Edo State Chief Judge Eulogies Ogaga Emoghwanre, Esq.

EULOGY OF HONORABLE JUSTICE JOE ITSEBAGA ACHA (FCIMC, M’IDRI, KISS), Chief Judge Of Edo State On The Occassion Of The Lying In State Ceremony Of Ogaga John Emoghwanre Esq, At The High Court Complex, Benin City On 2nd September, 2022.


In my brief eulogy this morning, I call in aid the Arst two stanzas of a very popular hymn,
“Fading Away Like The Stars of the Morning: Only remembered. ” Which goes like this:
1. Fading away like the stars of the morning,   Losing their light in the glorious sun-     

Thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling, Only remembered by what we have done.
Only remembered, only remembered,
Only remembered by what we have done ;
Thus would we pass from the earth and its tolling, Only remembered by what we have done.  

2. Shall we be missed, though by others succeeded Reaping the fields we in spring-time have sown?
Yes, but the sowers must pass from thelr labours,  Ever remembered by what thev have done.  

It is under the above forlorn cloud that we are sadly gathered here today to celebrate the life of one of our own: OGAGA JOHN EMOGHWANRE BSQ, our dear friend, brother, father and colleague, who passed sadly and suddenly on Friday, 10th of August 2022.  

At 42, Ogaga’s life was just beginning when the sun set.
When news of his shocking passage got to me, Edo State judiciary, as indeed the entire legal community, was awash with grief and disbelief. The impact was huge.
Ogaga was thoroughly impactful both in life and in his passing. Indeed, he lived up to the meaning of a famous quote 
attributed to him that, “It is a crime to pass through this world unnoticed.”… Ogaga Emoghwanre.

Who wouldn’t have noticed Ogaga, the young, ever vibrant, ebullient, sociable, so full of life, and distinguished legal practitioner with an ever impressive swag, yet so humble. He was a consummate Bar man who bestrode our legal space like a legal colossus and prodigy that he was. Even those who might never have met him personally, must have drank generously from the rich fountain of knowledge and inviolable information that often came “FROM THE DESK OF OGAGA EMOGHWANRE BSQ”.  

In the recently concluded Natlonal Conference of the Nigerlan Bar Association held in Lagos, one of our show piece literary Icons – Chinamanda Ngozi Adichie in her exquisite Keynote address underscored a startling observation.
According to the distinguished laureate, “We are starved of heroes in this country. So many young people are hungry for figures that they can look up to…”.
Before us this morning is Ogaga Emoghwanre Esq (fondly called OGAGA BABA by friends and admirers) who undoubtedly is a hero par excellence of the legal profession whose death has once again depleted the fading pool of heroes and elites of Nigeria’s golden generation; a generation of genuine patriots, nation builders, outstanding legal icons and exemplary men of integrity, loyalty, principles and courage in leadership.

Undeniably, the loss of a loved one at any age is always painful. Perhaps even more is the loss of a young Ogaga, at the prime of youth, with the future beckoning, full of promise and hope, such death is not only excruciatingly painful but extremely tragic and invariably fills and leaves the living with unsurpassable grief.
Yet, we today  
celebrate the beautiful life that Ogaga lived. Why do we celebrate his life some might ask? We do so because his life was packed full of so much positives. It was as if he knew that he had a short time to live and needed to quickly cover the field.
The outpouring of raw emotions across the land tell us how much Ogaga was loved by all that came across him. There are people who die un-mourned and unloved; not Ogaga.   

His passage has touched the core of all of us.
Let me pause briefly at this point, as is customary, to give a brief insight into his glorious life and the significant milestones contained therein.

It was the great writer and novelist- Chinua Achebe in reference to a famous Igbo proverb, who once said that, “The world is a dancing masquerade. If you want to understand it, You can’t remain standing in one place.”
The great book of the Life of Ogaga can certainly not be complete without generous reference to other chapters.

He was a multi- talented man of many parts. Though his primary assignment was naturally the legal profession, throughout his life time, Ogaga Esq lived up to the spirit of the above didactic proverb, by being very versatile.
He was a man of many parts and an ardent believer in the variegated nature of human existence on earth.
In his earthly sojourn and career kaleidoscope, this part of him shone brightly and was clear for all 
to see whenever one listens to his beautiful rendition as a Presenter/ producer on Independent Television/ Radio both in Benin and Abuja.
He also served in various other notable capacities within and outside the Bar and was a prolific writer with the gift of the gab as well as a proud recipient of many prestigious awards.

One of the most remarkable attributes of our departed colleague came to the fore when he recently narrowly lost a keenly contested election for the position of National Publicity Secretary, NBA. Ogaga Emoghwanre Esq. did not win the contest into the said position as we all know, but he won the election in many other ways.
Yes, he won, not necessarily because he had the greatest number of votes cast, but because he 
overwhelmingly won the respect, admiration, and the hearts and minds of teeming Nigerians, for his uncommon spirit of sportsmanship which was clearly aimed at unifying the Bar.
In this spirit, it is particularly gratifying that he not only conceded the election to his opponent who had the largest number of votes but also went ahead to 
host members of the Bar (both friends, supporters and foes alike) to an evening grand party of appreciation.
We all have a lot to learn from this act of not just sportsmanship, but statesmanship.

To his beloved spouse, children, members of the bereaved family, the legal family particularly the immediate past President of the NBA, Olumide Akpata Esq and all others who share our grief, it is virtually impossible for me to say anything that can console you at this difficult hour.
But I hope you can find a little consolation from the universality of this shared experience.
May the amiable soul of our dear Ogaga Rest in Perfect Peace, Amen!
Thank You for your patience in listening and May God bless us all.

©Joe Itsebaga Acha, (FICMC MIDRI KSS)
Chief Judge,
Edo State.

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