TRIBUTE TO MY POLITICAL FATHER : KALABARI OPU ALABO BEKINBO SOBEREKON
WORDS FAIL ME.
Chief Bekinbo Soberekon! One of the finest gentlemen that ever lived; a quintessential Kalabari man.
Growing up, I was moved by what I saw placed on my father’s desk in the office; “that God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” The wisdom here is that no matter what we did, no matter who we are today, a time shall come when we will all depart this world. That is the only reason we can begin to understand that Chief Bekinbo Soberekon is not living today.
Chief Soberekon exemplifies the saying that love is not an exchange but an act of faith; that means we can love and not be loved in return. But you love because it’s an act of faith.
In 1992, I had just emerged as the SDP candidate for House of Representatives, representing Akukutoru and Asaritoru Federal Constituencies. During that time my late father was an ardent supporter of A. K. Dikibo and not Chief Bekinbo Soberekon. But Chief Bekinbo Soberekon had a strong presence in Akukutoru Loca Government Area and all of those who were in support of him were not happy that my father was supporting Chief A. K. Dikibo. So, expectedly, almost all of his supporters didn’t want to support me. Then I had to look for Chief Bekinbo Soberekon. And I got to his campaign office and I said to him, “Daddy, I know that you don’t expect me to come to you but I have a big problem. I don’t see how I can win elections and go to the Federal House if those who support you don’t support me. And chief amongst them was my own brother, Mighty Joe who said it was not possible for them to support me because my father didn’t support Chief Bekinbo Soberekon.
Chief Soberekon called Mighty and everybody and said “look at this young man, from his face I can see his heart. He’s a good man; so if you know that you love me in any way, stop your opposition to him and give him your support to the fullest.” That was Chief Bekinbo Soberekon for you; a man of love. He loved life and was very elegant in all the things he did. And as they say, “elegance is not superficiality, it is a part of the soul that is visible to others.” Chief Bekinbo Soberekon’s soul was visible to everyone around him.
The Kalabari Kingdom has lost one of its finest. And it’s happening at a time when almost everybody in Rivers State is beginning to doubt the credibility, the character of a Kalabari man. Unfortunately, we had to lose one of the best examples of the character of a Kalabari man. Nobody that I have known in politics, in life and in business has shown greater credibility and greater character than Chief Bekinbo Soberekon. So, I am proud to have called him my father and I am proud that from the first day we met in 1992 till when he passed he took me as his son. Today, he’s not with us but I know he’s resting easy with his maker. May God bless and be with the family he left behind.
REST IN PERFECT PEACE DADDY.
Chief Dumo O.B.Lulu-Briggs