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LATE CHIEF SIR ALOYSIUS .O. UGWUOKE (KSJ) BURIAL AND FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS

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LATE CHIEF SIR ALOYSIUS .O. UGWUOKE (KSJ) BURIAL AND FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS

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The entire family of Ugwuoke and the Umugwuogboso kindred of Amagu Owerre Umabor Ehalumona in Nsukka LGA Enugu State, announces the transition to glory of their beloved Father, Grand Father, Brother and Inlaw.


THE BIOGRAPHY OF LATE CHIEF SIR ALOYSIUS OGWU UGWUOKE, EZEUDO 1 OF EHALUMONA AS COMPOSED BY
ONE OF HIS SONS, BARR IKECHUKWU MAXIMUS UGWUOKE

HIS GENEOLOGY

Some centuries ago, a certain man named Ugwu, son of Onah nwanshuzu, who hailed from the Amagu Village of Umabor in Nsukka LGA of Enugu State lived in the center of the village where he had a terrible experience of losing his children at birth. This might not be unconnected with the risk factors to which children born at that era were predisposed to. But Ugwu thought differently of the situation maybe because of the peculiar circumstance he used to losehis children. He decided to relocate from the centre of his village where he lived with his family and settle at the entrance part of the village where he began to produce children that survived. The man Ugwu was later called Ugwu ogba oso connoting the fact that hewas the Ugwu that ran away from the centre of his village where he used to lose his children at birth tosettle at the part of the village land where his children started surviving.

Ugwuoke Onah, happened to be one of the surviving Children of Ugwuogboso.  Conscious of his father’s travails and the need for procreation in other to dominate the land his father deforested and founded, Ugwuoke Onah married four wives one of whom was Oyima Ogbodo Ozioko from Umukwude Village in Umuhu Umabor. It was this marriage that produced  Papa, the man Chief Sir Aloysius Ogwu Ugwuoke, KSJ, an enigma whose life and time I present here.  

He was born in early forties and had an only sister who died young. Papa’s father, Ugwoke Onah was able to produce only 3 sons (Papa inclusive, the other two being Anthony Ugwuoke who died at the prime of his youth and Chief Felix Ugwuoke, who died some years ago) from the numerous wives he married. Upon the birth of Papa his father christened him “Ogwu nwa” connoting the fact that he is the medicine that heals his father’s craving for male children.  Papa became the only surviving Child of his mother after the death of his biological sister (but he had other half sisters from other wives of his father). Prior to his death he was the only surviving son of his father. He marks his birthday on 16th day of November 1942. At one occasion I had a course to interact with him on his birthday and here what ensued

Me: “When were you really born?”

Papa: “Do I even know? At the time I was born no one used to keep the calendar of one’s birthday. So we can only access our birthdays through events that took place at such times”.

Me: “So what even event took place at your birth that can make you access your date of birth

Papa (Laugh);“I chose 16th November 1942 as my official date of birth. I cannot quite remember the event of that year but that was about the year my mates and I was born. As for the date 16th November, that was the birthday one great man in Africa, Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Zik of Africa. We adored him them and I chose his birthday as mine?

Me:“ So that is  why your birthday is 16th Of November? Perhaps you wanted to be as great as Zik?

Papa:​​“Obviously he was an idol of that time, I could not have wished

                  anything less”

Was papa great as Zik as he had wished? We ll find out as we read on.

EARLY LIFE EXPERIENCE- REJECTION AND ACCEPTANCE

As the only Child of his mother, Papa faced lots of challenges growing up especially within his extended family. The situation was so intense that his maternal uncle Ogbodo nwa Eze had to take him to his house where he lived and strived to  survive. His said maternal uncle had to sell his only Bicycle which was a highly valued assets in those days, to send Papa to elementary School where he began his academic journey.  His father, Ugwuoke Onah died while he was in the secondary school at St Charles College Onitsha and  his said  maternal uncle continue to support and sponsor him. At a certain point he returned to his father’s house and had to live with and serve his half brother, Late Chief Felix  Ugwuoke. It was this trend that endeared Papa to his maternal home, Umukwede Village until his death. He takes his relationship with anyone from the said village seriously and continued to tell us, his children the story of how he survived through them.

HIS SECONDARY SCHOOL DAYS

Papa had his secondary Education at St Charles College Onitsha between late sixties and early seventies. It was during this period that he discovered his talent in sports. He was a racer of no comparison. Could he have either inherited his trait for racing from grandfather, the Ugwu Ogboso, who exhibited same trait of running from the centre of his village settle at the entrance with his family in a his quest for survival.   Papa’s sports talent made him so popular in the school that he became fondly known and address as “Ugwuoke Sports”. He represented the school in several sports competitions and won many trophies for the school. I could recall his story about his exploits in short distances races when he told us that hiscontemporaries used to hail him with “Ugwuoke! Ugwuoke!, Sport! Sport!, Rapus! Rapus!” Notable among these competitions he won which I found from his records are; the Onitsha Awka zonal amateur athletic Competition inter teachers training college competition where Papa took a 2nd place position  4×440 YDS Relay and brought the glory for St Charles college Onitsha in 1971 (See attached Cert); Amateur Athletic Association of Nigeria East Central States Inter TTC Athletic Championship where Papa took 3rdposition  in 4×440 yds Men’s Rela and brought glory to  St Charles College Onitsha,( See Certificate attached) to mention but a few.

It needs be pointed out that inspite of Papa’s excellent performance in Sports, he discouraged us his children while in school from abandoning our studies for sports. His action was born out his experience while in secondary school when he had to be sent out to go and represent his school at sports competitions even at the cost of his miss his exams at some points while his mates were busy studying. He saw this as one inhibition to his academic dream which he never wished his children to have. He always admonished uson moderation when it comes to sports such that none of us, his children took interest in school sports after him.

On 6th September 1972, Papa obtained his Teacher’s Grade Two Certificate from Ministry of Education of then East Central States of Nigeria which armed him for the next phase of life- employment and marriage.Of course he secured his first employment as a teacherand was posted to teach at Central School Okparigbo Ibagwa ani.

HIS LOVE AND MARRIAGE LIFE

At about the age of 28 years, young Papa then, began to search for love. As a mile racer who never missed his marks, he set his target on a young beautiful fair damsel aged of 18 years of age who is the very lastdaughter of Ezugwu Ozioko and his wife Oyima Ozioko nee Asogwaowo from a neigbouring village, Umuidu Okani, Owerre Umabor in Ehalumona.  The damsel by name Scholastic Ekete Ozioko who today we call Mama, could not withstand his love advancesand so she fell in love with him and accepted his marriage proposal the very first time he met and proposed to her. That was the time in history when love was not fake and pretentious. Love then was genuine, blunt and real. It seemed that there was a cross breeding of the “Ozioko” from Papa’s maternal sure name with the “Ozioko” in the paternal sure name of Papa’s newly found love which steadied the feelings by the two love birds.  I could recall mama narrating how papa had visited her house one fateful day and after spending some time asked her to see him off.  It was in the course of this that Papa asked her if she would marry him. Mama who hardly even know what marriage was all about then, accepted his proposal instantly and without hesitation. Papa later told me other qualities that propelled his decision to ask for mama’s hand in marriage, but that will be a story for another day. Their love story continued to grow in leaps and bounds until Saturday 6th October 1973 when they tied the knot in the catholic church with their wedding celebrated at the then St Mary’s Station of  St Anthony’s parish  Isienu Nsukka. Their wedding was officiated by Rev Fr J.U Mbah C.S.SP of blessed memory in the presence of Emmanuel Omeje and Pauline Omeje whom they chose as their marriage sponsors, both of whom are still alive, hale and hearty today. The bond of relationship that continued between Papa’s family and their marriage sponsor’s family, the Omejes will be a story for another day. Suffice it to say that Emmanuel Omeje by my recollection played very vital roles in the lives of our family.

Papa and his wife, remained faithful to their marriage vows by sticking to each other, in sickness and in health, in suffering and in joy until now that death has set Papa apart.  Did this marital union produce any fruit? Yes of course the fruits of this union started coming as Papa and Mama cohabited from one place another in search of greener pastures. How? One might seek to know.

THE FAMILY JOURNEY

After the marriage between Papa and Mama, Mama joined Papa at Okparigbo Ibagwani where Papa lived and thought at Central School Okparigbo. Theirmarriage yielded its first fruit during their cohabitation at Okparigbo in 1974 with the birth of their first son whom they Christened Ifendiso, who today is the man we all come to know as Dr Ifedinso Aloysius.

Shortly after this, Mama got her first teaching appointment at Neke Iheka in 1976, Papa joined Mamaat Iheka and their cohabitation gave rise to the second fruit of their marriage with the birth of their second son.  The birth of this second son became a reassurance to Papa that God of all creations has purposed him indeed to be great in reproducing  the male children which was in short supply to his late father and so they christened their second son Chijioke (God of all Creation) whom today we all come to know as Engr Chijioke Victor. Growing up, Ifedinso and Chijioke were mistaken to be twins. The reasons for this would be a story for another day.

Two years later, Papa and his wife relocated from Iheka, to the main Ibagwa Ani town that was in 1978. Papa continued to do exploits with his sports talents as evident in the Certificate of participation at the Nsukkka Local Government Area Sports Committee Football Coaching Clinic which  was issued to him in 1978 as a Teacher at Community Primary School Ibagwa Ani (Certificate attached). In 1979 he also bagged a General certificate of education, ordinary level. With this feat he was offered employment via a appointment dated 4th October 1979 wherein he got appointed in the permanent establishment of Anambra state sports council (Appointment later attached). These landmark achievements were not his only achievement at Ibagwa Ani. His cohabitation with Mama at Ibagwa Ani also resulted in the birth of the third child of their marriage. This time, the heavens decided to mix the stock by giving the couple a female child. But it did appear that Papa had wanted another male child instead. Reading the expressions in his heart, Mama told him not to worry because greater are the sons that they would have in future, it must be for this reason that the girl who happened to be only girl child of the marriage was christened Nkeiruka (meaning the future is greater). That Nkeiruka is today the wife of Dr Frank Amadi whom we have all come to know as Mrs Amadi Nkeiruka.

The future indeed became greater with males children for the couple that they didn’t have another female child after Nkeiruka. Two years later, the Couples relocated from Ibagawni to to Nsukka following the Transfer of Mama to Owere Umabor Primary School Ehalumona. Mama also got admission to the Teacher’s Training College  Nsukka and the couple lived at Army Barracks Nsukka where Mama pursued her programmeabout the year 1981. In the course of their cohabitation at Nsukka, God blessed them with their fourth born with demonstration of the Supremacy of His Power and promise of greatness upon them and they christenedhim Ikechukwu. That is the man that is known today as Barr Ikechukwu Maximus.

After Mama had completed her TTC programme, Papaand his family relocated back to their home town in stayed in their village, at Amagu Umabor Ehalumona.It was at this point that papa and mama with their meager salaries  built the first structure, an eight –room bungalow where we all lived and grew up.

Believing indeed that the power of God shall see him through,  Papa decided to go for a higher academic pursuit, this time he headed for his University Education.   By a letter dated 27th April 1982, from the then Anambra State Sports Council via the Director of Sports J.NC Ilo, the Council  granted Papa a four years study leave without pay  with effect from 1st December 1981  referencing  his letter on the subject dated 4thNovember 1981.  Don’t forget that at the time , papa already had four Children and the fourth was barley about 9 months then. Undaunted by the family challenges of how he will finance his education and cater for his expanding family needs, he took the bold step of taking a study leave without pay and headed to the University of Nigeria Nsukka, where studied Physical Education within the said four years and bagged a degree with honours on 14th day of December 1985 (Certificate attached)

Papa’s contributions to Sports while in the University was so immense that in 1985, the   Physical and Health Education Students Association (PHESA) Avan Ikoku College of Education Owerri awarded him a Certificate of Merit in appreciation and recognition of his invaluable selfless service and corporation to Physical and Health Education Students Association (PHESA) Avan Ikoku College of Education Owerri in 1985, wishing him life of inspiration to others. (Certificate attached)

Now settled at his Amagu Village, God blessed the couples with four more sons as their 5th, 6th , 7th and 8thchildren. The fifth was named Ugochukwu in expression of the fact that God has indeed crowned them with their heart desires. He is the man whom is known today as TPL Ugo Hillary. The 6th was named Kenechi in expression of the couple’s thanks to Godfor His favours and goodness upon them. He is the man whom we have come to know today as Rad Kenechi Bethrand. The 7th was christened Akachukwu for indeed the couples saw the hand of God upon their lives. God’s hand did not depart from him indeed as he became the one chosen by God of all papa’s sons to serve Him in His vineyard as His priest forever after the Order of Melchizadek . He is the Rev Fr Akachukwu Christian that we have come to know today.  The 8th and the last born was named Tochukwu in praise to God for all He had done and is still doing for the family. He is the Barr Tochukwu Valentine we have all come to know today. How else can one described a man who was so richly blessed with the gift of children, A medical Doctor, An Engineer, A lab scientist, two Lawyers, a town Planner, and Reverend father.     This quantum of greatness was never entrusted by God to even the great zik of Africa who was Papa’s idol. Saying that Papa was a greatman is an and understament. He was and still remains an enigma to me each time I ponder how he managed to ruffle through life to get the family to the stage we are. Sure you would like to hear more about this, just read on.

A TOUGH TIME FOR THE FAMILY

For every blessing of God, there is a corresponding responsibility. Such was the case with Papa’s family between the year 1989 to 2015. That was the period when Papa had to train his children in the secondary school and Higher Institutions simultaneously . It was such a tough moment for him having to pay the fees of three of his children in the University including that of mama who was undergoing her undergraduate programme in the University at the said period and about three in the Secondary school. I could remember how passionate papa was in ensuring that all of us , his children got the best education. He spared nothing in sending us to the best schools while going hungry. The physical and psychological stress he went through with mama at that point was better seen than imagined. The wake they kept at night in idle retrospection of how to see the children through in school, the hunger they bore was excruciating, the humiliation of having to borrow in extreme cases, I can go on and on. The pains they passed through was enormous. I could still remember the few families that lend their helping hands occasionally to papa and mama then.  In nostalgia I can still recall that food we used to call “fertilizer” and the popular family slang, ‘Fertilizer siri ike ma na ofe adiro”.  My elder brothers, Dr Ife and Engr Chijioke can tell you more about this.

But in all these, Papa persevered. He was undaunted, he was a strict disciplinarian whose exerted his energies in coaching, teaching, directing, advising, guiding each of his children to the paths of theirrespective life endeavours where they found themselves today. The surprising thing about Papa is that he did not just concentrate on his children alone, he was a source of inspiration to as many other children that came across him  boosting their morale for academic pursuits and bringing his philosophy of Education as the highest human investment to bear upon them.   No wonder today we have continued to receive great testimonies of many great men who in expression of their condolence messages to us have continued to narrate the vital roles papa played seeing that they went to school.  Education was papa’s industry. He lived it, he demonstrated it, he gave all for it and today we are the evident of  the good products of that industry.  

Papa, Continued to excel in Sports and all aspects of his endeavor that he bagged a Commendation Award by then Anambra State Sports Council for his outstanding contributions towards Sports Promotion in Anambara State. (Certificate Attached). He worked as the Sports Organizing secretary in virtually all the Local Governments in Nsukka Zone. By a Notification of promotion dated 6/2/2005 he was promoted to Deputy Director Sports (Organization) effective from 1/7/2003. This was the position he held until 2009 when by his own Letter of Retirement notification dated 5/5/2009 which he addressed to Director of Sports Enugu State Sports Council, he notified the council of his retirement on the 16th of November 2009.

LIFE AFTER RETIREMENT

Papa retired from  Civil Service honourably in 16thNovember 2009 to enjoy his retirement. But did he really enjoy his retirement? Lets find out.

Papa devoted his life after retirements to service of God in the Church and in service to humanity. Recognizing the peculiarity of his gift as an excellent counselor who helped many to make peace with themselves and with one another,  he was selected for recognition and indeed issued with Certificate of Recognition as Traditional Chief of Ehalumona Community in Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State by Chief Charles Aniweta Abangwu CON , the Ezeigwe of Ehaluomana with the chieftaincy title of Ezeudo  of Ehalumona on 31st December2009. He was instrumental to several dispute reconciliations  in the community both and at different family level. It was this stride that earned him the name Ezeudo which he later adopted as his Chieftancy title during his coronation as a member of the Cabinet of Late Igwe Charles Abangwu.

Papa also joined the noble Order of Knights of St Johns international in his quest for service of God as a member of His armies , in defence of the Church, truth and Justice. As knight of the Church his Sports acumen continued to reverberate as could be seen  in the second Regiment Sports Convention of the Knights of St John’s which issued him a Certificate as the 2nd Position in 4×4 Relay in 2010 (See the Certificate attached)

He various positions in the Church and  was instrumental to creation of the St Pauls Parish Umabor and in laying of the foundation of the parish church building. He later became the pioneer first Vice chairman of the Parish. A position he held till he died.

That was not all Papa’s unquenchable thirst for formation of the young one made him take up appointment as a pioneer principal of Our Savour College, Ebor Umabor. An institution that has today started producing great men and women in different field of endeavour who passed through papa.  He gave the School his very best that even in his last days while on the hospital bed in Enugu, he kept thinking of his students and how his absence would affect them. Little did he know that he will not live to behold them again as he did return to them alive.

GREATEST REGRET

In all that papa lived and stood for, in all his achievements and sufferings, my greatest regret was that he was really celebrated as he deserved. Papa was to turn Eight by next year, 2022 and was to Celebrate his marriage golden  Jubilee in 2023. We were all looking forward to those date to celebrate him for once. The eight room bungalow where papa lived and raised us was pulled down in the course of renovation and Papa insisted that the building be replaced with a mansion that can accommodate all of his children. He had insisted that we finish the structure as according to him, that was the only place that can unite all of us irrespective of wherever we decide to build our separate houses in the village. He spent his meager pension in acquiring the building materials little by little such that his efforts saw the building to an unimaginable level. We were all looking forward to completing the building before the celebration of his eighty years birthday and Golden jubilee but death struck.  How could we have known that papa would died that soon. That is why it grieves our hearts that Papa never really lived to be celebrated. He never really lived to get his well deserved rewards  from us. He completed his assignments in our training no doubt but did not stay to receive his due rewards. Those who thought that at 79 papa was old to die never really know him. He was young at heart, full of energy, retire but not tired, mentally sound and alert, well coordinated and vivacious, how death managed to snatch him away remains a shock to us.

In December 2020, we had the first ever family meeting involving all papa’s children and their wives. It is still evergreen and indelible in our minds how Papa expressed his joy for the family reunion in such a language that suggested that he knew that his death was imminent. That was the first and last of such reunion.  The first quarter of this year, Papa suffered the first bout of the illness that took him to Enugu, where was given the usual medical attention by his children who are experts in different fields of medicine. He recovered and went back home in March 2020. Within a space of two months, the second bout of the illness struck him again. He was taken to Enugu where he was given the best medical care by all but God had the final say as it pleased God to call him to eternal rest on that fateful Wednesday, 19th day of May 2021 around 7pm.   This was how the Ezeudo (the King of Peace) rested in peace. May he continue to rest in Peace until we meet to path no more.

Maximus Ugwuoke

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Maximus Ugwuoke

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