By Bliss Blessing Chukwuma
In the vibrant city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State a close-knit community known as the Port Harcourt City One Love Family prepared for a heartfelt journey to Buguma City in Asari Toru LGA on the 4th of August 2023.
The Close-Knitted family is a community consisting of those who were either born, raised, those who schooled, worked or resided in Port Harcourt from the early 60’s through to the 80’s.
They embarked on the mission dubbed “Operation Obosa” (Obosa translates to welcome and it is a word from the native language of the Okrika people of Rivers State) which entailed attending the Funeral Ceremony of their Father, brother, friend and Associate Sir (chief) Okoma Kio Isokariari who passed on on the 12th of April 2023.
Sir (Chief) O. K. Isokariari was born on the 4th of November, 1935 into the familyLate (Chief) Kio Frank Goodhead (Alias Isokariari ) the paramount ruler of the Isokariari War Canoe House of Buguma City, Asari Toru LGA. Of Rivers State.
He started his educational career in 1943 at the Saints Micheal’s Primary School Buguma City and passed out in 1950. He was the admitted into the Kalabari National College (KNC) which was one of the elite schools in Rivers state then, in 1952. He was appointed a Prefect of the Lincoln House before graduating in 1956.
Thereafter, he joined the Nigerian Railway Corporation in 1957 where he was trained at the Traffic Training School Ebutte Metta, Lagos State and was deployed as a station staff which was a very sensitive position as it involved dealing with the commercial and operational activities of the Railway Corporation, from where he earned adequate graces and established his own business.
Sir O. K. Isokariari was a philanthropist, a construction giant, an extraordinary individual whose impact has been felt from people from all works of life. Known for his warm-hearted nature, and unwavering dedication to community. His sudden departure left a void in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him and more especially his family and close associates.
To honor his memory the City men and women ably led by the Management’s Team Lead, , Ambassador Idaere- Gogo Ogan. Dressed in their beautiful eye catching traditional attires, the Port Harcourt City One Love Family set off to Buguma City on a very long convoy of cars, while some other persons came by air to pay their last respects to the deceased and also support his family.
The atmosphere crackled with anticipation and shared sense of purpose. The drive to Buguma City was filled with mixed emotions. Conversation ranged from happy reminiscences of Sir Okoma’s life, a life worth emulating to tearful expressions of grief. The bond that united the one love family grew stronger as they covered miles.
The news of “Operation Obosa” had spread throughout the city upon their arrival, and the News of their presence quickly spread throughout the community. The townsfolk welcomed them with arms wide open moved by their display of solidarity, love and unity.
The Funeral Ceremony was held in a beautiful location, vibrant floral arrangements adorned the area, adding a touch of color to the day’s solemnity. People from far and wide gathered under one shade to join the Okoma’s commemorate the life of Sir (chief ) Okoma Kio Isokariari.
As the ceremony began, soft music echoed through the air, the Lavie band trilled the crowd with a wonderful musical performance after which the Seki dance drama group took over the stage to do what they are best known for. There were also trail performances by other cultural groups including the performance of a 93 years old man who is a renowned traditional drummer, who could convert any musical lyrics to drum beat sounds.
With heavy hearts, but a renewed sense of purpose, the Port Harcourt City One Love Family bid farewell to the Okoma’s and the great Buguma City and began their journey back home. The memories of Sir chief O. k. I.will forever be remembered. As they returned home, they carried with them lessons learnt from “Operation Obosa”. They understood the power of unity even more, the strength drawn from community support, and the importance of celebrating the lives and legacy of those who has served community.
The Funeral Ceremony of O. k. I. was an event which had in attendance dignitaries from different pedigrees.