Late-Ohazurike

A famous community leader, Edmund Ebubedike Ohazurike of Umudimoha in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, who passed on earlier this year, was recently buried in grand style. But his death and burial turned out to be a blessing to the community. Iyobosa Uwugiaren, who attended the event, writes

Date: April 4, 2018; the event, which started at St. Philips Anglican Church Amike with church service attended by over 25 officiating ministers, was put together for the celebration of “a life well-lived’’ by late Elder Edmund Ebubedike Ohazurike in Umudimoha, Umudiawa, Amike in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, who passed on earlier this year, aged 103 years.

Apart from his community services and contributions to the development of Umudimoha, Umudiawa, Amike while he was alive, his death also recently changed the entire life of the community.

Findings by THISDAY revealed that in preparation for the very important personalities that would attend the burial ceremony, Senator Godwin Ifeanyi Araraume, who is married to the first daughter of late Pa Ohazurike, provided the essential facilities that were expected to make the visitors and the community comfortable throughout the ceremony.

First, he provided an industrial borehole for water supply; and some of the major roads within the community and others leading to it were tarred to the admiration of members of the community, including the religious leaders. And when news got to embattled Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State that his major political competitor, Senator Araraume, had fixed many facilities for the community, the governor also gave instruction to the appropriate state ministries to fix one or two roads in the community.

“You have transformed Amike, we are grateful to you; and the community will not be in a hurry to forget your good works to the community,’’ Bishop B.C.I. Okoro, the Anglican Bishop of Orlu told Araraume.

Archbishop Okoro eulogised Araraume and his wife, Lady Gladys Araraume for what he called “the transformation of Amike Community.” Amike is a community of the late father-in-law of the Senator.

“We thank Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and Lady Gladys Araraume for the transformation of Amike. We thank them also for the transformation of this church. We will not forget what Papa and his family have done for us,’’ the Archbishop added, while also praising the Senator for attracting a ring road around the community and assisted in ensuring that the church was befitting enough to receive dignitaries for the burial.

In his speech, Araraume thanked his friends, associates and business partners for attending the service and promised that the church would be fully completed in due time in memory of his in-law. His assurance to help complete the church elicited a loud ovation from members of the community present at the church ceremony.

Done with the church service, the ceremony later shifted to the Event Centre created by Araraume for the burial reception attended by prominent persons including, Sir George Eche, representative of Governor Okorocha; former Senate President Ken Nnamani; Sir Emeka Offor; Senator Bright Nwanne; Representative Ezenwa Onyewuchi; Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu; Senator Olabiyi Durojaye; Chief and Prof. Mrs. Achike Udenwa; Senator T. A. Orji and his wife, Mercy and Hon. Emeka Ihedioha

Others include Hon Adetokumbo Kayode (SAN); Eze Dr. Cletus Ilomuanya; Chief Graham Douglas; Ambassador Kema Chikwe; Chief George Moghalu; Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba; Chief Alex Otti; Evang Mrs. Evelyn TB Joshua; deputy governor of Imo State, Eze Madumere and others.

As expected, the ceremony turned out to be a huge political gathering. Members of Araraume Fan Club, a political wing of Senator Araraume Campaign Organisation came in thousands with different designed shirts. And with enough different foods and drinks to take, they were everywhere: drumming and dancing – as if they were being controlled by the spirit of Amadioha, one of the popular but fear-provoking gods in Igboland. But they were not; they came in team spirit with certainly the strongest Imo State governorship contender in 2019 general election, under the platform of APC.

Earlier while exhorting the departed soul, the officiating minister commended late Pa Ohazurike for remaining faithful to God until his last day, saying if the earth that will cover him will be very light it is because he lived a fulfilled life.

Described as an “icon of note; a man of courage and great wisdom”, late Ohazurike was born in 1915 to the family of late Pa Ohazurike Elekwachi and late Mrs. Nwaka Elekwachi of Amike in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State.

With a strong passion for education, he was said to have enrolled in Standard One at Central School Amike. But his academic ambition was truncated because his parents could not pay his school fees, and he later dropped out.

Apparently faced with the reality of his poor background and his vicarious desire to help his parents in the upbringing of his siblings, late Elder Ohazuirke resolved to carry the cross of the family and later left for Port Harcourt to learn “cabinet making”.

According to his biography, “With the help of late Chief Hezekiah Nwosu, he became a well-trained and skilled cabinet maker. His prowess and dexterity in this profession soon resonated in the length and breadth of Port Harcourt.

“His work became a cynosure of people’s attention so much so that people from far and near visited his workshop to patronise him. With the Midas touch, he made fortune from his works.’’

While at home, the departed soul was said to have offered himself for community service.

“In his life, there was no dull moment. He had leadership qualities, which patently gained ascendancy in some community-based responsibilities, which he willingly shouldered,” Mr. Victor Ohazurike, a family member stated.

The family member added, “His love for God’s work was extraordinary, leading to his sustained commitment to the growth of his church, St. Philips Anglican Church, Amike, which he helped to build from the cradle and guided to its present status as a Diocese.”

He said that rather than mourn Pa Ohazurike, the family had chosen to celebrate his life with love and praises to God for he clearly represented a generation of gracious and virtuous men, whose ideas and character would continue to uplift mankind.

Paying tributes to her father, Lady Gladys Araraune said as a community leader, he served with his whole heart, laying a strong foundation for the development of Umudimoha, Umudiawa and Amike, which he chaired simultaneously for over 30 years.

“Your service to humanity was second to none; your work of charity bore eloquent testimony to your humanitarian spirit. You were a quintessential giver. That was why God in His infinite grace enlarged your coast and gave you long life,” Gladys Araraume said.

On his part, one of his grandsons, Ifeanyi Araraume Jnr said, ‘’Pa Ohazurike was a loving man and will be remembered by those of us who knew and loved him; there was never a dull moment being around him; his jokes, his smiles always lifted everyone around him.

“As a young boy growing up, I looked forward to always coming home to see him; he taught me and all his grandkids the values that made us better persons in the society, honesty, sincerity and love for one another.”

Aside the tributes, the good works the burial ceremony of Pa Ohazurike attracted to the Amike community will remain with the people for a very long time.