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Sunday, 8 September 2019

Professor Sylvannus Okogbenin is Released!

To the wailings of joy and dancing to the rhythm of praise, well wishers and relatives gathered at the Professor's home as news of his impending release slithered through the rustic town Irrua where the Specialist hospital is based. Tears intermingled with happiness etched on the faces of the gathering throng, questions in abeyance for now, they simply wished to behold their man, and see that the Lord has answered their prayers.  The atmosphere thick with beats of praise, dust rising from the stomping of feet on the ground, sweat dripping off their bodies all that mattered was God is faithful!

My friend Sylvannus Okogbenin is home now safe and sound, traumatised, rested but grateful to God that he was rescued. I am grateful that i have a supportive prayer group and that you answered the call to prayer.

God bless you. 

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Pray for my friend Professor Sylvannus Okogbenin

I can still remember in vivid terms growing up and playing in the sand pits of Sadiku Lane, Abule-Oja, Yaba with Callistus and Sylvannus. Literarily across the walls of our compound, we had the Okogbenins, (Callistus, Sylvannus, Antonia, Angela) and with time two more siblings Emmanuel and Jude who joined the family. I always wondered why their mother was extremely fair complexioned and they all seemed to retain such complexion. It was so natural and never induced by bleaching from creams, a beauty regimen so common amongst high society ladies in Lagos at the time.  It was only more recently that one of her daughters revealed there to their ancestory.  They were from a town in the then Bendel State and spoke Ishan a language closely related to Edo spoken by the Benin people.  As a seven-year-old boy, in my ignorance I sometimes described them, as ‘Igbos’ and they always responded firmly:

“We are not Igbos!”

Callistus, Annene, Sylvannus and I became very entrepreneurial and during the holidays, we would create magazines and comics and sell them at a price. We constantly devised moneymaking schemes but in one holiday, I went too far. St. Dominic’s Church, the main Catholic Church in Yaba always had an annual raffle draw to raise money for good causes.  It relied on its parishioners to sell the raffle tickets to their friends.  On this occasion in 1978, I collected a bundle of tickets from Callistus sold it all and then decided the lure of the money raised was too much to ignore!  I simply pocketed all the cash raised from the sale and treated myself to few packets of shortbread biscuits and a variety of sweeties.  It was only later when I became a Christian that repentance gripped me in the heart and I was compelled by my conversion to return every stolen kobo to unsuspecting relatives and friends, it certainly was not my best hour.

At Abule-Oja were we lived we usually strutted around on the dusty clay caked streets and engaged in set piece matches of football. Whilst Callistus was mercurial on the ball, Sylva was shy and retiring more reflective.

Anyway, with time the paths of Callistus, Sylvannus and Annene diverged as we went off to various boarding schools but I am certain we left an indelible mark on each other.  

In my reminiscences, today, I appeal to each and every one who is out there enamoured with daily routines, distracted by the daily grind of life, to spare a though a prayer for my friend, to do anything within their power to ensure that Professor Okogbenin is released. Now is not a time for recriminations but for action!