Benin’s history and cultural heritage and came to conclude that Benin was indeed a worthy subject of interest. The chief factor behind this conviction was his father. Idemudia Aisien was a rich library of information on old Benin. In addition to being literate and long-lived, he was a great story teller. Aisien became infected by his father’s passion for his favorite subject, the world of pre-colonial Benin. At length, he became a confirmed disciple of his father’s, ultimately spending the greater part of his spare time on Benin-related writing and research. 


In 1986, Aisien designed the Iwu Dress (Ewu Iwu) as a national dress for the Edo people. This project was wholeheartedly embraced and supported by the Benin monarch at the time, Oba Erediauwa. 


Among the most notable of his nearly twenty publications are ‘The Benin City Pilgrimage Stations’; ‘Elegbe, The Prince Of Benin’; ‘Ewuare, The First: Oba of Benin’; and ‘Iwu: The Body Marking of the Edo People’. 


His writings and his exemplary life are a worthy bequest, both to his progeny and for enthusiasts of Benin history and culture. It is also likely that his works will travel well with time, and that his recognition and acclaim will continue to amplify posthumously. 


Recent stories

Tribute to Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien 1930 -2021

Shared by Ifueko Okauru on October 15, 2021
The news about Dr. Aisien’s demise - husband, father, grandfather, uncle, role model and mentor - came to me as a shock. I knew he was ill but always thought he would surmount it. I had planned to call him on his 91st birthday, a day he shared with his daughter Uwa, but that fell through. Another reminder that whenever we feel like doing something, just do it.

He lived to be the fullest and best version of himself having had a successful career as a surgeon, a writer and historian. In his words, “I became more than what I learnt in university because I didn’t learn how to be a writer or historian in the university.”

To me, he was a man of many parts….

Dr Aisien, the long-time Omoigui family friend

Dr. Aisien was a great friend of my parents, a relationship that was passed unto their children. I relish moments the families shared together. I recall your stories said in that hearty fashion that only you could. You turned human mistakes into lessons that we should all learn from, whilst acknowledging our frailties (every one of us) as human beings. He made you smile with what actions that would otherwise have been offensive, if described differently. He was a great storyteller.  

Dr Aisien, the husband and father

Dr. Aisien loved his immediate and extended family. He brought family members together wherever they were, with a singular vision of caring for humanity. Even when he made mistakes, he owned up and sought understanding without allowing events weigh him down.

Dr Aisien, the Medical Doctor, Entrepreneur and part-owner of Azuwa Hospital Benin-City

Dr. Aisien partnered with colleagues to run Azuwa Hospital in Benin-City. I recall talking to Aunty, Mrs. Aisien earlier this year, where I learned of how his hospital offered free services to members of his community and people who couldn’t afford their medical bills.

Dr Aisien, the Historian

Uncle’s historical write-ups were filled with surgical precision as they cut through time to bring out choice history that have not only increased knowledge about the Edos’ but also instilled values, culture and morals for all ages irrespective of tribe, language or religion. His writings enriched all of us with knowledge about our culture. The Edos’ and Nigeria at large will never forget in a hurry his design and advocacy for the “Ewu – Iwu” which today is globally accepted as the traditional wear of Edo men’.

Dr Aisien, the Army Major

Uncle and my eldest brother Nowa Omoigui, both medical doctors, shared a love of history and the Military. They are both now resting in the bosom of the Lord. They had planned to work on his memoirs as a doctor in the Nigerian army during the civil war (he retired as Army Major) but that never panned out. In Uncle’s interview with the Nation newspaper on July 4, 2017, he states “I was the medical doctor in charge of Ishan Division in the old Mid-western Region in the 60s. I left Uromi for England to specialise as a surgeon four months before the end of the civil war. I got to Uromi in 1965 and left late 1969. Between 1967 and 1969 when the war was on, my hospital was the only government hospital treating wounded Biafran soldiers as they were been pushed out of the region by the Federal troops via Auchi route.” A full read of this interview is at https://thenationonlineng.net/biafra-agitation-silly-civil-war-doctor/.

I hope these memoirs get published someday.

Dr. Aisien, the DAGOMO Foundation volunteer

Dr. Aisien became an advisor to DAGOMO’s efforts to put in place an Elder Care Policy for Edo State. We had approached him initially to be the Chairman of the Committee set up for this purpose. He however indicated his willingness to rather act as advisor, as an elder. He  personally attended meetings and offered his residence for some of the meetings held.  It will be a great tribute to Dr. Aisien’s memory to have this policy approved and passed into law.

Dr. Aisien, the Oben advocate

Once Uncle knew that I was on the Board of Seplat Petroleum Ltd (now Seplat Energy), [which operates the Oben oil and gas field, a “key gas production and processing hub within OML 4 in the northwestern Niger Delta”], he wrote and constantly reminded me at every turn of the need for Seplat to ensure that the hospital in the community was fully powered. Until then, I never knew that Oben was his ancestral home. I am glad that even after I left the Seplat Board, the Chairman and Managing Director personally visited him at home earlier this year, and directly assured him of their commitment to attend to his request. I am also glad that the Management of Seplat are working on this project and would hopefully commission the finished works soon. Early on, when I wondered why he wasn’t extending his request to powering the entire community, he was clear that we should focus first on the hospital which had been built for years but had no power. His need to impact the people as quickly as possible was without doubt. Once the community hospital is powered, we do need to ensure that the entire Oben community is elevated to heights that honour Uncle’s devotion to his community.

Epilogue

We will miss our dear Dr. Ekhaguosa Aisien. We are very much encouraged by the fact that he lived a good life and used his capabilities and talents to bless humanity.

In the words of Winston Churchill "History is written by the victors". He is indeed a victor in death.

Rest in perfect peace.



Ifueko M Omoigui Okauru, MFR

15 October 2021

Shared by Titilola Akhigbe on October 4, 2021
I don’t remember the first time I met EG’s dad (possibly while we were in College eons ago). Over the years myself and my family have been privileged to interact closely with him. He treated us like family, each time he was intentional and  made sure to enquire about specific details we had discussed before.For such an accomplished person he never had any airs or graces. Always had a bright smile which reflected the warmth in his heart. 
A great man never leaves his world the same way he met it. This is exactly his story. He will be dearly missed but never forgotten.