Benson and I met as first year University of Nigeria students, in 1964. We were then the fourth generation of this nascent University. The University was a lot of fun, particularly as we were young and full of life and the environment was attractive and enticing.

By 1967 when the civil war broke out, all our dreams as young undergraduates were gone with the winds. All of us dispersed in all directions. Within the ensuing three years Benson and I would not see each other. Many students enlisted with. the military on their side of the war. By 1970, this undesirable, unprovoked, and avoidable war ended; we paid an undeserving price of lives lost, youthful time wasted, the poverty that followed, irreparable pain and agony that continued to linger particularly for some of those who were maimed!

When we returned to campus for the final year for those of us who would have graduated three years ago, reality began to set in while there were no answers for the many unanswered questions. We were determined to tough out the one year left of university. But again, we dispersed! Benson and I did not see each other until we both landed in Alberta, Canada, as graduate students; Benson, at the University of Calgary and I, at the University of Alberta where the next phase of our lives began.

Aspects of Benson's attributes which I was not aware of but quickly recognized included his steadfastness and determination to fight all odds that he faces. In the first year of his graduate studies, Benson's widowed mother passed away, leaving Benson and his siblings orphans. Benson was dogged and convinced the Canadian refugee and immigration services to "adopt" his four young mail siblings, and he brought them to Canada. Those young siblings have long become adults and have their own families.

I still admire what Benson was able to accomplish, where many a man would not even come close! Kudos nwokem!

Amazingly, the taciturn outgoing President of Nigeria, Mohammed Buhari posthumously acknowledged Benson's accomplishment during his Career with the United Nations.

I wish he paid this earned and deserving tribute to Benson in person while he was alive here on earth!

"The Bright Star is dimmed but will never be quenched."

Benson, you are one of the four Igbo retired Elders in Edmonton. As retirees, we found a way to keep ourselves physically and mentally strong and alert, and to provide advice when asked to, by the leaders of our burgeoning Igbo population in Edmonton. Every other month we gathered at one of our homes, to break and share the kola nut, pour libation to our ancestors, enjoy our pepper soup, and wash it down with a glass of vintage red wine.

Unfortunately, things have changed; we lost one of us last year, and now we have lost you this year.

Adieu, Ezenwane, until we meet again, beyond!

Chief Chinwe P. Okelu