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Owa Kingdom Alive for Princess Margaret Obaigbena’s Burial Today
* Okowa, Ganduje, Prince Aghatise Erediauwa, Amosun, Emefiele, Jim Ovia, Herbert Nwigwe attend service of songs
Ahamefula Ogbu in Lagos and Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
The remains of Princess Margaret Obaigbena (Nee Usifoh), matriarch of the Obaigbena family, who died on June 17 will be laid to rest today in the family’s compound in Owa-Oyibu, Ika North-east Local Government Area of Delta State.
The late octogenarian Dame of Anglican Church and mother of the Chairman/Editor-in-Chief of THISDAY/Arise Media Group, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, was a former chief nursing officer in the defunct Bendel State.
The series of activities, which will culminate in the accomplished mother’s burial today, commenced with a commemorative birthday and Day of Tributes held on August 16 at Owa-Oyibu.
The Owa-Oyibu community is alive with hundreds of dignitaries from all walks of life on ground for the historic burial today.
The funeral service for the Princess will commence at 11am in Owa Oyibu and would be followed by a private burial of the matriarch at the Obaigbena family compound.
Yesterday, there was lying-in-state of the Princess at the Obaigbena family compound, followed by a service of songs in the afternoon at Ika North-East Local Government premises, and later, Christian wake.
The list of dignitaries among the multitude that defied the downpour to attend the service of songs included Delta State Governor/Vice-presidential candidate of the PDP, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; his wife, Dame Edith; Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State; former governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun; former deputy speaker, House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; Zenith Bank Chairman, Jim Ovia; Senator Ben Obi, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; Deputy Governor of CBN, Kingsley Obiora and Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Nwigwe.
Prince Aghatise Erediauwa led a high-powered delegation to the event from the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II.
Others in attendance include the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Ali Ari Muhammed; the minority caucus leader of House Representatives, Hon Ndudi Elumelu; member representing Ika Federal Constituency, Victor Nwokolo; Managing Director, THISDAY, Eniola Bello and his Arise News counterpart, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu.
The Anglican Bishop of Etsako Diocese in Edo State, Rt Rev Felix Olorunfemi, who delivered the sermon at the service of songs, harped on the need for people to serve God in their neighbours, noting that there is an urgency in such call to serve because our purposes on earth are time-bound.
“Just as the Lord Jesus himself put it, You must work while it is still day, because night comes when man cannot work,” Bishop Olorunfemi stated, adding that people from far and near, and from all walks of life were gathered in Owa because Princess Margaret Obaigbena lived a life of service to humanity by impacting countless number of people with the light God put in her.
The clergyman noted: “Light is the only solution to darkness that today looms over the nations of the world. Princess Obaigbena was always conscious of the fact that God raises people to impact others positively.
“When a man, who has been given the light of God by virtue of the position he finds himself, fails to render help to the needy at the appointed and appropriate time, it is useless if he does it later.
“Our God-given assignment on earth is time-bound, so we must work while it is day, for night comes when no man can work. Shine your light that God has provided you and impact lives meaningfully while you still have the time.”
The Choir from Salisbury University in Cape Town, South Africa also thrilled the audience with rendition of Zulu songs.
Tomorrow, August 21, there will be an outing service between 9:00am -12:00pm at Owa Oyibu.
On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari and his wife, Aisha, in separate letters, condoled with Prince Nduka Obaigbena over the death of his mother.
On the same day, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, paid a condolence visit to the Obi of Owa, HRM Obi (Dr.) Emmanuel Efeizomor and the Obaigbena family over the demise of Princess Obaigbena.
The two condolence letters were personally signed by the president and his wife.
While expressing his sympathies to the Obaigbena family, the president described the late special adviser to three governors in Delta State, as a treasured daughter of the land.
He noted that the demise of the mother of THISDAY’s publisher would create a huge vacuum, but urged those she left behind to take comfort in the fact that she lived her life caring for the disadvantaged in the society.
The Emir of Kano, during his visit, described the Publisher of THISDAY, Nduka Obaigbena as the greatest Nigerian he has met.
Welcoming the Emir of Kano and his entourage in his palace at Owa-Oyibu, Obi Efeizomor II expressed delight at receiving the highly regarded monarch having traveled with his entourage all the way from Kano State.
The Kano monarch said, “When I was leaving home, I told my people that I am leaving Kano State to come to Kano city and I believe when I go back my people will confirm that, indeed I traveled to a place called home.
“I am really delighted to be here; I didn’t come to make a speech but I came to pay homage and condole with my brother. My brother’s mother, Princess Margaret is an icon of hope, a mother to all who has left a legacy that cannot be forgotten.
Princess Margaret Obaigbena: 1934 to 2022
The late Princess Margaret Obaigbena was born in Enugu on August 16, 1934 to Pa Paul Owakwe and Mrs. Grace Osinole Usifoh of Owa Kingdom in present day Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State.
Fondly called “my pearl” by her father, Princess Obaigbena spent her early years in Enugu and Onitsha before she finally settled in Agbor when her father retired.
Growing up, late Princess Obaigbena was obsessed with the sight of nurses, especially their immaculate white uniform and finally had her dream fulfilled when she was admitted into the school of nursing and midwifery in Ibadan and later, Benin.
She was a winner of many awards, including Best Academic Nurse in 1971 by the British High Commission and Best Practical Nurse in 1972 by the military Governor of the then Western Region.
Armed with her training and adroit discharge of her duties, the late Princess rose to the position of Chief Nursing Officer in the defunct Bendel State and later transferred her services to Delta State when it was created in 1991.
She left her footprints in the health sector of the defunct Bendel State and later, Delta State, where she was adviser to three successive governments in Delta State due to her wealth of experience.
The late Princess was married to late prince, Edwin Ukperi Obaigbena and the marriage was blessed with six children – Prince Ben Obaigbena who retired as Group General Manager of defunct Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation; Prince Alan Glory Obaigbena, a retired Florida Director of Highways, USA; Princess Isioma Ukwa; the late Prince Rotimi Obaigbena; Prince Ndukka Obaigbena, and Princess Ogochukwu Aneke.
Princess Obaigbena, who passed on at age 87 after a brief illness, was also survived by many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
The demise of the Obaigbena matriarch was announced by the Royal family of Owa Kingdom, led by the Obi of Owa Kingdom on June 17 in what he termed “celebration of life and times” of the matriarch.