The Departure Of Lady Onyekachi Njoku: A Sunset At Mid-Noon | Independent Newspapers Limited
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COLUMNIST, Rubrics of Thoughts

The Departure Of Lady Onyekachi Njoku: A Sunset At Mid-Noon

Posted: Aug 10, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Admittedly, I still remember that of the burial ceremonies ,which I have attended in the past ten years, two stood out. These were that of Chinua Achebe and Ikemba of Nnewi, Odumegu Ojukwu. These two burial ceremonies stood out in my memory as almost landmark events.

The crowd was inestimable. The number of side attractions turned the whole thing into a carnival. Apart from those who came from far and near, those who came from outside were as numerous as half of those who came from all parts of this Country. But more than that, those who had come to do brisk business and other connections provided things of side attractions.

In both of the funeral ceremonies, dancers, drummers, gyrators, masquerades and other types of local acrobats with their trumpeters, flutes, maracas’, metal and wooden gongs etc tried to out-do each other because money in form of donations was flowing to the most acrobatic and excelled dancers.

But beyond these two outstanding burial ceremonies which I had attended, the one I attended recently which was to me very close to being a reminiscence of what I witnessed at the above mentioned burial ceremonies, was the heart breaking bidding of farewell to Lady Onyekachi Njoku, a comprehensive lady of enormous qualities, a lady whose social, economic and religious commitments were unrivalled among her peer group. A mother of four and a wife to a highly Abuja public figure, Dr. Paddy Njoku, who is both well known and well connected within Abuja civic and political circumstances. An eloquent philosopher of modern age, Dr. Paddy Njoku is one person you cannot seek far to get his address or telephone numbers, because, he is an all round person.

At 57, she was about to consolidate her professional, domestic and religious accomplishments for which she had laid down their solid foundations. In fact, her funeral drew a mammoth crowd of mourners.

Honestly, immediately after the mass, I sympathized with one or two persons who attempted to introduce some of the super rich, super personalities and super connected tycoons, academia, politicians largely of PDP extraction, the clerical order and of course the laity belonging to St. John International. It was not an easy task. Fortunately, a notable celebrity Kanayo O Kanayo was available to save the situation with his mastery of protocol niceties. Indeed, in that crowd nobody was the ordinary.

One would not be surprised at such mammoth crowd because, the deceased was an immediate senior sister of His Excellency, Rt. Honourable Emeka Ihedioha, the immediate past Deputy Speaker who ended his legislative tenure as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. His popularity and connection in Nigeria is without any iota of microscopic doubt guaranteed. Having been in the public purview for over 16 years, he had made friends and friends have made him. Besides, as the Governorship candidate of PDP in Imo State, his network of supporters, admirers and associates were more than enough to swell the crowd.

One of the most outstanding personalities was His Excellency, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State. He came with a retinue of officials and aides to identify with his political “twin.” Indeed, truly a tested and reliable political friend and confidant. His presence and his full participation in a Christian church service as a devout Muslim spoke volumes of his integrity and personality. They were countless number of dignities.

Part of the church service was a homily delivered by Monsignor Emmanuel Oguh and the heart rending tribute read by her daughter Barrister Ogechi Njoku.

Because of the expected large turnout of people, the service was held in an open football field almost the size of Dan Anyiam stadium, which was full with overflowing capacity. That was in July when rainfall was too severe, rampant and relentless. But the decision of the family to hold the service in an open field could be said to be the “meeting of faith and black magic.” Perhaps, many would begin to have a rethink whether rain could be induced or “asked to wait.”

Another significant thing was the presence of the Bishop of the Anglican Communion, His Lordship, Rt. Rev. Chamberlain Oguledo who remained very calm and observant throughout the church service.

Thus, irrespective of the large turnout of persons from all works of life, the departure of this lady, Onyekachi Njoku of value at 57 could simply be described as “sunset in the mid noon.” Certainly, she went so soon when indeed her potentials were unfolding. But we can take solace in what Corazon Aquino said, “I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.” At 57, Lady Onyekachi Njoku, Nee Ihedioha, indeed lived a meaningful life and died a meaningful death for which she made all and sundry proud even in death.