By Magnus Eze, Enugu
Igbo women world over are currently mourning, President, Umuada Igbo Nigeria and in the Diaspora with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) status at the United Nations, New York, U.S.A and Geneva Switzerland, Lolo Kate Ezeofor, has said.
Widows of Eastern Region Premier, Michael Okpara, and Nigerian military ruler, Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, passed within a day of each other.
The death of Aguiyi-Ironsi’s widow, Lady Victoria, August 23, came a day after Chief Adanma Okpara died. Mrs. Adanma Okpara was wife of popular late Premier of Eastern Region, Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara, popularly known as MI Power.
The Aguiyi-Ironsis are from Ndume Ibeku Umuahia, while the Okparas are from Afugiri, also in Umuahia, Abia State. Ezeofor disclosed that the death of the two Igbo amazons was a big blow to Igbo women.
Umuada Igbo said the two matriarchs were “our able national patrons during their reign and they laid the foundation for women’s leadership role in Eastern region and Nigeria.
“Despite losing her husband since December, 1984, Lady Adanma remained a model of good and excellent womanhood. She was a fountain of knowledge from which most women, from Eastern Nigeria, drank freely.”
Mrs. Ironsi was Nigeria’s First Lady while her husband, Major General Aguiyi- Ironsi lasted as the Head of State from January to July 29, 1966.
President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. George Obiozor had said that the Igbo word over were devastated by the death of the two eminent and virtuous Igbo daughters.
Ohanaeze said though Aguiyi Ironsi’s tenure as the First Lady was very brief, she added prestige, colour, glamour and regality to the Office.
On the wife of the former premier, Ohanaeze called her an icon by her own virtues, saying that she was very famous among women, just as her frugal lifestyle and prudent resource management endeared her to many: “It is possible that that these two beautiful Igbo souls had seen heaven and hell while alive but their virtuous lives shall remain fresh in the minds of the present and future generations of Igbo women.”
Meanwhile, second son of the late Premier, Chief Uzodinma Okpara, has clarified that her mother, died at the age of 99 and not 97 as widely reported in the media.
He blamed the social media for not only coming up with his mother’s wrong age, but also hurriedly announcing her death without waiting for the family to make it public.
Okpara said her mother’s death ordinarily called for celebration, but that he was mourning her because of the bond they had.