Tribute to My Dear Mother, Ezinne Comfort Ifeyinwa Okonkwo


Kasie Abone

The moment I received the news of your ascendance, Maami, my world caved in. My heart was torn into two, one was filled with heartache and pain, the other died with you. Sleep eluded me. I lie awake at nights when the world is fast asleep, through the stillness of the dark; alone I take a walk down memory lane with tear filled eyes.

If I could write a story about you, dear mother, it would be the greatest ever told of a kind and warm heart, a loving and caring mother who had a generous heart of gold. Diction fail in providing the right words that would correctly describe your sterling qualities. The images fill my head but my education could not arm me with words to say how you are.

I could write a million pages yet unable to say just how much you gave yourself, your love, your resources, your everything; how dedicated you were to caring for your children and others around you; the hope and succour God gave to the childless through you; the free drugs you gave generously, the child delivery you superintended through sleepless nights without asking for a dime; the home you gave to the homeless. You paid for education for those who could ill afford it; mediated between warring couples; your generous smile, your sincere advice and kind words that soothe all troubled souls around you, your profound belief that God in heaven watches over our actions.

If I could write a story about your life struggles, the needless troubles and battles you went through in defence of your children and your brother and a huge heart full of sunshine with which you tolerated and forgave, a million pages would not be enough to tell the story of how simple a heart you were.

You desired that those who troubled you could understand your inner pains; they failed to understand that you loved and cared for them so much. To the policeman who was hired to assassinate you when every diabolic means failed, you prayed and blessed him; the young man was so overwhelmed with your magnanimity that he went on his knees and wept. When the life of your first son was wickedly terminated at 36 and was labelled an armed robber by those who killed him to cover their wicked and mindless act, your counsel was, “ka njo dili ofu onye, rapulu Chukwu” (vengeance belongs to God).

When your stepson threatened you with a gun, destroyed your properties, insulted you and made life miserable for you, goaded by his evil and wicked accomplices (my stepmother and uncles) “don’t ever lay a hand on your brother,” was your candid advice to me. Were it not for your kind and forgiving soul, Maami, you would have still been alive till today.

Mama, I watched helplessly as you were harassed, threatened and eventually hounded to your untimely grave. Each time I wanted to act in your defense you would always say “Nuu rapu.” How I wished I did not listen to you Maami. My pain is not in the fact that you are gone but in the senseless circumstances of your death.

Though the wicked (who has since after your death ran away from our compound) may rejoice but your death will remain their loss and shame but to Gods glory. Who will they go to for free medicare when they are sick? Who will they run to when they need bread? Who will they go to for advice? Who will they call for help when they run into trouble? (which was regular).

Who would mend their leaking roof or give them water to bathe and wash their dirty clothes? Who will provide them shelter when it rains? When babies cry, when women are in labour, who will give them free delivery and medication? If they had thought about all these Maami, they would have prayed that you lived longer.

You called me sister, yes Maami, you were my BIG SISTER. I called you Maami because you were like no other mother. You were the most precious and most beautiful. You gave me life, you nurtured me, you loved me unconditionally, you taught me how to navigate the shark infested polygamous home, forthrightness and my strength of character, you taught me how to fight, be myself and stand on my own. You shouted at me and cuddled me. Above all, you taught me what love truly is and the beauty of forgiveness.

You were a bundle of inspiration to all around you. Your kind soul, wise counsel and outstretched hands can’t be quantified. Your home was open to everyone, your hospitality made them feel special. You are the most humble, compassionate, understanding family oriented woman I have ever seen. You are so dear and so true. You had an indescribable inner strength.

When father passed on 35 years ago, you went through storms and battles to raise all your children. Like mother hen you shielded us from harm, navigating through legion of landmines laid for you and your children in your home. You owed no man and paid everyone their dues. You were very energetic, highly organised and disciplined. I was not surprised that each group we went for clearance after your death, the reply we got was the same “Mama Emma o n’eji kwanu ugwo (Mama Emma doesn’t owe).

I could still hear you say Nuu rapu ka njo dili ofu onye, Nuu jili nwayoo. Nuu kedu ka iga esi nye aka, etc.

When I watched you dance on Mother’s Day, March 6, 2016 the day you were celebrated by the entire congregation of St. James Church, Abagana as Ezinne Nne Obioma (a kind and generous mother) I saw you dance like never before. You were so happy. Never in my life had I seen you, dear mother, dance like one intoxicated with new wine.

It was a glorious moment. That God opened your eyes to see how much Abagana community love and appreciate you was glorious. From then a new lease of life entered into you. You became a happier person. You began to radiate in peace and joy of your new discovery. A month, a week and two days after, God took you away to be with Him. You have fought a good fight. God opened your eyes so that you can see how beautiful you are. He took you so that you will have the peace you so much desired as you continue to dance in glory with Him in heaven.

Born to the family of Nze Silvanus Beluonwu Okoye Nwolise and Madam Beatrice Ofulanu Nwolise of Umueze Village Amawbia, she was trained as a midwife and Community Health Extension Worker. She dedicated her life caring for couples, pregnant women and children. Even at 79, she hardly had four hours of sleep. Money was not her consideration. She gave out drugs and food free. When I complained she wasn’t making profit because we always replenished her stock without any returns, her response was that she would continue to pray for us to have enough money to buy the drugs so that she would be able to continue giving them out free.

I am saddened by your death, dear mother. You went home at the time we were beginning to reward you for your labour over us. But I feel profoundly honoured, blessed and proud that you are my mother. Missing you is a heartache that will never go away but your life will remain a constant reminder that there is no greater way to honour you than to be a better me and uphold the love and peace you lived and died for.

No doubt your parting has left a deep crater but we will fill it with memories of joy, laughter, friendship, kisses that we shared. Yes, Maami, these things we shall miss very much.

Enjoy your deserved peace with the Lord, Ezi Nnem Oma, till we meet again to part no more.

Adieu Nne m oma


Adieu Nne Umuaka

Adieu Nne Obioma

Adieu College Umunwanyi

Your daughter and best friend, Noel Kasie Abone