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SPEECH DELIVERED BY NOSA FRANCIS EDO-OSAGIE, ESQ. CHAIRMAN NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION BENIN BRANCH, THE LION BAR

IN HONOUR OF LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA SENIOR AT THE VALEDICTORY COURT SESSION

HELD AT

THE HIGH COURT FOYER
EDO STATE JUDICIARY

DATED THE 24TH DAY OF MARCH, 2023
SPEECH DELIVERED BY NOSA FRANCIS EDO-OSAGIE, ESQ. CHAIRMAN NIGERIAN BAR ASSOCIATION BENIN BRANCH, THE LION BAR.

PROTOCOL

Hebrew 13:14 states
“Here we have no continuing city but we seek one which is to come”.
The English Poet, EDWIN LIEBRED wrote that:
“Death is the end of the unreal and the beginning of the real.”

In his play titled KING JOHN, SHAKESPEARE explains the audacity and finality of death as follows:
“We cannot hold mortality’s strong hand”.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA Senior was born on the 29th day of June, 1945 and hail from Esan West Local Government Area, of Edo State. He grew up being known as PETER UDOH IYIOHA. This middle name reveals a snapshot of his tenacity and strength through all of his life’s endeavours. A tenacity that was obvious at birth. As he was often sick, one day he slipped into unconsciousness and was left for dead in one of the village’s garbage dump sites in the early hours of the morning. At 4pm later that day, and after a full day under the scorching sun, village women who came to the site would hear him whimpering faintly. They would pick him up and run into the village crying out for his mother. Barrister Iyioha Senior survived and was thereafter named "UKPESINDO" or ‘UDOH’, meaning ‘tough as stone’.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA Senior was born into THE FAMILY OF IYIOHA and OMONHANGBE—both of Ogwa, Esan West LGA, now in Edo State. On 29th day of June, 1941 and left this world 11th day of November, 2022. He was the third child of four children, three brothers and one sister.
EARLY EDUCATION
LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA began his education in St. John's Primary School, Ogwa in 1953 and finished in 1957 at the age of thirteen. He attended Annunciation College, Irrua between 1969 and 1961 and proceeded to Pilgrim's Baptist Grammar School, Ewohimi, Via Ubiaja Mid-Western State between 1962 and 1965. He thereafter attended cooperative College, Ibadan between 1967 to 1968. He showed excellence early in his studies. He was the school's librarian, a position that broadened his inquisitive mind and gave him exposure to the vast opportunities available to him in life. He was also enrolled into annunciation Catholic College, Irrua which was more educationally competitive.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA left for the United States of America to attend Florida Memorial College, USA, between 1975 and 1976. He dropped the name ‘UDOH’ later in life as he got ready to apply for University in America. In 1978 he gained admission to University of South Alabama, United States of America. On graduation he went for his masters degrees at Troy State University, Troy, USA. He equally attended the Bendel State University, Ekpoma between 1988 and 1991. Having also been christened ‘PETER’ by the Catholic Church at baptism. He would completely change his name from ‘PETER UDOH IYIOHA’ to ‘OMON OSOBASE IYIOHA SENIOR’. Adding the suffix ‘SENIOR.’ In homage to the American Tradition that he had now come to admire.

WORK LIFE AND CAREER
He got a certificate in cooperative studies and worked with the Government Cooperative Society under the Ministry of trade and industry from 1968 to 1969 at Ubiaja, and was transferred to Benin.
He always wanted to be a lawyer. It was his first love as careers go. He applied to various Universities in the United States of America. He won a scholarship award from the state government to go to the USA for study in 1976. He was admitted at the University of Southern Alabama, USA to Study Sociology and Anthropology. Through this Scholarship and the financial support of his first wife, the LATE MRS. PATRICIA EROMON IYIOHA (NEE OKOKHERE), he successfully obtained his first degree. This was followed by an MSC. In Criminology. This was a game changer for him. The beginning of nearly two decades as an academic at the Prestigious University of Benin.
LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA completed his National Youth Service Program with the Police Force, Akure Division. While there, he observed that the community lacked sanitary facilities. So, he constructed the first ever pit toilet for his Local Community, thereby ending a chronic sanitation problem. For this, he received a commendation letter from his supervisors. He could have continued with the Police Force. However, he was not comfortable with corruption within the force.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA was hardworking, resourceful, dedicated to his duties, conscientious, purposeful, scholarly and always ready to take on any assignment given to him. He was loyal and generous to his friends and was there for everyone at their hour of need.

Following his meritorious service in the National Youth Service Program, he was offered appointment with the University of Benin as Assistant Lecturer in 1980. He would later hold the position of Senior Lecturer II. As an Academic, LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA was bold and vocal, and often featured on Social Commentary Programs on Television, including on the Bendel Broadcasting Service, (BBS), now Edo Broadcasting Service (EBS). An intelligent mind and brilliant orator, his students remember him as animated, clear, and creative in his delivery of knowledge in the classroom. He would use stones, mugs, and water, as well as narratives about the gods and ancestors, in teaching about basic sociological and legal concepts, and always with a healthy dash of mischief.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA fulfill his dream, he enrolled to study Law at Edo State University and obtained a Bachelor of Laws Degree in 1992. As he was known to fight injustice in every form, it was not surprising that he should choose this new career path. Beyond being a social critic and social justice advocate, he served his community in myriad of ways. He was known to pay the medical bills for those who could not afford it; when the Ogwa community, his homeland needed to write official letters, he would be called upon and always graciously did so. During his time as a University Lecturer, he helped many individuals to gain admission into university and helped shape their education and future careers. He halted his academic career in 1998, resigning voluntarily so that he could dedicate his time to practice law in a full-time capacity. This birthed the Iyioha and Iyioha Law Firm where he served until he retired in 2020 due to health challenges.
Certainly, the Bible lays out the great hope that death is but a gateway to a glorious future, for those who sleep in the Lord.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet”.
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?
1 Corinthians 15:52, 54-55
For decades, I have loved John Donne’s take on death, in his poem, Death, be not Proud, where he critically considers death and its activities, and in conclusion states;
“One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.”
Life eternal is our portion, and death really shall be no more.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA OBTAINED THE FOLLOWING CERTIFICATES:
 Primary School Leaving Certificate
 West Africa School Certificate (WASC)
 General Certificate of Education (G.C.E.)
 Certificate in Cooperative Studies
 B.A., Criminal Justice
 M.Sc., Criminal Justice
 LLB (Hons), BL (Law)
 Certificate of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC)

ASSOCIATION
 LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA was a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Benin Branch

 Alumnus of Bendel State University, Ekpoma (Now Ambrose Alli University)

 Alumnus of the University of South Alabama, United States of America,

 Alumnus of Troy State University, United State of America.

 Alumnus of Florida Memorial College, Miami, United States of America.

I urge you all to live in the thankfulness that even death itself shall be conquered by resurrection, for this is the living hope that LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA believed in.

Perhaps I should remind us here that the thin line between life and death is a call on all of us to reorder our values. We should spend more time in the pursuit of eternal values of love, justice and other noble lofty ideals which holy men and sages have spoken about down the ages.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
An educational pioneer of the Ogwa Village and one of two individuals to first obtain a University and subsequently master degrees in the entire village, LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA Senior fulfilled much of his life’s dreams. He was an academic, a University Lecturer, an Author, a Lawyer, a Social Commentator, Human Rights Advocate, and Entrepreneur. He encouraged anyone who cared to listen to study law, have their children become lawyers or at least have one lawyer in the family. This advice was taken by many who regarded him as a role model. Within his own household, he raised three lawyers, one of whom was a relative whom he raised as a son.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA is survived by eight children, including a Canadian Associate Professor of Law, Writer, and Lawyer called to the Bars of Nigeria and British Columbia, Canada, a Pastor, as well as business men and women. He is predeceased by Barrister OMON OSOBASE IYIOHA Junior who in the course of standing up for the human rights of a vulnerable child and in the tradition of his distinguished father who passed away in May 2020.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA is survived by twenty-one grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, adopted children, as well as numerous Nephews, Nieces, Cousins, and In-Laws.

There are not many people who can boast of a very successful career in one life time. LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA Senior had two very successful and complex careers in one life-time: a University Lecturer and a Lawyer, each for about two decades respectively. He gave of himself at every turn, always putting the service of family and community before self. Indeed, he believed that others might be well, that others might be in better shape to uplift others, for this we own him a debt of gratitude.

LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA had interest in Sport, Social Works, Studying and Traveling.


May God Almighty give the family of LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss and keep them perpetually in good health and unity.

May God Almighty bless and keep all of us in good health and meet us at the point of our needs and may the soul of LATE BARRISTER OSOBASE OMON IYIOHA Senior rest in perfect peace…. AMEN.

Thank you and God bless us all.

Nosa Francis Edo-Osagie, Esq.,
Chairman,
Nigerian Bar Association,
Benin Branch-The Lion Bar,
24th March, 2023.

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