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ODIONWELE PATRICK OBOH ANOFEN

Pa. Oboh Patrick Anofen (fondly called Oboh-ni-Patrick) hailed from Ididigba quarter of Ebudin and ascended the throne after the death of Pa. Omongbeleghan in 1973.

Pa. Patrick Oboh was the founder of the only Catholic Church and the first primary school in Ebudin, founded in 1928, and they were therefore named consequently named after his name as ‘St.  Catholic Church and St. Patrick Primary School, Ebudin’. He was one of the first notable Ebudin persons to have embraced the Europeans and their religion when they came to Ebudin. His long desire to change the traditional way of worship by the people of Ebudin soon came to a reality when he came to the throne. He made Christianity the centre of his administration and ensured that a number of people were converted to Christianity.

It is on record that when Pa. Oboh Anofen was due for installation as Odionwele of Ebudin, he did not want to be enthroned because of his Christian beliefs. It was the pressure from his children and siblings that he decided to take the needed steps to the throne of Odionwele. The need to ensure he ascends the throne made the community to accept that he use a goat rather than a cow to perform the needed iruen ceremony. Due to his stance towards tradition, the Egbonughele group refused to fetch fire wood for cooking during his Iruen ceremony. However, due to his very noble and kind nature, most people made self-sacrifices to ensure that the ceremony was done by him irrespective of how lowly organised. The ceremony turned out to be good.

As soon as he came to the throne, he Christianized some of the pagan traditions and ceremonies. He was the first Odionwele to use the ‘Crucifix’ as his staff of office instead of the traditional ‘Okpor’ used by his predecessors. This has since been embraced by subsequent Christian Edionweles who ascended the throne after him.

Pa. Patrick Oboh ensured a stop to the traditional practice of making sacrifices of any kind to any man made gods. Though he did not participate in the yearly procession to the ancestral shrine of the founder of Ebudin, he allowed those who desire to undertake the ceremony to do so. This was to ensure a peaceful co-existence between the Christians and the non-Christians. He knew that to Christianise the entire Ebudin community will not come in a fiat and hence it has to be gradual. Pa. Oboh-ni-Patrick was an exceptional man of peace. He loved peace and wants peace to be the symbol of his administration. It was therefore easy for him to mobilize the entire community for communal work aimed at improving the political, social and economic well-being of the Ebudin people.

Few months after ascending the throne, he mobilized his co-elders to meet with the elders of Urohi, a neighbouring town of Ebudin to settle the boundary dispute that was there between Ebudin and Urohi. It could be recalled that this dispute was reported to the then Sole Administrator of the Local Government Area, who instituted a panel of enquiry to investigate and settle the dispute between the two communities and when the committee members got to the disputed land boundary, an Ebudin man called George from Iguizi was able to show clear evidence of while the land belongs to Ebudin people. He relayed how a man named Ijiebor who migrated from Benin was offered the place for his settlement by Pa. Oboh, the founder of Ebudin. This Mr. Ijiebor then settled there and after some years, the man died and was buried there. He was still able to show the spot where Mr. Ijiebor was buried which was marked by planting of a particular tree and the place was then named ‘Obhudo-Akpala’. Members of the investigating team actually identified the tree and the grave site of Mr. Ijiebor which then vindicated the Ebudin people. This dispute ended and measures were taken to guarantee against the re-occurrence of such disputes in future.

It must also be mentioned that it was also in Pa. Oboh Patrick’s period of reign, as Odionwele, that the first Secondary school in Ebudin was founded and named as Ebudin Secondary School, Ebudin. His reign indeed commenced the era of modern civilization experiences by the Ebudin people. He died in 1985 and was given a befitting Christian burial.

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