By Ekanpou Enewaredideke
This mad world is mad. This our mad world has gone mad; the madness of the world derives muscles of reinforcement from daily engagement of the dialogue on terrorism. Almost on daily basis there are claims and counter-claims of casualties (as one would say in JP Clark’s ‘The Casualties’) as regards the successes and methodologies adopted in the fight against terrorism. Words like ‘decimated’, ‘degraded’, ‘technically degraded’, ‘defeated’, etc. have become the beloved register of the fight against terrorism in Nigeria.
From the government of Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, there are always varying claims of successes in the war against terrorism. People become justifiably embittered – embittered people armed with the knowledge of how the terrorism war had been fought from the distant past – whenever the government sanctimoniously talks about the terrorism war, claiming credits in narcissistic nods, without a mention of Hon. Teiyebo Agbeotu – that Agbeotu who fought terrorism ideologically through his two theories of ‘BENABAFAISM’ and ‘EBIMENISM’ propounded and pursued vigorously for the betterment of the society as a remote antidote against terrorism. It saddens that this visionary Agbeotu who fought terrorism remotely with all his resources is yet to be identified and recognized – even if in honorific dimensions. Could this lack of recognition for Agbeotu be a product of the ethnic group he hails from?
Buhari’s failure to recognize Agbeotu is comparatively better when viewed against the backdrop of the activities of Chief Opudu Boro (Chairman of Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee) who is reputationally respected for his relentless war against maritime terrorism in the Niger Delta. Even this Boro claims that he does not know that Agbeotu is a remarkable fighter of terrorism. Had Boro known this, Governor Okowa would have wasted no time in making Agbeotu a think-tank on maritime criminalities in Delta State and beyond. Chief Boro, why didn’t you tell Governor Okowa and his deputy, Otuaro, that Agbeotu philosophically fought terrorism remotely through the deployment of his compositional masterpieces? Or didn’t you know this before now? Are you afraid that Governor Okowa would make Agbeotu the Director-General of Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee and have you overshadowed in security matters in the Niger Delta?
Agbeotu, the propounder of the theories of BENABAFAISM and EBIMENISM, a great philosopher, is a multi-dimensional personality who commands reputation as a poet, novelist, dramatist and a proverb-filled orator extraordinaire whose preoccupation centres quintessentially on war against terrorism through his famous seminal works such as ‘BENABAFA’, ‘LATE DUKE OF OJOBO’, ‘ LATE OGBOSU OF OJOBO’, ‘EBIMENE SPECIAL’, ‘ENEKEBOMOSU’, ‘DEBERE’, ‘MONEY NO DEY DIE’, ‘EBIKEME MIEYE SIYA’, ‘LATE JOHNSON EKPETU’, ‘EGBAMENI’ and many others. Though Agbeotu is a highly philosophical musician, his philosophical songs have metamorphosed into poems, novels and plays through the meticulous translations of Mr. Gogi Serikoromo of Oyangbene in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
In the musically anchored stand of Agbeotu, terrorism would peter into the air if the concept of BENABAFAISM is eradicated. Conceptually, BENABAFAISM is the nihilistic, cynical severance and denial of brotherhood or ties of consanguinity. When ties of consanguinity are deliberately and selfishly severed, ill thoughts become the harbour of hitherto brotherly and sisterly people or kindred. Ill thoughts that spring or sprout from consumed and consolidated BENABAFAISM are likely to progress and condense like molten lava and merge into terrorism of different types – Boko Haram terrorism, banditry, rape, kidnap or maritime terrorism in the Niger Delta. Because Agbeotu knows psychically like Nostradamus, he conceptually built the theory of BENABAFAISM and highlighted the evils associated with it and musically persuaded people to reject the retrogressive theory so that BENABAFAISM would not become the yeast, the catalyst of terrorism.
Having propounded and popularised the theory of BENABAFAISM and located his stand, Agbeotu musically draws attention to the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta and the need for ideological agitation against the government and the multi-national oil companies located visibly as the oppressors. Preachment of love among people also echoes in his works just like his belief in reinincarnation features prominently in his works like ‘Late Duke of Ojobo’, ‘Debere’, ‘Late Ogbosu of Ojobo’ and ‘Late Chief Johnson Ekpetu’.
When the main terrorist (death) strikes down a loved one, the loved ones of the deceased are thrown into seemingly irretrievable depths of despair. Musically, Agbeotu appears and gives the loved ones the dosage of the philosophical medication required to stop the drift into irredeemable depth of despair – despair bound to steer them into another terrorist zone where death rules unchallenged as a terrorist. Music masterpieces, classics, like ‘Late Ogbosu of Ojobo’ and ‘Late Duke of Ojobo’ by Agbeotu become the right philosophical medication for the speedy recovery of the bereaved – which eventually become the proactive inoculation against death’s terrorist spikes when a loved one dies.
Philosophically, Agbeotu is the Medical Managing Director of the inoculation team against death from death whenever death strikes in a terrorist style. Alas, Agbeotu the philosophical pharmacist, the philosophical pharmacologist, in this terrorized world has gone home with his latest philosophical inoculation drugs, leaving behind only his existing vaccination drugs like ‘Late Christopher Andasei’, ‘Late Duke of Ojobo’, ‘Late Chief Johnson Ekpetu’ and many other musical masterpieces that carry echoes of despair-annihilation.
When people are unjustly deprived, dehumanized, degraded, reduced, infantilized, oppressed, exploited and deprived followed by the likelihood of the outbreak of a violent protest geared towards bloody revolution and varied terrorist thrusts, the musically channelled vaccination drugs of Agbeotu become very relevant and potent forces for creation of philosophical balance, intellectual awakening, moral rearmament, societal redirection, societal reconstruction and progression. Agbeotu sees the world in terms of universal brotherhood – a philosophical stand that often makes him disgusted with any attempt at severance of ties of brotherhood. As ties of brotherhood are preserved, the progress of one another becomes a top priority as ill thoughts toward one another will no longer be harboured. When ill thoughts springing from injustice no longer parade the secular space, terrorist thoughts naturally wilt away for a peaceful and progressive society. This is why Agbeotu insists musically that, BENABAFAISM which conceptually means deliberate nihilistic severance of ties of brotherhood, consanguinity, co-operative peaceful coexistence, mutual unity, healthy partnership, mutual transformation agenda, and the planting of disunity, wickedness, injustices, exploitation, oppression, dehumanization and intimidation, should be totally eliminated in the society occasioned by its inherent dangers and contradictions with regard to peaceful coexistence and societal progression. He views BENABAFAISM as the catalyst to terrorism – a reason why he uses all his resources to demonise BENABAFAISM as a kind of proactive inoculation against terrorism but did President Buhari recognise Agbeotu for his philanthropic deployment of music to wage war against terrorism? Can Nigeria win the war against terrorism now that Agbeotu is dead?
The world awakened to the lethal tentacles of BENABAFAISM, Agbeotu dwells mainly on the consequences of embracing the concept. So in his musical masterpiece entitled ‘ENEKEBOMOSU’, he contends that where love and unity are buried beyond reincarnation, underdevelopment is the harvest. Clearly, underdevelopment is a bridge to terrorism which is today ravaging the Northern part of Nigeria. Had Buhari engaged Agbeotu as anti-terrorism think-tank, would terrorism have still bared its deadly arrogant fangs in Nigeria?
Dug into allegorically in Agbeotu’s philosophical language, philosophical appropriation, he sees terrorism from varied perceptives. Agbeotu sees terrorism as a terrorist; he also sees death as a terrorist. The first perceptive on terrorism is the conventional terrorism emanating from deliberate companionship struck with the theory of BENABAFAISM. The second perceptive is the universal terrorism which every human being is unstoppably bound to experience as a parting gift from terrorism. Even this universal terrorism could develop wings of facilitation from the conventional terrorism because a lethal terrorist attack eventually ends in death – that death which is the SUPREME TERRORIST.
Memorably, Agbeotu has corresponding philosophical medication/antidote against both the conventional terrorism and the universal terrorism. Even at death imposed on him by the merciless terrorist called DEATH, Agbeotu’s musical masterpieces – ‘Late Duke of Ojobo’, ‘Late Ogbosu of Ojobo, ‘Benabafa’, ‘Debere’, “Enekebomosu’, ‘Money No dey Die’, ‘Late Chief Johnson Ekpetu’, etc, will constantly equip the society intellectually, morally, culturally, historically, sociologically and philosophically to prevent any ‘gongon’ drift into dangerous waters both in the moral and security architecture in the secular society where peaceful cohabitation and coexistence is the holy grail sought by every civilized government. Therefore, terrorism lied where he thinks naively that he has eventually silenced Agbeotu by terrorizing him into silence because Agbeotu’s musical works/masterpieces have been deployed everywhere to continue the war sustainably against terrorism both in spirit and in psychic projections and visualization towards the birth of a better world.
Because Agbeotu saw terrorism-dreamers, envy-merchants, suicide-merchants, suicide-purveyors, hopelessness-merchants and the likelihood of these pernicious thoughts merging and condensing into terrorist orientation and terrorist inspiration bound to cause massive societal deflection and drift into madness – which is the focal point of the theory of BENABAFAISM – he propounded his second theory named EBIMENISM. His theory of ‘Ebimenism’ is created as a preventive philosophical medication for suicide and terrorism. People variously inhibited in life must not lose hope and commit suicide because everybody will become progressive in life. Analogically, the fact that Robert and Bestman are progressing in life, Agbeotu and others will also progress in life because Agbeotu is not the killer of Jesus Christ, the son of God.
Because Agbeotu foresees and sees the likelihood of terrorism developing from BENABAFAISM and its coextensive ruination of the society, he propounded the theory of EBIMENISM targeted to imprison thoughts of terrorism and suicide. Where BENABAFAISM permeates society in destructive dimensions, the theory of EBIMENISM should be embraced alternatively to prevent any descent into terrorist or satanic thoughts because the centrality of the theory lies in the philosophy that everybody is bound or destined to succeed in their various endeavours no matter how long it takes, so the waiting period must not be turned into the harbour for terrorist or suicidal thoughts – terrorist or suicidal thoughts which can only stem from the embrace of the theory of BENABAFAISM. So EBIMENISM is a theory propounded by Agbeotu to fill gaps created in the society by immersion in, and intoxication by, the theory of BENABAFAISM.
EBIMENISM is a
stabilizing and constructive theory geared towards a better society inhabited by only sane-minded persons who see possibilities in their various endeavours notwithstanding the temporary inhibitions or obstacles. Philosophically, Agbeotu is a creator and lover of hope in a society that may be tempted to drift into hopelessness, terrorism and suicide occasioned by appropriation/application of the shibboleths of BENABAFAISM. Agbeotu’s philosophical postulations are chiefly for the emergence of an orderly society where morality is the only Holy Grail pursued vigorously like the search of Professor Robert Langdon, the symbologist, and Sophie Neveu, the cryptologist, for the Holy Grail in Dan Brown’s THE DA VINCI CODE occasioned by Jacques Sauniere’s cipher left in the Louvre before his murder in the museum.
Philosophically, Agbeotu sees a man as somebody who travels between two worlds seasonally – the world of the dead and the world of the living – that the dead can protect the living from the underworld just as they are free to leave the underworld and come to the world of the living through birth. Agbeotu is more alarmed, puzzled, agitated and saddened by the departure of the living to the land of the dead than the seasonal arrival of the dead from the underworld in the land of the living. It is while in his state of sorrow, sadness, grief, depression, melancholy, puzzlement and dumbfoundment that Agbeotu delves into endless gamut of philosophical questions as to why the ‘John-Donned’ death should proudly smile on his ‘closest persons’ in his family – Duke, Debere, Ogbosu, Christopher Andasei and Johnson Ekpetu. Agbeotu loses his emotional balance when he sees the white box (coffin) of Duke and others. Historically, Agbeotu is philosophically catapulted into music by the sudden death of Duke and Debere who are his sister and aunty. Because he cannot bear the weight of their loss, he buries his sorrow philosophically in his musical works categorized generally today as the classics of Agbeotu possessed of the power to salvage sorrowful people from depression and confusion when the songs are listened to in the grip of calamity. No Ijaw musician can outpace, outdo, beat, Agbeotu in the composition of musical dirges. Even late King Robert Ebizimor sees Agbeotu as a musician par excellence when it borders specifically on composition of songs about dead people.
This man called Agbeotu – the propounder of the theory of BENABAFAISM, the implacable hater of his own theory of BENABAFAISM, a theory he situates quintessentially as the base of his relentless war against terrorism, the propounder of the theory of EBIMENISM as a philosophical antidote against the spikes of BENABAFAISM, a great philosopher – is a multi-dimensional personality who became the Amanana-owei of Ojobo from 2013 – 2014 whose musical works are the philosophical meditation for the resuscitation of the bereaved and the psychologically confused; he was born 25 April 1945 at Ojobo and attended Modern School from 1962 – 1964, leaving the school with a distinction grade. He was a remarkable wrestling champion in Ojobo from childhood to adulthood whose wrestling tactics Amalinze the cat and Okonkwo of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart would not be able to confront.
Beyond his fame as a notable wrestling champion, Agbeotu was a reputable footballer who played football for the Western region in 1963. Premised on his footballing genius, he was engaged by the Nigeria Prisons in 1968 as a prison warder whose duty it was to play for the Nigeria Prisons and got it laurelled in the sporting arena. His footballing genius gave him unquenchable radiance anywhere he found himself. While working in the Nigeria Prisons as a remarkable sportsman, his radiance once again struck the Nigeria Navy which equally recruited him to play football for them as a naval officer. Agbeotu would have metamorphosed from a prison warder to a naval officer but for the documentation which he missed due to unforeseen circumstances beyond control. He began his footballing career in Ojobo town in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State at the age of 17 – a time he played football devotedly and brought fame and laurels to Ojobo community during soccer competitions with neighbouring communities.
Quite early in 1963 Agbeotu developed interest in music. Towards the pursuit of his dream in music, he formed the AFRO-BAND using improvised rudimentary musical instruments such as disposed milk tins, hollowed milk cups, hand-made drums and wooden guitars locally made. Satisfied that he had honed or developed his musical talent to a reasonable degree through self-apprenticeship in his own AFRO BAND in Ojobo, Agbeotu joined late King Robert Ebizimor’s Izon Brothers band of Nigeria in 1975. His membership of King Ebizimor’s band marked the formal cradle of Agbeotu’s musical career pursued professionally without distractions. In 1992 Agbeotu left the Izon Brothers Band of Nigeria to form his own music band named Teiyebo Agbeotu and His Oil City Dance Band of Ojobo in pursuit of his music career as his own boss with his own boys taking instructional/directional dictations from him.
Even as a boss in his own thriving music band, Agbeotu occasionally featured with King Ebizimor in Izon Brothers Band of Nigeria to entertain music aficionados on the stage of performance. Agbeotus’s occasional migratory journey to King Ebizimor’s band to perform alongside king Ebizimor was a product of the love, unity and respect the two music legends had for each other – which was a reciprocatory throw-back to their togetherness in the past when their various musical careers still looked somewhat indistinct and dark.
Historically speaking,even at the risk of being repetitively verbose,I must say that Agbeotu’s initiatory journey into music was provoked unexpectedly by the unhoped-for death of Duke and Debere who were the backbone of his life as his great sister and aunty in Ojobo town. The great musician, the great philosopher, Agbeotu is today would have been an impossibility but for the sudden retirement of Duke and Debere from the world at a time their services to Agbeotu were still needed – an experience that parallels that of late King Robert Ebizimor who equally lost his elder brother Friday, who was the only father figure to Robert at childhood after the death of his own biological parents when he was only eleven years old.
Distinguishably talented and enthusiastic about sports, Agbeotu was also a cultural devotee. He was notably the directional entertaining force behind the BENISEDE and OSUOPELE masquerades in Ojobo. It was Agbeotu’s amazing directional skill which made BENISEDE and OSUOPELE notably colourful, entertaining and memorable as the two masquerades magically responded in enthralling performance/display to the steadily heightened appreciatory echoes of Amgberi Kolo, Amgberi Kolo, Amgberi Kolo Kolo Kolooooo from the masquerade enthusiasts during masquerade festivities.
Now with the 25-August-2019 terrorised homeward journey of the generalissimo of BENISEDE and OSUOPELE masquerades, the appreciatory echo of Amgberi Kolo kolo which enjoyed enthusiastic crescendo will now be the handmaiden of diminuendo during masquerade festivities in Ojobo. The hitherto deafening echo of Amgberi Kolo kolo will be no more in Ojobo now that Agbeotu is in the grip of that deadly merciless terrorist called death whose cage nobody can salvage people from – not even that man called Chief Boro (the Chairman, Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee) who enjoys a reputation as a fighter of maritime terrorism in the Niger Delta. Oh, Ojobo has lost a great philosopher with a multi-dimensional personality. That Agbeotu whose perpetually leavened, seasoned, cooked, condiment-consolidated, jokes (okeke) have the quality of making one’s ribs riot with uncontrollable laughter! Agbeotu would thrive better reputationally as a comedian in his next incarnation!
Dear Agbeotu, because of your constant philosophical fondness for telling the dead to remember the living in their protective umbrella – a coincidental echo of the poet George Awoonor Williams in his poem ‘Songs of Sorrow’ – which occurs like a refrain in all your musical dirges or elegies, particularly your musical dirge on Ekpetu entitled ‘Late Chief Johnson Ekpetu’ where you address Chief Ekpetu as ‘dear Ekpetu, you are now dead, and now that you are dead, spread your protective umbrella over your children, including Agbeotu and his musical crew’, you should also unfurl your protective umbrella over Kennedy your son, and your entire family now that you have journeyed to the land of the dead (the underworld).
Agbeotu, late Bestman Doupere and late King Robert Ebizimor were great Ijaw musicians who initially played music together in Robert Ebizimor’s Izon brothers band of Nigeria and toured the length and breadth of Nigeria. Interestingly, despite the togetherness of these three musicians, they were all distinguished by their own philosophical positions on life coupled with remarkably different compositional skills and recognizably distinct individual instrumentation patterns.However, among these three wisemen,the celebrated three music philosophers, Agbeotu was the only one left,yet to be integrated into the mysteries of DUEAMABOU(the underworld).
This man they call Teiyebo Agbeotu, the Professor of proverbs in music, the versatile orator, the electrifying conversationalist like the late poet Christopher Okigbo, the indefatigable comedian, the classless man who plays with every category of people, the exceptional lover of humanity, the hater of injustice and oppression, the man whose song entitled ‘Late Ogbosu of Ojobo’ irresistibly moved Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State to break into endless dance steps during the first remembrance anniversary of late king Robert Ebizimor, this music poet who has musically waged fierce war against terrorism and any type of maritime vices/criminalities – even much more than Buhari, Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan – this man who sees death as the worst terrorist, was terrorized into silence by terrorism on the 25th of August 2019 in Warri. A man who fought terrorism fiercely was at last ridiculed and claimed by terrorism. Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan, Ifeanyi Okowa, deputy governor Otuaro and Chief Boro knew that the man actually fought and terrorised terrorism while terrorism was still alive, yet they did not come to rescue Agbeotu when the terrorist filed out like Esaba ants in their thousands and pummelled him to death without resistance.
Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan, Okowa, Otuaro and Chief Boro could not have rescued Agbeotu from that terrorist called death because that terrorist is more powerful and deadly than any government agent however resourceful and good-intentioned. Boro would be ridiculed even if he came with all the soldiers in Delta Waterways and Land Security Committee to confront that terrorist that terrorised Agbeotu into silence!
It appears the terrorist that terrorised Agbeotu and his heavy philosophical statements into co-operative silence is the most dreaded terrorist that terrifies even Buhari, Dickson, Obasanjo, Jonathan, Okowa Otuaro and Boro beyond thoughts of salvage operation for the inimitable proverbialist; let us summon the poet John Donne to ridicule the terrorist so that the terrorist (death) no longer proudly and arrogantly tells the world that he has hunted down both Agbeotu and his didactic philosophical thoughts. In fact, let John Donne tell death the terrorist who calls himself the terrorist that the terrorist has ironically transmitted Hon. Teiyebo Agbeotu to the land of imperishability, indestructibility and immortality and that Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan, Okowa, Otuaro, Seriake Dickson and Chief Boro did not abandon Agbeotu because of terrorism and the terrorist, but they abandoned him because of the terrorist who incurably suffers from BIPOLAR DISORDER … because they are all powerless before that terrorist that has terrorised Agbeotu into submission.
‘John-donnecally’, the dead embraces eternal wakefulness after a short sleep – a time death loses his intimidating sting and disappears like vapour in acceptance of his own death when John Donne poetically exclaims that ‘death, thou shalt die’, Teiyebo Agbeotu is dead but Agbeotu shall not die like death because his great musical works, masterpieces, classics, are there to tell his story from generations to generations. Therefore, the terrorism of death is a licence of philosophical immortality for Agbeotu, the great philosopher.
Writes from Akparemogbene