Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari (1939-2000)

Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari was widely recognized as one of the foremost church organist, and musician from the Niger Delta with a long list of appreciations and achievements.

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Teacher, Headmaster, Principal, Administrator, Organist, Composer

Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari was widely recognized as one of the foremost church organist, and musician from the Niger Delta with a long list of appreciations and achievements.

Who was Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari?

Born on St. Luke’s day in the Anglican calendar at Nembe-Ogbolomabiri town southern Nigeria (Bayelsa State) in 1939. Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari was a master of the choristers and organist for many churches in the Niger Delta during the 1970s and all through the 1990s; he was recognized beyond the Niger delta as liturgical and concert organist of the highest order. By dint of hard work and commitment, he got a Bachelor’s in Education degree at the prestigious University of Ibadan in 1977. LTM as he was fondly called, distinguished himself as an educationist par excellence and he composed over 350 songs in his lifetime. Alabo Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari an Anglican, who died in 2000 at the age of 61 years.

His Parents and Birth

Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari’s father was Mr. Isaac Morrison Yoghoboghabofa Oruwari a renowned School Teacher and Headmaster from Nembe community and his mother was Mrs. Martha Oruwari (nee Ekigha) an industrious trader also from Nembe coastal community of Bayelsa state; both of blessed memory.

Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari was born on Wednesday 18 October, 1939 St. Luke’s day in the Anglican calendar at late Mama Darling’s Maternity Home at Ockiya Ewoama at Nembe coastal community southern Nigeria (now Bayelsa State). His birthday was significant, according to the Anglican calendar so a holy reverend gentleman Rev. A.A.D Spiff christened the baby boy ‘Luke’ and let him show the light. Incidentally, the name ‘Luke’ means a ‘Light Giver’.


Firstly, from 1947 he had his primary education at Saint Luke’s school Nembe and got his First School Leaving Certificate in December 1954 thereabout. During his exit from the St. Luke’s school in 1954, Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari met his best teacher ever: F. M. Tamunoene of Okrika (now late). Mr. Tamunoene was a resourceful musician from whom Luke Oruwari drew a lot his musical inspiration and learnt the most interesting hymn tunes for the very first time.

 LTM and the Archdeaconry Office

From the late 1955, Venerable A.A.D Spiff (late) the Archdeacon of Bonny Archdeaconry of Port Harcourt got wind of LTM’s graduation from the primary school and now under apprentice tailoring at Okpoma-Brass district; he immediately requested for young Luke Orawari and got him employed in the Archdeaconry office at the time as an office boy. So, Luke Oruwari built up his experiences on the fundamentals of office practices, shorthand and typing which are of invaluable useful to him till death.

Unfortunately, towards the closing of 1957 thereabout, news of the imminent closure of the Bonny Archdeaconry office following the transfer of the venerable gentleman A.A.D Spiff to St. Mark’s College Awka at the end of the year was announced.

Archdeaconry Office Shutdown

The young, inexperienced Luke Oruwari found himself in a fixed and even muttered “Where Do I Go from Here?” it was an enormous predicament for him to bear at the time. This was not the end of the music icon in the making, Luke Oruwari muster courage, say prayers and made a far reaching life decision. 

Eventually, young Luke came out with the decision that no matter the circumstances that would prevail, with the aid of the Almighty God, He too would strive to be a University graduate in the near future, like his counterparts.

Music Grooming

So, young Luke Oruwari adopted the slow winding teacher training route. He, consequently, read for and passed the entrance examination into the teaching profession.

From 1957 he found himself in the teaching profession under the Anglican Church. Firstly, at St. John’s School Creek Road, Port Harcourt. Meanwhile, he still lived at the Archdeaconry house with Venerable Alasomuka (now late) of Okrika.

The three years he spent there, afforded him a lot of the experience he so desired for the actualization of his latent talents as a musician, educationist, administrator, and leader.

At St. Cyprians Church Choir, he had a serious grooming in singing, and choir administration, and conduct. On Mr. Briggs (now late) pedal harmonium Oruwari practiced how to manipulate on the keyboard.

It was at St. John’s school, he came in contact with able singing masters/mistresses such as Mr. Miebaka of Okrika, a dutiful scoutmaster at the time, and also Mrs. Allison of Bonny, both of blessed memory, from whom the foundation of school music he drank profusely.

Making of A Teacher

In 1960, he was at the Oporoma Teacher Training College and was found to be the best among the student population: he was also excellent in academics, and sports. He was appointed the Senior Prefect, the leader of the school in 1962. That was very first mark of honor that Luke Oruwari received from humanity in life.

Subsequently, in 1965 he was in the Elementary Training College Okordia/Zarama. There also Luke Oruwari was discovered to be the best student, particularly in music. He cleared his subjects with credits and left the college December 1966 thereabout.

 ABU Zaria

From 1971 to 1973 Luke Oruwari was at the Advance Teacher Training College Port Harcourt. The quest for higher education took him to the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria mid-1973 to read a first degree program in Fine Arts but he spent only a term.

University of Ibadan

Afterwards, in 1974 he got admission into the University of Ibadan to study a degree course in Education (Guidance and Counselling, Economics and Music). In music, Luke Oruwari received lectures from renowned teachers such as Mr. O.O Omideyi (probably late). Luke joined the University’s music circle which comprises of both Black and White members where the practical lessons on music were received, by him. He graduated in 1977.

Later, Luke Oruwari did his National Youth Services Corps at Edem-Ikpat in the then Cross Rivers State in 1978.

Career life

Luke Oruwari had a blissful dual career life, he used his God given talent to shed light and bring relief to the community he served as a tutor. In 1964 after graduating as a grade III tutor, he was posted to his alma mater St. Luke’s School, Nembe as a class teacher. He also established a High Life Band called Nembe Town Guitar Band where he operated as the Leader, Songs Composer and Songster which provided the Nembe community with entertainment and recreation.

In 1967 he was at St. Paul’s school Opolo town as a teacher, but abruptly left for Lagos state due to the advent of the Nigeria civil war of (1967 to 1969).

During the Nigeria Civil War, Luke Oruwari was a teacher at St. Jude’s Ebutameta Lagos and taught for a short period and left to attend to the affairs of his father’s demises and interment in Nembe town, Southern Nigeria.

As Headmaster

Again, from 1969 to 1970 he tutored at his alma mater St. Luke’s school Nembe, and in 1971 he was posted as headmaster to St. Paul’s school, Okpoma. Afterwards, he was posted as Headmaster of Government School Nembe in 1972.

Subsequently, Luke Oruwari was later upgraded to tutor in the secondary school (Nembe National Grammar School) in late 1972.

After his graduation from the University of Ibadan, he was posted to Government Secondary School Akassa in Brass district in 1978 thereabout, a station generally acknowledged as punishment ground in this part of the country as a classroom teacher. Luke Oruwari was nicknamed “Idi Amin” because they misconstrued his modest disciplinary standards to mean high handedness. Nevertheless, both the school and the church there enjoyed his brief stay; He also helped the community to acquire a small harmonium for their church.

As Principal

He was at Government Secondary School Twon Brass as Principal. As the staff were so inadequate, he served as the chief administrator, a classroom teacher, and music master. In 1981, he was posted to Government Secondary School, Akabuka town in Ahoada Local Area as Principal.

Inspector of Schools

Luke Oruwari was moved from the school system be an Assistant Inspector of Education at Eleme in 1983. In 1984, he was transferred to Nembe as Manager of schools in the district.  There too, he left no stone unturned in shedding the divine light. After a brief call at Government Secondary School, Okodi in Ogbia Local Government Area, he posted to Port Harcourt to serve as a substantive Inspector of Education in 1987.

As an inspector of education, he oversaw schools in several Local Government Areas include Sagbama between 1988 and 1989, and Okrika in 1989 and 1990 where he established that office when the Local Government was newly created. Luke Oruwari attributes were greatly enjoyed at these stations. 


In 1991, he was promoted Deputy Director in charge of the Rivers State’s Scholarship Board as the Secretary and Sole Administrator.

Subsequently, Luke Oruwari retired meritoriously in December 1993 thereabout.

Nevertheless, he gained a contract appointment as a Music Instructor with the Rivers State College of Education (now Ignatius Ajuru University of Education), Port Harcourt in 1996 till his death.

His songs

In 1997, it was in that fateful year when the essence of bridging the ugly gap on lack of text books on singing in the educational industry nationwide dawned on him. So, he decided to take a prompt plunge to salvage the situation. Luke Oruwari succeed in enlisting over 350 songs from his memory and other sources, shared them into three groups: one for the Nursery level, the other for the Primary level and the greatest for the Secondary level. Book II was quite ready for printing and book I was in the advanced stage before he passed on. None of his proposed music books saw the light of day.

Some his composed songs which are mostly in the Nembe dialect: karikari, NembeiniEbiama,Wawarimyou late, Nyanabonua, O bowaoboma,kraistbodite, Beria, Kraist Bokekiate, Osuote, Bomoila (requiem forsisicomfort), Rev D. O Ockiya, Sisei ineke sogio bubarim tiemo, Dau ini kio, mi you mi kpomo sie mie, Alfa na omega na, Opu ayebabei, Kurami Atari ma, yelao-ngu sem ghoe-mie-beba, kurami a tari ma, Ani Ayeba Ekisem temebra, Nyanabo nua O, kraist bo kekiate, Meseya beibote, Miomungu mi kpomo seimie, In’eki sogio inengi irukami tibi mi gho tiemo, obo wa obomo, Inie mi pa inie, Wagi digi, Beria, Miomungu mi kpomo seimiebo, Suoteme Ayeba, Ayeba nimi, Sogu ifiemi, Ori gelegugelegu bo bei, wa digieneni, Waekite, wagi digi, Ek in Ikio pastor Ockiya, the Nigeria national anthem, kuro pa emi, Nembe mi ebi ama, wagibo, kraist dimi, buna fla, inatimi, wa warimi, A pamieye mieye.

The Places He Featured

Luke Oruwari performed as choirmaster/organist at the following places:

  • St. Cyprian’s church, Hospital Road, Port Harcourt
  • St. Luke’s church Nembe
  • St. Barnabas’ church Twon Brass
  • St. Matthew’s church, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt
  • Methodist Church Harbor Road, Port Harcourt
  • St. Peter’s Okrika
  • St Peter’s Church Yenagoa

He was the Music director at St. Andrew’s church, Diobu Port Harcourt.

Nembe Choral Group

In 1989 thereabout, he organized a formidable choir in Port Harcourt named “Nembe Choral Society” which performed his musical compositions on the Radio, TV, in Churches and at several ceremonies.

His Chieftaincy

Firstly, in 1982, he was given the second award of his life in his town (Nembe). In view of the countless contributions he had made to his father’s family: Yekorogha house of Isuokiri Nembe, he was installed the Deputy Traditional Ruler of the house titled Deputy Chief Yekorogha.

Then in 1997, in recognition of his great contribution towards the development of the Nembe community and the massive education of the youths all over, a Chieftaincy title was conferred on him, therefore he was then addressed “Chief Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari-Ombo”

Luke Tubo Martha Oruwari Faith

Alabo LukeTubo Martha Oruwari-Ombo was an Anglican till his transition. He never quivered in his believes in the Anglicans communion. Even on his sick bed, in a bad shape some confidant approached him to switch faith and get well again; he out rightly rejected the request and took his stance to die an Anglican.

His Family

Alabo LukeTubo Martha Oruwari-Ombo was firstly married to the love of his life Mrs. Famokumo Oruwari (nee Olali), an able Sopranist in 1971 and they both separated in the 1980s.

Afterwards, he remarried in 1988 thereabout to Clara Fedigha had a son in 1989 and got separated again. Nonetheless, Alabo LukeTubo Martha Oruwari-Ombo had three children.

His Death

Alabo LukeTubo Martha Oruwari-Ombo took ill in 1993 just before he retired. He had chronic diabetes and got admitted at Opus Hospital, No. 8 Railway Close D/Line Port Harcourt. On 19 October 2000, he died on at the age of 61.

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"Timeless Persons" is a personal blog project created by me with the aim of sharing the biographies of remarkable individuals from the Niger Delta region and beyond. The blog serves as a platform to captivate and stimulate your thoughts, encouraging reflection on the past, fostering a positive mindset in the present, and inspiring hope for a better future.