SMILE can be used positively or negatively. When used negatively, it becomes LIMES. Bitterness has never helped anyone or even communities or better still a nation. Unity is the watchword and the legal tender by which we trade and exchange the scarce resources known as PEACE.
Edomwonyi Martins is a man of many parts. He is an enigma, a friend, a brother, a teacher, a mentor, a coach, an elder, a social crusader, a youth at heart, a mobilizer, a mobile testimony called POSSIBILITY, a quintessential gentleman, to mention but a few.
SEPTEMBER will always be remembered because of your immense contribution to the lives of youths. You were saddled with the responsibility of developing Catholic youths in St Joseph’s Catholic Church, Benin City, Edo State under the auspices of the Pages of the Blessed Sacrament and the Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON). These organizations that you will later lead as president.You also pioneered CYON Holy Trinity Parish, at Nomayo, Upper Sakponba Road, Benin City. Although, this would be the story for another day.
Your input gave rise to so many youngsters including men and women like Nosegbe Omono Rita, Mcchucks Victor, Kelvin Memeh, Stanley Peters, Ommon Ehi-omm, Patrick Original Usiahon, Edokpaigbe Peter, Paul Osuyi, Andrew Okosun, Emeka Nwaibe, Fidelis Abebe,بول Ubebe, Epochi Ransome, Akue Cecilia, Epochi Cordelia, Mary Chiedu, Osamede Emofonmwan, Emmanuel Awanah, Sunny Michael, Esther (not sure of surname), Prince Martins Cosby-nosa Iriah , Eboigbe Samuel Eboigbe and so many who were young boys and girls as at then. Taking them through various stages of life with the principle of IGWEBUIKE, there’s strength in a meaningful crowd. You encouraged the youths in them to go for education and reach out for their dreams. You led them into a new world of stage drama, cultural creative dance steps and so on. You even pioneered a theatre group that once staged Wole Soyinka’s Trials of Brother Jero, Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine, Isidore Okpewho’s The Victims and other short plays where I featured and retained a stage name that the team has come to know me with. Although I call you the smiling leader, you can also pass for the title the Father of Modern Youth Entertainment and Development.
You emphasized on seeing the positive side of life even when the home video project failed to come to life after our efforts. You believed in the power of smiling and that’s why I have come to know you as the smiling leader. I dedicate this moving verse entitled, the smiling leader, to you knowing that you mean so much to all of us. You gave your time, energy and resources to impact on us as you aggregated us under one roof.
the smiling leader
Time will fail me
but my mind will always remember
you were and still an integral part of me
and I want the world to know and remember
You came with a mission to serve
and turned young boys and girls into future leaders
Your legacies were entrenched with a purpose to serve
and now those you left behind act as feeders
bringing up generational leaders with great ideas
moving things and people forward with ideas.
Your trademark has remained visible to the youths
seeing the positive side of life as they smile
not forgetting their strength and their roots
knowing that failure is not permanent but stands for a while
I call you our smiling leader
and your impact on our lives we do remember.
Happy birthday our friend and leader
Live long Edomwonyi Martins, the man we call elder
Enjoy good health all the way
And prosperity that’s laden with sound mind today…
Opia-Enwemuche Maxwell Onyemaechi