By Dunu Kogbara
MADAME Henrietta Nnenda Wachuku will be laid to rest today in Ogbodo Village in Isiokpo, Rivers State. Madame Wachuku, who passed away peacefully aged 90 on September 30, was the beloved wife of the highly respected Ikwerre chieftain, S.A.J. Wachuku, the Orosi IX of Ogbodo.
Madame Wachuku was also the revered mother of Chituru, Ngo, Achi, Onu, Ejike and my dear friend, Dame Aleruchi Cookey-Gam.
Aleruchi – a former Rivers Attorney-General, ex-Secretary to our State Government and current Ibifirinwangibo of Opobo Kingdom – has this to say about a matriarch who will be sorely missed.
Alleged picture of dead woman standing at own funeral takes over social media(Opens in a new browser tab)
I have had the rare privilege of collating the tributes in honour of my mother from family and friends; and it is amazing that, without access to or knowledge of what others wrote, everyone extolled her virtues of simplicity, compassion, selflessness and warmth.
Some remember her for her genial disposition, several recalled that she was courteous and considerate to all persons at all times. Others remember her as a very elegant woman, whose beauty radiated to the very end. Most acknowledge that she effortlessly endeared herself to family, relations, and particularly her children’s friends.
I would also like to recall how extremely gifted my mother was. Her beautiful handmade throw pillows adorned the Governor’s Lodge and indeed most homes in Port Harcourt in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.
We all spent countless hours laboriously cutting the fabric and marking the needle points, after which she would painstakingly and adeptly sew the designs (an art which none of us ever mastered!)
Then we’d fill the calico pillows with shredded foam, cover them with the neatly woven satin fabrics, sew on the buttons and bag the finished products in batches of six for delivery to various customers.
What a Herculean task!!! I am not quite sure the price was worth all that effort. But we derived so much satisfaction from working as a team and jointly producing these splendid works of art.
Mummy was also a woman of many talents. As well as being an exceptional cook of both continental and Nigerian dishes and a generous hostess, she was a leading light of the Horticultural Society and had green fingers with which she skilfully nurtured her garden/orchard in Port Harcourt’s Old GRA. It was such a serene place, containing several species of exotic flowers, plants and trees.
We are grateful to Almighty God for His gift of our mother to us. Thoughts of her evoke sweet and treasured memories that will remain forever etched in our hearts.
For me personally, the most recent heart-warming recollection is of her 90th Birthday celebration on August 8 2019. She wore a lovely yellow dress with sequin/stone decoration. Every time she touched the sequins, she had such an engaging smile on her face and exclaimed about how beautiful her dress was. She was particularly happy on that day and joined her children in singing the Happy Birthday choruses several times over. Truly enchanting!!!
We thank those who have publicly praised our mother and captured the essence of who she truly was. I must confess that we could not have delivered better eulogies for the remarkable woman she was.
Hers was a life truly well lived, and we trust she is resting in the bosom of Almighty God. May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace.
Pastor Shyngle Wigwe, a onetime Director-General of NTA, also sings the praises of a lady he and his wife describe as “a woman of distinction.”
Though death is a daily occurrence, it has not ceased to be an enigma to man…I have known Mrs. Henrietta Nnenda Wachukwu from my days as a child. She was one of those we looked up to as our Seniors in St Peters School, Isiokpo.
There is this image of her that has remained indelible in me since then: week after week she was called out to receive a badge as a mark of recognition for her academic excellence.
Auntie Henrietta was a very loving wife and mother. Her peaceful disposition impacted positively on her community. She was indeed a woman who feared God. Adieu Auntie. Rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord.
From Justice A.G Karibi-Whyte Justice of the Supreme Court (retd), CON, CFR.
Mrs. Wachuku was an indefatigable supporter and companion of her husband in his career as an astute administrator and politician.
She found a way to live peacefully with everyone who encountered her in those 90 years she lived on earth, wherever she went. A significant grace of God Almighty is the bestowing of stunning beauty of looks and character hardly ever surpassed by any mortal till she died.”
From Elder Lawrence Ewetuya on behalf of the Ewetuyas and their respective families – Edewor, Daramola and Benson.
The history of the Ewetuyas and the Wachukus is a long one, dating back over fifty years ago when two little boys (Achinike and Joseph) from the two families struck a close friendship that eventually brought the two families together. Thus began a lifelong friendship with the families becoming knit together as one.
We called Mama and Papa Wachuku, “Mommy” and “Daddy”. Likewise the Wachuku children called our beloved parents of blessed memory, “Mommy” and “Daddy”. It just made sense.
We spent school holidays in each others’ homes and she treated us no differently from her own clan.
She was a kind, gentle, quiet and soft spoken soul. She never seemed to be ruffled by anything and we cannot recall her being angry.
We still have fond memories of her sitting on her chair, glasses perched on the edge of her nose, painstakingly stitching her decorative pillows and singing quietly under her breath.
Mommy was the organizer in chief. Whenever we travelled to Isiokpo for Christmas she would have everything all nicely packed for travel and provide delicious meals.
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Mommy took great care of me during my youth corps service in Port Harcourt in the eighties. She also took special care of my wife when she came to Port Harcourt for in service training in the nineties. May your soul rest in perfect peace.. Adieu Mommy!!!