By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
March 3rd, 2020 will forever remain indelible and sad moment in my life. This is because it was the very day when the news of the death of my father inlaw, Pa Paulinus Nkemjika Nwaorgu, hit me like a thunderbolt. For some days thereafter, sleep and appetite to eat departed from me because I had dreamt of organising a befitting birthday celebration to honour his 95th birthday on 25th November, 2020, only for me to hear that he has left me without celebrating this man who raised me out of poverty by allowing me to marry her golden daughter who has done everything a true Angel could do for us to raise a decent and comfortable family.
Instead of celebrating his birthday as he envisaged, we his immediate family resolved instead to celebrate on the epochal day of his birthday his legacies and the great impact he made in our lives individually and collectively as a great family.
Apart from having the rare privilege of marrying his first daughter, I had a special bond with him as he considers me his true son. By this, he accorded me all the respects and privileges on any issue pertaining to his family.
No serious issue facing him or his family that he did not request that my view be sought accordingly to the extent that he referred most of the suitors to his other daughters to me for confirmation.
The role this man whom I consider as my hero, mentor and teacher need not be overemphasized that I attributed almost 75 per cent of whatever I am today to him because if not for his foresight and acceptance when I had nothing, I may not be whatever it is that I am by today.
MY FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH THE MAN WHO GAVE HIS FIRST DAUGHTER TO A POOR UNIVERSITY UNDERGRADUATE TO MARRY
My father In-law was a man whose inputs in my life can’t be overemphasized. I can vividly remember my first encounter with him on the fateful day of 3rd September, 1987, by 4pm at Umuaku in Ngor Okpala in Imo State as a 300 level student, when I approached him to introduce myself and express my interest to marry his daughter, then Miss. Henrietta Chioma Ada Nwaorgu, a final year student in University of Calabar.
I always vividly recall that very day as if it was yesterday. He had just returned from Owerri, where he went for the ordination of the first Rev. Sister from Uvuru-Ntu; and not minding how tired or exhausted he was still gave me attention. In the course of my interaction with him on that fateful day, he realised that I was an ordinary poor student who had no means of completing his university education without any strong financial background, yet he consented to my request, not minding that they were many creditable and contending suitors that had already approached his daughter for marriage.
Through God’s special intervention, I was able to graduate from University of Calabar, not minding all the challenges.
How this man agreed to my proposal after inquiring and knowing that I had no means of livelihood or stable future still remains a mystery to me.
My shortcomings not withstanding, he picked much interest in me after finding out that we both had our Secondary School education from the famous Christ the King College (CKC), Onitsha, now in Anambra State, where he graduated and got his Cambridge Certificate in 1952.
My good friend, Victor Devlin, with my father in law in his mind stated, “Listen, there is no way any true man is going to let children live around him in his home and not discipline and teach, fight and mold them until they know all he knew. His goal is to make them better than he is. Being their friend is a distant second to this”. My father In-law was a born Teacher and a Disciplinarian of note. Most of his students who are today captains of Industries and high ranking government officials can attest to this.
My meeting with my wife while we were students at UNICAL was divine and with the permission of this great man and her siblings, I set my mind to justify his confidence in me and I thank God that I have, for the past 28 years I got married into this great family, done my best to prove that.
My beloved father In-law, though he left this world at the ripe age of 94 plus and been the oldest man in his community, I will still miss him passionately. With his demise, I have lost a Hero, a rare gem, a special friend and a Mentor.
If there is anything like reincarnation, I will still like to marry Ada Chioma Nwaorgu again and again! With her, God has blessed us with six most wonderful children anybody can wish for.
WHO IS PA PAULINUS NKENJIKA NWAORGU?
Pa Paulinus Nkemjika Nwaorgu was born on the 25th day of November, 1925, to the family of Mr. & Mrs. Nwaorgu Ogbuokiri of Umuaku – Ntu, Ngor Okpala, of Imo State. He was the sixth child and the last in the family of six. His brothers and sisters of blessed memory include: Mr. Joseph Nwaorgu popularly known as Papa J., Ekeogbede, Mbekeogbede, Nwaobiara, and his little male brother that died at birth.
His mother’s name was Martha Mgberenwenu, a native of Umuawuka Umuowa in Ngor – Okpala, Imo State.
Pa Paulinus Nkemjika Nwaorgu attended Saint Patrick’s Central School, Ntu, where he had his Standard 1 to 4. He then proceeded to Saint Filnbars, Okpala in 1945 where he did his Standard 5to 6.
At the completion of his Standard Six, he proceeded to St. Patrick’s Umuekwune where he was employed as a probationary teacher from 1946 – 1947.
He got admission into the popular CKC Onitsha in 1948 where he got his Cambridge School Certificate in 1952.
He attended Bishop Shonahan Teachers’ Training College, Orlu, in the then Eastern Region (now in Imo State) from 1952 – 1954.
After the completion of his teachers training, he was given appointment as a Pivotal Teacher in the same Bishop Shonahan TTC Orlu. He later taught at Kirigani, Rivers State, for a month from where he was transferred to Holy Family Umuokanne as an assistant headmaster. He left Umuokanne and went to Umuagwo as a headmaster from 1958 – 1959. He also taught at Holy Trinity Obuozor Umuokpara in Aba.
His zeal and love to impact knowledge in children and all that came around him in the course of his teaching career was fiery and led to his taking up a teaching appointment with Owerri Grammar School, Imerienwe, in 1959 under the able Proprietor and Principal, Dr. Basil Nnanna Ukaegbu. His mastership of Latin Language endeared him to his students earning him the name “Agricola” amongst others! He also taught and imparted knowledge to students in Amala/Ntu Sec. School 1977 – 1985, and Eziobodo Technical Sec. School 1985 – 1986.
He officially retired in 1986; but still very active, decided to take up a teaching post with Baptist High School, Umuohie, Ngor – Okpala, where he also served as the Dean of Students. He finally retired in 2006.
He got married in 1958 to Miss Celine Adanma Nwauzoma Ekenwachukwu of Umuohie Ngor and their Union was blessed with nine children – five boys and four girls, all alive today to the Glory of God.
On the 18th of February, 1982, The Amazon of a woman, wife, mother and sister of many, Mrs. Celine Adanmma Nwaorgu, passed on to glory leaving her husband and tender children in the careful and non-failing hands of the Almighty God.
Pa Paulinus Nkemjika entered into one of his darkest moments with the sudden exit of his beloved wife. It was a period of tears, isolation and deep thought, and burden. He was lost in his thoughts but God was there to comfort, console and direct him. And God really did. To you be all the Glory, our God.
He mourned his beloved wife for seven sorrowful, agonizing, and lonely years; and later got remarried to Ms. Philomena Nwaehujie Nwake from Umuaturu Etche, Rivers State, in 1989.
On his retirement, Pa Paulinus Nkemjika Nwaorgu, a good Christian, held several posts in Umuodagu Ntu Catholic Church Parish. He lived a simple and modest life. He on several occasions rejected honorary titles until the occasion of the 2008 CMO Day when he was honoured with the title of “Special Father of the Parish” (St Paul’s Catholic Parish, Umuodagu Ntu). A peaceful and generous man, great disciplinarian, in appreciation & recognition of his outstanding role and contributions to the advent & Growth of the Catholic Church in Umuodagu Ntu; services to God & Humanity was given a Centenary Award of Excellence by the Parish on July 8, 2012.
Pa Paulinus Nkemjika Nwaorgu was very active in sports in his youth/adult years and left excellent footprints on the sands of his time. He was a track blazer in the 440, 880 and mile races during his school days. He competed in the popular and glorious “Fishers Shield” Competition and won a gold medal and gold pen for emerging the overall best.
- TRIBUTE FROM HIS FIRST SON, PROF O.G.B. NWAORGU
According to Prof Nwaorgu (Professor of ORL,HNS) in his tribute to his father he stated, “I remember and continue to remember and cherish all. He came, he saw and left indelible marks.
The call came! It was about 07.23am, March 3, 2020. Papa has gone to be with his maker, aged 94years 3 months 6days. The patriarch of Nwaorgu’s family Pa Paulinus Nkemjika is no more, leaving a vacuum too big to be filled!
Papa, the vacuum which your exit has created would be greatly felt. Words cannot express how much we will miss your fatherly presence that made you so endearing to everyone you came across.
You raised us with good values instilling in us the qualities of humility, integrity, hardwork and honesty. We thank you for ensuring that we had good education; teaching us the virtues of patience, respect and tolerance. You thought me that I should NEVER sell my conscience for earthly goods/pleasure; be forthright and principled, and be a man of my words. Indeed a great man you were; with great foresight.
You will surely be missed by us all: you were a great influence in the society you left; your children, family, in-laws, the church and all who ever came in contact with you. You were a kind-hearted and gentle disciplinarian with great sense of humour and soothing smile! You radiated love and care to all. We are indeed grateful to God for your impactful life here on earth. The condolence messages, eulogies, words of mouth and disposition of people since your exit attest to the legacy you left behind. We love you papa but God loves you more.
Papa, we your children feel privileged and honoured to have had you as our father and will by the special grace of God, continue to uphold your worthy legacies. I, on my own part, assure you that I will continue to keep shining your light of Christian faith as a true Catholic in my life.
May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace until we meet to part no more! Adieu Papa” By Dr OGB Nwaorgu, (rofessor of ORL,HNS).
2. TRIBUTE BY HIS FIRST DAUGHTER, MRS. EVANG. ADA CHIOMA EZE
According to this Amazon of a woman in her tribute which she titled, ” Tribute to my father, extraordinary friend and Confidant ” she highlighted, “Papa, it is with mixed feelings that I write down the following in your honour. When I spoke with you on the Tuesday 3/03/2020, I knew something had gone wrong and about to happen because your unique “Golden Voice ” was grossly absent and you were weak to continue my discussion with you. On the fateful day of your exit, my hand was placed on the key to call you when a call announcing your departure came.
Papa, you lived a fulfilled life with a good name. Your end was indeed far much better than your beginning. Congrats Dad! Ecclesiastes 7v1 – A good name is better than a good ointment .And the days of one’s death better than the day of one’s birth.
Papa, you lived an upright and peaceful life. Accountability, transparency, decency, punctuality, diligence, commitment were your attributes. Things of God were given special space in your days of strength and vigour. You imparted lasting and monumental moral values to all that came around you. Your act of discipline shaped the lives of most people that had the opportunity of coming your way.
ISAIAH 57V2: those who walk uprightly enter into peace, they find rest as they lie in death.
My Father enjoyed extraordinary favour from the Almighty God and therefore was never forsaken by God throughout his earthly sojourn. He aged graciously and passed the Biblical prescribed age. The age he ascended when before his exit amazed those around him but it was the benefit of righteousness. It was the Lord’s doing that was really marvellous in the sight of men. PSALM71V18: So even to old age and grey hairs O’God do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
PSALM90V10: The years of our life is seventy (70), or even by the reason of strength eighty (80), yet their span is but toil and trouble, they are soon gone and we fly away..
Nmpa, despite your age, you were full of strength and humour . Any one that visited you unhappy left your presence with laughter. Prayer before and after eating was your daily routine.
Papa, you are a good father. In your later years, I never saw you angry not minding the unpleasant factors that surrounded you. You choose not to be angry but wore the garment of happiness all the time because you knew that whoever succeeded in making you angry had definitely DEFEATED YOU. REV14V13: And I heard a voice from Heaven saying “write this -Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord now on…. “Blessed indeed ” says the Spirit that they may rest from their labours .
Nmpa, Thank you for blessing me most of the times I visited you. I accept, claim and believe in your pronouncements. You did honor your promise to our mother to do all within your enablement to empower us your children academically .
Thank you Papa! If it was in your power, you would have loved to live on but God’s will was sacrosanct and perfect for your return to your Maker. Job14v5: Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with you. And his limits you have set so that he cannot pass .
PSALM 89v48: What man can live and not see Death, or save himself from the power of Grave?
Papa, I know you will be wondering where you are for the past weeks now that you have not heard my voice again. Nmpa, you have gone to rest .You have been separated by death from me, from your other children, from my daily calls, greetings and jokes.
I sincerely miss you Papa. Rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Adieu.” – CHUKWUEMEKA-EZE HENRIETTA ADA CHIOMA.
3. FAREWELL TO MY AMIABLE FATHER-INLAW BY ENGR. MADUFORO HIS SON INLAW
“The oldest institution instituted by God Himself brought us together in the month of December, 1991.
Daddy since then till your death, you accepted and treated me not only as your son in-law, but also like your biological son.
As a young man that had just lost his father seven years back then, meeting you quickly brought the memories of my lost father into a closed gap. All the fatherly roles I lost and also needed were immediately regained and provided for.
Since the time we met until your heavenly home call, you lived and remained principled, honest, kindhearted, love and above all, peace loving and peace-maker. The legacy you left behind will be difficult to be beclouded. I am eternally grateful for being your son in-law.
Daddy as you sleep in the bosom of our good God, we hope to be reunited again at the second coming of Lord Jesus Christ.” – Elder (Engr.) Agharanya, Maduforo.C
- TRIBUTE BY PROF I.E. AGU HIS SON-IN-LAW:
According to this seasoned academician who married the third daughter of this great man, Dr. Mrs. Chimebere Evangelista Agu with two of his children also lecturing in a Federal University, in a tribute he titled, ‘Tribute to a father in a million’ stated and I quote, “When my biological father died in December 1969, I thought I would never call any other man NNA M. But God had other plans. He took me to Gongola State in 1989 for the mandatory NYSC programme. There I met a wonderful brother and friend, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze who in turn introduced me to his father-in-law, Papa P.N.Nwaorgu. Papa in his characteristic manner adopted me as a son not just a son-in-law. For the past twenty and three years, you gave me good reasons to address you as NNA M. You lived a fulfilled life. So, on behalf of your adorable daughter, Chimebere my Achala Ugo and the six wonderful and intelligent children, I say Jee nke oma NNA M” -Professor Innocent Ejimofor Agu
5.. TRIBUTE BY THE GRAND CHILDREN OF SIR. P. N. NWAORGU THROUGH HIS FIRST GRAND CHILD, LADY MONICA CHIDINMA ADA EZE
In her tribute, Lady Monica Ada Eze, a Media Chieftain and the TA on Media to Indefatigable Governor David Nweze Umahi of Ebonyi State on behalf of the grand children of this great man stated, “The news of the demise of our Grandfather came to us as a surprise in the sense that we were hoping and trusting God that he was to see more years in order to bless his great grand children but what can we say or do as we can not question God who decided that this is the right time to call him home.
Most of us that saw him last Christmas would admit he was full of life.
Grandpa was a great grammarian, disciplinarian and a man full of humour.
He was a man of peace. He was kind and hospitable. He had an unprecedented forgiving spirit.
He forgave all who borrowed lump sum amount of money from him and even as he was battling with his health they swore not to pay him back because they lacked conscience. Because of this extraordinary character, God granted him extra favour of adding more years and strength to him.
Our Grandpa severally cheated death and made mockery of it. For a long time people expected to hear what they are hearing now but through God’s abundant Grace, he continued to live while tolls of deaths were being recorded in other quarters.
Grandpa remained sportive until his death -getting up from the bed by himself and refusing to use walking stick as a support when walking. He never suffered from the common aged people’s Parkinson’s disease. He had no vision impairment for he could read and pronounce words correctly, sign his signature without much problem, count money correctly and tell you the amount.
Our Grandpa was an astute finance manager and recorder. He believed in accountability and stressed without reservation the ‘need of saving for the rainy day’.
Beloved Grandpa, thank you for the lasting virtues you have inculcated in us directly and indirectly. You still live because you have us.
We pledge to keep the fire aflame. We will not only build on the existing foundation and enviable legacy you left behind but we will sustain, improve on them and immortalize you by being pacesetters as the Almighty grants us the enablement because with Him all things are possible.
We will deeply and passionately miss you. Good night Grandpa and may our Good Lord grant your gentle and compassionate soul eternal rest” – Lady Monica Chidinma Ada Eze.
PA P. N. NWAORGU IS FONDLY REMEMBERED BY his wife, Mrs. Philomena Nwaorgu, his children: Prof. OGB Nwaorgu, Sir Rommy Nwaorgu, Mrs. Ada Chioma Henrietta Eze, Mr. Martins Nwaorgu, Mrs. Ulu Mary Madufuro, Lady Ndidi MaryCollect Nwaorgu, Mrs. Chimebere Agu, Mr. Henry Nwaorgu and Mr. Chilee Faustinus Nwaorgu.
THROUGH HIS GRAND CHILDREN:
A: Chief & Evang. Mrs Eze C. Eze (In-law)
- Monica Ada Chidinma Eze
- Alfred Kelechi Eze
- Pysch. Celine Chinyere Eze
- Pharm. Eunice Nnenna Eze
- Henrietta Chioma Eze (Jnr)
- Grace Chinweatu Eze
B: Through Mr. & Mrs. Collins Madufuro (In-law)
- Stanley Chisom Maduforo.
- Rita Adaoma Maduforo
C: Through Prof. & Mrs. Innocent Agu (In-law)
- Onyinyechi Innocent-Agu
- Onyekachi Innocent-Agu
- Ekenedirichukwu Innocent-Agu
- Chinemeremma Innocent-Agu
- Nneamaka Innocent-Agu
- Chinazaekpere Innocent-Agu
D: Through Prof & Matron OGB. Nwaorgu (Son)
- Uchenna Ayomide Nwaorgu,
- Olufemi Chigozirim Victoria Nwaorgu
- Chimdinma Adedoja Emmanuella Nwaorgu
E: Through Mr. & Mrs. Martins Nwaorgu (Son)
- Ikechukwu George Nwaorgu.
- Chukwuemaka David Nwaorgu.
- Chiamaka Henrietta Nwaorgu.
F: Through Mr. & Mrs Henry Nwaorgu (Son)
- Victor Chukwudumebi Nwaorgu
- Christabel Chimemetam
- Nwaorgu Fesochukwu Mirabel
My father inlaw is an Administrator/Educationist Par Excellence, an astute Community Leader, an inspirational human, a wonderful mentor, and a man of substance and moral rectitude whose impact in the spreading of Christ’s Teaching wherever he found himself need not be overemphasized. He was a pacesetter, a reference point in terms of humility, selflessness and integrity whose intellectual prowess and commitment to the betterment of our society remain unparalleled.
We thank you our God because you have turned not only our father’s mourning to laughter and joy but our dark and hungry days, you have turned to laughter and merriment.
As we celebrate this wonderful and inspirational father whose life impacted on us positively, let me conclude this tribute by thanking all those who have assisted us through prayers and support to make the burial of this man whose impact in our lives will ever remain indelible.
Adieu papa, and may our Almighty Father whom you trusted so much grant your gentle soul eternal rest and perfect peace. Amen!
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt and can be reached thru ezemediaconcept2020@gmail, 08022049770