By Steve Amaefuna
Life comes in different phases, nurtured, tendered and guided. As we follow a trajectory in the journey of life, we strive to achieve our goals and set our priorities. You have crossed many rivers of life, of distinction, excellence, patriotism and discipline, of love for community and mankind.
Lolo Okagba Bridget Ugbobuaku Amaefuna, you remain untainted and elegant at 90. How time flies! Just like yesterday, you have flipped through nine decades. Each decade chronicles your unique personage, from childhood through adolescence to middle age and adult life.
In you, the Amaefuna dynasty of Ezinifite, Nnewi South Local Government, Anambra State, has an uncommon patriot as matriarch. We, your children, on behalf of the Amaefuna dynasty, your numerous well-wishers, would like the world to catch a little glimpse of you through this piece.
Like the popular saying that “Mothers are nice and sweet like the last rose of summer that never fades with the sunset even when the rains set in,” sweet like the evergreen song of Prince Nico Mbarga, “Sweet Mother I no go forget you…”
Mother means different things to different people. To some, mother is just mother who feeds and takes care of their needs when they are young and helpless. To others, mother is a caretaker extraordinaire who bathes and rocks them to sleep.
For my siblings and I, our mother, Lolo Okagba Bridget Ugbobuaku Amaefuna is all and more than that. She is not just an ordinary mother, the way every other person understands the word, but God’s representative on earth.
God’s representative on earth? What could that mean? She is always worried about her children, the Amaefuna dynasty’s welfare, education, peace, unity, how we would measure up with our successful peers in the society, in conjunction with our father, Chief Felix Asomba Amaefuna, a dreamer and achiever who believed that, for wealth to have substantive meaning, it must be regarded as a means, since, according to him, “the true measure of any wealthy person is shown by the broader ends towards which he directs the means.”
Your humanitarian works across the country and the numerous people you have mentored are enough reasons to celebrate you. Your love of family is an example to all of us that a woman cannot be too busy to attend to family matters. If anything, you do it with the same dedication with which you have attended to your career in business and public administration. It is a known fact that you open your doors to pay attention to people from all walks of life.
She never ceased to enquire about the progress of our family members even in our absence. She encouraged her kinsmen to soar to greater heights alongside my father, especially as it pertains to their overall intellectual development, which by the grace of God, today, the Amaefuna dynasty parades a remarkable number of graduates in many academic disciplines. And many more are still in the making.
An epitome of beauty, a trailblazer, a quintessence of motherhood and wife and a loyal servant of God. To many who know her, the depth of her humility and sincerity and the genuineness of love showered on everyone around her combined to make her a model, one in a million mothers and indeed the best among her peers.
This life of concord between brothers, friendship between neighbours, and wife and husband who live happily together (Ecclesiastes 25:1-2) won her the people’s love in Aba, Abia State, where she resided, before she relocated to America. In appreciation of her love for all, they called her “Mama Aba” and, by extension, the entire Amaefuna dynasty.
She inculcated in us, the children, that rare combination of attributes of her unassuming personality, hard work, sound moral standards and, above all, being very close to God Almighty. Whatever we may have achieved today, collectively as a family or as individuals in our various endeavours, could not have been the case in the absence of these aforesaid qualities.
It is said that some people are born great, others achieve greatness, while a few others have greatness thrust upon them. One such rare case is that of our beloved mother.
Greatness is what she wished for herself, her children, Amaefuna dynasty and Umunwanegbo kindred. She employed all within the realms of her capability to achieve it, investing her time, talent and treasure towards that objective. She lost no opportunity to contribute her quota towards the goals.
The truth of this statement can be seen in the circumstance of my mother’s birth, marriage and life. She is mother of Dr. Steve Amaefuna, Mr. Julius Amaejuna, Patrick Amaefuna, Chief Chukwudi Amaefuna, Mrs. Ogonna Ifediniru, Mr. Rufus Amaefuna, Mrs. Njideka Madu (nee Amaefuna) and Bob Amaefuna, all accomplished individuals in their respective professions.
As a young child, my mother was said to be of good character, an epitome of beauty and intelligence. She exhibited some enviable traits. She was innovative, independent, creative, ingenious and God-fearing. Other qualities of hers included humility, cleanliness and cheerfulness, which marked her out as a gifted child.
These sterling qualities reflect in her marriage and family life from 1948, when she got married to her heartthrob, Chief Felix A. Amaefuna (Ochiriozuo Ezinifite), a community leader, renowned businessman and the initiator/financier of the educational revolution in Amaefuna dynasty and Ezinifite, which produced the first lawyer in Nnewi South Local Government, Godwin Amaefuna. He got his LLB (London) in 1962 and BL in 1963.
Before the demise of our father on February 7, 1998, the kind of mutual respect, trust, accord and understanding they shared remain legendary. Her sound parental upbringing aptly prepared and equipped her to navigate appropriately in the turbulent institution of marriage.
Dear mother, this is a testimony to your humility in greatness. As the years roll by, we ask that you do not slow down in doing good and blazing trails for the greater good of the society and to the pride of Amaefuna dynasty. It is a rare testimony to your diligence that, in all of these years, your sincerity in dealing with people, which runs in the family in following the footsteps of our father, attracts tremendous goodwill, respect and confidence. Thank you for making us proud.
There will be a thanksgiving Mass at the St. Leo De Great Catholic Church, Mbubu Ifite, Ezinifite, on Tuesday, December 28, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Reception follows at Amaefuna’s country home, Mbubu Ifite, Ezinifite.
• Dr Amaefuna, Udokamma Ezinifite, resides in the United States of America.