Tributes & Reflections

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MY MOM: MY BEST FRIEND AND CONFIDANTE

Professor Obioma Nnaemeka (“Adaobi”), Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Often, in our imagination and desires, we transport those we love deeply—be they parents, partners, spouses, children, or lovers—beyond the reach of mortality. I love my mom with every fiber in my body. My imagination and desires catapulted my mom to a height that I thought was beyond the reach of mortality. Pure wishful thinking; mere illusion. My illusion was shattered on Monday, August 7, 2006.

My mom’s last twenty-four hours on earth were instructive. On Sunday, August 6, 2006, she did what she had done religiously for decades—she went to her beloved St. Peter’s Church, Agulu, to worship with friends and family and partake of the Holy Communion. It would be her last. My mom was a true believer, an exemplary Christian lady, a child of God. God’s benevolence and light shone through her. Monday, August 7, 2006, began like any ordinary day for me in the United States and my mom in Agulu, Nigeria. I had called her on Friday to inform her that I would be in Nigeria in a few days and had planned to spend the following weekend with her. On Monday, August 7, I went about taking care of my mom’s business in preparation for my departure for Nigeria—bought her medications and other items she requested and went to the bank to withdraw some money for her. The day also started routinely for my mom. She got up, had her bath, fixed and had breakfast, weeded the entrance to her compound, washed and put away her work shoes. Moments later, she relaxed on her favorite chair in the veranda and slipped into eternity, to touch the face of God. She passed on peacefully and with dignity.

My mom was as neat as a new pin; she was never messy. She loved order and ordered her life and surroundings meticulously and magnificently. She died as she lived—neatly, orderly, peacefully. My brother, Chris, called to break the devastating news. Shock, confusion, loss of words! I was paralyzed with pain; I was heartbroken. Later that night, I mustered enough strength to send out a one-sentence mass e-mail to friends and family around the world: “Dear friends and family, it is with a very heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of my mom, my best friend and confidante.” I was devastated and inconsolable.

What started as an ordinary day ended up extraordinarily. This paradox captures my mom and her charm—ordinary and extraordinary, strong and gentle, simple and complex. Yes, my mom was unique and extraordinary in many ways. She lived by example. She was exceptionally generous. Often, I provided much more than she requested or needed because I knew that she would not be the sole beneficiary. My mom loved to share. When I provided for her, I made sure I provided enough to accommodate her spirit of giving and sharing. My mom taught me kindness and generosity. For this and much more, I am most grateful.

Often, my mom’s statements about reincarnation betrayed what she valued most. She loved life and was convinced that she would have another shot at it! She often expressed two wishes: “In my next incarnation, I will request that God bring me back as your mother,” and “In my reincarnation, I will start formal schooling at three years old.” Family and education mattered most to her. She often told me that her greatest joy is that our family is together and at peace, that my siblings and I love each other and watch each other’s back. My mom was very loving. She loved her family, friends and neighbors unconditionally. As the years rolled by, aging brought me and my mom even closer. She nicknamed me “Adaobi.” We became soul sisters, friends, and soul mates. We shared secrets (big and small), histories (personal and collective), jokes, laughter, and much more. She was very caring and knew how to give of herself. She knew what true commitment to social change was and did a lot to change her environment for the better. A servant-leader par excellence, she led with humility and by example. She gave much more than she received. My mantra for many years was “whatever my mom wants, she gets.” But her desires were few and her demands minimal. Born into royalty and married into nobility and decency, she knew how to give dignity to a simple life.

My mom was smart, very smart. She was a quick study. I am amazed at the facility with which she grasped complexities. She trounced me in Ludo games. She would often strategize me out of a game with her complex moves. She knew that it was good to be smart but she also knew that formal education was a necessary tool for personal and collective development. She worked very hard to ensure that her boys and girls had access to formal education and achieved their full potential. My mom was aware of the deleterious effect of gender discrimination and rejected it. She worked against gender discrimination before it was fashionable in academic and bureaucratic circles. In fact, one of my mom’s deep regrets was that she did not have formal education to the level she would have wanted. She did not go to college but she did all she could to encourage her children (males and females) to go to college and attain their educational and career goals. My mom opened her mind, heart and eyes to the world and the world opened its beauty, complexity and magic to her. From this unique embrace emerged a mountain of possibilities on which those of us who were fortunate to know my mom could stand to see far and become ennobled. Mom, for this and much more, I love you; I thank you.

My mom traded in all sorts of commodities in order to provide for the education of her children and other children in need of support. On the whole, she did very well in her commercial ventures. The only time she ran into trouble was when she decided to go into the chin-chin business. Her children loved this Nigerian snack so much that they ate up all her profit! She had to quit the chin-chin business before we could bankrupt her. She took the collapse of her chin-chin business philosophically. She reasoned that the unsuccessful business venture was not too bad, after all. At the least, it fed her children as long as it lasted! My mom always saw the bright side of everything. Mom, for being an eternal optimist, I love you.

My mom had an incredible sense of humor. She was funny, very funny. She loved to laugh; she loved to make people laugh. She enjoyed hearing jokes; she loved telling jokes. Her arsenal of jokes was substantial. She had an amazing capacity to navigate generations. She was as comfortable in the company of toddlers and teenagers as she was among baby-boomers and her peers. She adopted my friends; she loved and respected them all. The outpouring of grief and deep sorrow from friends around the globe at her passing was palpable. My Ludo game sessions with mom were true global events. My friends from different parts of the world would call in to root for my mom. They would celebrate mom’s frequent victories, dismiss my occasional wins as trickery, and urge her to watch out!

Mom, on the day you passed away, part of me died. In the midst of my deep sorrow, I celebrate your wonderful life. In your next incarnation, I will be thrilled and truly honored to have you as my mom! You brought so much joy and laughter into my life that my first reaction to any evocation of your name is to laugh (you were very funny!). The pain of my enormous loss will always be there but the laughter helps to mitigate the pain. I cannot even begin to enumerate all that I will miss now that you are gone. You mean so much to me. I will miss your inimitable smile, striking beauty and elegance, infectious laughter, numerous jokes, endless love, proverbial humility, constant teasing, wise counsel, enormous dignity, boundless gifts and talents, extreme generosity and kindness, phenomenal energy and strength, soothing and reassuring gentleness, unimpeachable integrity, impeccable cleanliness and meticulousness, wonderful caring spirit, and exceptional words of wisdom. I will miss the things we did together—sitting in the swing chair in my garden chatting and watching the flowers bloom; holding hands and going for walks in my neighborhood; traveling to places far and near; entertaining friends and family; laughing and dancing away at parties and celebrations, etc. You were the life of the party! Mom, it’s been a great ride and I thank you for taking us along.

Mom, I love you with my whole being. I adore you. I will miss you very much. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! May your journey be smooth-sailing! May God Almighty smile upon you, hold you in His arms and give you peace.

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APPLAUSE FOR OBI’S BEAUTIFUL MOTHER

Dr. M. Douglas, Geneva, Switzerland

For me, losing Obi’s mom is like losing a biological parent. Going by what Obi told me about her mom—her struggles and determination to overcome—I was both eager and scared to meet her. I imagined that the woman that gave birth to my brilliant, beautiful and witty friend, Obi, would be an imposing, larger-than-life figure. When I finally met Mrs. Obidiegwu many years ago, I saw the beauty, dignity and elegance but not the intimidation. I looked into her beautiful eyes and they said to me “relax” and I did. After I was introduced to her, she gave me the warmest and most reassuring hug. The apprehension dissipated. I am truly blessed to have met such a caring, warm and unforgettable personality—a Queen indeed. What stuck in my head is how extremely neat she was. She kept her surroundings meticulously clean and orderly—bed always well-made, no dirty dish in the sink, bathroom flawless, etc. She was a superb cook and made the best Nigerian stew I have ever had! What is truly heartbreaking is to see Obi deal with the pain of a mother with whom she was extremely close. Watching the mother-daughter relationship was fascinating and uplifting. Obi and her mom were great friends—always laughing and giggling like happy schoolgirls. It was fun watching both of them play the board game, “ludo.” Obi’s mom was very competitive and won most of the time but even in her victory, she was most gracious. We are all crushed to lose such an extraordinary human being. I join Obi’s family and friends in mourning a special lady who made us laugh, fed us well and always showed us that she cared. My applause, respect, admiration, and gratitude go to a unique mother who touched our lives in positive ways.

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TRIBUTE TO MY MOTHER

Mr. Jerry Obidiegwu, Onitsha, Nigeria

To talk about my mother is a very tall order. She is like a good book you pick up to read and cannot put down. She is like a story you will tell many times without getting bored. Her life is a story about peace, love and caring. My mother was so peaceful that she seals differences with minimal effort. She spread her love to touch all equally. She did not discriminate. My mother had seven children and she shared her love into seven equal parts for them. She had three daughters-in-law and two sons-in-law and loved them all equally. She was so caring that you came to her with pains you never left without relief. My mother stood tall among women and stood out among mothers. She positively touched the lives of people across race, age, gender, and ethnic divides. As we mourn our loss here, many are mourning with us in far away places such as Indianapolis (Indiana), Minneapolis/St. Paul and Duluth (Minnesota), Dallas (Texas), Maryland, Germany, Norway, Australia, France, Finland, Switzerland, etc. Indeed, USA has lost an honored citizen. This is my mother.

I now take a brief moment to talk to my mother for the last time before she is laid to rest. Mama, for three decades, you rolled into one the functions of a father and mother and carried it on your shoulders showing no pains till the end. As we look back at the road we traveled, we can only see the debris of the obstacles mounted on our ways which you dismantled as they were coming up, giving us easy passage in life. Lawyer, in the dark moments of our lives, you brought light; in periods of despair you gave us courage and hope; and when we were down, you lifted us up.

Mama, your exit has dug a whole that cannot be filled; created a space that cannot be covered. When we look at this hole we see a light and in the space we see a star—a guiding star. We will live in this light. We will follow this star until we join you in eternity. The peace which you planted among us, we will sustain. The love which you lavished on us we will cherish and hold. The care you gave to us we will extend. Mama, as St. Paul said in 2nd Timothy: 7-8, “You have fought a good fight; you have finished your course. You have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for you a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give you at that day.” Mama, if there is re-incarnation, we your children individually and collectively will fight to re-incarnate through your womb, just as you told us that in your next world, you would want us—Joy, Jerry, Obioma, Chris, Peter, Amaka and Obiageli—as your children.

Finally, Mama, we your children hold hands together and take a firm stand to say ‘’Thank You’’ to you and when we say it on this occasion, we say it as it has never ever been said before—it is running in our blood; it is all over us and we are saying it from the very bottom of our hearts. Thank you! Thank you!! Thank you!!! Farewell!

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FAREWELL TO THE MOTHER OF A BRILLIANT COLLEAGUE

Dr. Suzanne Mercier, Melbourne, Australia

I have never met Obi’s mom, Mrs. Obidiegwu, but that is beside the point. You don’t need to know her to appreciate the impact she has had in our lives. She gave birth to a superstar in the academy–her exceptionally hardworking and brilliant daughter, Obi. Obi’s grasp of the breadth and dept of many disciplines has made it possible for her to produce the original and extraordinary work that has informed and transformed our work–both the work of academics and those of us independent scholars working all over the world. We are all grateful to Mrs. Obidiegwu. From the stories Obi told us about her mom, it is obvious that she got from her mom her own deep sense of and firm commitment to social justice. Obi’s investment of energy, intellect, and time to making the world a better place has brought happiness and hope to many. We cannot thank her mother enough for giving birth to and raising our beautiful, smart, and witty friend and colleague, Obi. Thank you, Mrs. Jessie Obidiegwu, and farewell!

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FAREWELL, MOTHER OF ROYALTY

Professor Chimalum Nwankwo (Muo), North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA

When I first met you, Mama, I told you I was the King of my people of Ndike. I was “Eze Ndike.” You believed me and accepted me. Despite Obioma’s word, you remained my best “subject” till you left us so suddenly. You were a Queen or you would not have recognized a King. Obioma, your gem of a daughter, has always refused to accept that fact because she is always jealous of my regal stature. But Obi or no Obi, I thank you for the radiance of the Queen which I enjoyed throughout my knowing you. Too many things I cannot forget about you which no flood of tears can wipe away. When I sat by your side at Agulu, I felt the banner of the great Spirits ruffling around you, fanning a flame of ease and goodness. You smiled and laughed infectiously, better than any Queen anywhere imagined in my heart or real in my world.

Your age quietly told your great story as the maiden among the maidens of Igbo country when Igbo country was the elephant! Country which no one dared play with, when Igbo country was led by women who chose their kings or gracefully ruled their husbands with a simple wink or a simple clearing of the throat, wordlessly. Age robs the greatest among us of our tastes, our fineness, our instinct for discriminating between dross and gold, but you kept your gold with you to the end. You were just IT, clean in every way, the cleanliness of a just and fair and well-anointed deity. I contemplate and drowse in the pure scent of precious deity, my Mother of Royalty, which trails your passing like the eddy of a gentle breeze, because I know what rarity is all about. Rare Mom. I will always remember you with a smile whenever I drive past your house on the way from Ndike to Agulu or Agulu to Ndike. Know that from where you are watching us with your trade mark serene smile that your sojourn on this earth was worth it. Your very special and precious children know it, and so do the special friends who grace the lives of your children, and join in the royal celebrations of your passing through the colonnade of ageless ogilisi trees toward the halls of the great ancestors. Farewell, Mama.

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“LAWYER”—A GREAT MOTHER

Mr. Peter Chukwudozie Obidiegwu, Abuja FCT, Nigeria

Mama, Mrs. Jessie M. Obidiegwu, a.k.a. Lawyer, you were a great mother! You were a source of Joy to everyone who knew you. A Christian to the core and a believer, not only in God but in goodness, you loved and cherished the Bible including the book of Jeremiah. For your steadfastness and total belief in God, the Lord gave you Grace. No wonder, you were able to cope successfully with the responsibilities left by your beloved spouse, Christopher, for decades. Excellence was your watchword.

It is on record that in Agulu, St. Peter’s Church to be precise, you transparently and effectively led the women (home and abroad) for thirteen years. At home you had always acknowledged the fact that Nwamaka—a fact that which you acknowledged publicly few years back. Mama, we your children love you very dearly, and in recognition of your good life on earth we believe that Nneka. Mama, you were mother not only to your biological children but to all our relations and friends.

You were so nice and kind that everyone would wish to have you as mother. You took motherly care of all of us including our siblings. It is still very fresh in my memory how my friends visited our home at different times in my absence and you made them feel at home. They never felt my absence. In fact they were so much at home with you more than when I am there. That is why some of them call you the “Mama” and yet some extended it to “Mama de Mama.”

Lawyer, you were a wonderful mother, very soft spoken and a very peace-loving person. Even at the point of death you exhibited your peacefulness. Mama all of us pray that someday we will meet you in the bosom of the Lord to part no more. Rest in perfect peace!

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ONWU VU ARIRI

Professor Phanuel Akubueze Egejuru, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, USA

The one entity that puts
Humans in their place, Death
Drags its baggage of insults
And throws it at us.
What can you do mortals?
Nothing, nothing can we mortals
Do to a slave who serves
To drive us in satin draped coaches
To our final restful home.
Mannered mortals do not
Return insult for insult
But turn a blank or smiling face
To blunt the sharp edges of insult.
Obi Mgbo,
Ndo!, ndo nwa nnem, taba nsi!
Take comfort in remembering that
While your mom lived,
You brought her joy and made her
So proud of you that
The only item in her will was:
“In my next life, let me be your mom again.”

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GRANDMOTHER, I WILL MISS YOU GREATLY!

Mr. Ifenna Obidiegwu, Abuja FCT, Nigeria

Dear Grandmother, how so soon you left us; leaving us in this world alone without saying goodbye! Why did you not live longer to enjoy more the fruits of your labor? You have positively touched our lives with your wonderful character, neatness, peace, love and cheerfulness. You were so neat even at the very minute you passed away. How can I forget the lovely time we all spent together, most especially during the big celebration we organized in your honor four years ago? To show how generous and popular you were, so many people turned up to celebrate with you. You were truly the mother of all, the Lawyer of all Lawyers. We will miss you. How can I forget the way you conducted yourself, how you were glowing and beaming with smiles, how full of life you were. Nobody ever thought that you would pass away four short years later. Just a day before this sad event, you spoke with my mom and you were full of life. Well, we cannot question the Maker. We will all miss you Mama. Although you are no longer with us in flesh, your memory will continue to reign in our lives. Adieu, Grandmother!

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TRIBUTE TO LATE MADAM JESSIE OBIDIEGWU, a.k.a. LAWYER

Engr Sir Vincent & Lady Joy Maduka, Aba, Nigeria

End of an Age: Late Madam Jessie Obidiegwu, a.k.a. Lawyer, was the fifth of six children of Chief and Mrs. Ogbuefi of Obeagu Village in Agulu. She was blessed with seven children (three males and four females) and a long life. Her death came as a shock to us. She served as the Chairperson of St. Peter’s Church Women’s Conference (August Meeting) home and abroad for many years after the Nigerian civil war. Upon her death she left many legacies.

Excellent Mother: Age never debarred her from looking after her children. She would make sure that there was food in the house for any of her children who were around. At times it was difficult to imagine how she cared for the welfare of every person, in spite of the limitations of old age. She took take of her house helps as she cared for her own children. Motherly love is never in chains she would always say.

Exemplary Mother-in-law: Her relationship with the wives of her children was always superb. For her, the daughters-in-law were first and foremost the mothers of her grandchildren and what concerns them is her concern as well. She loved her sons-in-law as she loved her own sons.

A Good Neighbor: Many around her would make her house the first port of call when they were in trouble or in need. In most cases she would meet their needs. She would also share what she had with anyone who calls on her for food. She would gladly share the burden of her neighbors in true Christian Spirit.

Peace Maker: No matter the provocation, she was willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of peace. This marked her out among many.

Dear brothers and sisters—Lady Ngozi Maduka, Mr. Jerry Obidiegwu, Professor Obioma Nnaemeka (USA), Mr. Christopher Obidiegwu (USA), Mr. Peter Obidiegwu, Mrs. Amaka Ndukwe (USA), and Ms. Obiageli Obidiegwu (USA)—weep no more! Think more of the legacies she has left behind. What a challenge that would be! Dear daughters-in-law (Gloria, Uche and Sarah) and sons-in-law (Engr Sir Vincent Maduka and Philip Ndukwe)—weep no more! Rather concentrate on the fact that mama has bequeathed a lot of kingdom qualities to those of us left behind. Take them to heart and bear good testimony to her memory. We appreciate the grandchildren; weep no more!—Mrs. Ngozi Immanuel, Dr. Uchenna Maduka, Mrs. Amaka Ihekwoaba CPA (USA), Okey Maduka, Attorney Ike Nnaemeka (USA), Barrister Azokam Maduka, Uche Nnaemeka (USA), Ezinwanne, Chisom, Chidimma, Chinonso, Chukwunwike, Chinelo, Ifenna, Chima (USA), Ifedi (USA), Adaora (USA), Uchenna (USA) Obidiegwu, and Obiora Obikwelu (USA). Playing with the great grandma was a rear opportunity to many great grandchildren. She longed for that opportunity too, but unfortunately a few of you did not have this chance. The great grandchildren are Grace Mercy, Wisdom and Joshua Immanuel and also Samuel, Sydney, and Stanley Ihekwoaba. Mama, we bid you farewell. We wish you a perfect rest in the bosom of our Lord. We pray that nothing should constitute an obstacle to you when the Lord will call his own heavenly wards. Amen!

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THE DEBT WE OWE OUR MOTHERS

Professor Dubem Okafor, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, Kutztown, USA

When a man/woman has buried his/her mother and his/her father, s/he discharges his/her debts to the Spirits—(Igbo Philosophy)

These flash-storms break
when all appear becalmed.
When the cumulus has scattered,
when rumbling thunders have become silent,
they erupt, my sister and friend, Obioma,
to tempt us and test our strength
We know mortality defines us,
is stranger to no homestead
yet it pains–your brother knows.
Matured sucklings cannot bear
token harvests of gratitude to slaves of love
The great souls that bore and suffered us
who denied themselves for our growth.
Summoned on the eve of fame and plenty
they eat not—so it pains.
The physical snapping of the umbilicus,
the metaphysical twine that bonds us to our mothers,
Traversing worlds, translated ancestrally—our mothers watch.
They watch over us and hear our tears,
Still the wound deepens, nor can it heal.
Not even time can dry these soul-eyes
Only a summons equally importunate
takes us to their present domain
Into their bosoms
As the curtain drops on plaintive unlife

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THE PASSING OF THE STRONG ONE

Dr. Chioma Opara, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nigeria

As a mother who has had it both ways; losing my closest friend and mother as well as losing my dearest friend and first-born daughter, I know the thorny terrain of mourning. I also know that we don’t really lose the ones we love dearly, because they live forever in our hearts. For we cherish the moments closely shared together and tenaciously cling unto those memories with rays of hope of the resurrection day with eternal bliss. Mama Obioma, a.k.a. LAWYER, is our mother; a dynamo whose memory we will always cherish. We feel her presence in all the things that we write as we quote her erudite daughter. We feel her presence in the hearty laughter we hear when we talk to her ebullient daughter. We feel her presence in the determined strides of her dynamic daughter. We, indeed, celebrate Mama’s life and all that she gave to this world, especially to African womankind.

Na nudo, Ezigbo nne!!

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REFLECTIONS: MRS. JESSIE OBIDIEGWU SHARED HER BEAUTIFUL & LOVING SPIRIT

Ms. Joanna Renee Fields, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, USA

The first time I met Mrs. Jessie Obidiegwu was when Professor O. Nnaemeka received the Prestigious External Recognition Award from Indiana University at Indianapolis. I was there to help celebrate the occasion and take pictures of everyone in attendance. As Professor Nnaemeka’s graduate assistant, I was very open to learning everything I could about the world and Africa, especially Nigeria.

Professor Nnaemeka told me stories of how the elderly were treated so differently in Nigeria as compared to the United States and how special her mother was. I could only imagine how her mother was and I was nervous about meeting her because I wanted to be respectful and proper. When Professor Nnaemeka introduced me to her mom, her mom reached out for me and embraced me in a big hug!! I didn’t have to worry about being proper because her mother had already accepted me as one of her own; much like Professor Nnaemeka already had accepted me. Mrs. Obidiegwu sat next to me during the program and wanted me to be included in the pictures that I was taking of the family and friends who had gone to the event to celebrate Professor Nnaemeka’s achievement. From that day on, I no longer had to imagine how and why Mrs. Obidiegwu was special, loved and revered by all. That day, I was blessed with another grandmother who I instantly cared for deeply.

Last spring, Professor Nnaemeka informed me that her family and the families of her siblings in the U.S. would travel to Agulu in December 2006 to celebrate Mrs. Jessie Obidiegwu’s 80th birthday. In the summer, I purchased an airline ticket to travel to Nigeria with Professor Nnaemeka’s family. Mrs. Obidiegwu accepted me as a member of her family and I wanted to celebrate the milestone with her and her family. She shared her beautiful and loving spirit with me and I will always remember her graciousness.

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QUEEN OF THE PARTY

Dr. Martha Banks, Akron, OH, USA

Dear Obi, my heart just broke when I read about your seeing your Mom at the mortuary. Just over a year ago, I had the same heartbreak and I share your pain. I attach a picture of your mom that I took at the 1999 graduation party for your son, Ike. Your Mom looked so proud and I was so delighted to meet her. She was clearly the Queen of the Party and made all of us feel so welcome and at home. I know you reflect all of her best qualities. I will miss her.

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THANK YOU FOR BLESSING MY LIFE

Mr. Uchenna Nnaemeka, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA

Dear Mama, thank you for blessing my life. You gave me wisdom because you wanted to see me succeed. You were never selfish, but you taught me how to protect what is mine. Thank you for teaching me with your actions. Your spirit is very strong, and I admire that about you. You proved that if you give a lot in life, you shall also receive a lot. It was because of you that I have the kind of mother that I have, and the kind of uncles and aunties that I have. I thank God for giving me the gift of having you in my life, because I know that everyone is not fortunate to grow up with someone like you. You have been with me since the moment I was born, and you always treated me magnificently. I will never forget the things you told me, and I will teach my children the same things. When I see you again, I’ll be confident in knowing that I lived my life the right way, just like you taught me.

I love you.

Dalu

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A MARVELOUS LEGACY

Dr. Yvonne Williams, the Hampton and Esther Boswell Distinguished University Professor, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, USA

My Dearest Sister Obi, unfortunately I never had the privilege of meeting your mother face to face, but I feel that I have known her in spirit through you. She must have been a wonderful, wonderful woman. The loss of one of our mothers is heart wrenching for all of us, especially those of us who love you so dearly. Truly, she will live on through you and your siblings. She has left us a marvelous legacy.

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TRIBUTE TO OUR WONDERFUL GRANDMOTHER-IN-LAW, a.k.a. LAWYER

Samuel, Amaka, Sam Jr., Sydney, and Stanley Ihekwoaba, Maryland, USA

I remember the very first time my grandmother-in-law came to spend sometime with me and my family in Washington, DC area in 2002. My phone rang, and the gentleman on the other end asked if he could speak to Lawyer; I told him that he must have dialed a wrong number. It dawned on me when my wife walked into the room and said: “Oh! The call must be for Mama.” I did not know that Mama was the “Judge” herself. As you were popularly called, Mama Agulu, you were indeed the mother of the whole village. Everyone was always welcomed in your home. Lawyer, we do not mourn your death; rather we celebrate the wonderful and exemplary life you lived. Everyone who met you loved you. You were a naturally joyous and gentle soul who asked little from anyone and gave much to everyone. You overlooked faults, never judged, and was at your radiant best when you were with family, whether it was a huge family reunion or a visit from a single family member. You slipped away from us on the 7th of August, 2006, as gently as you lived. We will miss you so much. There is a hole in our hearts now, but a hole that will be filled with memories and sweet fragrances of the gentle, loving soul that our great/grandmother was. Mama, now that you have gone to a better place, may our good Lord grant you eternal rest in his kingdom till we meet to part no more. Lawyer (as you were fondly called) rest in peace! Lawyer, ka o di. Ezinne, je nke oma. Mama, we love you but God loves you most.

Adieu Mama!!!!!!

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IN MEMORIAM

Chief Nwozo Amankwe, Agulu, Nigeria

It is painful to write this tribute to Madam Jessie Obidiegwu. When I saw her sometime in June, she was full of life and had her usual jokes. I never suspected that it would be our last meeting. She was called “Lawyer” because of her intelligence and wit. A very humane lady, she cared very much for others. It was a long struggle to train her children; but she succeeded in training all of them. Her demeanor was such that unless one was told, one would never suspect that she had a single problem in the world. It is a pity that she has gone .We shall miss her jokes. We shall miss her counseling. We shall miss her very much. May God grant her eternal rest!

Lawyer, nodu mma.

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MY BELOVED GRANDMOTHER, MADAM JESSIE OBIDIEGWU

Mr. Obiora Obikwelu, Minneapolis, MN, USA

I am going to use this opportunity to tell you a short story about my beloved grandmother, Madam Jessie Obidiegwu, a.k.a. Lawyer. I have heard a lot of stories about how she struggled to raise her children and that is what makes her a hero. Not like a hero that can fly or has superpowers. She is the kind of hero that helps people. If you look up the definition of “Good Samaritan,” it is a description of my grandmother. When I received the news about Mama’s death on August 7, 2006, I felt like it was the end of my life. But then I started right away to think about the fun times I had with her. I could see her smiling and telling me that everything would be okay. The things I am going to miss most about Mama are her love, her smile, her warmth, taking walks with her around our neighborhood, playing Ludo with her, dancing for her, and listening to the stories she used to tell me about our family. Mama died before this year’s IgboFest—the yearly festival we have in Minnesota. At the IgboFest, I was so nervous when it was time to dance but somehow, I heard Mama’s voice saying: “Do it for me.” And I did! Life will not be the same without Mama, but I will try to move on and keep doing all the good things she taught me and will do all I can to make her proud. Mama, I will miss you very much and I will forever cherish you for the rest of my life.

♥♥♥♥♥

FOR “LAWYER”

Professor Chukwuma Azuonye, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA

“Lawyer,” I met you last over 35 years ago—amid the ruins of the Nigerian civil war—in your home at Ogui urban area at a time of intense struggle to see your little girl, Obioma, through the University of Nigeria.

Odogwu nwaanyi,
I meela!

Aka aja aja

Buteere oha onu mmanu mmanu,

I meela!

Ide bu ulo,

I meela!

Mma ogori ahuru ruo ulo elu,

I meela!

Okaikpe

Onye ikpe biri n’olu ya,

I meela!

Nne bu eze,

I meela!

I meela! And you did it in a magnificent way. Your love, devotion, patience and inspiration have combined to shape your daughter, Obioma—a woman leader of extraordinary vision and energy, an innovative leader of global standing, a quintessence of humane femininity who radiates with a natural passion for doing that it might be done and not, as is the convention in our desolate world of today, doing that it might merely be seen! We have seen in the daughter you have raised the iridescent glow of the woman you too would have become. As you walk the path of light to join your ancestors, we rejoice with you that you have indeed reaped in full the harvest of motherhood—Ohuru nwa. You said it all in the words of wisdom you spoke to my wife, Chioma, in the last of your telephone conversations with her only a few brief months ago. Chioma and our whole family join me in wishing you a peaceful return to those ancestors who said it all in the name we give our children—Nneka, “Mother is Supreme”! May your soul rest in peace.

♥♥♥♥♥

GRANDMA—YOU ARE THE BEST!

Dr. Uchenna Maduka, Awka, Nigeria

Mama, I am very happy and have every cause to give glory to God for your life. Lawyer, you were a pillar of encouragement that was there for us all at Agulu. I had always looked forward to my weekend visits with you to interact with you and listen to your wise counsel. The realization that this special relationship will no longer be possible is what pains me the most. Mama, the Sunday before you departed, I was with you, you gave no clue as to what would happen the next day. You chose to leave peacefully, having lived peacefully with everyone. Mama, I am happy that you were alive to see my fiancée (Nneka) and you did approve, but my sadness is that you will not fulfill your promise of accompanying me to my in-laws. Well the Almighty knows best. When I have children, I will tell them that there lived a grandma that was the best that can be. I will always remain grateful to God for having you as my granny. Adieu Lawyer! Mama, may your soul find eternal rest in the bosom of the Lord.

♥♥♥♥♥

CELEBRATION OF A LONG & BLESSED LIFE

Professor Michael C. Mbabuike (Ugonabo), Hostos College of City University of New York, USA

The news of the transition of Mrs. Jessie Obidiegwu, a.k.a. Lawyer, was both sudden and deeply sad but also an occasion to praise, honor and thank our God for having bestowed on Lawyer a very blessed, joyous and fruitful long life with her family and with all of us. Lawyer, as she was fondly and respectfully called, had most generously adopted all those who met her directly or/and through her children among whom are great administrators, academic luminaries, sons and daughters-in-law, grand children and many other relatives who today celebrate her life. Lawyer had the ability and gift to appease, console and make everyone she talked to feel loved and convincingly appreciated. She was “our mother, the Lawyer” who had time not only for the members of her family but for all of us whom she welcomed and adopted as hers. Lawyer gave new meaning and honor by the way she addressed us with our titled names. Decidedly another hallowed saint has occupied her heavenly seat in God’s paradise. As we celebrate our Lawyer’s long and blessed life, we continue to offer gratitude and glory to the Lord who endowed her with strength and beauty of character, veracity, luminous smile that came from the depths of her heart, humaneness, the wisdom to love and inspire. Lawyer always had that laughter that soothed and appeased as well as the fortitude, grace and especially that deep seated virtue of perfect motherhood.

Lawyer, as you take your place among your fellow saints and angels in eternal bliss and praise of our heavenly Father, we honor and thank you for the enduring legacies of glorious memories which, during your saintly sojourn on earth, you most generously bequeathed to all of us. We shall never forget. Adieu. Rest in the perfect peace of Our Lord!

♥♥♥♥♥

THE MOST REMARKABLE OF WOMEN

Professor Valérie Orlando, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA

Dearest Obi, my tribute to your mother is that she gave birth to you, and that, for me, makes her the most remarkable of women!

♥♥♥♥♥

PHASES AND CONTINUM: TRIBUTE BY THE ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN WOMEN SCHOLARS (AAWS) FOR THE MOTHER OF OUR PRESIDENT, PROFESSOR OBIOMA NNAEMEKA

The Executive, Association of African Women Scholars (AAWS)

What you put on life’s journey
What you leave on our footprints
The lives you touched on the way
Are what we count as we celebrate
The life of the mother of the mother
Of the Association of African Women Scholars.

Life is a phase, life is continuum
You are still here always with us
We treasure all that you gave us
Your loving memory is here with us
As we grieve, salute, and celebrate
YOU—Mama, the mother of the mother
Of the Association of African Women Scholars.

♥♥♥♥♥

TRIBUTE TO MY JEWEL OF HONOUR

Ms. Ezinwanne A. Obidiegwu, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria

Ada Ogbuefi! Nne Bu Nne! Nne Ora! Oke Nwanyi! Lawyer Umuagbala! I lack words to say thank you, for being there for me during my school days, and for your advice and prayers. You were such a rare gem; even your exit was a rare one. Mama you created a vacuum that can never be filled, but be assured that your legacy will live on. I will never forget you mama, you will always be on my mind. With gratitude to God for a life well spent, I pray that you will have a perfect rest in the bosom of our Lord, Amen. Adieu, Mama. Farewell. Ijeoma. Bon voyage!

♥♥♥♥♥

A VICTORIOUS LIFE: ACROSTIC VERSE IN HONOR OF MADAM JESSIE OBIDIEGWU, a.k.a. LAWYER

Professor Bassey Eyo, St Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN, USA

Jewel of Obeagu, Odidama, Agulu you lived a Victorious Life
Everybody should know your life on earth was Extraordinary
So extraordinary was your life your passing is indeed ordinary
Spirit you are now as ‘Lawyer’ departs to touch the face of God
Inspiration you have left for us will forever be our barge of Honor
Eagle lady you have kept faith with the Almighty God, so fly with pride
Mother on Earth so great God calls you to be mother in Heaven
God will forever bless you for the gift of great children to this nation
Blessed are those like you who lived to serve others to uplift Humanity
All trumpets in Obeagu and Odidama bring praises of your character
Future beckons us to never forget your fortitude and virtues on earth
Optimism you epitomized will keep us steady to always embrace Hope
Radiance inscribed on your Heaven’s castle is our source of pride
Oh God of all Creation thank you for giving us this incredible Mother
Bless us with the capacity to forever love Mother as her spirit is with us
Identity with God we realize is behind Mother’s success on earth
Discernment Mother taught us we promise to pass on to our children
Immortal you are in the hearts of those you have left behind
Every day, we will embrace as our emblem your inner strength
Good night our Mother, our Sister, our Friend, our ‘Lawyer’
Wisdom invites us to say to you, Rest in Peace
Until we meet again have wondrous, blessed days with God!

♥♥♥♥♥

MOTHER OBIDIEGWU, OUR SPECIAL “LAWYER,” IS AT PEACE

The Ikoro Family: Mother Rosaline Onyonyewoma, Ozoro, Delta State; Emmanuel & Maureen Ikoro, Auchi, Edo State; Elo Charity Oju, Roseville, Minnesota, USA; John & Oyin Ikoro, Kenneth & Elizabeth Ikoro, Esther & Emmanuel James, and Elizabeth Ikoro, Port Harcourt, Rivers State

For nurturing values of family responsibility
Anchoring her children in love and cooperation;
Creating a sense of belonging in her home; and
Extending kindness to others in the community;
Mother Obidiegwu, our special “Lawyer,” is at peace.
For conducting life with grace and dignity;
Exuding quiet wisdom and gentle oratory;
Fostering fairness and win-win negotiations; and
Engendering community growth and unity;
Mother Obidiegwu, our special “Lawyer,” is at peace.
For leading a life full of vitality;
Modeling hard work and service to the end;
Leaving in her children a legacy of strength; and
Allowing them to celebrate a life well fulfilled;
Mother Obidiegwu, our special “Lawyer,” is at peace.
With Fond Memories

♥♥♥♥♥

IN MEMORIAM: HOME CALL FOR A WORTHY MOTHER

Professor Akachi Ezeigbo, University of Lagos, Nigeria

To you, gentle soul,
A song to cheer you on to the Heavenly abode
Where your flight took you
To be with Him who loves you best.
Mortals are we though made in His image;
Allowed to live here for a while, our destiny to fulfill,
You lived an exemplary Christian life.
Whoever thought you would depart at this time?
Least of all your beloved children,
The idea was to celebrate you at eighty
And preparations were underway to accomplish this
But your Lord and Master had other plans for you.
Now our poem transmutes to a different song
To celebrate your transition to eternal bliss
In the abode of Light where a mansion was prepared for you
The manner of your going is a consolation to your loved ones
For, ever loving, you remained considerate and compassionate to the end
Withdrawing without a commotion
Strong and active to the last
Sparing your family the heartache and the trauma
That prolonged illness inevitably inflicts.
You’ll be remembered for your works, your life of service,
Farewell, Sweet Mother. Valiant Soul
Child of God who lived, loved and shone like a star
The Angels escort you, Pilgrim of Light
Laa n’udo. Gaa nkeoma,

♥♥♥♥♥

TRIBUTE TO A GREAT MOTHER

Mr. Innocent Ofomata & Family, Agulu, Nigeria

“Lawyer,” as you were popularly called, you showed me that apart from my biological mother, I could still have a mother elsewhere. You related to me as your biological son. Your concern, love and care for me and others will remain indelible in my heart throughout my days in this world. I have no doubt in my mind that the Almighty God is waiting to show you the resting place he prepared for you in his perfect kingdom. Bye-bye.

♥♥♥♥♥

MADAM JESSIE OBIDIEGWU (POPULARLY KNOWN AS LAWYER) IS GONE

Mr. Philip Chikezie Ndukwe, Dallas, TX, USA

My dear mother in-law, Madam Jessie Obidiegwu, died in her home town Agulu on August 7th, 2006. I had made a quick one week business trip to Nigeria in May without any intention of seeing her due to a very tight schedule. Little did I know that I would never see her again. One early morning, I asked a friend to drive me to Agulu to see my mother in-law because she would not forgive me for not coming to see her even for one minute. Due to treacherous road conditions, it took me many hours to get to Agulu. From the gate to her compound, I yelled “Lawyer” and on recognizing my voice, she ran out yelling back “Ifechukwukwuru.” She was the only person that called me by that name. She also called me Firip. We hugged each other and I told her that I was in Nigeria on a business trip and my conscience could not let me return to the United States without visiting her. This visit lasted only about ten minutes and I was gone, promising to spend quality time with her on my next visit to Nigeria. This is now pure wishful thinking and mere illusion.

Jessie Obidiegwu was a special mother-in-law and more importantly, my friend. We bonded very well the very first time we met in person. Whenever she visited Nwamaka and me in Dallas, Texas, we joked around like good old schoolmates. Lawyer, as she was popularly called, had little formal education, but she would engage you in all kinds of conversation ranging from religion and health to culture and politics. I remember vividly a discussion she and I had at one time and she ended up telling me that “Common sense is not common.” She was only reminding me in a subtle way that having an MBA from an American University does not mean that I know it all. Lawyer was very smart. Whenever we were not at home, she would answer the phone and take down messages meticulously and perfectly. She may not spell the names correctly in English, but we would surely understand what she meant. Before delivering the messages she jotted down, she would jokingly demand fees for the secretarial services she rendered.

This tribute will be incomplete without mentioning the profound LOVE relationship that exists between Lawyer and her children. She loved her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren sons-in-law, and daughters-in-law, unconditionally and vice versa. She also extended this love to friends, acquaintances and strangers. She did not know how to discriminate; it did not matter to her if you are white or black, male or female, young or old, rich or poor. She was very caring. The lady that talked, walked, and lived for her children, in-laws, relatives and friends throughout her life has left us. The lady of honor, integrity and great virtue that shaped the different personalities and visions of her children now lives in our memory. Yes, the dynamic lady, Jessie Obidiegwu, my darling mother-in-law has bade the world good-bye.

Ogom Nwanyi, I respect you, I adore you, and I love you very dearly. Ije oma; na n’udo. Ka Onye Nweanyi nata mkpuru obi gi na udo.

♥♥♥♥♥

OKE OSISI A DAWO: A TRIBUTE
ODOGWU NWANYI—MRS. JESSIE OBIDIEGWU

Professor Phanuel Akubueze Egejuru, Loyola University, New Orleans, LA, USA

Oke osisi Orji kwuchiri uzo nke ikuku mmiri si agafe!
Mgbe ikuku onwu zuru gi ike n’ahu, I kpohuru
Ma na mkpohu abughi odida, mkpohu abughi kwa nfopu
N’ihi na Orji gbara mkporogwu ruo n’aja ocha.
N’ezie, ikuku onwu butere mkpohu
Ma na mkpohu abughi odida, odida abughi kwa onwu
N’ihi na ogwe Orji mutara igbogbo na ogbdu
Nkoghoro na egidigi, ha nyere ndi mmuo olu,
Ndi mmuo tiri nkpu, tikuo oha n’ile si:
“Oke osisi a dawo, oke osisi a dawo!”
Ma na odida abughi onwu
N’ihi na mmuo nke Odogwu Jessie Obidiegwu
Di ndu n’ime umu ya, na umu umu ya.
Aha nke Odogwu Jessie Obidiegwu g’adigide n’ezi n’ulo ya
Site n’omumu rue omumu.
“Oke osisi a dawo, oke osisi a dawo!”
Ma na odida abughi onwu, odida abughi kwa nfopu
N’ihi na ogwe Orji bu nne igbogbo na ogbudu
Nke bu olu uda na onu nkonko nke ndi mmuo
Ndi n’eti mkpu n’agbasa olu aka n’ile nke
Odogwu Jessie Obidiegwu.

(English Translation)
Odogwu Nwanyi, Jessie Obidiegwu!
Mighty Iroko that stood in the path of storm!
When the wind of death spent itself upon your trunk,
You yielded to slight bending
But bending is not falling, bending is not uprooting
For the Iroko sinks its roots in deep red soil.
Truly, the deathly wind forced a bending
But bending is not falling and bending is not dying
For the trunk of Iroko begets igbugbo and ogbudu
Hollow and sonorous, they envoice the spirits
And the spirits wail and laugh and sing invocation:
“A mighty tree is fallen! A mighty tree is fallen!”
But falling is not dying
For the spirit of Odogwu Jessie Obidiegwu
Lives in her children and children’s children
The name of Odogwu Jessie Obidiegwu
Will live in her family from generation to generation
“A mighty tree is fallen! A mighty tree is fallen!”
But falling is not dying, falling is not uprooting
For the Iroko trunk is mother of igbugbo and ogbudu drums
The loud voice and mouthpiece of spirits proclaiming
And spreading the achievements of Odogwu Jessie Obidiegwu

♥♥♥♥♥

FRUITS IN GOD’S GARDENS

Dr. Raul Kassea, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Our mother’s death comes as such a shock. It’s such a sorrowful event, remembering that she was spiritually present at the thesis defense here in Helsinki, with the advice she had given you on the phone before you took off to Finland. I view people as fruits in the gardens of the gods. The gods send their messenger death to pick whichever fruit they want, whenever. It is somehow comforting that we bury our parents, rather than our parents bury us. When they die first, they are happy of the legacy they leave on earth. With all my deepest sympathy, I support you in these sad moments, and join your family in the prayers for Mom’s heavenly rest.

♥♥♥♥♥

TRIBUTE TO MAMA AGULU

Grace, Mercy, Wisdom, and Joshua Immanuel, Lagos, Nigeria

Mama Agulu, is it really true that you are gone just when we are preparing to spend the Christmas with you? You didn’t wait to see us and say farewell! Why? Well, we have no option but to submit to the will of the most High God. Though you are no more but you led an exemplary life for all to see. You were a mother to many. Big Mama, we are not mourning you today but celebrating the life you lived—a life of strength, leadership and generosity. You are really a BIG MAMA, a gem indeed. We love you but God loves you more. Adieu Big Mama! Adieu Mama Agulu!

♥♥♥♥♥

OH! SWEET MOTHER!!

Ms. Obiageli Obidiegwu (Obelenwa), Minneapolis, MN, USA

Oh! Sweet Mother, the first time I saw your face, I thanked God for being in your arms because I knew you would take care of me.

Oh! Sweet Mother, each time you went to the market, I would climb up a stool looking out the window waiting for you to come back because I knew you would come home with a lot of goodies.

Oh! Sweet Mother, each time I heard the sound of a mortar pounding early in the morning, I would wait patiently because I knew that I would eat yam porridge, abacha, ukwa, mbugu ede, or onugbu soup.

Oh! Sweet Mother, each time you went out and I heard you call my name (Oby-eeee) from the gate, I would come running to you because I couldn’t wait to see your smiling face.

Oh! Sweet Mother, each time I got sick and saw you coming with okwuma, ogwu iba, and heavy blanket, I knew you would take good care of me because you were better than Dr. Oyibo.

Oh! Sweet Mother, each time I went out with you and heard someone call you “Mama,” I didn’t have to wonder why because I knew you had children around the world.

Oh! Sweet Mother, each time I had a problem and I didn’t know what to do, I picked up the phone and called because I knew you would tell me what to do.

Oh! Sweet Mother, the love you shared with me, I will share with people around me.

Oh! Sweet Mother, in my next life, I would love to have you as my mother again if that is okay with you.

Oh! Sweet Mother, rest in perfect peace until we meet again.

Ezinne, Dalu na ifu na anya inwelu na ebe umu gi no. Jee nke oma. Otu ubochi anyi na gi ga ezuko.

♥♥♥♥♥

TRIBUTE TO A RAINBOW

Dr. Tola Mosadomi, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA

She is a Rainbow
Peeking through
The light of day
Her soft thin voice
Sweetly radiating
My body, my outer energy
Gladly calming
My irritated nerves
Whenever I called her little angel,
She responded:
“Obi no dey”
Lost
For Igbo words
In my request:
“Mama wey Obi?”
I planned
To hear her voice
Many more times
To touch her hands
I wanted
To see her face
Unbearably accepting
That she’s gone to rest
Her voice, no more
Her labor of life to the end
Her lifelong labor on children
Indescribable
World’s evidence
Ride on, gently
To your eternal journey
Your voice
For ever ringing
In my ears
Through my eternal calls
To dear MOM

And a Dear Mom

♥♥♥♥♥

HERE FOR REAL (For Obioma’s Mom)

Dr. Naana Banyiwa Horne, Santa Fe College, Gainesville, FL, USA

Here today.
Gone tomorrow
Isn’t that the fate of all living things?
Yet, between now and the morrow,
We take our fate in hand
And we turn it around.
Proliferating ourselves in endless hugs,
We leave pieces of ourselves
clinging onto every touch.
The children we bear,
bear children to bear our names
and perpetuate us in memory’s vault.
Something we say;
Something we do;
The special way we do our do.
The way we sashay
Whenever we walk;
The way we roll our eyes in talk.
Our laughter ringing in another’s ear.
The special cheer
Our presence brings.
The stories we narrate;
The fashions we create;
The passion we generate in heated intimacy.
The whole while we journey,
Tap-tapping through bottomless days,
We spread visible smears all over time’s belly-button.
So today we’re here, and tomorrow we’re gone.
But how can we be gone-gone
When the world knows we’ve been here for real?

♥♥♥♥♥

TRIBUTE ON BEHALF OF WOMEN AID COLLECTIVE (WACOL)

Women Aid Collective (WACOL), Enugu/Abuja/Port Harcourt, Nigeria

We, the entire Staff, Management and Board of Directors of WACOL wish to pay our last respect to Madam Jessie Obidiegwu (a. k. a. Lawyer), the mother of one of our Directors, Professor Obioma Nnaemeka. The aura of our Director’s mother still lingers on and vibrates like a string musical instrument in the person of Professor Obioma Nnaemeka. Madam Jessie Obidiegwu was a shining star. She kept on shining and radiating love to those around her till the end when she had finished her God assigned mission on earth. The WACOL family takes solace in the belief that to die in Christ is to live forever. Adieu, Our gentle and amiable Madam Jessie Obidiegwu! Sleep well in the Lord. Amen.

♥♥♥♥♥

TRIBUTE TO OUR MOTHER (LAWYER)

Chief Catherine Ifeoma Elebo (Ochomma 1) & Kennedy Obinna Elebo, Northern Virginia, USA

Our mother was a special lady.
Every one who knew her was impacted
by her and will always remember her.
To those who asked, she was a source of wisdom,
experience and good advice, since she generally
knew what she thought about things.
To those who knew her very well, she was
a wonderful, caring person with a heart of
purest gold, bigger than her beloved Agulu town.
To her family who loved her most,
She was the one who never stopped believing in us
And never stopped giving herself to us
We owe a wealth of love and gratitude to our Mother.
Don’t think of her as gone away, her journey has just begun.
Life holds so many facets, this earth is only one.
Just think of her as resting,
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days or years
think of how she will be wishing
that we could know today, how nothing but our sadness
Can really pass away
Think of her as living in the hearts of those she touched.
For nothing loved is ever lost, and she was loved so much.

♥♥♥♥♥

TRIBUTE TO MAMA OBIOMA

Dr. Chinyere G. Okafor, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS, USA

It was at Dr. Ijeoma’s residence at the University of Benin, Benin City, that Obi and I discussed women’s abilities. I heard about her mother’s sense of humor, energy, and skills at organizing groups, running associations as well as guiding her high profile children and grandchildren. I surmised that she had formal college degrees, but after her passing, I learnt that I was wrong. Her high powered commonsensical cum experiential skills and extraordinary ability placed her above degrees. They also contributed in giving her the outstanding personality that we honor and respect. We will greatly miss Mama Obi, but we are grateful to the Ultimate Spirit for the memory of her exemplary life and contributions to our knowledge of Igbo women.

♥♥♥♥♥

LAWYER IS THERE WITH THE SAINTS

Dr. Chike & Professor Dora Akunyili

On a Saturday morning Dora and I opened our e-mail and rejoiced at the 80th birthday bash that was earmarked for December 24th 2006. Two days later the same electronic medium reported of Mama’s unexpected peaceful exit. We were shredded up as we firmly gazed into space and pondered over the disturbing loss as well as the nothingness of this life. Howbeit, Mama really sowed the seed of grace in a society with a crumbling moral infrastructure. She was extremely gregarious and had a good sense of humor; yet on point at all moments. No wonder she was nicknamed “LAWYER.” Lawyer was often passionately engaged in doing the right things and admonished people to always look up to heaven for solutions. In her very authentic humanity she positively opened a big tent to ensure people were well tied together as one family dripping with hope, love, joy, laughter, fairness and progress. She was everything to be treasured in a mother and the impact of her love for all of you will be felt far into the future. On top of her immense spiritual appetite, she was generous, unselfish, utterly without prejudice and gave herself wholeheartedly to ensuring that you all share a unity of mind and heart. The sun never goes down on her anger. She died peacefully in “Agulu” and without stress and surely nobody could have wished of a better way to die. God has prepared in peace the path Mama must follow and this very spiritual lady has walked straight on that path.

God has given you this great gift of a warm mother. If HE wants you to give the gift back to HIM, give it willingly with love. You all took care of her wonderfully including making her a U.S. citizen BUT No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepaid for those who love him ( I Corinthians 2: 9). May we in love and sincerity envision the beauty of that paradise to which Mama has been restored. Mama Lawyer has fought a good fight and has won the race. May she perfectly rest in peace, Adieu Mama!

♥♥♥♥♥

TRIBUTE TO A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE

Mr. Chisom Obidiegwu, Onitsha, Nigeria

When I remember the good times I had with my grandmother, I still find it hard to believe that she is gone forever. If I am asked tomorrow who my grandmother was, I will proudly say that she was always a leader, loved and admired by those around her. Mama commanded respect without uttering a word. She was a great provider for her family and people around her. In everything she did, she always put God first. Serenity surrounded her. In mama was the definition of life and meaning of existence. Mama, in all you did, you showed us that “Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true” and also that faith is taking the first step without seeing the whole staircase. You had a lot of dreams and with faith, discipline and courage you made the impossible possible. You always wanted us to be the best we could be. You made us promise you a lot of things. Just you were not there to see them accomplished, but I keep the promise I made to you: “I won’t let you down.” Even though you had a full life, Mama we can never have enough of you. I miss you. I love you, Mama. Rest in perfect peace!

♥♥♥♥♥

ELEGY FOR LAWYER

Dr. Jude Akudinobi, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Our Lawyer has crossed the Great River,
to a lifetime without intervals.
Some say it is in the nature of things,
that one must never give reign to grief,
that our Lawyer has, simply, gone to rest.
There, in full grandeur of court and ancestors,
Our Lawyer, an exquisite seamstress of riddles,
filed a brief for the dismissal of all complaints,
in the knotty case of The People vs. Death.
According to her:
Death is a common thief
whose borrowed garments
are fraying around the edges.
Hmmnn… Lawyer!
We shall not trawl effervescent seas for salves,
We shall banish all hollow drums,
and, with spirited feet, pound the earth
with lessons of our Lawyer’s homecoming.

♥♥♥♥♥

MAMA HAD TO GO……

Dr. Maria E. Ijeoma, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria

Because in creation it is destined that whatever has a beginning must inevitably come to an end. Because the journey that began many years ago with mama’s birth to embark upon her mission in this earth life came to a conclusion with her home call. Because having completed her mission here with excellent grades, Mama has been promoted to higher planes to continue her noble service in the expansive vineyard of the Almighty. Because from the higher planes, she can joyfully mediate strength and help to all her children and all of humanity, Mama had to go for enumerable reasons willed by God. And so with love in our hearts and a prayer of thanks to the Almighty, we say Adieu, Mama. And to you, Obi my dear friend, and all the family, may you all find comfort in the assurance of eternal life. Amen.

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MADAM JESSIE OBIDIEGWU: GLORIOUS EXIT & FREEDOM FROM DEATH

Ms. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, University of Nigeria & Women Aid Collective (WACOL), Enugu, Nigeria

“For you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.” 1 Peter 1: 23

The news of the death of Madam Jessie Obidiegwu—“Lawyer” as we fondly called her—came to me as a shock, since it was barely a couple of months after my visit to the Agulu home of the Obidiegwus to see her and deliver a message from her daughter and my friend, Professor Obi Nnaemeka. Mama Lawyer was very relaxed and full of life during my visit, and both of us had our usual bouts of laughter as we enjoyed each other’s company. Little did I know that it was the last time that I would see her in flesh. Mama Lawyer was a mother to all; a very peaceful, kind, good natured and humorous person that gets on well with everybody. Her disposition to life endeared her to many of her children’s friends like me, who became close to her and shared from her abundant motherly love and wisdom in a friendly capacity.

As I join your loved ones, family and friends from around the world to mourn you, I am consoled by the above passage that you have been freed from death and now enjoy eternal life as you rest in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yours was a life well lived and blessed with good and very loving children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, relations and friends and for that we say “Glory be to God” for it is indeed a “Glorious Exit.”

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TRIBUTE TO OUR GREAT AUNTY AND MOTHER

Mr. Godwin C. Obidiegwu (Eziafa), Agulu, Nigeria

Mrs. Jessie Obidiegwu (née Ogbuefi), a.k.a Lawyer, our most senior aunt and mother in the Obidiegwu family of Odidama Village Agulu died in her sleep on Monday, the 7th August, 2006 at about 6.00 p.m. Death, you are really mysterious! You strike when and where you want and without notice or sign.

Lawyer, so you have gone, leaving us in the dark. Our loving aunt and mother, your exit is very painful but we thank God for the good life you had. We really enjoyed your love, care and good mothering. I lived with your family in 1944 during my standard six school year at St. Bartholomew’s Central School, Enugu, when my uncle, James Obidiegwu, was transferred to Central School, Nsukka, as Headmaster. You gave me all the necessary attention and I excelled in my standard six examinations.

Your home at Ogidi Street, Ogui Enugu was a port of call for soldiers from Agulu stationed at the Enugu Army Barracks during the Second World War to scout for home (Agulu) news. You were really a comforter, a sister and a mother to them all. You were also known for the original tobacco you marketed.

You were a strong member of the Awka District Women Union and a prominent member of St. Bartholomew’s Church Women’s Guild and Mothers’ Union. After the Nigerian Civil War, you returned to Agulu and settled in the village .You gave yourself to the activities of St. Peter’s Church, Agulu, where you were a frontline member of the women’s guild and Mothers’ Union. You were elected the chairperson of St. Peter’s General Meeting (Home and Abroad) in 1976. It was during your tenure of strict administration of the meeting that you earned yourself the name—Lawyer. Your daughter, Lady Joy Ngozi Maduka (née Obidiegwu) later became the chairperson of the meeting in your place. Aunty, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, we are proud of you and we promise to keep on the good fight. Rest in Peace, Lawyer.

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TRIBUTE TO A GREAT SISTER-IN-LAW

Mrs. Fidelia N. Obidiegwu (Esinne), Agulu, Nigeria

Lawyer! Lawyer!! Lawyer!!! Am I to believe that death has taken you away from me and the entire Obidiegwu family? Lawyer be anyi, no sign, no word, no notice. Just like that, you left us. Conversing, discussing and marching to the church to sit together as usual, ready to take our Holy Communion all ended on Sunday, the 6th of August, 2006. Then, the following day, Monday, the 7th of August, you sent your boy, Okechukwu, to tell us that you were sick and should be sent to your physician, Dr. Eneh. I immediately left all I was doing ran down to your house only to see you well balanced on your chair in your usual position—dead. I called you Lawyer! I touched your warm body which fooled me into believing that you would come back to me alive. I used cushion to support you as you sat looking nice and beautiful. But when the Dr. came in and heard me say that your body was warm, he responded: “Yes, but she is not breathing.” Oh! Death has put a stop to our daily communication. Gone are my daily greeting “Lawyer be anyi” and your usual response, “Akawo be anyi.” Lawyer, you left me at this time when we, as experienced mothers, are needed to pray for, advise and teach our God given children in the Obidiegwu family to live the life expected of children of God. Lawyer, no word is enough to express my sorrow. May our Almighty God keep you well at His Right hand and in the place where the righteous saints are singing praises morning and night. Adieu Lawyer, Adieu Lawyer, Adieu Lawyer. Rest in Perfect Peace.

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WHAT A GLORIOUS EXIT!

Mrs. Gloria Obidiegwu, Onitsha, Nigeria

Heaven was full of joy on that fateful day—Monday 7th August, 2006—when our beloved mother, Jessie Obidiegwu (a.k.a. Lawyer), passed on to glory. It will forever be a memorable day in Obidiegwu‘s family. We have not come to shed tears for you; rather we have come to celebrate the life of a woman of honor, a woman of proven integrity, a woman full of wisdom, a woman of noble character, a woman that practiced the law of kindness, a woman of immense generosity, a woman who derived joy from taking care of the poor and needy. Many women have tried to emulate you but you excel them all. You were the best among your equals. You have touched many lives positively. You were dependable and your life was most gratifying. You always had kola in your room. You were most hospitable to everybody that came to your house irrespective of age or social status. You are a mother-in-law with difference. You treated your daughter-in-law as you your own child. You worked very hard to make your children what they are today. Your hard work continued till the day you left this earth. The work you did that day will remain a big reminder.

Mama we thought you could have waited for me and your son that fateful day to have a chat with you, but you passed before our arrival. When we got the phone call that you were not feeling fine we rushed immediately to attend to you only to see your lifeless body. Even the voice of your son could not wake you up. We only saw your face radiating with the glory of God. If tears could wake you up, we would have rained down tears. If money could wake you up, we would have sold the whole world. Sleep on our cherished mother; you have printed your name boldly in the sands of time! Sleep on ‘Lawyer’! Sleep on great achiever for happy are those who died in the Lord. Sleep on sweet mother till the resurrection morning when we all will meet at the end of the tunnel where the everlasting light will shine on the saints triumphant and all will give praise, glory and honor to our God and to the Lamb for ever more. Amen. Adieu Mama! Sleep well Lawyer! Good night beloved mother.

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LIFE WITHOUT GRANDMA

Mr. Chukwunonso Obidiegwu, Owerri, Nigeria

Our hearts deeply sunk in gloom. I still find it difficult to believe that the Almighty God has taken away my beloved peacemaker, my humble and amiable grandma, and my major source of happiness. Grandma, you were very generous, honest and caring. You saw to the welfare of many people both young and old. Mama, you were a stream that flowed with the milk of human kindness; a mother of many and a friend to all; a woman that gave what she had to help others achieve what they wanted. You were a ladder that enabled many to climb to great heights. Lawyer, you did great things in your lifetime and left your footprints on the sands of time. Your memory will be cherished forever because you bequeathed to us an indelible legacy and left a vacuum which can only be filled by God. Mama, we love you, we miss you and we need you but God needs you more. Adieu Ezigbonnem! Adieu Lawyer Umuagbala! Adieu Nneobioma! Rest in perfect peace!

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GOOD NIGHT, GREAT MOTHER

Mr. D. Chukwuma Immanuel, Lagos, Nigeria

In spite of the fact that we will not see you and talk with you again on this earth, yet our hearts are filled with joy to note the tranquil way you bowed to the ultimate home call of our Father, the Almighty God. Surely, we will miss your soft but firm words of advice when we need direction, comfort when we are hurting, and wisdom when it is time to teach. Your kind, caring and loving disposition notwithstanding, it does not take a second for your prophetic finger to emerge once the need for rebuke arises. Lawyer, you had an accomplished life, I have every reason to believe that your circle of life is perfectly completed. In your days, you were hope to some of us who at one time or the other appeared hopeless. Quoting profusely from the word of God at such times, you succeeded in calming frayed nerves. At some tortuous moments of my life you were a great source of inspiration and strength. You were a jovial, truthful and peaceful mother, an example of what a Christian mother should be. You have trusted and followed God and also allowed God to direct you all through your walk here on earth. I therefore make bold to say that you are blessed of the Lord and blessing to your generation .By constant act of kindness you have shown and taught us that it is possible to love all people equally. None of your children’s friends entered your house and left except when we run out of luck and you were not at home. He who rewards all works will surely reward you with a place in His bosom. Great mum, good night till we meet to part no more.

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TO “MAMA NWANNEM”—A POEM-LETTER IN LOVING MEMORY
(FROM “THAT-YOUR-FRIEND”)

Professor Pamela Smith, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE, USA

“Hello, Obi?”
“Obi no dey,” your voice rang back.
Pause…
“Kedu…Biko mama, tell Obi, P-a-m,” I hazard,
My Igbo messaging almost exhausted.
Many more such conversations,
And we sealed our special bond,
Sans interpreters, sans interceders.
And so it began—
“Mama-Nwannem,” my name for you.
“That-your-Friend,” your loving name for me.
Not ordinary names,
But ones that bore the code of our shared bond
Between an Igbo “Mom” and her Yoruba “daughter.”
Now they say death missed road
And foolishly knocked down the telephone line in the process.
It thought it took you unawares and knocked you down,
But your strong, beautiful, and warm spirit rose and soared high,
Because death lost its sting even before it found you that Monday,
Serene and smiling, your house put in order,
As you awaited the message to make a journey,
A different kind of journey, this time to a far, far away place.
As if your caring and loving work on earth wasn’t already taxing,
You have been called to take on even higher responsibility of ancestral rest and watch.
A task whose effect we already feel and cherish in memory and with teary laughter.
“Mama-Nwannem,” my endearing name for you,
A name you wore well and carried honorably.
You were very proud of me
Your “That-Your-Friend,” Yoruba daughter.
It seemed a mere hammer and a few nails were all I needed
To bask in your encouraging, inspiring admiration.
And know, through those teary moments, that your continued
loving nods are merely at arm’s reach.
“Mama-Nwannem!” “Mama-Nwannem!” “Mama-Nwannem!”
I call my name for you three times
Because the first call brings forth the fond memories I know of you.
The second call fills me with assurances of your love.
The third call reminds me to hear your voice in the words of
The Unknown Author’s “A Farewell Message”:
Don’t grieve for me, for now I am free, Walking the path God laid for me…Be not burdened with times of sorow…My life’s been full, I savored much…Perhaps my time seemed too brief …Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.”
Because this is how you would’ve spoken and taken your leave.
Knowing this, I say, “Sun re o, Mama-Nwannem.” Rest Well!

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WHO WAS MOTHER?

Mr. Obi & Mrs. Lovena Obianozie, Indianapolis, IN, USA

We know that Mama’s passing is as rude as a shock could go. But the impact of the shock does not stop with you, it affects every one who has been in the presence of ‘LAWYER’ and knew what a True Mother she was.
Who was Mother? Mother provided safety, peace and happiness for others
Who was Mother? Mother always had kind words that sooth and motivate
Who was Mother? Mother saw and treated all children as her own
Who was Mother? Mother placed the needs of others before her’s
Who was Mother? Mother radiated love and kindness that positively changed people
Who was Mother? Mother was a true servant of God
May God accept Mama’s soul, and may she rest in perfect peace.

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A TRIBUTE TO MY BELOVED GRANDMA

Mr. Ifedilichukwu Obinna Obidiegwu, Brooklyn Park, MN, USA

I always felt the love of my grandmother whenever she was around me. I could look in her eyes and see how she felt before she could even say a word. I remember the time that I fixed a plate of garri for her when she was hungry. I sat beside her as she ate the food I had prepared for her. To this day when I think of her I remember her caring hands, her energy to light up the room she was in, her wining personality, the wisdom and power that she had in her voice, and the presence that she had to command respect from all her children and grandchildren. I never once saw anyone try to challenge her. That in itself truly says what kind of a person she was. I don’t view this as only a loss to the Obidiegwu family but as a loss to the whole world for she was more then a mother in my eyes; she was more like a legend. I never thought that she could die because to me I thought that she was invincible. The last time I saw her she seemed to be looking fine; there was no illness that I knew of. I feel that this is not a good-bye; I believe we shall meet again in heaven. For now, she is watching over us and rejoicing that she raised such a large, happy family. She is always with us in our minds and hearts. She can never truly be away from us, for she has left a mark on everyone of us. We will see you later grandma, some faster then others but only the Lord knows. I just want you to know that we miss you and love you.

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CELEBRATING YOU FOR LIFE—MRS. JESSIE OBIDIEGWU

Professor Folabo Soyinka-Ajayi, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA

How come I never knew you?

How come I never met you?

What a loss! A double loss
Just for the suddenness, plus
The plan now inverted was to
Celebrate you dancing praises
Basking in adorations of love
Abundantly earned each of your
Eighty years plus more
Nne, you who command words
You wrestle with reason to the
Ground and emerge triumphant
Bearing logic aloft with passion
To the left, wittiness hooked on
Reason to the right of acumen
Your scepter of love in perfect
Balance with sense of justice

Mama de Lawyer,
Did I say I never knew you?
Pardon me for this misstatement
It is a failing of the flesh
I met you and I know you
I have eaten with you
I have worked with you
Played with you
These many years
I have known you well
I know your daughter, Obi
Seven women in one to the
Seventh power, she does you
Proud your genes in her live
On till we surely meet to
Sing and dance Alleluia!
Till then Adieu, Rest well.

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TRIBUTE TO GRANDMA (LAWYER)

Mr. Okey Maduka, Aba, Nigeria
Madam Jessie Obidiegwu (Ezinne)

Big Mama’s death was a great loss to all Obidiegwu family and all associates. On that fateful day of 7th August 2007, Big Mama was not sick and her death came as a big shock; it was just like a dream. Before my very eyes she passed away on her chair around 6.00 p.m. Big Mama, we your grandchildren miss you so much! You are a good grandma and indeed a role model to all of us. Big Mama you also sacrificed everything to bring up your children. Big Mama, Lawyer, was such a good mother that didn’t discriminate in helping people whether her children or other people. Big Mama, we miss you and we pray that God in his infinite mercy will give us the heart to bear this great loss. May your gentle soul rest in peace till we meet to part no more! Bye Big Mama! Adieu Lawyer

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IN MEMORIAM: MAMA OBIDIEGWU—OUR “LAWYER”

Dr. & Mrs. Isaac Obi & Family, Woodbury, MN, USA

“The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” We cannot question God, for He alone knows when, why and how we are called to Him. Though surprised and saddened by the passing of Mama Obidiegwu, our “Lawyer,” we derive a measure of peace remembering the special way she touched all of our lives. Alive, Mama Obidiegwu radiated much love and happiness in all her interactions with us as a family. She had a generous spirit that she shared, not just with us, but everyone. She led an exemplary life anywhere she lived. In Agulu, her door was always open to friends and neighbors. Her respectful disposition and penchant for settling disputes earned her the nickname “Lawyer.” In Minnesota, Indiana, Dallas, she provided a reassuring presence of a mother for all of us whose own parents and relatives live far away in Nigeria. Any time we visited, she served peanuts and kept us entertained with life stories. No, Mama did not need us to take care of her; she took care of us! The honor was all ours for the opportunity to experience her gentle nature as well as her sense of humor. We shall miss her. To Mama Obidiegwu’s children, our dear friends, we extend our love. We encourage them to celebrate her life, for her life was an extraordinary gift, and through their love, her later years were devoid of suffering. May it comfort them to realize that our “Lawyer” is now at peace with the Lord. Amen. We shall remember our “Lawyer” always.

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TRIBUTE TO MADAM JESSIE OBIDIEGWU

Dr. Tomi Adeaga, University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany

When a beloved mother closes her eyes in eternal sleep, the priceless gift she leaves behind is a bag of memories; memories of wonderful moments shared—some sad, some happy. Mama, although you have left this earth physically, your great love is still felt by your children, your grandchildren, your family, and those of us who knew you fleetingly. You have gone to answer the Lord’s call but your warmth still stretches out like the long fingers of our beloved African sun to enfold your loved ones. Your warmth taps into their souls; your gentle words of advice are the shining torch guiding them in their journeys through life. They are comforted because they know that you are always watching over them. The legacy you left behind are being nurtured and preserved for generations to come. Sun re o Mama. Sun re.

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TRIBUTE TO GRANDMA (LAWYER)

Pastor Chris & Ngozi Immanuel, Lagos, Nigeria

Life is but a fleeting shadow! In the crest of it; and in the acme of the resourcefulness of life, as a noiseless shadow, and a mysterious echo, immortality is divorced from mortality, and the living becomes a motionless cadaver because the insipid ghost has paid him a malicious visit. The grim and arctic hand of death cruelly creeps indiscernibly and clutches on the mortal leaving a conspicuous vacuum upon the earth amidst tears in eyes of the beloved.

Lawyer, your great grandchildren, Grace, Mercy, Wisdom and Joshua were set to celebrate the forthcoming Christmas with you when the news of your demise came. At first we received it with mix feelings but we have every reason to give thanks to the Most High God for a life worthy of emulation. We are not mourning your departure; rather we remember and celebrate the wonderful life of a mother who touched the lives of many through her immense generosity. We celebrate your peaceful and restful dignified exit. You were a great advocate and guardian whose candor and disposition made us all to hold you in high esteem.

We are today celebrating the life of a pacesetter and a leader. We commemorate without reservation the departure of an eminent woman of many parts; an embodiment of high moral values. Lawyer, we will always be thankful for your extraordinary leadership role in the St. Peter’s Anglican Church Women Meeting (home & abroad). Now that you are gone, we will continue your work for the good of posterity. Please let those that weep for Lawyer, Grandma, Big Mama, and Mama-Oha weep no more but celebrate a life well lived.Grandma bye-bye! Adieu Lawyer!

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TRIBUTE TO MY GRANDMA: A PACE-SETTER AND A PEACE-MAKER

Ms. Chidimma Obidiegwu, Onitsha, Nigeria

Thy will be done, oh Lord! Who are we to question God? The silence of Monday evening was quite unusual. Lawyer, you were a very loving and caring woman who went to great lengths to cater and provide for those you regarded as needy. You had a robust and infectious sense of humor which enlivened our home and made it such a warm and friendly place to be. Your presence was so reassuring and comforting. You performed many roles in our family. You were our grandmother and our comedian. That’s why whenever we start grieving our loss, someone would remember one funny thing you always said or did and we would all burst out laughing.

Mama, you have fallen and gone; the shadow lengthened but the light still shines and we promise not to let the light die. It will continue to kindle our hearts and motivate us to aim high and achieve great things. You were not a lamp that gave the light of hope to many. You were a lantern that illuminated the paths of many, especially the oppressed and disadvantaged. You were a woman who brought people together and worked for unity and peace. Mama, let me stop here to make space for others to air their views about a great woman steeped in the belief that there is reward in industry. Lawyer, Ochiri Ozuo, Mother in a billion, in my next world, may I have the privilege to call you my grandma. May your gentle soul rest in the bosom of the Lord!

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TRIBUTE TO A WONDERFUL MOTHER: MADAM JESSIE OBIDIEGWU

Mr. Obiora & Mrs. Chinyere Obidiegwu and Family, Asaba, Nigeria

The great Iroko tree has fallen. Lawyer where do we start? How do we believe that you are no more? Oh! we wish we could come out of this nightmare. Even as we are writing this tribute, we see your smiling face. Oh death where is thy sting? The only disease the best scientist cannot cure is death .Lawyer, as you are fondly called by all, it sounds incredible to us because you have left a vacuum that no one can ever fill. But who are we question the Lord? We believe that you are not dead but resting in the Lord because the bible taught us that for those who live in Christ, “to die is gain.” Lawyer, you have gone to do what you have always done for us, your loved ones. You have gone to a greater home to prepare a home for us in heaven. We cannot expect less from you, because you showered us with love and kindness and worked for unity and peace among us. We will miss your sound advice spoken in a soft voice. Mama, we will always make you proud of us. We will never forget the values you inculcated in us. We know that we will have the chance to see each other again. It hurts that you left us soon. Testimonies about you proved that you are a “Pace-setter.” We will follow your footstep. Adieu, Mama! Adieu, Lawyer!

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TRIBUTE TO AN ANGEL THAT I KNEW BEFORE THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR

Chief Esther Ozueh, Agulu, Nigeria

Eziafakaego telephoned me early in the morning of August 8th 2006 to give me the shocking news of your passing away. Lawyer, why didn’t you wait till December when all your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren would have all come home for your 80th birthday celebration? I thank God for giving you very loving, understanding and peace-loving children. You were one in a million as far as mothers go. You loved every member of the family, including me. So, “Nwadiana,” there will be no more discussions about USA flights and bad weather? Your children appreciate your unconditional love for them. Thank you, Lawyer. Continue to pray for them until we all meet to part no more. Say hello to Chike, Ochendo of Agulu. You loved him so much and came to his funeral this year. Adieu, Lawyer. Adieu, wonderful mother. Adieu, Angel. Ka omesia. We all shall be there, Adadiora mma.

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GOOD NIGHT TO A PROFOUND IN-LAW

Mr. Chudi Udechukwu, Enugu, Nigeria

It is with a deep sense of loss that I write this tribute for an in-law and a great family friend. On the 30th July, 2006, I had my last encounter with you in your house and as I stepped forward and greeted you, you called me the way you always did each time we met—Chidi Ogomm! It didn’t seem that I would never see you again. Michael Jordan once said that “The heart is what separates the good from the bad.” Lawyer, you had a good heart because you were always willing to give good counsel, emotional support and material things to those that got close to you. To live in the hearts of those that love you is not to die—bearing in mind that remembrance is the secret of immortality. We are going to miss you, but we thank the Almighty God for your life on earth as one who feared God and shunned evil. According to H. V. Lugt, “Consistency of character is what gains the respect of others.” Indeed, you earned the respect of many that knew you as a woman of integrity and good will. Good night until we meet on resurrection day.

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TRIBUTE TO MY DEAR LATE AUNT, JESSIE OBIDIEGWU (a.k.a. LAWYER)

Mr. Ernest Uche Obidiegwu, Agulu, Nigeria

It was like a bomb shell when I got the phone call announcing your sudden but peaceful exit from this planet—leaving everybody in utter bewilderment. Nevertheless, we thank God Almighty that your whole life on earth had been exemplary, spectacular and exhilarating. A caring mother and a star, you touched the hearts of many people. At your age you never wanted to be served; you preferred to serve. You were always so thoughtful and busy that when you passed on in the evening of Monday 7th August, 2006, you left behind a legacy of Christian motherhood for posterity to emulate. We take solace in the fact that your soul is with the Lord who called you

Adieu! Adieu!! Lawyer, Adieu!!!

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MEANINGFUL

Mr. Uchenna Amaechi Obidiegwu, Brooklyn Park, MN, USA

My name is Uchenna Obidiegwu. I am writing this piece in memory of my grandmother who passed away this summer. She traveled back and forth between Nigeria and the United States. Last year, she decided to stop coming to the United States because she said she was too old to be making long trips. She was a fantastic woman that has left something to remember her by. It was intriguing the way that she said my name, “Uchenna-aa.” It may not be a big deal or meaningful to others, but it is special to me.

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TRIBUTE TO A NOBLE WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE, MOTHER AND SISTER

Lady Regie Osakwe & Family, Enugu, Nigeria

It is very rare to find a beloved sister like you. You gave love and peace to your sisters and brothers. In addition to being fondly called Lawyer by those who knew you, you were also given the name of “Mother General” because you were a mother to all. The news of your passing on to glory came to me as a shock. When I visited my sick mum barely a month I saw you and we chatted as sisters at the burial ceremony of one of our wives, Ijeaku Ogbuefi. I remember vividly what you told me: “Regie, you must have heard about the death of brother Gab. Now that all my siblings are gone, I am left alone.” I quickly responded that death is inevitable and that you are not alone. Little did I know that it would come to you so soon. Sister, life is like a relay race, you have come and gone .The reality of it all is that none of us knows when, where and how our journey on earth will end. .It is because of the way you lived and what you accomplished that God took you away peacefully. We will always remember you cheerful interactions, sisterly advice, and motherly care. Adieu! Adieu!! Adieu!!! Till we meet to part no more.

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MAMA, YOU ARE MY INSPIRATION!

Mrs. Nwamaka Ndukwe, Dallas, TX, USA

Mama, I have never known anyone like you. You have inspired me more than you will ever know. You were mother, father, sister and friend all rolled into one. You were a great teacher and the life lessons you taught us will forever guide us and strengthen us. You were the best mother anyone could have; you were the most effective leader any community could have. Mama, you have my unconditional respect and love. You loved us unconditionally and supported us fully and we are profoundly indebted to you. Although you are no longer with us physically, your love and spirit will be with us forever. We have walked so long together with you and the journey will be tougher without you. I know that someday, we will be together again as a family. You mean so much to us and it will not be the same without you. I mourn and celebrate you. I am comforted by the fact that you are now in a better place. Mama, sleep well and rest in perfect peace. I love you and I will miss you forever.

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FARE THEE WELL OUR AMIABLE “NNE JOY AND LAWYER”

Chief H. O. Ogbuefi (Nnabuenyi) for Ogbuefi Family, Onitsha, Nigeria

Death will come when it will and it is an unquestionable price to be paid by all humans. Born in 1926 to the family of Ogbuefi and Osinaka, Mrs .Jessie Obidiegwu (née Ogbuefi) popularly called “Nne Joy” or “Lawyer” was the second daughter in a family of six—Ichie Nwaokafor Anieto, Nwadika, Geofrey, Jessie, Gabriel and Mgbogoafor—all now deceased. Thus the passing of Mrs. Jessie drew to a close the chapter of this most valued and distinguished generation of Ogbuefis.

Madam Jessie married early to Late Mr. Christopher Obidiegwu and they spent a greater part of their adult life in Enugu. The marriage was blessed with seven children, three boys and four girls. The couple toiled very hard to bring up their children by investing heavily in their education. Today that investment has paid off greatly—four of the children are currently living in the United States where are star performers in their various fields of endeavour. Lawyer died as a citizen of Nigeria and the United States.

Throughout her lifetime, Mrs. Jessie Obidiegwu was a devout Christian, a staunch member of the Anglican Church where she was elevated to a full membership of the Mothers’ Guild. .She was humane and philanthropic and hated to see people suffer injustices. She didn’t have the opportunity of acquiring formal education but nevertheless was very intelligent and very well informed. No wonder she was nicknamed “Lawyer”. Although she did not receive formal training as a lawyer, she had a legal mind. Her life style, manner of speech and demeanour attest to this.

The glorious exit of our amiable daughter or “Ada” was a blow to us not because she died prematurely, far from that. But because she will be dearly missed by all who know her for her large heart, simplicity, frankness, and the wealth of experience which she garnered as she toiled through life. Lawyer, we are proud that you lived a fruitful and fulfilled life. Your memory will forever remain green in our hearts. We pray that the messengers of the Almighty lead you triumphantly into Paradise.

Adieu Nne Joy!

Adieu Lawyer!!

Adieu Jessie!!!

Rest in perfect peace .Amen

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GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Ms. Adaora Ndidiamaka Obidiegwu, Brooklyn Park, MN, USA

Let me start by saying this Lawyer will be truly missed. It was sad to see her go, the only grandparent I got to know. Too many people have died this year, so much sorrow and dropping of tears. Hopefully God will hear our prayers, to guide our loved ones who have passed to everlasting life at last. To my grandma if you can hear me it was nice knowing. I used to think you were invincible. I used to think you would never die, but that’s just the thought of a silly little kid. I’ll always remember the time we spent together walking in really hot weather. Grandma, I love you and will miss you.

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ADIEU TO MY GENEROUS GRANDMA!

Mr. Chukwunwike Obidiegwu, Abuja FCT, Nigeria

The news reached me, Grandma, and I was shocked to hear that you have left us in this wicked world. It is very surprising because when we left the village you were very healthy and there were no signs of sickness or any other problems. So to hear suddenly that you were no more was unexpected. Grandma, I will always remember you in my heart and will never forget the way you played with us, the many moonlight stories you told us and even the jokes about yourself. Grandma, wherever you are, I want you to know that you are loved by everyone who has known you because of your generosity, kindness, forgiving heart and so many other good qualities you exhibited while on earth. I will never forget your motherly advice whenever we erred or were facing problems and also your encouragement to take our studies seriously. Grandma, we shall abide by the legacies and allow your wish to guide us as a family. I pray that your soul may find peace rejoice because you have joined your Heavenly Father. Rest in peace, Grandma!

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TRIBUTE TO A BELOVED AND FAITHFUL MOTHER: JESSIE OBIDIEGWU (NEE OGBUEFI)

Mr. Emma Obidiegwu (Chukwukadibia) and Family, Onitsha, Nigeria

Mama Anyi “Lawyer,” you were indeed a virtuous woman with impeccable character. Thanks be to God! God is good to Obidiegwu family in general and the children of Late Jessie Obidiegwu in particular. When Mama Anyi left this wicked world, she went away happily as the Creator wanted her to come back in peace. Mama Anyi “Lawyer” loved our church—St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Agulu—very much and was so respected and valued by the membership that she was elected to head the women’s wing of the church for many years before she handed over to her daughter, Lady Joy Maduka.

Mama Anyi “Lawyer” loved her children very much and they loved her very much in return. Not too long ago, they organized a thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate her and show their deep appreciation for all her hard work and sacrifice. During the Nigerian Civil War, she did all she could to take care of all of us in the family; she was a mother to all. She was very happy to see one of her of teenage daughters, Obioma, serve the Biafra Nation as a Broadcaster in French Language section of Radio Biafra.

“Lawyer’’ was US citizen and traveled frequently to the United States but she loved her homeland, Nigeria. When death knocked at the door, she was in Nigeria. We are happy that she died quietly in her home in Nigeria. Thanks be to God, the maker of all things! Mama Anyi, we miss your smile, kindness and advice. May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace! Amen. Adieu, Mama Anyi “Lawyer,” Ada Ogbuefi!

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MAMA, OH MAMA!

Ms. Chinelo Obidiegwu, Abuja FCT, Nigeria

You left us so soon, with tears in our eyes.
You left us without seeing us
You left us without a word to us
What a great mother you were to all of us
Grandma, you were a rare mother
You were so special
We will miss you
And it will not be easy to say goodbye

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MAMA, LAWYER!

Mr. Joel & Mrs. Udo Obidiegwu & Family, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

Mama, Lawyer! So you are gone! We really miss you. We shall miss the motherly advice you used to give and the testimonies you used to share at our annual family prayer meetings. Each time we came to Agulu we looked forward to visiting “Lawyer.” The periods we were with you were never dull moments. Many times when you come back from your numerous trips abroad you used to share gifts and dollars to the children. You were mother/friend to all. You were strong in faith and articulate to the end. Because we all live to die, you have gone. We shall miss you indeed. Sleep on in the bosom of the Lord until we meet to part no more. Adieu, Lawyer!

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MAMA

Mrs. Sarah Obidiegwu, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

Let my tears fall
Heavy soaking drops
Soaking me to the marrow
Let them fall, let my tears fall
For I will not see you again
For you’ve gone
Gone beyond my reach
Oh! let them fall, let my tears fall
For the woman of substance
For the Lawyer of all Lawyers
I say let my tears drop
Let them drop
Like weett of horsewhip
Ohooo! Let them drop!