By Destiny Eseaga
‘’The immortal William Shakespeare tells us that while fate and fortune characterise half of our lives, the other half will surely depend on it. Our ancestral wisdom complements the above maxim, that the half is the sure source of our greatness in Him (God), who our source of life is depended on- taking cognizance of our faith in Him, even in the advent of trials and tribulations.
This, also explains, that the power of life and death belongs to the All-Knowing-God, who sent us to this world; little wonder may you have known that life, power and death would cease within a short time. One by one we go, one by one we come, but in the expense of this, you have to continue making yourself good, so that immortality can be attained even after death. Yes’! Death and life is in the hands of God, he knows the hour, time, day, how and when. It is an individual call and experience. No wonder, our ancestral wisdom tells us again,
that death is an individual experience every living creature will experience, no matter how highly place the individual may have mustered or attained over the last couple of years. That is the courage that kept Chief Chief Benjamin I. Olinmah, the first Clerk of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, whose death occurred on 8th of December, 2015 at the age of 85 years. A man whose humanitarian service to his dear nation earned him fortunes and international recognition.
Chief Benjamin Olinma incessantly promoted the good as best as he can, and also practically demonstrated the three good of life; good of wealth, good of offspring and good of immortality. Of course, no one is endowed with immortality but one can gain immortality on the account of the extra-ordinary contribution he or she makes to the promotion of humanity- having in mind that our hope is based in Christ. These are the attributes of Chief Benjamin Olinmah whose death has created a great vacuum to his family and the nation at large.
He lived a life, worthy of emulation. In fact, he was referred to as ‘’The Governor” of Ikoyi Club where he had become a life member. He was one of the popular swimmers at Ikoyi club for over forty years. This kept him going and moving like a train. Many may not have had of this man, whose service to his nation remained unbeatable. He lived a dedicated and well-focused lifestyle. His commitment of service to his nation-Nigeria did not only earned him fortunes but honours and commendations. For instance, Chief Benjamin Olinma was awarded a certificate of recognition by the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, for distinguished contributions to the promotion of international understanding in June 1983.
In 1985, he received a letter of commendation from the head of the federal military government of Nigeria and Commander –in- chief of Armed Forces for contribution to the 38th World Health Assembly held in Geneva, Switzerland from 6th to 23 may 1985. Chief Olinma became a star in the family as the only son of his parents. It will interest you to know that this noble man who has left us spent his early formative years in Asaba, Delta State where he attended St. Patrick School, Coal camp, Enugu, Saint Joseph Catholic School, Asaba and St. Patrick College, Asaba, from 1946 t-1950. He obtained his Cambridge school certificate in 1950 and then continued his pre-education in England. He proceeded to the University of Exeter, Devon, England from 1961 to 1965 where he bagged D.P.A and B.A, in government. He also attended the University of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, USA, in 1979 where he obtained a certificate in advance management. Chief Benjamin Olinmah was born into the family of Olinmah of Umuonyia and Nwaso at Isieke Village on March 8th, 1930. He joined the federal civil service as a clerical officer on 10th June, 1951. Subsequently, he was promoted to the position of administrative clerk, after securing his honours degree from Exeter. His esteem career in the civil service included; Federal civil service commission,1966- 1967, federal Ministry of Labour, ‘1968-1969, federal Ministry of Establishment, 1969-1971, Council Secretariat, Cabinet office, 1972-1974, Secretary, Federal Government staff housing board, 1974-1975,
Secretary, Staff quarters allocation committee, cabinet office, 1976-1978, federal Ministry of industries,1978-1979, first clerk of the house of representative, National Assembly, Lagos, 1979-1983, principal secretary, state and external relations division, federal ministry of health 1984-1986, secretary for international and constitutional affairs, cabinet office, 1986-1987.He was a member of number of boards both national and international. Chief Olinmah lived a contented life with his family, married to a teacher, Mrs. Catherine Okwekwu Olinmah and blessed with five children.
His religious life was exceptional and encouraging to young men and women, in fact, they will miss his immense contribution a lot. But one thing is certain, that is, those who died in Christ, have greater joy, not sorrow, Chief Benjamin Olinmah died a happy death at 85years. Let the family therefore weep no more but rejoice for the reward of their father is already in heaven as they prepare for the funeral. May his gentle soul rest in peace.