By Ebi Avi
The Scriptures tell us in Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, verses One and Two that “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die”
The Good Book, therefore, underscores the inevitability of death for every mortal being.
In as much as we may know the dates and circumstances, under which we came into this world, the mystery of death is such that, No man knows when and how he shall take his exit.
Like every other mortal before him, little did veteran, inspirational and accomplished broadcaster, Kenneth Ekperi, knew that he was going to breathe his last on Sunday, 29th of March, 2020.
Kenneth Ekperi, as a broadcaster was a colossus in his own right, having made over three decades of very impactful and dominant presence in the airwaves from Lagos to old Rivers State and later to Bayelsa, his home state.
His foray into broadcasting began with the then Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, (FRCN) in Lagos, but he had his best moments at the newly established Radio Rivers 2, FM stereo, where he was nearly flawless on the microphone.
As a newscaster on the “Global News” Kenneth Ekperi kept every listener glued to the radio for the entire duration of every bulletin. His delivery of the “Talking Point or the “News Commentary” as it was then known was classy and delightful.
Perhaps, one programme that established Kenneth Ekperi’s position as a multi-talented and Star broadcaster was his unique and exceptional style of musical presentation, which he emphatically displayed on his late Saturday night show, which was aptly christened “Weekend Entertainment”. From this programme, he also earned for himself the nick-name, “King of Entertainment” or “Ken De Cat” as some of his admirers loved to call him,
Kenneth Ekperi was a two-time winner of the Announcer of the Year prize at the annual celebration of the birth of Radio Rivers 2, FM Stereo.
Broadcasting is not an all-comers affair, and it is an incontrovertible fact, that some of the best broadcasters are those who were very creative and innovative.
And, for Kenneth Ekperi, creativity and innovation were largely the propelling factors of his larger-than-large posture behind the microphone.
Back in Bayelsa State, Kenneth heralded his return to the industry that had practically brought him fame, respect and honour, with greater humility, panache and commitment.
He did not only carve a niche for himself through some of his flagship programmes like the “Legendary Strokes” and “Jazz Hour” his classy posture behind the microphone was re-enacted, as he served as teacher and an inspiration to the younger generation of broadcasters.
“Oscar De Pedro” as he became popularly known by friends and close associates in his twilight years in the profession, Kenneth Ekperi was endowed with the special ability to spot talents and ensure they are given the right training and orientation to excel like himself.
Born on the 25th of November, 1957 at Obrigbene community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Kenneth Ekperi attended Township School 1, Warri, where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate, before proceeding to the famous Baptist Academy in Lagos for his West African School Certificate and later the Imo State University, Owerri for his B.Sc.
He made his dream entry into broadcasting as an Announcer in Federal Radio Corporation, Ikoyi Lagos in 1979, and after just a One and half-year stint and with the establishment of the model Radio Rivers 2, FM Stereo, he moved over to the then Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation.
The King of Entertainment was equally talented and could Think-Out-of-The Box, qualities that endeared him to different classes of persons.
Kenneth Ekperi’s abilities were easily recognizable, hence his brief foray into politics on the prompting of his people, as he was a Supervisory Councilor as well as the Leader of the Local Government Legislative Assembly in the old Sagbama LGA (now Sagbama and Ekeremor LGAs).
He was at some point also the Press Secretary to the Wife of the Bayelsa State Governor between 2006 and 2007.
In all, Kenneth gave his all in the service of Bayelsa State, as he left unblemished records in all the positions and role he was called to render service.
It is often said that, we are born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Everything in-between is a gift.
Truly Kenneth Ekperi was born alone, he lived, but also lived for others and all the gift in-between, he shared with others.
He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, 10 children, 2 grand-children and 2 brothers.
A daytime wake/funeral service will be held in his honour by 10:00am on Saturday, 6th of June, 2020 at his compound in Ekeremor, while interment will follow directly after the service.
Kenneth Ekperi, the King of Entertainment may have gone to be with the LORD, but we can proudly state that, his death is not an end, because his actions and deeds will remain evergreen in the hearts and souls of his offspring and the younger generation.