Ezinne Bridget Orieukwu Igboanuzue was born in 1931 to the family of Chief Ezeogalibo Obaa and Madam Nwaizugbe Obaa, now late; a royal family at Umuonyeagolu Ezumeri village Oraifite in Ekwusigo. They were three (two girls and one boy). Mama Igbanuzue was the last born and the pet of the house. She was, however, taught to be responsible and accountable from an early age.
Mama was a very humble and disciplined woman. Notwithstanding that she never received formal education; she gave all her children the necessary education. Due to Ezinne Igboanuzue’s unique character and beauty, at the age of 17, she got married to Godwin Ilonuba from Eziora Ozubulu. The union was blessed with a son, Chief Samuel Ilonuba
Later, the center of the marriage could not hold, hence, she got married to Chief Alexander Nwokoye Igboanuzue (EZECHEDOLU 1). Ezinne was blessed with nine children (five boys & four girls). To God be the glory as all her children have launched into higher orbits of human development.
Mama Igboanuzue was a devout Christian despite her parents being pagans. Her passion to serve God influenced her in the early eighties and nineties to be among the women that devoted their time for cleaning and sweeping Saint Jude’s Church, Oraifite every Friday.
Thus, Mama was among the first set of women in the church to be honored with the title, EZI NNE, by the immediate past Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, Right Reverend Godwin Okpala. As a good planner and mentor to many, Mama Bridget Igboanuzue was also decorated with Meritorious award as Diamond Mother by Saint Christopher’s Anglican Church, Isingwu Oraifite, in recognition of her immense contributions and support to the church.
As a business woman, Mama Igboanuzue had unrivalled entrepreneurial skills which aided her during the Nigerian Civil War. She traded on foodstuffs during the war of which proceeds were used in feeding and training her children during and after the war.
However, the mid-eighties left Ezinne with a heavy heart when her husband died. Mourning period over, Mama was introduced to the kola nuts business. She became a major distributor of kola nuts in Oraifite and beyond and equally trained other women in the trade. Mama was an exceptionally gifted woman. She had the Midas touch to turn small opportunities into success.
Mama Igboanuzue instilled confidence, humility and industry in her children. She inculcated noble values in her children and today her sons have become top captains of industry, with the second son, Sir Sunny Igboanuzue becoming the Chairman of the famous ASPANDA market Complex in Lagos and also the President-General of Oraifite Improvement Union.
Mama Igboanuzue opened her arms to the poor and the needy and God used her to bless the Umuezeokwuora-Umuafa quarters of Oraifite. Ezinne Igboanuzue lived her 90 years to the fullest, ever happy, held no grudges, never grumpy and always prayerful. She occupies a special place in the hearts of Oraifite women. They appreciated her through awards and recognitions.
Mama lived a fulfilled life that when she took ill, her children, especially Captain Rowland Igboanuzue and Sir Sunny Igboanuzue took her to best medical facilities within and outside Nigeria. Over the years, her children took several medical steps to manage Mama’s failing health.
Between 2015 and the time of her death, Mama had social grace. She shared her resources and everything she possessed with people. Mama’s generosity, strength, true lifestyle and cleanliness, even at old age, her appreciation no matter how small the gift may be, are worthy of emulation. Mama was a source of inspiration. She prayed and blessed all her children while in Lagos.
Ezinne Igboanuzue was celebrated while alive and will be highly celebrated by the Christian community in Oraifite, Ekwusigo and Anambra state. Lots of people will condense at Oraifite tomorrow, Thursday 7th October to celebrate this quintessential mother per excellence. Service of Songs holds today at her compound, while outing service will take place on Sunday by 9am at Saint Jude’s Anglican Church, Ugwu-Okpu, Oraifite.
May her valiant and serene soul rest in perfect peace.
WRITTEN BY SIR OSELLOKA OFFOH