Cheers to Iyom Osodieme @ 70 – Marcel Anaenugwu

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A  virtuous Wife and Mother is hard to find. She is worth far more than silver and gold. She is rare but precious and a treasure to those that find her.            A virtuous Wife and Mother is industrious, hardworking,     determined, focused, humble, sensitive and selfless.    As a wife, she is a jewel of inestimable value, loving and caring, faithful and kind, helpful, respectful, supportive and compassionate.
The mother, the hand that rocks the cradle, is enduring, generous, dogged, protective, meticulous and untiring. She raises her children with the fear of God, so that when they grow old, they shall not depart from His love. She supports and encourages her children to be successful in life but yet to be humble, respectful and kind.
The above excerpt succinctly describes the nature, character and philosophy of life of Iyom Ezinne Justina Nwaogbonnie Anaenugwu, popularly called Iyom Osodieme.
Iyom Ezinne Justina Nwaogbonnie Anaenugwu was born into the well-known family of late Chief Nwokeke Okonkwo ( Anyichie) and late Iyom Janet Mgbafo-Iliego Okonkwo of Adagbe Avomimi village of Enugwu-ukwu, in Anambra State on 12th December, 1946. She is the 5th out of the six children of her parents.

Early Life
Iyom commenced her early educational career at St. Anthony’s Primary School, Enugwu-ukwu, where she obtained her First School Leaving Certificate in 1960. All through her primary education she was found to be very brilliant with exceptional cognitive endowment and ability.
Numerous suitors who came for her hand in marriage were turned away as marriage was the least thing on her mind as at the time. She loves education and desperately desired to further same. It was at this point that the young, handsome and educated Engineer Moses Arize Anaenugwu came to seek Iyom’s hand in marriage. His persistence and conviction that Iyom’s education was to be his utmost priority if he was married to Iyom, was re-assuring and acceptable to her parents, who eventually gave their consent. Iyom was married to the Young Engineer Moses A. Anaenugwu at a very tender age in 1966.
After Iyom’s marriage, she undertook a short stint of vocational training at the School of Catering and Management in the then old Anambra State, where she qualified as a professional Baker, homemaker, fashion designer, hair dresser and dress maker. With the support of her ever caring husband Iyom set up an industrial Garment, knitting factory and training School which trained many well known Professionals and also supplied sweaters and uniforms to reputable schools in the 1970 &80s.  The School was also a preparatory ground for marriage and marital life for its young teaming female trainees, a lot of whom today are proud beneficiaries of this great outfit – a symbol of Iyom’s foresight and sense of industry. Many of Iyom’s and her husband’s relations also benefited from her generosity and assistance to gain these valuable vocational training which prepared them for their respective marriages and vocations.

Educational Career
True to her husband’s promise, Iyom’s dream to further her education after her marriage began to manifest when with the full support of her young hubby decided to broaden her scope of teaching and imparting knowledge to young ones through her further education at St. Monica’s Teachers Training College, Ogbunike, Anambra State where she obtained her TC 11 Certificate in Distinction in her core subjects.
She was not done yet as she later proceeded to the college of Education Nsugbe, Anambra State where she bagged an NCE in Home Economics. Still undaunted, Iyom again proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State where she obtained a Bachelors Degree (B.ED) in Guidance and Counseling in the 1980s with a Second Class Upper Degree.

Working Career
Upon the completion of her academic training in Education, Iyom joined the noble Teaching Profession. This was again another platform which enabled her to promote her undying love of educating and molding the young ones for a greater and better tomorrow. She started her Teaching Career at Nsukka in 1975, and had the opportunity to have taught in many Schools. By so doing, she touched the lives of many.
Iyom obediently accompanied her husband, who was a Civil Engineer with the Ministry of Works in the then regional and later States dispensation, on transfers to various towns and communities in the present day Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra and Imo States. She taught in many Primary Schools in these areas. A Professional teacher to the core, Iyom was extremely devoted to her duties in the classroom and to the students that she taught and ensured they excelled under her tutelage.
Iyom’s intelligence and diligence in the discharge of her duties while in teaching service ensured she reached the peak of her teaching career to the position of Headmistress and she eventually retired honorably in 2006 at the Army Day School, Onitsha after a meritorious service in the teaching profession.
Iyom Osodieme won several awards while in the Civil service, which include the Best Teacher Award, and the Award from the Anambra State Universal Basic Education (UBE) Board, Awka for her excellent performance, intelligence, and punctuality to School.
Iyom’s family life is very eventful, impressive and inspiring. She is a good example of a virtuous wife and mother. Iyom was not only supportive but was instrumental to the overall success of her husband particularly in his career as a civil servant. Being a peace loving person, she ensured that peace reigned supreme in her matrimonial home, complemented with respect and faithfulness to her husband, late Ozonkpu (Engr) Moses Arize Anaenugwu, all through his life ,till he passed on to the glory of God on 1st July 2011.
After her husband’s early retirement in the eighties to set up a Civil Engineering Construction company, Anok Nig. Ltd., Iyom ensured she actively him in nurturing his new business and also adjusting the family to the new environment in the home. Iyom’s dexterity in adapting to and managing Change, her intelligence and decision making skills yielded outstanding results as manifested in the good upbringing and profound accomplishments attained by her children.
Today, to God’s glory, all her eight children are graduates of various disciplines from several Nigerian and overseas Universities and are equally married to successful spouses. All her children and in-laws are gainfully employed in good establishments both in Nigeria and overseas. To cap the glory, Iyom Osodieme has twenty three (23) grandchildren.

Social Life
Iyom’s social life is a life of devotion, sacrifice and selfless service to God and humanity. Little wonder, she is loved by all her community, both in Onitsha and Enugwu-Ukwu and other places she has had the privilege of staying in and or teaching. She is a problem solver, a teacher in every sense of the word. Iyom’s guiding philosophy in life is that ‘whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can be achieved with faith in God’. She is a veteran of motherhood whose advice and wisdom is always sort after and consulted by many young mothers. She would not hesitate to encourage young mothers to be patient with life’s challenges and above all, to always look up to God. Because she has successfully brought up her eight children who are presently graduates of different professions, some of her admirers prefer to call her ‘Nne lawyer’, ‘Nne Doctor,’ ‘Nne Engineer, ‘Nne Pharmacist’, Nne Colonel, etc. Yet others prefer to call her ‘Nne Professionals’, a reference to the different professional callings of her children.
Iyom is a member of many social groups including the Rotary Club. She is one of the Board members ofOzonkpu Moses Arize Anaenugwu Foundation for the Education of the less privileged children.
As part of numerous accolades, Iyom was conferred with the respected Iyom title by the Enugwu- ukwu Traditional Institution, alongside her husband during the conferment of the prestigious Ozonkpu title on her husband, Late Chief Moses Arize Anaenugwu, by Igwe Osita Agwuna, Eze Enugwu-Ukwuna Umunri.
Iyom Osodiemeis selfless and accommodating. She takes great pride and joy in sharing her pension and monthly allowances given to her by her children with others. Many widows are regular beneficiaries of her monthly stipends, amongst other numerous acts of charity and philanthropic gestures. As a board member of the foundation established in honour of her Late husband, she always encourage her children to pay school fees and other categories of fees regularly for numerous indigent but brilliant children under the scholarship Award instituted by the Ozonkpu Moses Arize Anaenugwu Foundation.
To put smiles on other People’s faces, according to Iyom is her natural heritage, and there is nothing she can do about that, than to live it.

Religious Activities
Iyom is a devoted Christian.  She believes in the efficacy of prayers, a firm believer in the will of God, a sincere, devout and faithful Catholic whose beliefs centered on faith, hope, love, and charity. She is a strong devotee of our blessed Mother Mary and a staunch Catholic in thoughts, words and action. She also believes in the sacrifice of mass as the greater prayer hence she attends the morning mass daily till today.
Iyom has served in the Catholic Women Organization as Secretary both in Enugwu-Ukwu and Onitsha and in various capacities. She has always supported other societies in the church financially. In view of this, the St. Anthony Catholic Church, Enugwu-Ukwu conferred on her the Ezinne Award in 2010 in appreciation of her immense contributions to the work of God in the Diocese.
Iyom, your children are celebrating you today. You are a mother in its entire entirety, a mother in a million. As you turn 70 today, we call you blessed. Your good works praise you. Your worth is above rubies. We celebrate you, we love you and we are proud of you.
The past 70years have been very eventful as you spent most of it building lives and molding characters, especially those active years spanning your noble career as a professional teacher. As our own teacher, you taught us your children well with our never to be forgotten father, Ozonkpu (Engr.) Moses Arize Anaenugwu, you impacted our lives with treasured values that we have graciously imbibed, making us stand out in the comity of men and women of our great country, Nigeria, and even beyond. Time tested values like humility, contentment, never to steal, respect for fellow human beings and constituted authority, and above all, fear of the Almighty God. These attributes have brought us far and will continue to remain with us and be our guiding principles in life.
You are truly a virtuous woman and peerless symbol of motherhood whose sterling qualities have become a source of pride to us your children and inspiration to many others who look up to you as a role model of inestimable value.
Indeed, you are a great mother of impeccable distinction.
As we celebrate your 70th birthday on April 8, 2018, we pray the Almighty God to grant you more strength, divine protection, good health and long life.
Happy birthday, Mummy! We love you awesomely!!!

–Tribute by Engr. Marcel Anaenugwu