When Our Basil “The Great” Izuagba Died

BY EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO

In Christendom as well as in classical philosophy, a name means a lot in terms of symbolism as well as standing as the guiding light to illuminate the direction that a person works towards attaining both here and the hereafter. In Igbo cosmology,  it is said thus-:”Ezi Afa ka Ego” meaning that good name is better than material wealth and affluence. 
 
I do share in the belief system that you are what your name says. One Philosopher told us that ‘you are what you eat.’ Essentially, as an African Philosopher,  I subscribe to the aphorism that “You are what your name is”. 
And so this is why both in Igbo cosmology and even amongst the billions of persons that profess their belief system as Christians like my humble self and my immediate family made up of Chisom Ugochi and NaetoChukwu Nnadozie, the naming ceremony is much deeper than just a social gathering or convivial sort of a carnival by a group of merry making happy people.
 
Naming ceremony is both spiritual and deeply metaphysical. And so the above scenarios and depictions are true when one reflects on the life and times of my father-in law who was named Basil, (Basil Ikechukwu Izuagba) apparently after the very erudite Saint Basil the Great, the Bishop of Caesarea. 
His middle name means God is powerful. I believe that God is powerful and as the Bible says, the fool says in his heart, that there is no God. 
And so, this believing family named their Son, my future father -in-law who truly lived as a good father to me, Basil Ikechukwu Izuagba.  
He was indeed Basil the great in such a way that he earned greatness academically and he built his modestly small family into a strong united family tree. 
Before I proceed, let me say that my Father-in-law knew my type of PALMIE and he constantly supplied me the best, fresh from the trees. 
This is what Encyclopedia Britannica says of Basil the Great:  “St. Basil the Great, Latin Basilius, (born AD 329, Caesarea Mazaca, Cappadocia—died January 1, 379, Caesarea; Western feast day January 2; Eastern feast day January 1), early Church Father who defended the orthodox faith against the Arian heresy. As bishop of Caesarea, he wrote several works on monasticism, theology, and canon law. He was declared a saint soon after his death.”
I must confess that I came about knowing my father –in –law less than seven years ago when I alongside my family visited his home in Owerri to announce to him that I sighted a beautiful and indeed well behaved black beauty that just entered his compound and we were at his place to inquire if the person we saw is his daughter and if in the affirmative, to inform him that without any further prevarication that I was there to marry her. 
On that epochal day, my father in-law  welcomed us with joy and profound love and from then on we had a father versus son kind of relationship just as I admired him because of certain Characteristics and qualities in him that were in huge possession of my late father.
In other words, my meeting this jovial man automatically made me to accept the reality that I now have another father in him. As someone who truly venerates my biological father, getting to notice some similarities in my father-in-law was a wonderful experience that lingered in my sub consciousness for the whole of the seven years that God made it possible for me to know, relate and interface with someone I will not hesitate to call him a great man and who incidentally was named Basil by his wonderful Dad.
His life and times stood emphatically as a practical representation of what was documented by Brian Tracy, International known as five essential quality traits for a better life namely:
The first and most important of the personal qualities needed for success is, common sense. It is said that the average person has an enormous amount of common sense because he or she hasn’t used any of it yet.
Common sense seems to be something that a person accumulates as the result of experience over a long period of time.
Common sense is defined as the, “Ability to cut to the core of a matter, to recognize and deal with the essential elements of a problem or a situation, rather than getting sidetracked by smaller issues or symptoms.”
Another definition of common sense is, “The ability to learn from experience and then to apply those lessons to subsequent experiences.”
Common sense was seen as the core of all personal qualities that enabled a person to become increasingly more effective over time.
The second of all the personal qualities needed for success is that of expertise. Most successful people are very good at what they do and they know they are very good.
They have learned, practiced, reflected, and have gotten better and better until they are recognized by their peers as being among the very best in their fields.
This feeling of being the best is an absolute prerequisite for achieving a better life and it starts with great self-confidence.
Men and women who are respected by others tend to look primarily towards themselves for the answers to their questions and for the solutions to their problems. They are highly self-responsible.
They do not blame others or make excuses when things go wrong. They regard themselves as the primary creative forces in their own lives.
They volunteer for tough assignments, and they are willing to take charge when something needs to be done.
Intelligence seems to be a key requirement for success in any field. However, intelligence is not necessarily measured in terms of IQ.
Many of the most notable men and women alive today did poorly in school. They got low grades or no grades, and many of them had not completed university or even high school. Do not let something such as IQ hold you back. There is nothing that you can’t learn with knowledge.
This means that you know that you are capable of getting the results for which you are responsible. All highly respected men and women are recognized as being the kind of people who can get the job done, whatever it is. They are invariably decisive, result oriented people.
They are highly results-oriented because they have a bias for action and a sense of urgency. They have trained themselves to be extremely capable of doing whatever is required. Bigger and better jobs and responsibilities seem to flow to them. The world tends to step aside and make way for the person who knows what he or she is doing and knows where he or she is going.
One of the most intelligent things that you can do is to get better at the most important things you do to get the results that determine your success. The better your results, the higher the chances are of you achieving a better life for yourself. By becoming intensely results-oriented, you will secure a better life for yourself.
Do you consider yourself results-oriented or a person who has common sense? Please share any comments below! Discover your current level of self-confidence and how to take action toward building greater confidence in yourself. Find out exactly where you can improve to develop new personal qualities and self-confidence with my free self-confidence assessment.
My father-in-law was a committed Nigerian patriot and a great community mobilizer who believed in the constructive power of the collective.  
Tannenbaum and his associates in their Joint Studies done in 1989 defined leadership as interpersonal influence exercised in a situation and directed, through the communication process toward the attainment of a specialized goal or goals. Basil Ikechukwu Izuagba,  the veterinary doctor was a good leader. He worked in the civil service of Imo State and attained lofty heights in his chosen career just as he retired happily. He loved his wife who is a lecturer in a tertiary institution and he loved his family passionately.  He loved education and gave his best to all his children irrespective of gender and the result is that all his Children are professionals in their own right and are happily engaged in their resoectjve core professional callings. My Wife his second daughter is such a talented and creative lady just as her other siblings are wonderfully endowed with talents of different shades and colours. I found a lot of leadership characteristics in him just in the same way as described by the researchers I will include their citations before drawing the curtain to this reflection.  
Another distinguished group of Researchers on leadership, Koontz and Donnel, viewed leadership as the act of influencing people to follow in the achievement of a common goal. These groups of researchers conceived the concept of leadership from the perspective of a process of interpersonal influence.
Terry in 1960 in the words of Professor Bakare, added a new dimension when he maintained that leadership is the activity of influencing people to strive willingly for group objectives”.  (Who Was The Man Rev. Dauda Fadi? By Dauda Daniel).  
I thank God for the opportunity to have passed through the Basil the great Izuagba’s school of thought. 

EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO a former federal commissioner of the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria is the Founding Executive Director of HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA). 

 

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