Adieu, Sir Gilbert Onwuamaegbu


Annie Okonkwo
The journey from the time you became sick until your last breath Sir, Gibert Obiadiwe Onwuamaegbu, Nze Nnanyelugo Oba, was one of mixed emotions. Beautiful and lively most times, painful and uncertain sometimes, but courage and hope all the time.

At times, our search for words to interpret the complexity of life is futile. But yours is an easy narrative. You were loved by many, adored by friends and respected by all. In our deep and lengthy relationship, there were three epic encounters that stood above the rest. They are priceless treasures that will forever remain green in my memory.

The first happened when I was just twenty three years old, a youth in a hurry to quicken the transition of adolescence to adulthood. You sowed the life seed of confidence in me, when you gave your princess, Lady Chinyelu, Ugo Agu, to become my peerless jewel as wife, friend and now mother. That has remained my unrivalled testimony. Another was when your love and faith in me brought down standing walls of judgment and uncertainties. Though apolitical, you gave unconditional support to my political expeditions with an uncut native intelligence far smarter than consultants. Needless for emphasis, your compulsive nurture to me in business was a heritage of insights from your rich hindsight.

And the most recent Sir, was when we agreed you will live a hundred and fifty years, and set a modern world record on longevity. At 93, you gave it your best shot before succumbing to the immortality of the higher realm. Here, we are consoled to celebrate a real champion of life whose great grand children are proud bearing colourful banners of goodbye. Your footprints will reside within our hearts to inspire our minds. Your words of wisdom will reflect in our speeches and guide our actions. Your cares and charity without borders already made us committed caregivers voluntarily.

Your last few years were hard but eventful too. It revealed a new depth of love and shared bonding from Lady Harriet Nkechi Onwuamaegbu, your loyal wife for fifty eight years. She took irrepressible delights and glowed in self denial as she attended to your every detail for succour. And she truly came tops exceptionally. There were moments when words failed and tears flowed. Moments when faith was challenged and emotions ran high. But you kept our hopes renewed in a manner that gave courage a new lease.

That way you made it simpler for us to be gallant and pull through despair with victory. We will all miss you painfully no doubt. We will bear our pains with triumph though. We will comfort your wife and our matriarch. We will ensure she bests your record and make you proud.

Surely, you were a man of integrity, passion, faith and family. Above all, you were a dedicated son of The Most High God, The Everlasting King upon whose feet you now worship, dance and rejoice. We look up and thank Him really for his many blessings.

We thank Him for the man you were. We bless His name for everyone here to celebrate the exit of a great ideas enabler and a solid social energiser. Adieu Nnanyelugo Oba! Adieu My Great Father-in-law! Fare Thee Well to eternal bliss.

––Senator Annie Clement Okonkwo writes from Lagos.