BIRTH AND PARENTAGE
PA Levi Salo Emaduku was born in 1931 to the Late Mr. Maduku Kodaso of the Chesi family of Egini and Late Mrs. Diemiruaye Maduku nee Obo of Ugbisi both of Udu Local Government Area of Delta State. He was the the 5th and only male child of his mother’s seven children.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
He attended CMS Primary School, Egini from 1942 to 1949 and CMS Primary School, Okpare in 1950. The young Levi Emaduku took his destiny in his hands quite early in life bearing in mind the situation of his humble beginning. He knew he might not be able to go any further on the education ladder, so he proceeded to Ozobo in the then Western Ijaw Division where he was engaged in fishing from 1951 to 1955. He returned briefly to get married at the relatively young age of 22 years. Following the death of his father in 1956, Levi was forced to return to the Village to take care of his mother and other sisters.
Later, Levi went into business specializing in the buying of rubber sheets and lumps. He made a success of it and rose quickly to become one of the biggest rubber merchants of his time. He was reputed to have had one of the biggest rubber ovens in the whole of Udu and Ughievwen. The period was between 1956 and 1966. This period was when he horned his entrepreneurial spirit and doggedness to succeed against all odds. Several times during the period, his rubber oven was gutted by fire disasters which eventually brought the thriving business to an abrupt halt.
But Levi was not to be deterred. He decided to try his hands on something else. Between 1968 and 1969, he was into seismic work with SSL party 247. He was in the recording session. His party traversed the length and breadth of the Western Ijaw Division, working in such places as Burutu, Odimodi, Beniboye, Sampou among other locations. In recognition of his sterling leadership qualities, his colleagues appointed him Chairman of their workers Union.
Always craving for better opportunities and determined to make it in private business, Levi left his Seismic employment and went to Port Harcourt in 1969 to venture into another line of business: Merchandize. Along with other traders, Levi would travel to Lagos to buy household articles and take them to Port- Harcourt for sale. During this period, the Civil War was coming to an end. Federal troops had liberated Port Harcourt, and life was gradually returning to normal in the garden city. Port- Harcourt was thus a fertile ground for entrepreneurs. Levi and other traders cached in on the boom and made success. He and other traders transported their goods through the Warri River to Port Harcourt as the Niger Bridge, which was the only road link through the East to Port Harcourt was in shambles. Even then there was no passing through the East as Biafra was still embroiled in War. The East-West Road was yet to be constructed.
These early traders from Warri were originally domiciled in the creek road market in Port Harcourt. During one of the trips from Warri to Port Harcourt, disaster struck as the boat carrying Levi’s goods to Port Harcourt sank at Pelemebiri in present day Bayelsa State wherein he lost at his goods. This was in 1970 on the very day that Col. Effiong announced unconditional surrender of Biafra signaling a formal end to Nigerian Civil War.
Undeterred, Mr. Maduku managed to raise funds to continue in the trade. Between 1972 and 1973, Levi returned from Port Harcourt and carried out his trade at the Ogbe-Ijoh market in Warri. He was to return to Port Harcourt in 1973 to continue in another line of business: textile trade. This time at the mile III market in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt City. He was amongst the founders of this market, which was then populated by people from the present Delta Central and South Senatorial Districts. The market was then called Warri market due to prevalence of Urhobo people in the market.
During these years in Port-Harcourt, Mr. Maduku tried his hands on many businesses including textile, household articles, drinks and sale of Guinea fowl eggs, etc,etc. In 1974, disaster struck again when his lorry load of eggs from Kaduna en-route Port Harcourt was involved in an accident in which he lost all his goods in the lorry. But, he fought on determined to make it in life. Through cheer doggedness, he began to reap the fruit of his labour and perseverance. He completed his first house for comercial purposes in 1980 in the now popular area called “NEW YORK” in Udu Road. He was one of the first persons to own landed property in the area. He remains today one of the largest property owners in the area. It was in recognition of his pioneering development efforts that the then Okpe Local Government in 1995 named “Emaduku Street” after him in the area.
SOCIAL LIFE AND LEADERSHIP
He was a notable leader of the Udu and Urhobo Community in Port Harcourt along other prominent Udu sons like the Late Chief Ayoro and Late Chief Frank Demesi both of Aladja amongst others. He held the position of Vice Chairman of the Udu Union, then known as Udu Development Union, UDU, for several years before retiring back home in 1990.
A gold fish they say has no hiding place. Less than a year after his return from Port Harcourt in 1990, he was appointed Chairman, of the Zone B. Civil Defence, Owhase in 1991. He was also the Chairman of Udu landlords and landladies Association. A position he held up to 2001 till some years back when he voluntarily handed over for younger men to take charge. Even then he continued to be a rallying point for leadership in the area until his very last moments because of his shining integrity and deep well of wisdom. The following text message which was circulated on the 18th day of December, 2019 a day before his demise, is a living testimony to his active life of service to society despite his age:
”Pls be informed that there is an emergency meeting of New York
Elders and Vigilante Executives on 19th December, 2019. Venue :
L.S. Emaduku’s place. Time:7.00pm. Agenda: Security matter.”
Papa Emaduku died in the early hours 19th December, 2019.
Papa Emaduku wasnt a prophet without honour at home. He remained the foremost leader In his native Egini community until death. He was the pioneer chairman of the Egini Council Of Elders, a position he held till the last day. When the community was embroidered in crises which arose from intractable leadership issues, a person who commanded the respect of all for being truthful and just, and a no nonsense man of integrity and caurage was needed to restore order, Mr Levi Emaduku was the unanimous choice. It was his reign as chairman of the Egini Council of Elders that brought peace and stability to the once fractious politics of succession in the community. He successfully midwifed the adoption of a new constitution as well as the emergence and peaceful transition between three community Executives and had successfully organized the election for the fourth one which he was to swear in in a few days when death took him away.
Egini – “The Pride Of The Udu People” have always been blessed with prominent personalities. Pa Levi Emaduku was one of such. His attainments in the community as a great and successful farmer as well as in community leadership were further enhanced by his contributions to the physical development of the community. He was the first and only person till date to build a two storey building in EGINI Community.
He was a great contributor to the practice and growth of agriculture in Egini community. He was arguably the greatest farmer of the community of his time as he owned one of the largest farms situated at Ighwre-Orhue the ancestral family farming and hunting land of the Chest family. His large farm consists of palm seedlings, cassava, plantain, sugar cane etc. He remained productive till death.
A devout Christian, he was baptized in 1957 by late Bishop Agori-Iwe. He was one of the pillars of St. Augustine’s Anglican Church, Egini. He was very active in the men’s fellowship. Perhaps by divine arrangement, the last of the men’s prayer meeting for the year 2019 was held in his house on the 10th of December, 2019. It was in recognition of his commitment to Church work, honesty and integrity that the late Chief W.T. Odibo entrusted him with the task of handling the funds for the construction of the Multi-million-naira Anglican Church building at Egini. A task he completed to popular applause. He remained chairman of the church building committee until his death.
PA Emaduku led a successful family life. He is survived by two wives, six children, sons and daughter’s in-law, 25 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren. He was also a believer of the extended African family tradition. In this wise, he was a memory bank. He knew family history dating back to history from all sides and maintained such relationships. He was wise, bold but courteous and always exhibed uncommon courage on the side of truth. He was who he was – an Okrika. Never bowed and never cowed by the adversities of life and his were many.
Okrika! Okrika!! Okrika!!!
Avwo mro ma ke esiefa