Policeman, Patriarch, Author, Chief
He was best known as a kind, amiable and a dutiful Police Officer that represents the finest principle of the law enforcement agency of Nigeria.
Who was Chief Lucky Awotua Efebo?
He was from Nembe kingdom of the Eastern senatorial district of Bayelsa state. The Police force was his place of expression which he joined in 1949. An amiable officer, loved by both the superiors and subordinates officers that he worked with during his period in service. He retired meritoriously after serving Thirty-seven years, Six months and more than required Thirty-five years of service due to his effectiveness and sincerity in discharging his duty to the nation. After his retirement in 1986, he worked tirelessly to uphold the custom of Nembe kingdom as the Chairman,
Council of Chiefs as regards the traditional customs and norms of the people. He built a good reputation both for himself and for the family and lived a life worthy of emulation. A father of many productive children and staunched Anglican died in 2019 at the age of 89 years.
Lucky Awotua Efebo was born on Sunday, 14 December 1930 at Kpongbokiri fishing settlement on the Brass river to Elder Collar Alabolgoni Efebo and Madam Reginal Etiah. Elder Collar Efebo was from Chief Ikata/Oruwari, Kulo/Koko and Yemanal/Karitongha house of Ogbolomabiri, Nembe while his mother, Madam Reginah Etia was from Shidi-ama, Twon-Brass. Elder Collar Efebo as a young man left Ogbolomabiri for Twon-Brass for greener pasture. He was engaged as an interpreter for the colonial masters at the time who worked for the famous Royal Niger Company, the forerunner of United Africa Company (UAC).
He was loved by his father and a strong bond was established between them. His father nicknamed him Mondibo – that is a bosom friend in his early years, he grew up with his maternal grandmother, Dinah, who had earlier accepted Christianity. Grandma Na, as widely known, was a notable disciplinarian in Twon-Brass community and from her, he imbibed Christian values and kindness. Grandma Na, believed strongly on the importance of education in the colonial era and so, she propelled her grandchildren to get educated at all cost.
At age 10, young Lucky Awotua Efebo was enrolled at St. Barnabas Primary School, Brass from 1940–1947 and where he completed his Standard Six (6) and also secured his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC).
Subsequently, he left Twon-Brass to join his elder sister, Mabel, who was happily married in Warri town, Mid-west then (now Delta state) for greener pasture. Consequently, the opportunity presented itself, there was a nationwide recruitment exercise by the Colonial Police of Nigeria. He applied, took the examination and he was successful. Thereafter, he was sent to the Oji River Police Training School, Enugu State for his recruitment Training.
On 1st August, 1949, he was enlisted into the Police Officer as a Third-class Constable and also a first generation indigenous Police Officer, both to his people (Nembe-Ijo) and in Nigeria as a country. He rose through the ranks to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and meritoriously retired afterwards untarnished after serving for 37 years. His date of retirement was 1st November, 1986.
“My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place – police, firefighters and members of our armed forces.” ~ Sidney Sheldon
It was narrated that, he was neat in appearance both in and out of Uniform, gait in structure and fast in walking. In fact he exuded all the characteristics of a police officer. When he spoke his voice was commanding, compelling and instructive. His demeanor/dispositions employed many Ijaws and other tribes at the time to love the police and even get enlisted into the force. He was a good Cop that knew the job.
Here are some of his colleagues and friends in the police force and they were among of the best Police officers the Nigeria state has ever had:
- CP Pepple
- ACP Allison
- CP Kent Ikia
- CSP Oyhakilome who later became CP and Military Administrator Old Rivers state
- ASP Chief A K Horsefall
- ASC Mr Perry Osanyande, he retired as DIG
- ASP B. Netmah, he retired as ACP etc.
He had a wonderful police career life. Lucky Awotua Efebo served in various commands of the Nigeria Police throughout the Federation:
- The present day Delta state (Warri, Sapele, Burutu, Forcados, Ugheil, etc) from 1949-1958;
- Former Western region (Ibadan, Oyo, Akure, Owo) from 1959 – 1967, it was at Ibadan, he was a First Aid Instructor and got nicknamed FAC (First Aid Course) because he was a very good instructor;
- Police Force Headquarter, Moloney-Lagos from 1967-1969;
- Rivers state from (1970-1985) and served as Division Police Officer (DPO) in various Local Government Area across the state. Between 1982–1984, he was in charge of the B ’ (OPS), Rivers state;
- , 1984–1985.His final position in Rivers state was Officer-In-Charge State CID, Port Harcourt, 1984 – 1985.
- Thereafter, he was transferred to the Police Staff College, Jos, then the highest Police Institution of learning, where he occupied the seat of Director, Professional studies. It was here that he retired on 1st November, 1986.
Life After Retirement
Retirement was never a doldrums for Chief Lucky Awotua Efebo, he remained active.
- As a sign of recognition by the Rivers state government, he was appointed Chairman of the Environmental Sanitation Tribunal, Trans Amadi zone, A Grade 3 Magistrate from 18th December 1987 to 31st October, 1991.
- Subsequently, he was a Member of the Security Advisory Committee, Bayelsa state during Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure as Governor of the state.
- He was appointed the First Chairman of the Association of Retired Police Officers of Nigeria (ARPON), Rivers state chapter.
- Also, he was a former Chairman of the old Rivers state Amateur Swimming Association of Nigeria.
As a Chief
Nevertheless, in 1992, the Nembe Ogbolomabiri people deemed it wise to enthrone him as a Chief for his worthy contributions to humanity and the Ijo nation. He was made head Chief of Karitongha/Yemainain group of war canoe houses of Nembe Kingdom.
No doubt, he was quite a respected personality among the Chiefs of the entire Nembe Ijo and therefore, he was made the Nembe Chief’s Council Treasurer and later Chairman in 1999/2000.
It was narrated that, during his tenure as Chairman the Nembe people experienced relative peace, the youths agreed to let peace reign; both the Nembe Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri buried their hatchets and presented a common front, projecting the age – long oneness and tradition.
“The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” ~ Robert Peel
Chief Lucky Awotua Efebo was a consummate scholar. He loved reading and writing. In addition, he believed that there is the need to promote the teaching and learning of the Nembe language. Thence, he went on to publish Nembe Language Made Easy (Occasional Publication No.6 University of Ibadan, 1967).
Also, in 1960 the year Nigeria got independence, he translated the Nigeria National Anthem into Nembe dialect. He also has to his credit two monograph…one on the origin in Twon-Brass and the other on his experience as Chairman, Nembe Chiefs council. As a Custodian of the Nembe tradition, he featured greatly in the Nembe literary/cultural association.
Family and his Death
He did travel widely in his lifetime. Frequently he flew to Europe, USA and Canada for vacations and business. A very humble and contented man who lived a simple life though he was a polygamist and with several biological children. It was reported, Chief Lucky Awotua Efebo died on 5th October, 2019.