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Adieu “Ezinne” Victoria Gbandi (1926-2013)

Adieu “Ezinne” Victoria Gbandi (1926-2013)

Adieu “Ezinne” Victoria  Gbandi

1926-2013

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;

 

Children

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

Grand Children
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

Brother

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.

Time 10.am

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

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