Interview of Fr. Felix Aime Ojeikhoa, FRC by Taiye Olaniyi, FRC, RME
An encounter with Frater Felix Aime Ojeikhoa (FRC) after one of the zonal workshops organized by the Lagos Zone of the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC, at the ISIS Temple in Lagos provided an opportunity to engage Frater Felix Aime Ojeikhoa for an interview on “Life Is a Drama.”
The interview aimed to delve into the mysteries of life and the purpose of human existence as replicated in drama, especially mystical dramas typical of the Rosicrucian.
Amongst fellow Rosicrucians, Fr. Ojeikhoa is no rookie but a veteran of the stage and a toast among members of the Rosicrucian cast and members.
Fr. Felix Imae Ojeikhoa was born on the 23rd of November 1947 at Okpokhumi Emai, a little village in Owan Local Government of the then Mid-Western Region, Bendel State, and now Edo State. Right from the early stage of life in St. Peters Primary School in Okpokhumi Emai, his teachers took interest in him because of his ability to recall from memory anytime the class was asked to make certain recitations at various school events and church gatherings, such as Christmas and Easter, among others.
He used to be excited when asked to recite poems, but one that has remained indelible in his mind has to do with the virtue of “Character.”
“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost.
When health is lost, something is lost.
But when a Character is lost, all is lost.”
That was written far back in 1959 when Fr. Ojeikhoa was barely nine years old.
His mastery of poems became a great impetus for him to be involved in drama from his childhood days and later in life.
His involvement in dramas at an early stage of life similarly fetched him recognition in school and church, but it was not all applause alone; appreciation also sometimes came through financial gratification.
Fr. Ojeikhoa: Even at such an early age, I used to hazard meanings and interpretations to what I was cramming and reciting.
Fr. Olaniyi: What do you mean by that?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: The interpretations given to many of the poems later in life and the way I deciphered them made me realize that there are certain questions not answered by any religion. In most of these poems, when you decipher them, you get some deeper answers in them. On the contrary, the teachings in the Bible would not give you the differences you experience in life. And so, I was driven into the messages of drama. I became interested in Rosicrucian dramas because they are rich in meanings, symbols, and revelations.
Fr. Olaniyi: And when did you associate with the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: Even before taking an active part in a Rosicrucian drama, I built up an interest in drama and participated in some of Wole Soyinka’s plays such as “The Lion and the Jewel,” Pythias and Damon, a legend in Greek historic writings illustrating the Pythagorean ideal of friendship where I acted Damon as a student in Auchi Polytechnic dating back to 1979.
I also fell in love with many of our traditional music that connotes a lot of meanings, like Ebenezer Obey’s music in Yoruba rendition: “Baba lo ran mi wa pe ki nwa lo igba te mi…,” thus reinforcing that God has brought one into life to fulfil one’s purpose in life.
Fr. Olaniyi: When did you join the Rosicrucian Order, and how did you help to extend the frontier of drama dexterity to the Order?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: I joined the Order in 1972, but my active participation in temple activities was limited then because I was on the high sea. I became part of the cast when I became active in temple activities and got to know the drama team at Harmonium Temple in Lagos.
Fr. Olaniyi: You are now fifty years in the Order from your account. While congratulating you on the journey so far, do you consider Rosicrucianism as another epitome in the propagation of the drama of life?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: I will, to some extent, because “a growing seed will not be able to accommodate maturity until after some time.”
For me, the messages religion gives us are alright, but they are not as sufficient nor encyclopedic as we find in the Rosicrucian Order, AMORC. They do not carry out the salient aspect as we see in life, which we find in Rosicrucian teachings.
“Even in the Rosicrucian teachings, you still find out that when they give out these things, the maturity that will enable us to show understanding is much more in the drama.”
That is what drew my interest in participating in the drama.
The audience for Rosicrucian drama is most times limited to Rosicrucians and not for public consumption. How do you then feel playing a role in a limited audience?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: Not minding that, I still feel happy in the various roles that I have played, such as in “The Alchemist Workshop,” “Cauldron of the Keriduen,” and “The Osirian Drama.”
I get enthused with the symbols, the symbolic interpretations, and the hidden and unexplained aspects that make me investigate them to derive the meaning of life in drama. Not only that, my limited performance, like other members of the cast, brought applause, and this we all appreciate.
Writers, artists, and musicians hardly sleep and, by so doing, derive some inspiration. Has drama positively influenced your life directly or indirectly?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: Greatly. The Alchemist would say, “As it is in our consciousness that the elements of our work are composed.” Further to this, it says that “The thoughts are graced with beauty, purity, harmony, and cleanliness.”
These words come from an alchemist and those from Master Druid, “All those things we desire, we cannot achieve them if we cannot prove ourselves worthy of them.”
These words, to me, are not only for staging in drama but when one reflects on them constantly, they have a way of guiding one’s life. They spur and inspire one to listen to the “Master Within”, who listens to the mind. Thus, one is inspired on the journey toward the Greater Light. Sometimes these things reflect in our dreams, come as flashes, and in other ways of life.
Fr. Olaniyi: Have you ever thought of writing drama sketches that may bring mysticism into an interface with the public like the Pronoas Convocation does and leveraging on the good works of our forebears that wrote the ones in which you were privileged to act?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: To me, the Pronoas Convocation that now has a public interface is very dramatic and commendable, but I have not given writing drama sketches a serious thought that may mature to being acted by this generation. I have, however, been inspired by the likes of Ella Wheeler Wilcox in her poem where she said: “Unto every mortal who comes to birth a ladder is given by God at birth, and on this ladder, every soul must go.” Numerous poems like that are inspiring to me; it takes interest and passion, especially when I come across soul-inspiring books, but I have not come to that level of writing a drama.
Fr. Olaniyi: Seeing how our members feel electrified by your dramatic acumen, how is it at the family circle?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: We all have certain traits that we carry to this world on an individual basis. My interaction with my father when I was young and the kind of questions and answers we deliberated on under Christian teachings made me somehow unique among his children. But are the children of today ready for discussions bordering on deeper things of life as we promote in the Order against mere religious indoctrination? We just need to prove ourselves worthy wherever we are.
As we earlier mentioned, “Life is a Drama,” we just come on stage at one point in time or the other. It is one’s degree of interest and inclination that determine who and what one eventually becomes.
For example, I may just see a write-up and would want to reflect, get absorbed, and be inspired by the mind that composed it. For instance, the classic book “Unto Thee I Grant” exposes one to the great challenges of life. You see a great writer telling us we should “Know that our present position in life is appointed by the wisdom of the eternal, the author, the creator, the governor of the world, almighty, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, incomprehensible.”
There are certain times you see some people at certain levels they struggle, struggle and struggle, and they are not getting to the limelight, whereas others are getting things relatively easier. You want to ask, what is it? And by the time you seek an attempted answer in that type of thing, you want to get involved. So, it is with the degree of interest.
Fr. Olaniyi: Life experiences, the beautiful, the odds, how have you been able to wriggle through the different stages of such life’s drama?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: Let us again refer to the play “Cauldron of Keriduen.” The candidate was asked, “Where are you now?” He said he is, “In a Greater World and has now come to the little world.” He went further to explain that he came to this little world to learn the lessons of life by experience. And these experiences do not mean everything has to be very smooth. The candidate concluded he had to go through hardship to gain experience in life.
Aligning with such a submission, I feel that “Human life itself is not a pole vault to luxury all the time. One would appreciate certain things if you go through elements of hardship.”
Fr. Olaniyi: Do you then feel fulfilled?
Fr. Ojeikhoa: I have to thank God for whatever position I find myself in because the struggle continues. Indeed, the struggle of life continues.