Sunday, June 4, 2017,will remain indelible in the annals of Ika history, as it marks the end of a well lived and accomplished life of one of Ika greatest,finest, revered community leader, elder statesman, scholar, real estate guru and a nationalist, Sir Samuel Parma Ogoefuna Fortune Ebie. The news of the glorious exit of the octogenarian and patriarch of the famous Ebie family of Agbor-Alidinma, in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State was received with a shattering shock, amidst thanksgiving to the Almighty God, the creator and controller of the universe for his good sojourn on earth. Sir Ebie was a hero, bold, intelligent and outstanding in all he ventured into during his days on earth. Born into a humble Anglican home of late Revd.Samuel Obuteh and Selina Ebie of Agbor-Alidinma Community, on October26th, 1934. The young Ebie prepared himself for greatness through hard work.Based on his Spartan upbringing; and being a product of the parsonage, he was at the onset endued with hardwork, integrity, honesty and the fear of God.He upheld and practised these sterling leadership qualities until he breathed his last on earth on Sunday, June 4, in his Lagos home. He was constructivelyand progressively self-willed and “uncompromising” when he believed he was right. Not many knew that he lived for others because he was not an
ostentatious philanthropist. He believed in Mother Theresa’s saying – “A Lifenot Lived for Others Is Not a Life” He was a creative, active and receptive listener. Even good at listening to his enemies and those who opposed him; and turn hostile relationship around.For those of us who associated with him, Ebie demonstrated, during meetings and social gathering a very strong culture and habit of meritorious immediacy and time keeping. And in the extraversion – introversion scale, he could befairly positioned close to the middle. He is rarely wrong but always different but genuinely following his own way and “stubborn” behaviour. We are reminded by his reference to Scott Peck saying in Chapter one of his autobiography “Anchors of Mercy” “There’s no worse bitterness than to reach the end of your life and realize that you have not lived”. This is a wake up call for his admirers, followers and disciples.As a student of the famous Okrika Grammar School, Rivers State, Ebie was outstanding in all his subjects. He was on top of his class and one of the best the school ever produced. After his secondary school education, Ebie taught briefly at some of the renowned Grammar Schools in Oba and Onitsha respectively, in present day, Anambra State before gaining admission to read Estate Management in Kumasi College of Technology, Ghana. When the programme was scrapped by the Ghanaian government a year later, Ebie was one of the egg head students on Western Nigeria scholarship who passed the
final examinations and screening to proceed to the College of Estate Management, University of London in the mid 1950s.While in London as a student, Ebie again, depicted the excellent spirit in him by winning accolades for his brilliance from his lecturers. He later graduated in flying colours and returned to Nigeria in early 1960s. He got his first paid job at Nigerian Building Society, (NBS) and later, Lagos Executive Development Board, (LEDB). Ebie returned to Nigeria, at a time when most young Nigerian graduates in the United Kingdom found it undesirable and unprofitable to return home to serve their father land on successful completion of their academic pursuit. The desire to assist his family and contribute meaningfully to the development of his country, which then had just gained her independence informed the major reason young Ebie returned to Nigeria; a decision he never regretted. Armed with his London degree certificate in Estate Management, Ebie strived for the best. After a short and fulfilling period at LEDB, Ebie was appointed to head, the then Bendel Development and Planning Authority, (BDPA) Benin City, where he recorded remarkable and enduring achievements.In 1975, he became the pioneer General Managing, Federal Housing Authority, (FHA). He was the first resident of Festac town in Lagos. In 1983,he was appointed Pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer,SHELTER – AFRIQUE – a Pan African Housing Development Bank. Nairobi.3
Kenya. Ebie discharged his duties responsibly until he left public service to venture into private practice.He was the President, Fortune Ebie & Co. Estate Surveyors and Valuers, with offices in Lagos, Agbor, Asaba and Warri. He was a former President, Association of Housing Corporations of Nigeria,life member as well as patron of the association. He pioneered the formation of Nigeria Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV).Although he was not one of the founding fathers and original member of Ika Group which metamorphosed into Onu Ika Nigeria, the umbrella body and mouthpiece of Ika ethnic nationality, he, Sir S.P.O Fortune Ebie was a coopted member and subsequently made the Head, Collective Leadership of Onu Ika Nigeria. He thereafter and for 11yrs (1999 -2011). enflamed, enlarged and passionately preached and practiced “Ikaness” – Ika Unity and identity. The elder statesman had before he handed over the mantle of leadership to another Ika upcoming silent operator, Mr. Daniel Usifoh, built Onu Ika to an enviable height. Today, the Mr. Daniel Usifoh led Onu Ika Nigeria has fast tracked the recognition of Ika ethnic Nationality amongst the over 400 ethnic minorities recognized by Prof. Onigu Otite. Ebie was a devoted Christian of Anglican Dominion. He built, furnished and donated Revd. Samuel Obute Ebie Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)Dioceses of Ika Agbor to Alidinma Community in Ika South Local Government Area in 2010. A gesture that was highly appreciated by the Church and the
Community. He was a former, non-Executive Director of Zenith Bank PLC Board. An author and responsible family man. He was married to Mrs.Elizabeth Ebie, nee, Ajabor, who passed on, in April, 2014.The marriage was blessed with children. Sir Ebie has indeed contributed immensely towards the development of both the society and humanity. His achievements as a professional and community leader speak volume. His love for his people and passion for the growth and development of Ika land was infectiously inspirational. He was a role model, a mentor, selfless and honest leader. Onu Ika is exceedinglyproud to have him as one of her pioneer leaders. He will be missed for his audacity, honesty, sagaciousness, disarming humour, ingenuity and above all love for God and his people. Adieu our dear Sir S.P.O Fortune Ebie, rest on till we meet to part no more.
Daniel S.O. Usifoh
Head. Collective Leadership
For and on behalf of Onu Ika Nigeria.