Adieu “Ezinne” Victoria Gbandi (1926-2013)
Adieu “Ezinne” Victoria Gbandi
All road leads to Akwukwu Igbo come Wednesday 27 March 2013
“I take greater comfort in God, for in Romans 14:8, it says that “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s”
Ezinne Victoria Gbandi, Ada Ogbo! Ada umu Juwa! A mother indeed! The best among equals has gone to rest with the Lord. She bid good bye to us the children and the world on the 7th January 2013. Mama, even on your sick bed, in your very last hours on earth you never lost that cheerful disposition and sense of humor. It is amazing that even on your onward journey to eternity, your sense of justice and your resolve for steadfastness through impartiality and faithfulness propelled you to wait for your children; all of us from far and near to gather together. It was as one set to make sure that she accounted for the 10 children that the good Lord had freely given before embarking on the journey to the great beyond.
Our mother, Ezinne Victoria Gbandi, nee Ogbo, was born on the 11th of May 1926 to Mr. Joseph Ogbo, an Anglican Catechist and Mrs. Priscilla Ogbo of Ogbe-Iyase, Akwukwu Igbo.
She attended St John’s Primary School from 1936 and continued her primary Education at Okpare in Ughelli South Local government area of Delta State where she lived with her uncle Mr. Samuel Ogbo who was a church teacher in C.M.S. Church Okpare. Her uncle was later transferred to Abagana in the then Eastern region and Mama returned to Akwukwu Igbo to write her standard six examinations in 1944. Aside from being fluent in written and spoken English, mama could also write and speak urhobo language fluently. She made a distinction in the examination and that earned her automatic teaching appointment in the C.M.S. School in Akwukwu Igbo. Her pupils confirmed her to be a very good teacher with fine hand writing and also a disciplinarian. No wonder her three daughters took after her. They were all teachers. Mama resigned her appointment when she was posted to Onicha-Ugbo, she said she could not withstand the colour of their drinking water.
In 1945, her elder brother Mr Robert Kerry, then a Manager with UAC took her to Sokoto where she trained as a copy typist which secured her employment with an establishment that rehabilitated victims and relations of those displaced during the 2nd World War.
Mama came home and got married in 1946 to Chief Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Gbandi: (Late) a paramount Chief, Iwegwe Ojiba of Akwukwu Igbo who was then a staff of P&T working in Kaduna. The job took them all over Nigeria including Kaduna, Zaria and finally to Enugu where they sojourned for about three decades. Their marriage was blessed with 10 children; 3 females and 7 males.
In 1966, her husband was transferred to Benin City and later to Agbor. Mama came back to Akwukwu and continued with her trade. This time she introduced buns and “make me well”, a soap product. She also trained many women in the area. Mama was also a popular seamstress in ways and manners that could comfortably be equated to modern day fashion designers. Her sewing institute was so renowned to the extent that every woman and every girl wanted mama to sew thier dresses. Christmas period was usually very hectic for mama because she used to sew 24 hours nonstop to meet up with peoples´ demands. She laid emphasises on keeping to promises and hates disappointments. Her children were not left out of the family business because they did one thing or the other to fast track the work hence, all mama´s children can sow clothes! Mama was certainly a virtuous woman. Proverbs 31:10-31 can best describe her.
She trained many women in Akwukwu and environs in dress making even though mama herself did not attend any sewing institution, but got the inspiration from her mother. She was a very good designer indeed! With her help, her husband was able to put up a storey building and a bungalow in Enugu. She was very receptive because any Akwukwu person travelling to the North used her place as a stopping point irrespective of the quarters they came from. She trained over 200 persons during her active days and brought up as many non-biological children as she could, even to her very last days on earth. She did also engage in all kinds of pastries for students and the general public. More than half of her trainees (female) got married directly under her care, and using the skills they acquired from her various vocational trades built and sustained their respective families. Through her God given leadership skills, her training institute became one of the best reference points for nurturing well trained and disciplined brides in and around Akwukwu town and beyond.
In the area of Religion, she was very zealous. She ensured all her children were baptized and confirmed in the Anglican Church. Taught the children many Christian songs and most importantly how to make bible reference with ease. She was a church leader and led so many groups in the church. Secretary and treasurer to so many societies in the church. She deputized for the Pastor’s wife when the need arose. She was a member of the women’s guild, mother’s union and a member of ladies Christian Council when she was in Enugu.
In 1985, she was among the first female lay readers to be ordained by the Bishop in Asaba Diocese. She won many prizes on several occasions as one of the best in the payment of her class dues and tithes. When mama became too weak to work, her children became her source of income. Yet payment of her church dues were her priority and won consecutive 1st prizes in the Church. Her participation in various church activities earned her the title “Ezinne (Goodmother) in the Asaba Diocese.
During the time of late Bishop Nwosu and Arch Bishop Nikolas Okoh who is now the Primate of Anglican Communion in Nigeria, mama was always the Bishop´s nominee representing Akwukwu Archdeaconry. At old age mama was still a Chorister in St. John’s Church Akwukwu Igbo and a good soloist.
Mama was a community activist, politician and woman leader under the NPN during Shagari´s regime. The subsequent parties that emerged sought mamas blessing as she was a well sort after community organizer who spearheaded the campaign to vote capable and trusted people to various positions.
Her socio-political and economic activities won her many awards outside the town: In 1975 she received a “Certificate of Merit” from the Ministry of Home Affairs and Information, Community Development Division Mid-Western State of Nigeria for Village Leaders Volunteers Course. She also won the 1st prize „D Fruits” Agricultural Show and Farmers Festival Mid-Western Nigeria from the Ministry of Agriculture and natural resource, Aniocha Division in the 70s. In 1989 she received a certificate of recommendation-/Participation from the Directorate for Social Mobilization (MAMSER) Bendel State of Nigeria amongst others.
The Akwukwu youths recognized mama’s enthusiasm in all areas of life especially in bringing up her children to amiable position and was accorded a very big reception with various gift items in the Akwukwu town hall as one of the best mothers who actually worked for the success of her children. Mama produced a medical doctor, a school principal, Engineers, Vice Principals, Academic Doctor PhD, Headmistress, Managers and Information manager. The children followed her footsteps and produced more doctors, lawyers and scientist as grand children. It could go on and on. Mama travelled on several occasions to overseas not only to seek medical treatment but to visit her Children and grand children and see the world.
Mama had the best from her children. One of her favorite quotes in appreciating the care from her children was “Onye Zusia nwah. Nwah azubah! Meaning after training your child, your child will also train you”. She will say with pride and grin.
When mama received anything in cash or kind from any of her children she gave a general blessing “May God bless you all”. To her, all the children are one irrespective of who gave her the gift.
Mama died a fulfilled woman in the hands of her two children that were outside the country. She saw them, ate and drank with them before she finally gave up the ghost.
Mama, Ezinne, Ada Ogbo, Ada umu juwa, the only woman amongst four able men, the best among equals, a blessed mother. We missed you! If money could buy life your children would have done just that. They were ready to help you to just live for them. You had the choicest house, car, etc but unfortunately no one can stop death. With tears rolling down our chicks we say farewell mama and sleep in the bosom of our Lord.
Mama would have been 87 in May 2013. As we all mourn our beloved mother, I take solace in Socrates, the great Greek philosopher who said “To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?” Mama, irrespective of Socrates options on death, I take greater comfort in God, for in Romans 14:8, it says that “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. Revelation 14:13 continued “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!”
Mama, to the Glory of God, all your 10 children survived you. The Ezinne of St. John Anglican Church Akwukwu Igbo is also a proud grandmother with many Ground children, a brother and many in-laws including;
Okwudili Israel Gbandi, Bursar Akwukwu Igbo (retired)
Dr. Raymond Gbandi, Chief Medical Doctor, Thessaloniki Greece
Adeline Mokogwu, Principal, Adagwe Secondary School, Ughelli North, Delta State
Chucks Godwin Gbandi (Engineering Dept. Aircraft maintenance, Lagos
Emmanuel Gbandi, Technician, Warri, Delta State
Grace Nweke, Vice Principal, Lagos
Dr. Ellezier Chibuzor Gbandi, Lecturer BIU, Benin, Edo State
Victoria Ngozi Isicheie, Headmistress, Sapele Delta State
Charles Ikechukwu Gbandi, Director Shell Nigeria
Hon. Kenneth Chibuogwu, Publisher, African Heritage Magazine & Member, Parliament of Hamburg Integration Advisory council, Germany
Ikechukwu Gbandi– Trader; Gloria Gbandi-Student; Aboy Gbandi– Student; Chichi Gbandi – Student; Victoria Gbandi – Medical Doctor; Emmanuela Gbandi – Scientist; Ogechukwu Mokogwu – Geologist; Ikechukwu Mokogwu – Animal Scientist; Chuks Mokogwu– Computer Engineer; Onyinye Gbandi – Mechanical Engineer; Buchi Gbandi – English and Literature ( Educationist); Emeka Emmanuel Gbandi – Student; Joseph Gbandi – Student; Ejimofor Abraham Gbandi– Banker; Fejiro Tobechukwu Gbandi – Student; Chinenye Gbandi – Student; Goziem Nweke – Medical Doctor; Ifunaya Nweke – Medical Doctor; Ifeoma Nweke – Economics and Statistic; Nonso Nweke – Electrical Engineer; Chibuzo Gbandi – Student; Angel Gbandi – Student; Angela Isichei – Student; Nkechi Isichei – Student; Vivien Gbandi – Student; Ify Gbandi – Student; Micheal Gbandi – Student; Gabriel Gbandi – student; Onyinye Nelly Gbandi – Student; Fabian Tobechukwu Gbandi– Student
Engineer Godfrey Ogbo, Chief Engineer Nigerian Railway Corporation (retired)
A detailed guide to venue programme and dates are as follows:
Wednesday, 27 March, 2013
Service of Songs at her residence, Onai Quarters, Akwukwu-Igbo, Oshimili North LGA Hqts. Delta State.
Time: 1600hrs- 1800hrs
Friday 29th March, 2013
Christian Wake Keep at her residence.
Time : 8pm to early morning
Saturday 30th March, 2013
Funeral Service at St John’s Anglican Church, Akwukwu-Igbo.
Akwukwu- Igbo is about 15 minutes drive from Asaba. On the Asaba- Benin expressway, (look at for DIDI Museum Sign post) turn right if you coming from Asaba or left if you are coiming from Benin to Otulu and then to Akwukwu-Igbo.
Our family and I will be delighted if you could honour us with your presence as we bid our Mum goodbye
Hon. Kenneth Gbandi
For & on behalf of Gbandi´s family
“To fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise, without being wise: for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For anything that men can tell, death may be the greatest good that can happen to them: but they fear it as if they knew quite well that it was the greatest of evils. And what is this but that shameful ignorance of thinking that we know what we do not know?”- Socrates, the great Greek philosopher