Posted by By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-Sou on
FOR the past five years, 40-year-old Warri-based engineer, Dr. Luke Majemite, has been pondering over the reason the late First Lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, loved jokes and "yarnings" to the point of leaving Aso Villa, Abuja to be part of hilarious shows across the country.
FOR the past five years, 40-year-old Warri-based engineer, Dr. Luke Majemite, has been pondering over the reason the late First Lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, loved jokes and "yarnings" to the point of leaving Aso Villa, Abuja to be part of hilarious shows across the country. Somehow, he has this feeling that such concerts were avenues for her to be with the common folk and not the powerful like her. Majemite did not find the answer to his brainteaser until Mrs. Obasanjo died, last week, in a Spanish Hospital, where she had gone for abdominoplasty, universally known as tummy tuck
"And when I found the missing link, the only thing I could say was, no wonder, she is a Wafarian, I read that Mrs. Obasanjo was born in Warri in 1945 after her demise and that, to me, means that she had Warri blood flowing in her. It therefore explains why she loved jokes, which is an industry here and was even a special guest of honor in one of the episodes of A Night of a Thousand Laughs. That woman loved to socialize like a real Warri person", he told Sunday Vanguard, Tuesday, in Warri.
Majemite is not the only one that is caught unaware, by the fact that Mrs. Obasanjo was born in Warri. He was born, in all probability, more than 10 years after the late Stella Obasanjo left Warri as a teenager for Lagos. Not even many people, who are older than 60 years today, the age the former First Lady would have attained by November 14 if God did not take it, knew that she was a "Warri girl".
The Iyasere of Warri, Chief G. Mabiaku, told Sunday Vanguard that Mrs. Obasanjo disclosed sometime ago when she came to Delta State that she was born in Warri but he (Mabiaku) was not in Warri then and so, do not where she was born. Another respected Itsekiri leader, Chief Isaac Jemide, who Sunday Vanguard thought would be in the know said that Stella’s father is far my senior and I was not in Warri when he was here to know when her daughter was born.
Getting somebody who knows Mrs. Obasanjo while she was in Warri was a bit difficult because she stayed there as a teenager and, perhaps, spent not more than 10 years of her life there before her father took her away to Lagos.
"She was just a small girl when she was in Warri, how can one be taking note of a small girl who had not even grown to an adult. Nobody knew what she would become tomorrow and, so, I won’t say people took special note of her at that age except her parents and other very close persons", Chief Phillip Djebah, a very close friend of Stella’s father, Chief Abebe, who had been residing in Warri since 1950, told Sunday Vanguard at his Effurun residence, Wednesday.
Djebah, who is a Knight of the Catholic Church like Abebe, described Mrs. Obasanjo as ""an intelligent woman". He said that her father was very fond of her even as a little girl.
"I think she was born around Robert Road area in Warri. It is not that building at Ometan Street. Her father built that house after he left Warri. He came here as a clerk, he is my good friend up till today. He worked as a typist in the former United African Company (UAC) up till the time he got married. Then Warri was like a mini-headquarters of the UAC; there was no Ometan Street then in that area. At that time, only the privileged people working for government stayed in the area they were staying and he had Stella.
"Sir Abebe worked very harmoniously with others while he was in Warri and Stella, I believe, started her primary education in Warri but because her father had the means and wanted a better education for her, she was taken to a better school. That was how she was sent out of Warri before my friend later left the oil city.
"As I told you earlier, the late Stella was an intelligent girl. She was beautiful and also smart. Nobody knew she would later become the wife of the President of this country and mother of the nation at that. You see, the sky is the limit for everybody on earth and nobody, no matter how small, should be looked down upon", he asserted.
As he spoke, Wednesday morning, to Sunday Vanguard, Djebah, who is approaching 80 years was yet to take the breakfast that was already served for him. Rather, he gazed now and then at his watch, saying, "The President said we should observe a minute silence at 12.00pm for her and others who died in the Bellview plane crash".
"How would the little girl of yesterday be the mother of the nation", Sunday Vanguard asked Djebah, he said: "That is the position that life entrusted her with, it is not by age. No matter how you want to look it, she was the mother of the nation before she died".
He laughed when Sunday Vanguard sought his comments on the gossip members of the Abebe family usually die when they get to 60 years, pointing out: "Is her father not more than 60 years old? What of her mother? Are they not alive today? How can people just be peddling such rumor around? It is not true; there is no curse in the family. I know that some Abebes had died before now but God gives life and the same God takes too. Nobody should read any hidden meaning to what happened to her because death is an inevitable debt, which all of us must pay".
"Whoever thinks that he or she will not pay his or her own is hallucinating and what excites me is that this young girl of yesterday touched the life of many within her short span on the earth planet. It is not really how far but how well. May her soul rest in perfect peace", Djebah prayed.