From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
All roads at the weekend led to Umuapani Ubahu Okija, in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State for the interment of Lady Sophia Nwanyichukwu Ibe.
The deceased who died at the age of 89 in United Kingdom was a great teacher, according to her life and times, and also a primary school mate of many prominent Nigerians including former Vice President of Nigeria, late Dr Alex Ekwueme at Ekwulobia Central School in the present Orumba South Council Area of the State.
It is on record that many prominent lawyers, doctors, engineers and even journalists in Nigeria were once her pupils including the traditional ruler of Okija community, His Royal Highness, Igwe Emeka Okezie (Okaije Okija).
In his homily to mark a funeral service of Lady Ibe at the Basilica of St Peter’s Okija Archdeaconry, Ubahu, Okija, Venerable Christian Emeribe who represented the Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Nnewi, Rt Rev Ndubisi Obi said that many people got scared whenever death was mentioned.
Venerable Emeribe said it would be more instructive to go where people mourned than a place of enjoyment.
He noted that those who were true Christians had no cause to be afraid of death, adding that to die as true believers was to return home.
“All humans are strangers on Earth. Heaven is our home. Death is returning home. Any good Christian who is afraid of death should examine himself or herself.
“If you are fighting a religious war, maybe Christians versus Moslems and you win as a Christian, you might celebrate your victory in hellfire. You don’t fight for God. You must give your life to Christ and He has the capability to manage your life very well, ” he said.
In his tribute, first son of the deceased, Dr Charles Ibe said his late mother taught him all she could teach him invluding sex education to be what he is today. He described his mother as a great disciplinarian.
He said she was always looking for the best knowledge guided information for him.
“Slapping me during hygiene period and flogging me was her way of leading by example in front of the whole pupils at morning assembly ground as against mere tapping others with ruler measurement on their fingers. The pupils would be echoing “he is her son!!!” while taking their lesser punishment with ease.
“Mum was a teacher personified, a profession she held to her heart with pomp and vigour. At Umezoka she generated brains like Emeka Odo who is now IGR executive director in Enugu State, and his elder brother Gregory Odo who studied Mass Communication and English, respectively.
“In Abakiliki today, many Judges and lawyers like Jacob Nwakpa took their originality from the History and Bible Knowledge learning under my beloved Mum, ” Dr Ibe recounted.
Lady Ibe’s first daughter, Nwamaka Odili said she remembered her mother with deep nostalgia as a ‘no nonsense’ type of mother who raised her children with discipline and hard work.
She described her mother as a homemaker who was unbeatable and could combine her profession as a teacher with farm work to make ends meet.
“Thank you, my mother, for instilling in me great resilience and hard work that helped me a lot in the course of life without which survival would have been very difficult, ” she said.
Lady Ibe is survived by six children; twenty grand children, among others.
Among the dignitaries was retired Bishop on the Niger, Rt Rev Ken Okeke.