“DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM? The Humble beginning” (PT 4)

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself immersed in a deeply fulfilling experience as I’ve had the chance to read the heartfelt words written by those who’ve journeyed alongside me throughout the years. It’s been a soul-stirring odyssey, traversing the narratives crafted by individuals who’ve witnessed the highs and lows of my life’s adventure. As someone who wears many hats and has explored various passions and pursuit; from battling against the encroachment of desertification to finding solace in the world of art collecting, and

navigating the different pathways of business, I’ve always harbored a quiet curiosity about how others perceive me. To seek validation and understanding from those we hold dear, to glimpse ourselves through their eyes.

And in the quiet moments of reflection, as I ponder the words of those who’ve walked alongside me, I’m reminded once again of the simple truth that lies at the heart of our

shared humanity: we are all just travelers on this journey called life, seeking understanding, connection, and a sense of belonging along the way.

Again, I have my dear friend Dan Inneh, the former secretary to the Oba of Benin, share his perspective on my journeys and my life, adding a layer of richness to our

shared journey. It’s another chapter in the ongoing series, “Don’t You Know Who I Am?”

Chief Newton Chuka Jibunoh is easily one of Nigeria’s finest men. A fine gentleman and a model for many who would want to live a straight and open life, a life of private peace and dignity.

I have known Chief Jibunoh since 1984, during my years as Secretary to the Oba of Benin. In these years, I found him a man who follows up matters concerning all those who come close to him with keen interest, characteristic of a well-meaning guardian. Yet, in most of these

cases, he was neither a guardian nor a family relative but one with largeness of heart; always willing to help. From my heart at all times, it is bravo to Chief Newton Jibunoh.

A nationalist but who is not a Politician, Chief Jibunoh has continued to express the Nationalist content in him through Art. A collector of Nigeria Art works, he established Didi Museum at Akin Adesola Road in Victoria Island on May 11 1983. The Museum was founded in memory of Edik Jibunoh (Didi), his sister with whom he was very close but who died at an early age. It is significant that in setting up the Museum he opened a new chapter in his Nationalist drive. He requested his Royal Highness, Alhaji Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano to inaugurate it. His Highness, Emir of Kano was also appointed the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The opening and exhibition attracted a great number of visitors, well-over one thousand guests. It was his view that through Artworks, African’s contributions to the

general human race accomplishments would be appreciated.

It was a huge encouragement to private Art Collectors, even Ekpo Eyo who was the Director General of the National Commission of Museum and Monuments at the time described it as excellent and the first of its kind by a private citizen.


The mission and vision of the Didi Museum was to serve as a forum for research and preservation of art and culture and through these vehicles promote the exhibition of contemporary Art works.

The mission among others was intended to promote learning for younger generation about our African cultural heritage. In order to encourage scholarship, poetry and literacy works were to be encouraged particularly amongst students and teachers. The mission and vision are growing as the desire to create a local market for cultural works of Art is now well included.

Now, Didi Museum offers services which include rentals of a multipurpose hall and Boardroom for special events, particularly for training, poetry and jazz night. I had the privilege to accompany Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa, Oba of Benin to Didi Museum two times. I am aware that His Majesty, Olubuse II, the Oni of Ife, visited Didi Museum. Many Traditional Rulers and some political figures visit Didi Museum in a welcoming spirit to encourage its creation. I attended the event when Mrs. Maryam Babangida also visited.

In the last few years, Dr. Newton Jibunoh has been well involved in Nelson Mandela Foundation and the establishment of Nelson Mandela Gardens. In his typical excellence, the garden shows a high-class hotel and suites in Asaba. These are developing very fast with a good land space left for expansion. The land area has a zoo which houses rare birds and other animals. The figure of Nelson Mandela is well represented by a life-size Statute. In

these hotels and gardens many young Nigerians are employed and some are being trained to keep the flag of mission and vision flying.

Chief Dr. Newton Chuka Jibunoh gets involved in issues or projects when public benefits and excellence are identifiable. He is thoughtful and fair-minded and he believes that community service is above all other responsibilities. People sometimes call him a desert warrior

because of the unique travels he made across the Sahara desert, from Nigeria to Europe. He has been involved in many exciting projects. In all, he acts with integrity, modesty and


Chief Dr. Newton Chuka Jibunoh is a citizen of the World. He is an adherent of certain

universal values such as God’s given dignity of every human being. Easily evident in all his actions are diligence and compassion. In every way, Chief Dr. Newton Jibunoh is a man of genuine courtesy and respect for others. It is not surprising, therefore, that all those who have been privileged to come close to him not only respect him, but they like him. Nigeria needs more men like him for good nation-building.



Dan Inneh (Dan writes from Nigeria and can be reached on danielinneh@yahoo.com)

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