About the Book
THE INTERNATIONAL EDITION IS PUBLISHED BY FRIESENPRESS, CANADA
THE NIGERIAN EDITION IS BEING PUBLISHED BY OFIRDI, NIGERIA
The Life of an Engima
A BIOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN OKOGUN OMOVUON OF EWOHIMI (EBHOKHIMI), NIGERIA
The Life of an Enigma is an engaging read about an interesting and memorable life lived under uniquely challenging surroundings and times. The book is also an anthropological, sociological, and religious inquiry into the cultures and traditions of John Okogun Omovuon’s Edo and Delta States of Nigeria covering his lifetime, 1905 -1993 with special reference to the Esan(Edo) people. Educators, students, and researchers should find the book useful in the area of British colonialism and African culture, Nigeria history, Christianity in Africa, African spiritualism and African indigenous studies. A number of stranger than fiction events and encounters that uphold faith, courage, and integrity woven into free enterprise are described using materials from Okogun’s verbal and written accounts, information obtained by the author from Okogun’s contemporaries, and the author’s experience of life in the communities. The dance culture of the people including the famous Esan acrobatic dance (YouTube) Igbabonalimin is described in detail for the first time in the narrative. The author’s professional international experience as a natural products chemist is brought to bear on many aspects of the story including the herbalism practised by his father Okogun. Okogun lived a heroic life and his story needs to be told and read.
PROLOGUE BY Father Charles Imokhai, M.Sc., Ph.D., Author and Anthropologist; Past Parish Priest, St. Paul's Parish Priest, Benin City, Nigeria; Past Secretary General, Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Anglophone West Africa(AECAWA); Past Pastoral Vicar, Blessed Sacrament Church, New York.
FOREWORD BY Osahon Chris Eigbike, M.A., M.Sc., Ph.D., Associate Professor Interfaith Theology, Interculturality and Indigenous Studies; Senior Research Scholar, Paxherbals African Action Research Community, Lagos, Nigeria; Founder, Baobab Vita-Natura Community Development, Surrey, BC Canada.
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What readers are saying about the book:
"This personal story of transition in a part of southern Nigeria is told by Okogun Omovuon whose supernormal enterprise became legendary.
Okogun authorized the account by entrusting its production to his son, Joseph, a distinguished scientist still steeped in traditional culture. Joseph's commentary encapsulates Okogun's story. The literary compound produced by the synthesis of these two supplementary points of view is this (auto)biography.
Thus, while focussing on the modern reader, it fulfils its ideological responsibility of projecting its culture's point of view.
The book's subject should interest anthropologists, sociologists and historians, especially given its privileged insider viewpoint. The general reader too would be fascinated by the epic dimension added to the story by Okogun's heroic response to the challenge of the limited opportunities of his time and place."
Dan S. Izevbaye, Ph.D. FNAL
Emeritus Professor of English, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, and Professor of English Literature, Bowen University, Iwo, Nigeria, West Africa
"The Life and Times of John Okogun Omovuon, 1905-1993, provides an excellent overview of Esan ethnography in a perspective that is thoughtful and scholarly; in a style that is lucid and readable.
The transposition of John Okogun Omovuon from the time he lived as an enigma makes the work an invaluable companion to contemporary research in History and Social Sciences of Ewohimi-Esan and Edo generally.
Since indigenous knowledge depreciated from early 20th century to recent times, this book provides a general material that makes the cosmology of Esan people come alive. I therefore have no reservation but to recommend the biography of John Okogun Omovuon for general reading."
Anthony Irenosen Okoduwa, Ph.D.
Professor of History and International Studies
Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria
"This text is not just about the biography of an enigmatic and indomitable John Okogun, but a true history of the rich cultural values and heritage of the homogeneous people of Esan, the Central Senatorial District of Edo State, Nigeria.
The intellectually endowed John Okogun was raised in a humble family background in Ewohimi, where Gerontocracy, like in other parts of Esan, is practised. This had a tremendous impact on his early life, which to a great extent influenced his religious beliefs, occupation and his zeal for excellence in all of his human endeavours.
Truly, a man for all seasons, his life proved him to be a man of sound moral character with a clear vision and mission for the good of his family, community and humanity.
This biographical text is a " Must Read " for everyone who is interested in cultural diversity, the essence of family life, love of human relationships and growth and development of mankind with the fear of God at heart."
Sir. Prof. Matthew O. Omo-Ojugo, Ph.D., JP
Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Nigeria
"This is a treasure of cultural and social-historical facts which is a welcome addition to Esan history. I am particularly happy that Prof Joseph Okogun took the pains to document the life and times of John Okogun Omovuon, an entrepreneur, innovator, thinker, and community activist.
Perhaps it is his multi-talented and integrated personality that earns him the title of an ‘enigma’. Posterity will remain grateful to the author for this important contribution to Ewohimi history at a time when our young people are fast losing knowledge of their ancestral history.
Rev. Fr. Anselm Adodo, Ph.D., OSB
Pax Herbal Clinics & Research Laboratories,Benedictine Monastery, Ewu-Esan, Nigeria
"Pope Francis has vigorously challenged and awakened the consciences of this generation against the evils of a throwaway culture, that makes people easily want to throw things, history, information and people away, rather than fixing them.
Family history is not like a disposable item that we shop and dispose of. It is a lived-experience eminently useful for the present and the future.
This book seeks to remind people of the past in a very succinct, yet, morally instructive, historically revealing, and pedagogically satisfactory narrative and manner.
The sociological strength of this book is its timeliness and the agelessness of its central focus. Its special character is the simplicity in which it has been written and the concision of its presentation.
This book is important today and always, not only for the people of Ewohimi but for all and sundry. It is an imminent reminder of the beautiful past and also a testament of hope for the future. It is a timely contribution to the overall discussion on lineal family history which can never be overemphasized. I recommend it for all students and researchers and for those involved in teaching and appreciating History. Happy are you if you have this book in your hand!"
Very Rev. Fr. Matthew Ovabor IHENSEKHIEN, Ph.D
Rector, Seminary of All Saints, Uhiele-Ekpoma, Edo State.
"I have carefully gone through the over two hundred pages of this book on the life of an enigma and I am impressed with the work done.
From this record of the life and the times of John Okogun Omovuon, our children will be adequately informed of their lineage as it relates to Okaigben, Ewohimi; vis a vis the need for hardwork.
I, His Royal Highness, the Onogie of Igueben, a descendant of the Agbon-Osoh family of Okaigben is happy to be associated with this work.
The work will feature prominently in Igueben Museum currently being set up.
HRH Ehizogie Eluojerior, Justice of the Peace (JP)
Onogie of Igueben & the Okaigun of Esanland, Nigeria.
"This work constitutes an important and commendable addition to what has been written by earlier authors about the culture and traditions of Esanland and Ewohimi in particular.
It describes events dating back to about 1900 in Ewohimi and the former Bendel State of Nigeria now Edo and Delta States including aspects of Colonial history of the area.
The dances of the people, especially the Esan acrobatic dance Igbabonalimin is given full treatment in connection with Okogun, who was a famous and great acrobatic dancer.
Okogun’s courage, hard work, entrepreneurial and indomitable spirit, active community involvement for development, and unusual spiritual encounters serve as useful models and reference for contemporary youths and elders.
The book should be read by all interested in African culture and traditions and those interested in reading inspirational true life stories.
His Royal Highness Lord Peter Ogienefoh Usifoh II
The Onogie of Ewohimi Kingdom, Edo State, Nigeria