From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The remains of the mother of literary icon and awarding-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Lady Grace Ifeoma Adichie (Electric) have been laid to rest in her town, Ezi-Abba, in Njikoka Local Government Grea of Anambra State.
Lady Adichie, who died at the age of 79, was a lady of St. Mulumba of the Catholic Church, she was the first female registrar at the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka. She joined UNN in 1973 as an administrative officer, rose through the ranks and made history when she became the first woman to lead the administration of the university as registrar.
The late Adichie served on the governing council of the university and its various committees, the Senate and its many committees, as well as the university’s convocation and congregation. She was named UNN’s best administrator in 2002.
The late amazon, after retirement, served as a member of the governing council, Anambra State University, Uli. Until her death, she was a permanent member of the Anambra State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB).
Her burial ceremony attracted dignitaries from all walks of life, including Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Solo Chukwudebelu, former governor of the state Mr. Peter Obi, and the senator representing Anambra Central district, Iyom Uche Ekwunife, among others.
During the funeral mass at St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Abba, presided over by the Bishop of Awka Diocese, Rt. Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, he admonished Christians to live a good life worthy of emulation.
Bishop Ezeokafor, in his homily, taken from John 12:23-28, said God has glorified late Grace for her good life well spent on earth, urging her children to continue where their mother stopped as a virtuous woman.
“Live a good life while on earth so that you shall gain eternal glory. Train a child in a way he/she should go, when he grows he will not depart from it. Lady Grace lived a good life in bringing up her children well and distinguished herself in academics with the late husband,” Ezeokafor said.
He noted that Nigeria would be better when parents raised their children in God’s fear, direction and good education, like the Adichies did with their children, which brought light, fame and prestige to the family, Abba, Anambra, Nigeria and even to the world due to numerous awards for Chimamanda. At the mass, Chimamanda read the first reading.
While speaking at the funeral mass, the representative of Governor Obiano and SSG, Prof. Chukwudebelu, condoled with the family, saying that the family recently buried their father and was again hit by the death of their mother.
He said death was inevitable and a call everybody must answer, stressing that what matters was life well lived while on earth, describing the late Grace as a great woman who had brought her wealth of experience to bear at ASUBEB.
“Governor Obiano, who grieves with you, sent me to represent him at this burial ceremony due to his tight schedule. He told me to console you on the death of your lovely mother who didn’t wait long after the death of her husband. Your parents lived a good life and gave you people good education. We are proud of the Adichies. We urge you people to keep it up and continue with the legacy of your parents,” he said.
On the security of the state, Obiano expressed worries over insecurity but declared that his administration is doing everything to secure the state. He urged the church to pray morning rosary in addition to ‘Nigeria in distress’ prayers to stop insecurity in the country.
Also in his remarks, Mr. Peter Obi described the Adichie family as his own, which he said he long ago adopted as his foster parents.
“This is my parent, the people I am very, very close to. I am part of the family. I’m close to Professor Adichie to late Grace Adichie. I’m close to all the family members. For me, we can’t question God, and may God Almighty grant her eternal rest in his kingdom and grant the immediate family and to all of us the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.
“For the immediate family and for all of us, may we continue to live wonderful lives Prof. Adichie and wife have lived and continue to emulate legacies and records they achieved.
“Late Grace was a fantastic woman. Whenever I was around I will always came to see her but each time I visited, she was doing one humanitarian service or the other for the less privileged” Obi said.
In his tribute, the family’s first son, Mr. Chuks Adichie, described his mother as a woman of God who gave her children the best love and education. He said he never believed that, a year after the demise of their father, their mother would also die, but said that he won’t question God, the creator of everything on earth.
“There is nothing I have not thought about and wished to happen to bring you back. God raised Lazarus from the dead from the tomb in Bethany. He could have raised you and dad from that room at Regina Caeli in Awka.
“I’m completely lost and empty and afraid of thinking about tomorrow. Life from now on will be different for me but I am going to be strong. I am going to be strong because I can hear your voice saying just that to me and I am choosing to let myself be guided by your voice that I hear” he said.
In her tribute, Chimamanda described her mother as a hardworking and intelligent woman who taught her children the best path to follow in life, which she said has brought her this far.
“My mother will be my mother in the next life and another life to come. She was kind and warm and funny and fun, intelligent and very sharp. She was very supportive to her children, the reason I’m here today the person that I’m because she raised me.
“I want to live my life in a way that will make her proud. My mother taught me to have ambition and follow it because she had ambition and followed it. She taught me to be kind, she taught me to see people as people, whether you have a high social position or low social position, and I want to continue to live my life that way,” she said.