By Donu Kogbara
My very dear childhood friends, Datta, Kio and Kaine Amachree, recently lost their wonderful mother, Otunba Benedicta Olunike Oluwole. She was born in 1936 in Kaduna and was one of five children of the late Chief Ben A.F. Oluwole – a relative of the Balogun of Ijebu-Remo and member of the Latawa Sagamu royal family – and Mrs Marian Taiwo Oluwole (nee Odupele).
She spent her early childhood in Lagos, where her father worked with the Bank of British West Africa (now First Bank of Nigeria) before going into business. And after attending the Yaba Methodist and the Princess Schools, she studied Interior Design in America and went on to become a successful entrepreneur back home.
Otunba Nike married Chief G.K.J Amachree, a distinguished lawyer from the Buguma royal family in Rivers State, who was the first post-colonial Solicitor-General of the Federation and our first Under-Secretary to the United Nations.
She was a devoted Christian and classic African Beauty – her Yoruba nickname was “Ma adan” (black that shines). She was also a warm-hearted socialite…and the effervescent life and soul of many high-class parties. She loved to take the microphone from famous musicians like King Sunny Ade and join them on stage.
As her sister, Mrs Augusta Olujoke Davies, says: “There was never a dull moment when Nike was around. She was generous to a fault. She would never let your birthday or Christmas pass without a gift and was always surrounded by friends.”
A few words from her devastated offspring:
Her son Kio (quoting Paul’s second letter to Timothy 4:6 8): “’As for me, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed. The time is here for me to leave this life. I have done my best in the race. I have run the full distance and I have kept the faith. And now there is waiting for me the victory prize of being put right with God, which the Lord the righteous judge, will give me on that day. And not only to me but to all those who wait with love for Him to appear…’. Those who knew my mother will never move from faith to doubt that she had already grabbed the crown.”
Her daughter, Kaine: “My mother was simply the best person to have around for company, comfort, compassion and care. Hers was a life of sharing, bonding and friendship…Adieu Mama, the vacuum you leave behind can never be filled…”
Her daughter, Datta, with whom Auntie Nike happily lived in her frail twilight years: “By providence and good fortune, I had the privilege and luck to spend the last eight years of her life with my mother…and these years enabled me to fully understand the potency of love and the true meaning of responsibility…
“…We laughed, danced, shared, cried and prayed together; and for these precious intimate moments, I will forever be grateful…My darling Mummy was always available to wipe the tears from the cheeks of the needy and desperate…and often encouraged and supported those who had yet to fulfil their potential.”
I was there when the late, great Otunba Benedicta Olunike Oluwole was buried in a family vault in Ikoyi Cemetery last Friday. It was SUCH a sad moment. But we have to submit to the will of the Almighty; and we pray that she rests in perfect peace.
Rivers State controversy
The Supreme Court recently decreed that Nyesom Wike, the PDP stalwart who was accused of election-rigging, should continue as Governor of Rivers State.
Dakuku Peterside, the disappointed APC candidate – for whom I campaigned last year – has publicly condemned the judges and their decision.
Some folks are hailing Peterside because they think he has been cheated and regard him as immensely courageous for challenging the legal establishment.
Others feel that he should not disrespect the Supreme Court, fullstop…and point out that it is an institution that has been exceedingly kind to Peterside’s political family in the past (in 2007, the Supreme Court bestowed the governorship of Rivers State on Peterside’s mentor, Rotimi Amaechi, now Minister of Transport).
So what do Vanguard readers think?
Should Peterside shut up, graciously accept the irreversible verdict and move on?
Or should he continue to launch verbal volleys at those he feels have robbed him?
Chief Emeka Anyaoku is the highly respected former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. Last week, I echoed his view that Christians in this country often fail to embrace genuine Christian values…and also criticized hypocritical Muslims. Ifeka Okonkwo, a regular reader from Chief Anyaoku’s state (Anambra), agrees:
Donu, I am surprised at the unethical behaviour of most Nigerian Christians and Muslims, because if they had strictly adhered to the tenets of their religions and had the fear of God in them, by eschewing primitive acquisition of wealth from our common patrimony when they served our country in one capacity or the other since the ‘70s till date, our richly blessed country would have been a paradise on earth. Are some of these unscrupulous and greedy Nigerians not richer than our country. Would their combined ill-gotten wealth not fund both federal and state budgets for years? What a pity and a tragedy for our hapless country and its citizenry!
It should equally be noted that those Nigerians who never served our country in one capacity or the other, pay lip service in their worship of God, as they indulge in all sorts of immoral acts that are against their religious beliefs to become rich and powerful, forgetting that all these earthly possessions are vanity upon vanity!