By Ignatius Uzuegbunam
It is with so much difficulty that I pen down this piece, as I never envisaged writing obsequies for Mrs Amaka Ndoma-Egba. Not now, not any moment soon, not in this manner.
I am yet to come to terms with what actually transpired, not until two days ago when the obituary poster bearing details of her burial and funeral rites made it to the open. Behold, what I regarded as a mere rumour ab-initio now dawned on me as reality. What a sad reality, a very painful reality.
I first met her in year 2007, weeks after I was posted by my Department to the Office of Deputy Senate Leader as Media Attachee to provide Media support services to Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, her husband who had become Deputy Senate Leader at that time.
After she visited the office and we the new members on the Senator’s team took the opportunity to introduce ourselves, she was to always address us by first name and never forgot details about anyone. This was made manifest as your first name and surname will be written correctly by her when she presents you an envelope containing a cheque to the tune of about six and sometimes seven figures asking you to get something for your family. This happens all the time to all persons on her husband’s team.
She was so much different from other wives of Nigerian big men. She makes other people’s problem hers, takes interest in things that concerns anybody around her then finds ways and means to ameliorate them.
She opens up her home to receive you and ensures you are offered something before leaving.
She was a very supportive wife to her husband, and to every other person that works around her husband.
She will call me up sometimes to draw my attention to what she saw in the media and suggests how I can respond to them. I must admit that her suggestions were always of immense value.
Alas! We are going to miss all these.
For Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba OFR, CON SAN former Senate Leader, former Chairman NDDC, the chief mourner. Year 2020 wasn’t a very good one.
Mid year, he lost his mother, Madam Regina Achi Nentui. Shortly afterwards, he lost his mother inlaw Mrs Ethel Onono.
After he buried both women in Ikom and Onitsha respectively days apart by the end of COVID19 lockdown. Nigerians saw the commencement of EndSARS protests by Nigerian Youths who were protesting against police brutality. Thence came with it attendant lootings and razing of properties thereinafter.
His Calabar home sitting on number 1 Victor Ndoma-Egba Street Asari-Eso took the hit.
The Invaders cleaned out the edifice, leaving out only the paint on the walls, floor tiles and roofing sheets. Two Vehicles, Toyota Lexus Jeep and Hilux were also burnt to ashes.
I recall the Asari-Eso residence with nostalgia.
That was where I ate edible mushroom for the first time in my life. Sometime in 2012, after he had become Senate Leader at which time he had appointed me his Special Assistant on Media Matters, we travelled to Calabar for his annual Scholarship Award to mainly Indigent Students of Central Senatorial District of Cross River, other worthy Students from Cross River and Akwa Ibom States. That year’s edition fell on one of those periods in Christian Calendar when Catholics abhor meat. Him being a staunch Catholic, meat was no where near the culinary roster in the house. I relished the meal of unripe plantain porridge and mushrooms, served by his Akwa Ibom born Chef.
He had purchased the land in 1988 at the cost of N2100(Two thousand one hundred naira only), and made the payment in installments if N200s and N300s, at which time the whole area was thick forest.
He commenced the development of the property in 1991 after libations were poured on the plot of land and completed it in 2008, a whooping period of 18 years and then moved in 2009.
This was the memory the Invaders tried albeit unsuccessfully to erase.
However, this is very replaceable. When you destroy the palace of a king, you are simply asking him to build a bigger and better one.
What is irreplaceable is his dear wife, Mrs Amaka Ndoma-Egba nee Onono. His strongest pillar.
Though she will be interred on the 12th December 2020, SHE LIVES ON.
In the words of first letter of St Paul to Thessalonians chapter 4, verses 13 & 14 it says “We do not want you to … grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep”
Oga, be hopeful in the Lord, be valiant for his sufficient Grace and mercy. He shall see you through.
• Uzuegbunam is a public affairs analyst and sent in this piece from Abuja