Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha (1934-2021)

Major Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha, a revered community leader hailing from Nembe – Ogbolomabiri in the Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, played a significant role in the advancement of the Nigerian Military between 1955 and 1984

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Major (Fss) (RTD, Chief

Parents and Birth

Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha, who has since passed away, was born on August 6, 1934, in Nembe. He was born into the family of the late Chief Robert Latei Yekorogha, of the Chief Yekorogha house in Nembe, and the Chief/Ite house of Okpoama. On the other side, his lineage included late Madam Lydia Bibitara Okoko, from the Ikata Oruwari house, and the Chief Ogbari group of houses, both located in Nembe and Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa state.

Education

During his early years, from 1942 to 1953, he received his education at the renowned St. Luke’s School in Nembe, where he earned his first school leaving certificate. Subsequently, he continued his education at Lagos City College in Western Nigeria from 1954 to 1955 before enlisting in the Nigerian Army on August 30, 1955.

Army Officer

He began his military career as a junior rating and steadily climbed the ranks, ultimately achieving the esteemed position of Major. He made a significant contribution as an instructor at the prestigious Nigeria Defense Academy and served in various divisions of the Nigerian Army across the country, including the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 82nd divisions.

Furthermore, he had the privilege of attending professional military courses in the United Kingdom, Lusane in Switzerland, and Fort Lee, Virginia in the United States of America, where he earned a Diploma in Supply Management.

During the Nigeria Civil War from 1967 to 1969, he played a pivotal role and contributed to the victory of the federal army forces. He also served as a member of the Nigerian contingent in United Nations peacekeeping missions, including deployment to Lebanon.

His military achievements were commendable, and he received the Federal Service Star (FSS) in recognition of his exemplary service in the Nigerian Army. Following years of dedicated service, he retired with honor on August 30, 1984, holding the rank of a full-fledged Major, transitioning into a private life.

Retirement

His retirement from the military marked a dynamic phase in his life. He dedicated himself to serving in various roles within the Old Rivers State. Among these roles, he was appointed as a member of the Rivers State Rent Tribunal for the Borokiri zone in Port Harcourt. Subsequently, during the leadership of the Fidelis Oyakhilom-led Military government, he was named as a member of the Board of Directors of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, a position he held from 1985 to 1989.

Additionally, in his hometown of Nembe, he took on the responsibility of serving as the Security Adviser to the Nembe Local Government Council and its counterpart in Brass from 1990 to 1995.

His Stewardship

Throughout his military career, he maintained strong connections with his fellow kinsmen and actively participated in numerous social and cultural organizations. While stationed in Lagos, he served as the Chairman of the Opu-Nembe Descendant Union, Lagos branch, from 1972 to 1975. In Ibadan, he took on the role of Chairman of the Nembe National Union from 1976 to 1978. He also chaired the Nembe National Union in Kaduna state from 1979 to 1980 and again from 1981 to 1985, showcasing his commitment to his community across various regions.

Notably, Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha was also a dedicated member of the Opu Sekiapu Club, where he held the position of a Senior member (Aga yanabo). Later on, he became an active member of the renowned Obiamini Club and Sena Social Club of Nembe, further demonstrating his involvement in cultural and social activities.

Family

Chief Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha was formally married to his wife, Mrs. Atonbara, and together they had children. Additionally, he had children with several other women. Despite his large and extended family, he demonstrated both financial and moral strength, ensuring that he could provide for all of his family members.

Chieftaincy

Around 1982, Chief Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha’s exceptional service and significant contributions to society, coupled with his status as a direct descendant of the Yekorogha dynasty, earned him the honor of being bestowed with a chieftaincy title. This title represented the Yekorogha group of houses within the Nembe Council of Chiefs and extended beyond.

Furthermore, he played a pivotal role in nominating six individuals to receive honorary chieftaincy titles within the Yekorogha Chieftaincy House. Additionally, he actively participated in the formation of a constitution drafting committee, and the report generated by this committee is currently in the possession of the house secretary, Mr. Ebiegberi Ikrute, with the hope that it is in operation.

Accomplishments As Chief

Late Chief Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha left a lasting legacy as the head chief of the Yekorogha group of houses. Among his notable accomplishments were:

Infrastructure Upgrades: He played a pivotal role in converting two wooden bridges in Isuokiri into concrete bridges, improving accessibility and safety for the community.

Toilet Facilities: He oversaw the construction of men’s toilets in the community, a project made possible through the support of former Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, His Excellency, Admiral John Jonah (Rtd), contributing to better sanitation.

Square Expansion: Chief Yekorogha was instrumental in expanding the Isuokiri square to a more suitable and accommodating standard for community gatherings and events.

Heritage Preservation: He led efforts to renovate the Okpu (Mausoleum) and remodel the Duwiesu-wari, preserving the cultural and historical heritage of the community.

Property Storage: He ensured the construction of a warehouse for the safekeeping of Yekorogha House’s properties, including chairs, tables, canopies, musical sets, generators, and more.

War Canoe: Chief Yekorogha also supervised the construction of a war canoe for the Yekorogha House, possibly for ceremonial or traditional purposes.

Educational Support: He extended his generosity by offering scholarships to indigent children in the Isoukiri compound, providing educational opportunities for those in need.

Chief Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha’s dedication to his community and his numerous accomplishments demonstrate his commitment to improving the lives and infrastructure of his people.

Properties

While he was alive, Chief Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha owned the following landed properties:

  1. 14 and 16 Orogbum Crescent, New GRA, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
  2. 54 Alagbaro Road, Alaba, Lagos State.

His Faith

In addition to his role as a respected chief and custodian of Nembe traditions and customs, Chief Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha remained steadfast in his commitment to the Anglican communion. He was a devoted member of St. Luke’s Anglican Church in Nembe and actively supported the church’s development and activities within the Nembe Kingdom. His dedication to both traditional customs and his faith in the Anglican Church exemplified his well-rounded involvement in his community.

Friends

Late Chief Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha was known for his ability to maintain friendships with both friends and adversaries during his time in the military and throughout his life. Many of his fellow comrades have since passed away, but his strong relationships endured. Among those individuals were:

  • Late Major Geoffery Nimi
  • Late Major Ingordia
  • Capt. Glory Koru
  • Late Lt. Col Ayah
  • Late Col Akono
  • Rear Admiral Sam Sele
  • Air Commodore Benjamin Natus

Chief Yekorogha’s ability to foster and maintain these connections speaks to his character and the respect he earned from those around him.

Death

Chief Nathaniel Ingialasuogha Robert Yekorogha’s passing on September 25, 2021, marked the end of an era. He was laid to rest in Nembe – Ogbolomabiri, where he will forever remain a part of the community’s history and memory. His contributions and legacy will undoubtedly be remembered and honored by those who knew him and the community he served.

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Abalijay
"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.