Opinion (TRIBUTE)…. Sleep Well Nneze, Mother of Peace For Mrs.

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Elizabeth Nneze Igwike, the rigorous journey of life ended at the ripe age of 85 years. The funeral service accorded her in her home place at Uhuvillage, Nkerehi in Orumba South Council Area of Anambra State, was indeed grand and revealed the sterling qualities of the lifestyle she led.

 EMEKA OSONDU, who attended the burial ceremony reports that the event drew together members of the Nkerehi community and people from varying locations across the globe, as well as cemented relationships among others.

It is often said that to every man, a destiny is given, although situations abound where some individuals appear to have been born with silver spoons, and had greatness conferred on them without their personal efforts. But still, the bottom-line is clear: destined or inherited, a man’s life has a way of influencing other people, especially those around him. It is the memory of this influence that is often used to judge his efforts and contributions to the growth of the society, especially at death.

In fact, this was what took place at Uhu Village, Nkerehi in Orumba South Council Area of Anambra State on February 22, 2018, during the burial of the late Mrs. Elizabeth Nneze Igwike, who passed on to the great beyond recently at the ripe age of 85 years.

The ceremony which began on February 21, 2018 with a wake-keep dove-tailed into the following day with a commendation service by St. Mary Anglican Church, Owerre-Ezukala by 9:am. However, the service was paused after about one hour, when the corpse of the deceased woman arrived the place. This was indeed greeted with a solemn moment, as an undefined silence enveloped the crowd.

However, this solemn moment was broken like a spell, when the Priest in-charge announced that family members, relations and sympathizers could go into her husband’s house where the body was laid in state to pay their last respect. Soon after, there was a loud outburst of weeping from every corner of the large compound. Children, young adults and even aged women cried like babies. The men were not left out, as some of them were seen with their heads lowered and eyes, red with choked tears. It was indeed tension-soaked and confusing!

Ordinarily, the death of an 85years old should be taken as an act of God and called for a celebration of life. So, if any visitor was confused at the many outburst of lamentation, it was justified.

Soon after, the presiding priest, Rev. Thankgod Eze-Ekwueme called the congregation to order, and the service resumed. In his sermon titled; “I know thy work”, which he backed with a quotation from the Holy Bible at Revelation 2, he said he had noted that there was so much weeping and outburst of emotion within the crowd over the death of Mrs. Igwike. He expressed understanding that the outburst was based on the loss of a person of quality, because the late woman had during her life time led a life full of positive testimonies.

Rev. Eze-Ekwueme, nevertheless, consoled the mourners that there was a huge reward for those who rendered positive service to God and humanity, noting that the late Mrs. Igwike had demonstrated her faith as a true Christian through being kind, humble and selfless, which had made her a friend of the helpless and the downtrodden in the society. He assured the congregation that whosoever did his work well and sustain the faith would be celebrated at the end of time.

The cleric, nevertheless, lamented the rising incidence of discord in the Christian faith, noting that many believers have abandoned their faith and as such were no longer resourceful in their duties to God and mankind. He, therefore, charged the believers to be courageous, loving and steadfast, and to always rely on God to renew their strength, pointing out that “if a person cannot love another, how then can he claim to love God, when he cannot see?.

In his tribute, the first son of the deceased woman, Prof. Richard Igwike, described his late mother as an icon of faith and pillar of support to her entire family, adding that in her quest to express her love to humanity,” My mother and her grandmother had worked together as a team to raise at least, 12 orphans and poor children”.

According to Igwike, his late mother had left a remarkable footprint in the sand of time and the vacuum would be quite difficult to fill. He nevertheless expressed gratitude to God for giving her the ability to get to that height before her demise. He, therefore, promised that he, with members of his family and the larger family shall ever remember her outstanding contributions and follow her footsteps.

On her part, the U.Sborn wife of Prof. IgwikeMrs. Lara Chinyere Igwike, in her own tribute described her late mother-in-law as a special mother, who lived a graceful, modest and productive life without regrets, stressing that “my children, husband I will feel the loss forever.” 

In ainterview with journalists of the occasion, the husband of the deceased woman, Chief Theophilus Agodi Igwike, said he would always remember his late wife fondly because she was really the wife of his youth, who overtime supported and encouraged him. He, therefore, advised married couples to always love, cherish and encourage one another in order to nourish their relationship, adding that his late wife loved him well enough, but specifically cherished her children.

Mrs. ElizabetIgwike died on September 16th, 2017, after a protracted illness. Her burial ceremony which started in some cities in the United States of America, where some of her family lived, ended up in her husband’s compound in Nkereihe, Nigeria, with quite a huge number of mourners and sympathizersin attendance.

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