“Sweet is the memory of the righteous and is a source of blessing”. So says the Bible in Proverbs 10:7. If only Appeal Nwanyi of Enugwu-Agidi was to be alive to read the encomiums being poured on her from far and near since she bowed to the inevitable cold hands of death, she would be smiling her way to heaven.
If there were roses in heaven, I will ask an angel to help give her a bunch of roses on my behalf, for her life of simplicity, diligence, discipline, integrity, love and kindness. She was an impactor who touched so many lives. When she turns to receive the roses with a smile, I will ask the angel to give her a kiss and usher her triumphantly into paradise where she truly deserves a place for she lived a good life and was a true worshipper of God.
Appeal Nwanyi was born in 1928 or thereabouts into the Okoli Royal Family of Igbolo Village, Enugwu Agidi and she died Saturday 17, December 2021 at the age of 93 years. In my small community, she was one of the last of her generation to pass on. The death of Odigbo, her loving husband and regular companion of many years took a harsh toll on her. They were a great team and best of friends. While Odigbo led the men for many years and through difficult times, Appeal led the Catholic Women Organization.
With Odigbo gone, her mobility and agility slowed down as sickness gradually weighed her down. As the years passed by, she became less frequent in most women activities and so also was her attendance in church. But none of these affected her faith in the Lord. Her faith meant a lot to her. She clung on to Jesus Christ and was unwavering in her belief in resurrection. Even when she lost her two sons – Fidelis and Luis, she remained stoic and faithful as a true worshipper of God.
Though old and tired, her demise came to me as a shock when her son, Innocent Obiora broke the news of her glorious exit to me. Appeal, as she was fondly called, was a good woman whom I first encountered in 1990 while I was running for te position of counsellor in our community.
I was directed to meet her in her capacity as Women Leader. She instantly took a liking to me, gave me a lot of tips and helped mobilise the women for me. She was close to my late uncle’s wife, both of who had lived near to each other in Jos. Appeal was the model housewife and mother. Most young wives were sent over to her for mentoring and she did a good job at it.
During the period I encountered her, she did something in particular that etched her permanently in my memory. One afternoon, an emissary came to me that Emmanuel, one of her sons, came in from Enugu and wished to see me for some undisclosed reasons. I followed the emissary to meet with him, and there were seated, mother and son.
Emmanuel was simple and very casual. Nothing in the world would make you equate him with stupendous wealth. He welcomed me warmly and asked me how my campaign was faring? He said the mother had told him about me and my chances. He said he wanted to encourage me. He said he wanted me to win but that if I didn’t, I shouldn’t lose interest in politics and serving humanity.
That’s not all. He went into a room and came out with some freshly minted notes and handed everything over to me. My jaw dropped. Barely out from the National Youth Service, I had never seen or touched that much money in my life. I was speechless. For some minutes I held the money with my two hands, not knowing what to say or do.
No one had supported my ambition with any cash donation but here I am with a total stranger who just handed me N20,000 in freshly minted 100 naira notes. With my eyes misty with tears, I thanked him profusely and I thanked Appeal because I knew she made it possible. As a Roman Catholic, I know the power of Hail Mary. I said my Hail Marys for God’s protection over me, my benefactor and his mother.
Appeal loved the husband and she has gone to join him in a journey of eternity. A true servant of God gone to meet her Maker. With all these sterling qualities Appeal has left behind some sweet and blessed memories of the righteous as indicated in the Holy Book. Here are just a few excerpts from the many tributes to this humble but great woman gone:
“Our mother was a benevolent and generous woman. She was a mother to all that came close to her. A mother per excellence. Her exit left a big vacuum. Above all her legend will live for a long while” – Dave Obiora (Son).
“Appeal nwanyi rest in peace. You are in peaceful hands of our Lord. Your demise was a great loss to our community. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Mama Appeal Nwanyi jee nke oma” – Ozo Soskice Odawaluoji.
“Mama Appeal was one of our good mothers in the good Jos days. She was my mom’s best friend and we actually lived next door to their family for most of my childhood. I ate many dinners in mama’s house. She was the best. She was wise, meek, quiet, and very humble. Many newly married women in Jos were sent to her house for training on how to run a home and do domestic works. She was well respected among Enugwu Agidi women of that time. She lived in her entire life with the same integrity. She is one of the last Jos mothers of that time that hung around. Although she lived a long successful and happy life, we shall all miss her dearly. On behalf of my family I want to thank the Obiora family for sharing her with us. I pray that God rewards her in heaven for her stewardship. Now that she has gone to be with Papa Odigbo, I pray that they will both rest in peace forever, Amen.” – Chief John Okoye
“Appeal, you are a very good woman, you are a very good mother. When in 1967 Enugwu Agidi ran for the first time during the war, though we later came back before we ran again in 1968, I happened to be in the same camp with her and her family at Achara Umuaka Orlu. My mother was not there for us but I didn’t feel it because she mothered all of us together as her children. As I already said, she is a very good woman. I know she is already resting in the bosom of the Lord. But I must add my voice to those asking God to judge her case with mercy. May her soul Rest in Perfect Peace, Amen” – Mr. Josephat Osita Okoye
Mama Appeal evidently lived a good and exemplary life. As a kind hearted disciplinarian, she raised hardworking and intelligent children as her surviving children, Emmanuel, Innocent, Dave, Ngozi and Uju have displayed in many and several instances. She will be missed for her wise counsel, leadership, discipline and contribution to the development of the women of Enugwu Agidi. May her sweet soul Rest in Peace, Amen.