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Soludo: Dangers of Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa

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By Sunny Igboanugo

 

Two things! Have you heard the stories around the mythology of Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa. Both are two well-pronounced Igbo concepts, which find expressions in some sort of elevated societal structures. You have to be a man of certain level of means before you could take the title or assume the toga of ezeonyeagwanam successfully. You couldn’t be a commoner and be ezeonyeagwanam. It is either you are feared or respected.

In the same vain, you cannot be a dunce and answer amachamiheuwa. So, ordinarily, where both derive their origin – knowledge and power ought to be good enough to earn respect for their inherent positive nature. Who wouldn’t want to be respected and who doesn’t want to have knowledge? It is the excess the ideas connote that become the problem.

Yes! Ezeonyeagwanam, the king who forbade people from speaking to or correcting him, went to toilet where his robe was smeared, but because of his injunction, attracted public ridicules as flies followed him into the public square without his subjects alerting him. On the other hand,  amachamiheuwa, claimed so much wisdom that he tied his yam on his beard, only for a slight fire to claim both the beard and the yam. Both tragic stories, you might say! But the connote quite instructive lessons.

If you become too arrogant with your authority that nobody could approach you outside court jesters and sycophants or too wise as to become uncontrollable, impenetrable and impervious to advice, then power, authority and knowledge become problems to you and you in turn become a problem to your surrounding and ultimately, the society at large.

Many leaders, who turned out monsters in power in history, were ordinarily good men, who lost it simply because they allowed themselves to degenerate to the level of ezeonyeagwanam and amachamiheuwa. I’ve told this story a thousand times probably, but I’ll tell it again for obvious reason.

Back then, as a journalist in this state, I used to have this governor friend of mine. We were friends and ran things together before he became governor, so there was really no gap between us. In the early days, there was a standing instruction to his security that I must have unrestricted access to him at any point. Of course his securitymen were aware of our relationship. So, most evenings, I ended up at the governor’s lodge before heading home, most times into the late nights, because on many occasions, we rarely had the opportunity of private talks till very late because of the traffic.

So, it was one of such occasions as we were chatting privately that I brought up the issue of the demonstration that took place in the state earlier in the afternoon. What demonstration? he asked. He obviously was not aware. Then I took time to fill him in on the issue. He practically dropped the glass in his hand when I told him that we had actually filed the story. Then, he said something that amused me – “I’ll be here one day and they’ll come and carry me o without anyone telling me.”

That moment, he summonsed a cabinet meeting, calling everyone himself. But the intriguing thing was when the next morning, one of his commissioners, a friend of mine equally came to my office and we reviewed the activities of the previous night. “Don’t you know your friend again. You could lose your job outright, if he was in a bad mood and you became the harbinger of such bad news,” was how he put it.

Of course, he didn’t have to tell me. I knew “my friend” enough to acknowledge what the commissioner was talking about. Of course, before the end of his first tenure and into the second and final lap,  the destructive effect of  Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa had taken so much root he practically became a monster such that the main character in the epic – Rise and Fall of Idi Amin, could easily be taken as a learner.

I don’t want to recount the atrocities associated to him to the extent that even murders committed in other states, were attributed to him. Yet, this was one of the kindest and tenderest persons I’d met in authority. At the ordinary level Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa, could be controlled. But they could conduce such terrible outcomes when combined with raw power, especially the type we have in Nigeria. I saw it with my korokoro eyes destroy my friend, who ordinarily, ought to be one of the reference points in Nigeria today for his ideas about governance. At first, the negative instincts seep in gradually. In fact, before the bubble burst, I heard my friend remind me countless times, during argument, because we argued a lot then  that he was the governor with power of life and death and was going to deal with me. We usually laughed it off or waved it aside as part of jokes, but when things started going awry, I couldn’t help but make the connection. They soon became real, because he actually carried out the threat. He did not attack me physically, but he threatened my job at least – trying to use state money and power to reach my employers. Even though he met a stonewall, but he at least tried. My very good friend o! That’s how bad it could get!

Of course it couldn’t be him that ordered the atrocities surrounding him, at least not all. But on the other hand, he didn’t have to. How could a prisoner know what is happening outside the walls? They simply act in his name. The major and immediate prompt in this case is fear. The effect of him suddenly losing popularity at that level, naturally drives him to seek help and protection against enemies, real and imagined. Then the collateral damages. I witnessed all these with my friend.

That is the danger today in Anambra. What I really fear the most about Chukwuma Soludo, Governor of Anambra State, my governor, amid the hullaballoo, the kankan-gwogwo, in recent days, is that the snake, which bit my friend several years ago, may whip him with its tail. May it never come to a point when he would feel that the love of Anambra people have left him that like it did in Saul, and begin to hear strange voices that would urge him to seek power and protection outside the normal realms. Yes! Leaders, who lose popularity and natural love, try to force them willy-nilly.

Or, do you think for one second that the din from the cataclysmic eruption and groundswell of condemnation you hear across Nigeria, since his rather unnecessary, if not infantile diatribe against Peter Obi, would resonate in Agu Awka, his office or Amawbia, his lodge in the same manner? Certainly no! If anything, he would have been receiving high-fives since then from the multitude of sycophantic that populate government houses across Nigeria.

I know enough of such environments to confirm that there might not be a single close ally from hence that would be courageous enough to look him in the face and try to leash him for the simple obvious reasons. Not when power , money and the fear of losing privileges are the major elements that drive the relationship between people and the governor, most times. At best, they’ll keep silent. But you could be sure that even his domestic servants would be cursing him in their private meetings in the kitchen or living quarters, away from prying eyes and ears.

You actually heard him say that many people indeed prevailed on him to refrain from reacting initially, but that he defied them. If you thought for one moment that those advisers would do an encour, then you underrate power and influence. What it means is the courageous ones who could have spoken out, but now feel sufficiently appalled would simply walk away, leaving him further in the depth of loneliness. Guess who fills the gap?

What have I been saying? Let me emphasise! When you lose popularity, love and influence, as a governor, you not only try to force it through brute force or coercion, you also try to protect yourself. Naturally, those around you might no longer be people with genuine love, but those in it for profit. The immediate effect is loss of focus. Truth takes flight. Everyone tells you what you want to hear. Yet, these people don’t come cheap. Because they don’t, that’s when you’ll start nibbling at the common till. After all, is it not a common saying that if fire falls on you and your child at the same time, you first put off yours before your child? Is than not what is called self-preservation?

But the clock continues to tick. Soon, the second term demand comes knocking. This time, it becomes a matter of ego and desperation and not a natural course of events. The fear of your enemies prevailing, takes a more choking grip. Or do you think our governor is deaf to the vow of many hitherto friends and supporters, who have become enemies overnight to avenge his childish act? No? What then are the options? They are either or. Either he throws his hands up or he fights back. Should he fight back, what are the weapons? Buy the votes or buy the structure. What if the resources of the state are not enough – then borrow! Deeper and deeper the mess – down and down Anambra goes.

Wasn’t this what happened in the same Anambra when Willy Obiano, practically emptied the purse of the state to sponsor his elections rather than be defeated after eating the capital and gains of the state in wild, wanton revelry, merrymaking and picking unnecessary fights, such that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission couldn’t even wait for a day to pick him up immediately he lost immunity for the obvious crime?

I hope a miracle happens to change the course of events. I truly hope that Peter Obi wins the 2023 presidential election, because that is the only way to mitigate the anger of Anambra people against Soludo at this time. Otherwise there is no telling that like Obiano, the only option would be for him to do anything to avoid the obvious doom.

Yes! There is no way Anambra people will not blame him in the event of Obi’s failure and there is no way they will forgive him. Indeed, the devil works in such a terrible way. Someone told me that if Joe Anatune, his erstwhile media manager, who died few days into his government were alive, he wouldn’t run into the present mess, because he had the capacity to leash him. I don’t know how far this is true.

In my mental estate, I couldn’t stop calculating what a Soludo governorship could do to my Anambra, if he kept his eyes on the ball. Picture this! Flyovers at Nkpo junction, Nnobi, Agulu, Ekwulobia, Umunze, Uga. If you’ve ever been at these areas during Christmas period and undergone the experience, you’ll understand the danger ahead. Just imagine that for starters. Till date, he’s still driving Innoson as his official car. Picture the outcome of the lofty ideas he has in the offing. Now, the devil seems to have set in to destroy everything. why did the devil put those question into the mouth of Seun Okinbaloye of Channels Television that started all this?

Yes! The enemy must have done this! Perhaps, prayer might help. Just like Obi said he won’t stop praying, Ndi-Anambra must take it as a duty to do the same. Father Ebubemuonso and other clerics like him must lead the way to pray Soludo out of this mess, even self-inflicted. Otherwise!

Anambra must never experienced another Obiano catastrophe, when after frittering away the privileges he got freely, he got the state sunk into the morass of bad behaviour. Presently, millions of Nigerians are praying God to send Obi to clear the present mess in Abuja and across the land. Ndi-Anambra, though, leading in this regard, must never in their well-deserved anger forsake their son back home at this time. May God exorcise and cure Soludo of the dangerous spirit of  Ezeonyeagwanam and Amachamiheuwa and ultimately save my state!

Igboanugo, a journalist, lives in Lagos

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Soyinka, Obi, Tinubu: When repayment of mafia debt is inescapable

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By Sunny Igboanugo

Amerigo Bonasera was a longtime friend to Vito Corleone, otherwise known as Don Corleone the alter ego of The Godfather – that Mario Puzo epic novel depicting the mafia influence of the American society. However, unlike many who had pitted their tents with the godfather, in the Italian neighbourhood, he would rather avoid him and his syndicate, because he felt the consequential backlash could rub off on his well-laid business and reputation as a law-abiding, straight American citizen. On many occasions, the godfather courted his loyalty, but he rebuffed it, feeling safe inside the protective cocoon of the American system.

But that same system failed him when his prized daughter was attacked and assaulted by his boyfriend and his friend. Maria Bonasera was not only his only daughter, but the only child and despite his fears, was the goddaughter of Carmela Corleone, the wife of Don Corleone. Kelvin Moonan, her new American boyfriend had tried to rape her after she rebuffed his sexual advances, but after succeeding in fending him off, the young man, aided by his friend, Jerry Wegner, beat her so badly and damaged her beautiful face.

Completely gutted, Bonasera, a successful owner of Funeral Parlour, did the right thing, or what he thought the right thing in America. He went to court to seek justice for his daughter. But instead of putting the rapists away, at the most for their clearly heinous crime, after finding them guilty, the judge did the unthinkable – he handed them – suspended sentence. So, the two young men walked out free from the same court leering and practically mocking him – no thanks to the powerful influence of their parents, who pulled the strings from behind.

Suspended sentence?! Bonasere had exclaimed before the godfather in whose presence he ran to seek the real justice. After chiding him for rebuffing his earlier offer of protection in preference for trust in the American system, Don Corleone accepted his request to give him justice. However, he would not accede to Bonasera’s extreme demands. He had wanted the godfather to kill the two young men. But he declined. Bonesera’s daughter was still alive. Let her attackers suffer the same way she suffered, was his own option.

Pressed further to the option of murder, offering to pay for it, he again reprimanded his kinsman for trying to lure him to commit murder, particularly on the wedding day of his daughter. “Bonasera, Bonasera, what have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? If you’d come to me in friendship, this scum who ruined your daughter would have been suffering this very day. And if by some chance, an honest man like yourself made enemies, they would be my enemies. And then, they would fear you,” he had emphasised?

Having agreed to help him in his own way in return for his “friendship” he had given the job to his executor to conclude. At the end of the day, the two young men were so beaten with so much damage to their faces that their parents could not recognise them. So, that was how Bonasera, who had earlier pledged his everlasting loyalty by kissing the shoes of the godfather, got justice. Nothing could have given him more excitement and satisfaction than the disfigured faces of the two boys, splashed in the newspapers the next day.

But did Bonasera not pay eventually? Of course he did. But he did in a different way, different from monetary payment. Don Corleone, had visited him at the funeral parlour, three years after. His irascible son, Sonny had been heavily disfigured by the bullets of the competitors and enemies of his mafia organisation. He wanted his Italian brother and friend to fix him to look normal and fit for presentation for an open-casket funeral. Bonasera, who was the best in the land, ought not to have touched such a job, coming from Vito Corleone, a criminal to be avoided. But he was in debt, so high a debt. Backing out was out of the question. Either by way of gratitude and conscience or by knowing the grave consequences of saying no to the godfather, he was in debt.

How apt this story to the new reality in Nigeria of today. For years, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu had played the same role of Vito Corleone, though at a different level – politics. Countless Nigerians who were hurt one way or the other, found succour in him and through him.

When Muhammadu Buhari, before the end of his disastrous outing as President between 2015 and 2023, tried, or so it seemed, to shirk this obligation of playing ball after Tinubu single-handed made him President, either due to patriotism, knowing that Tinubu would probably be a worse calamity or out of mischief to hand over to another Northerner, knowing his proclivity for nepotism, he was stopped in his track. Tinubu simply reminded him where he was coming from.

He was not only quickly reminded of his debt – remember Tinubu’s Abeokuta declaration and his infamous Emilokan speech – but the enforcers moved in. They were the ones who completed the first stage of the project at the All Progressives Congress (APC) convention in Abuja, beginning with the Northern governors, who took the initiative to rally around him. Now, you might be wondering why the North with their touted unquenchable taste for power could become so amenable. Well, mafia debts are paid to the full.

Asari Dokubo, currently has a standing army ready to go to war against naysayers on his behalf. His reason: Tinubu was his patron when as the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), he was arrested and detained by the Federal Government. Tinubu fully provided for his family including a home in Victoria Garden City (VGC), one of the most glamorous areas of Lagos. Debt!

If, perhaps, you are wondering what debt Yakoub Mahmood, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who virtually threw caution out of the window by practically killing the 2023 presidential election owed, listen to Chibuike Amaechi. The former Governor of Rivers State and former Minister of Transportation, provided the answer when he told the world how his appointment came via the Tinubu camp.

So, why then would anyone be surprised about our own dear Prof. Wole Soyinka? He provided the answer to his current wacky undertaking long today before now. To every ear, he had told the story of how Tinubu and his family provided for him when he was down and out on return from exile imposed on him by former Nigerian despot, the late General Sani Abacha who went after the necks of leaders of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), of which he was one during his iron-fist reign.

He himself narrated how Remi Tinubu, the supportive wife of the former Governor of Lagos State, now President, provided him with pots and pans and other household utensils to start life anew. He also told the world how Tinubu it was that got him a letter of recommendation with which he then approached the government of Taiwan for the rice contract that supplied his daily bread. Nobody knows whether that source and the stream of income thereof has closed yet. Kongi did not tell us.

So, what would you not do for someone who fed you when you were hungry and probably saved you from the frustration of starvation and even death? Today, South Africa, despite all the threats from Europe and the US, has remained the major ally of Russia in Africa for the simple reason that the country was its bastion of struggle and hope to extricate itself from the vice grip of white man’s rule during the struggle for apartheid.

It is not that Soyinka is not aware of the parlous situation in Nigeria today. It is not that he does not know that from the way things are going the country is fast descending from the critical to the fatal condition and soon there might not be a country anymore, at least the way it is presently known. But what could he do, when he is in so much debt over the years of favours?
Like Bonasera, he would have opted to be excused from the evil and putridity of the mafia, having built up such an enchanting record as a nationalist and world renowned icon in many respects. But he was the one who ran to Tinubu like Bonasera ran to Don Corleone for help when the system failed him. Like Bonasera nobody bothered him before now. But now his services are required.
Currently, Tinubu’s political face is as badly battered as Sonny’s bullet-riddled body and needed to be prepared to look decent to the public. Who else to do the job than the master of words, grit and skills, who could, by his pedigree, practically make the dead appear alive? Soyinka has the personality and the voice to do the job of painting Tinubu white or at least try.
Incidentally, choosing to do so from South Africa, is instructive too. Remember that South African woman, who spoke in that viral video, telling the world that Tinubu’s presidency lacked legitimacy. What could be more practical that tackle her in her own land and attempt to change the narrative, which surely must have pervaded the land of the Mandelas? But it would surely not stop there. Watch out. South Africa may be the starting point. Don’t be surprised to see the Nobel Laureate expanding his campaign further and farther. For even Kongi must pay his debt. Even if Nigeria falls! He has no choice. It is the way of the mafia!
Igboanugo, a journalist, wrote from Lagos

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Obi: Still going about doing good  

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By Sunny Igboanugo

It is not unusual to hear some people in obvious overdrive of satiation, heckling and mocking – Peter Obi will never be President of Nigeria in his lifetime. Of course, it is coming from divergent quarters – the purveyors and patrons of the current state capture that are currently tightening their vice grip on Nigeria, their various supporters blinded by primordial sentiments – mostly pecuniary and ethnic.

Take Reno Omokri for example. Hours after the verdict of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT), which affirmed the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as winner of the 2023 presidential election, he went all and about with this same mantra. Of course, only a few of the spectators of his current monologue and lone dance in the street like an inebriated village drunkard, would fail to understand where he is coming from.

Many, who are now quite conversant with his ways, would easily decipher that his constant solo attacks on Obi, is his own pitch to break into the camp of President Tinubu for what he could get, after successfully doing so with Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and Tinubu’s opponent.

Just as he had tried the same trick with Muhammadu Buhari, Tinubu’s predecessor and met a brickwall, owing substantially to the aloofness of the former President to stimuli around him no matter how virulent, he might be thinking that a more amenable Tinubu, would be different and would be the next meal ticket, now he seems to have realised that Atiku might not be offering very much, as could be seen in his less than passing interest in that camp.

So, the issue is not about the likes of Reno, his likes who are pitching for a job. It is also not about those already at the table where he wants to break into, currently devouring the sumptuous meal that the Nigerian commonwealth offers. It is rather about the outsiders who, though, are not in the two categories are imbued with either partisan or ethnic interests, even as they are as hard hit as the rest of the suffering mass with the realities of the crises of today’s Nigeria.

They are the ones to be pitied. If only they knew the truth. If only they knew that Obi has since moved on to where he came from – the higher plane of serving humanity. If only they knew that for Obi, the battle is quite different – different from the quest of power for its sake – rather than power to do good. If only they knew that for Obi, it is not about the acquisition of wealth, obscene, garish, insatiable wealth, mostly stolen from the common purse, but that earned from the sweat of the brow and using same to pull the society up by its booths strap. Then, they would know to whom they would direct their spikes.

Yes, Peter Gregory Obi, has moved on. He had always told those, who cared to listen that the 2023 presidency, where he was the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), was not really for or about him but for Nigerians – that he had actually come to help. His idea was that since he had used his personal resources to try and better the lives of those around him, the presidency would offer him the greater opportunity of a wider spectrum – to use the enormous resources available in Nigeria to create a country that would be brimming hot with goodies. That had always been the intention.

Indeed, as he exhorted his followers, a few days ago not to give up, he would also not drop the gauntlet in achieving that aim. But in the event that the forces of darkness, with help from within and without, succeed in their evil plot to capture the country, he would simply return to basis – going about doing good with the little at his disposal.

That was exactly what he proved last week when he presented a cheque for N10 million at the foundation-laying ceremony of the Department of Midwifery and Public Health Nursing of the Millennium College of Nursing Sciences of the Awka Anglican Communion, Anambra State, a project he promised he would be part of till fruition, after donating N40 million to Faith Specialist Hospital, where the College is domiciled, all aimed at enhancing the Diocese’s overall initiatives in strengthening its healthcare facilities.

Hear him: “My motivation for this gesture stems from my belief that healthcare is one of the critical developmental needs of any society. I encourage support of institutions like the Church in their ongoing efforts to develop these vital areas. I want you to understand that these facilities do not solely benefit the bishop and his priests but rather the entire populace of the state. I therefore pledge my commitment to the project. I’ll also leverage my connections to secure funding from my friends for this purpose.”

Alexander Ibezim, Anglican Bishop of Awka and the Archbishop of Niger Province, while commending the former Governor of Anambra State, for consistently demonstrating his commitment to the welfare of the masses, cited his past accomplishments in the state, such as the return of schools to churches and massive financial support to the schools as well as substantial financial support for healthcare, as exemplary actions that other leaders should emulate when genuinely dedicated to serving the people.

“You’re a builder of both individuals and institutions. Your investments in education and healthcare dramatically transformed the landscape of these vital sectors within the state,” the obviously elated cleric, added.

Stella Chinwe Okunna, who was not only Obi’s Chief of Staff as governor, but his ears and eyes in many of his undertakings, thereafter was neither less enthusiastic nor short of words in praising her former boss, while praising the church as well for its dedication to initiatives that improve society, recalling how his vision during his tenure as governor, aligned with global developmental goals.

“Under his leadership, the healthcare sector was completely revitalised. Before his tenure, Anambra had no accredited health institutions, but during his time, the state gained many, including two accredited hospitals. Through Obi’s partnership with the Church, institutions like Iyienu Hospital, Ogidi, Holy Rosary Hospital, Waterside, Onitsha, St. Charles  Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha and St. Joseph Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu now have accredited Schools of Nursing, School of Midwifery, and Schools of Health Technology,” she said.

Recalling his significant support for the establishment of the School of Nursing at the Diocesan Hospital of Amichi Anglican Diocese, and efforts to the elevation of Iyi-Enu Hospital to a University Teaching Hospital, she added: “It was Obi’s government that initiated the construction of Chukwuemeka-Odumegwu Ojukwu Teaching Hospital from the scratch, equipped it, and secured accreditation.

“His administration also built 10 new maternity and child care facilities in remote areas of the state, and purchased close to 100 ambulances for selected Anambra hospitals. Rehabilitation of 15 General Hospitals in the 3 Senatorial Zones of the state, building of over 120 Primary Health Centres across various communities in the state. His achievements were so outstanding that he won first prize in the Bill and Melinda Gates prize for Polio immunization.”

Presently, Obi has moved to the Supreme Court to try and retrieve the mandate Nigerians gave him on February 25, after the September 6 PEPT verdict. It is going to be another attempt in the struggle to save the polity and gift the people the New Nigeria, he has always promised. No doubt, the forces with evil agenda would continue trying to stop him.

But, win or lose, ranting of Omokri and his gang or no, be it known that he has since moved on. Unlike his contemporaries, whose paths are clogged with the numerous barriers of dirty wealth or its vulgar display, he has since won the battle long ago by shedding the weight in more accumulation and the gnawing hunger for more and more and settled for giving and more giving. That’s why, he’s going about doing good!

Igboanugo, is the publisher of WhirlwindNews

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She ended well! *Echoes of testimonies, as Theresa Omolara Obu returns home in a blaze of glory

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“Theresa Omolara Obu ended well. Her life ended in prayer. At the hour of her death, she received that which all Christian men and women desire, which is, pray for me now and at the hour of our death,” were the eternal words with which Father Ehi Omoragbon of St. Francis Catholic Church, Idimu, Lagos, opened his sermons on Friday September 1.

It was indeed a testimony as well as exhortation for the sea of heads of men and women, who came from far and wide, from all over Nigeria and beyond to bid farewell to the matriarch of the Mark Obu family of Umukwata Kingdom in Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State, who passed on, in Lagos, on August 9, 2023 at the age of 72.

The kaleidoscope of colours inside the massive church, which was almost filled to capacity, despite being a work day, and the almost airtight situation outside the expansive compound betrayed the telltale signs of a big event that could only be captured in superlatives, which corroborated the verdict of the priest that the tentacle of the matriarch not only spread far enough but her life touched many across the globe quite positively.

How did Father Omoragbon establish his conclusion that Ma Obu ended well and is currently resting in the bosom of the heavenly hosts? Of course, he did by simply recounting how she spread love, devoted her life and times towards humanity through her work in the church as a devoted Christian and other altruistic activities through a long career as medical personnel in the channel of saving lives. With these and other acts of kindness as a businesswoman and pro-social being, she was able to uplift the less-endowed in the society, healing many wounds physically and spiritually till her last hours.

The cleric narrated how indeed, her last days on earth were epitomised by the fountain of love that radiated around her, and how the affection which she emitted throughout her life, were returned in quantum measures by those she cared for, particularly her immediate family, who were never far from her.

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This was crowned when she received the last sacraments that led her to a peaceful transition from life on earth to eternal rest – the sacrament of Extreme Unction – anointing of the sick – the desire of every Catholic and a privilege they get at their last hours.

Hear the priest: “At the hour of her passing in this life, our dear sister was not alone. The beloved husband stood with her, the church was at her side, the priests and the believers were there. And because the priests and the believers were at the side of this Christian woman, Jesus was there, because three had gathered in his name.

“And in his presence, our friend, Theresa renewed her baptismal profession and because she believed in the forgiveness of sins, she was called and she heard. She went softly to death and resurrection of Christ. May almighty God free you from all the punishments in this life and the life of the son. And after that, our dear sister was asked to be led by God into the kingdom of peace. She was admitted and she received the body of Christ. And for this beloved wife, at the hour of her death, everything was done in faith, in freedom and in love.

“Of love, this daughter of love, received and gave love, in good times, she was loved, she was loved in sickness. Her condition did not in any way make her any less loveable. The situation didn’t make her unwanted. Without counting costs, everything was done that this beloved daughter of God would live. The beloved husband and the children, who wanted to keep her were free and felt free to let her go and let the will of God be done in her life.

“Because of that freedom, we Christian men and women and church, we were free to bless her, saying, May the Lord Jesus Christ be with you and protect you, may He go before you to guide and stand behind you to give you strength. May He look upon you to keep you and bless you. Then that night, God said to this beloved daughter of us, come to me, you who have laboured and God gave this faithful servant rest from her dutiful labour – the labour of being a devoted wife, for whom being a wife was not a burden, the labour of raising children for which it was not a burden, but joy, the labour of helping God to give healing to the sick for which for her it was not a burden, but a deep source of consolation.

“With joy, she lived among women and men as a beloved daughter of God and through her somebody came to know the kindness of God. This beloved daughter with whom we gather this morning to worship for the last time on this side of life, trusted and worshipped God. Open-handedly, she gave with graciousness, she received forgiveness and she gave as well. And when the cross came, she picked up the cross and carried it with the strength of Christ. And I can stand here and testify that her living was not in vain.

“Now my brothers and sisters, in life, there are things that are vain and there are things that are meaningful. Today, let us set our eyes on things that last forever.  For soon, very soon, the glories of this life will pass away and all will remain is what we did for Christ. Soon, very soon, the glory of life will pass away and only what we did for Christ will last.

“When the end comes for us as it came for our sister, she was ready. When the end comes for us, let it be said as it is said of our beloved sister, she tried and did her best to love. Let it be said, church that we tried and did the best we could to feed the hungry. And when the end comes, let it be said as it is said of our beloved daughter, let it be said of us too that we tried and did our best to love and serve humanity. When the end comes, and it will come, at an hour we do not know, church, let it be said, as it is said of our sister that we tried to do our best possible duty as we ought to.

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“Our beloved sister, wife, friend, mother, grandmother, we know she was not perfect, but who is? None of us! She served and served and served again and again and again. Our friend, mother, sister a child of God was faithful. She did not deny in any way the father. She did not deny in any way even in the face of difficulty, the fidelity and the faithfulness of the Son. And at the end, I testify too that she trusted in the mercy and the forgiveness of the Holy Spirit.

“She did not deny the father, she did not deny the son, she did not deny the Holy Spirit. She was faithful and faithful all the way to the very end. So, now, let us hear what God said to the faithful servant: ‘“Welcome home. Enter into the joy of the Father.’”

Father Omoragbon, was actually not alone. His was indeed a further echo of the floodgate of testimonies that opened up from all quarters right from the outset of the news of her passing till she was finally interred, as many, whose lives she touched right from her childhood through her days as a professional nurse and as a businesswoman and leader in the church stepped forward to give account of her good life.

Pa Obu, the patriarch himself, in his tribute, had traced the beginning from their first meeting in December 1967 during a science, sent-forth party of Fatima College, Ikire in the present Osun State and how the friendship that ensued led to the tying of the nuptial knot, eight years later.

“We got introduced to each other and became friends. I cannot forget the memory of our friendship for eight years before we got married on 4th October, 1975… We sojourned together for 56 years, first as friends for eight years and marriage for 48 years,” he recounted.

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The intensity, level and quality of love that existed were such that twice, she nearly blocked the patriarch, a first class engineer, astute businessman, philanthropist and community leader from taking well-deserved traditional titles, having kicked against the idea, on the ground, according to him, that it could lead him into taking other wives, who would come in-between them and mess up what they shared.

Yet, to underscore the reciprocity of the mutual affection, the titles were taken without other women showing up. Thus, it was a win-win situation, especially when that of The Knight of St. Mulumba Nigeria, a Christian equivalent came in 1997.

He continued: “She was a very lovely friend and wife. She was very honest and pious. She could be quiet and cool, but she had a very strong character, such that when she took a decision on issues, she stood by it. She could be very stubborn, but she meant good on such issues and that my inputs are always needed to take a decision. We had our disagreements on many issues, but we found ways to resolve them.”

On the homefront, particularly about the children, he added: “My wife did not like travelling. Most mothers would have taken the advantage of having children abroad to leave behind their husbands, but my wife was an exception. She preferred to talk on hours on phone daily to all of them one after the other than travel. She loved her children and grandchildren that she could sacrifice all her savings to please them. She was very faithful, honest and respectful. Even in her sickness she was still struggling to play the role of a wife and mother always asking after the welfare of everyone. She will surely be missed by all the children especially our sons who were with her all the time during her illness. We are sure you are with our Lords Jesus Christ and praying for us. Rest in peace, till we meet to part no more.”

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What an emotional way of ending an epic elegy for a soulmate with whom one had shared 56 years of life, climbing the steep, slippery road, falling and pulling each other up in the trudging journey? How else could one capture such enthralling experience?

The testimonies of the children were no less revealing. From Osai Justina Ojigho, Omakolo Christiana Omotayo Ugowe, Ifeoma Gbenedio, Nwaka Obu, the daughters, to Chukwuma Tolupe Obu and Emeka Obu, the sons, through the grandchildren to the in-laws, family members, school mates, fellow workers, business partners, friends and well-wishers, who paid tributes in torrents of homage, it was clear that the words of Father Ehi Omoragbon, were in no way misplaced.

Centuries ago, the Romans wrote on their walls – vox populi vox Dei! If indeed the voice of the people is the voice of God, it then means that Theresa Omolara Obu, now has the best of the two worlds – a very positive, eventful and remarkable life on earth and now a blissful rest in heaven. What a way to END WELL!

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