Faces at the burial of Elvis Emecheta’s mother-in-law, Hope Anene

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Children and grandchildren observing last rite during lying-in state

IT was an outpouring of tributes on Friday, September 11, when the Eze Anene family of Imebagha Royal Family, Umuota, Obosi, Anambra State, buried their matriarch, Ezinne Hope Nwogo Anene. Late Anene died at the age of 76 and the carnival-like burial was attended by her nuclear family, relatives, friends, and well-wishers.

The interment at her compound was preceded by funeral service at the All Saints Church, Umuota, Obosi, Anambra State, where two choir groups in different uniforms relieved the sorrow of the mourners with their beautiful musical renditions in honour of the dead. The host of Service is Venerable Emeka Ezeji, vicar of the All Saints Church who welcomed and thanked everybody for coming from far and near to pay their last respect to Hope.

Coffin housing the remains of the deceased inside the church

During the sermon, the retired Bishop Afam Emmanuel Ugwu enjoined the audience in the church that was filled to capacity, despite the COVID-19, health protocol, to remember the deceased because of how she lived and not how she died.

“Well done good and faithful servant. If it pleases the son of man to set you free you are free. Extol her virtues. A prayer-less community is a powerless community. Pray until heaven mentions your name to your hearing. Faithfulness. Commendation. Jesus just beheld Nathaniel while he approached and said this is a true israelite. That is when you receive commendation from God,” Bishop Ugwu said.

According to him, “Hope brought up small things and made them significant. Little things matter. Christian men and women don’t forget your small beginnings. You are not small. From now go in this might of us. Don’t neglect the small beginnings. Be thankful, faithful and trustworthy. Little things matter. Those things you think don’t matter when the time comes they will be matters arising.”

The bishop said the time to fulfilled the kingdom of God is at hand, stressing that there is need for repentance and enjoined all to repent.

“Make hay while the sun is shining. Time to repent; don’t let it be too late. You can here in this church determine where you are going,” he said.

Retired Bishop Emmanuel Ugwu

It was not only the Bishop that spoke glowing of late Hope.  Obi Tim Anene, son of late Hope, who penned her biography, said his mother lived a fulfilled and exemplary life of selfless service to God and humanity. He described his mother as a pillar of strength and encouragement to anyone facing any type of challenge around her. She never liked seeing people suffer and knew no boundaries between her own or others, young or old, big or small, relation or not.

“She always had a listening ear, a word of encouragement and a helping hand to everyone and made positive impact on whosoever she came in contact with. She served God in so many capacities in the Anglican Communion and many Evangelical ministries including being a member of the St. Andrew’s Anglican Church Synod for both Niger and Enugu diocese for so many years,” she said.

On his part, Elvis Emecheta, one of her son-in-laws, said late Hope served God with her heart. “It didn’t matter who you were or what your mission was, you just wouldn’t leave her presence without eating something or sipping a drink. Her kitchen was endlessly primed to hold stock of cooked foods that could feed minimum of 10 visitors at any given time.

Emecheta, who is also a member of the Realnews Hall of Fame, said: “And yet she steadily struggled to survive from the income earned from catering services at her cousin’s Dr. Tim Menakaya’s Menax Hospital, Onitsha. She never failed to remind me how the Menakaya brothers ensured that her sorrows were watered down in her trying moments.”

Choristers

Chinwe Okeakpu, her first daughter, said she has lost a true friend. “I called you mum friend, sister, cousin and also dad. When I lost my dad, you were all there playing every role I can think of. I also called you my prophetess because you were very much in tune with our future.

“I remember when I got married you gave me many things which included the Holy Bible. You said it was a great treasure worth taking care of as if you knew I would need it later on in my life,” she said.

Anuli Pearl Emecheta, her second daughter, said her mother taught her love, patience and endurance. “You taught me how to pray and led by example. You taught me kindness from the depth of the heart. You taught me to speak the truth at all times, you always said to me it is better to speak the truth and receive some flogging than to tell a lie and make God above unhappy,” she said.

On her part, Chiko Nwoye, another of her daughter, said she still find it difficult to believe that her mother is no more. “Mum I wake up each morning believing that the pain of losing you will go away, but the pain of not seeing you never feels bearable. As I go about my daily activities and the hour passed by, I unconsciously find myself expecting your daily call and I find myself dialling your number just to hear your voice,” she said.

Uju Hope Isiadinso, another daughter of late Hope, said in her tribute that her mother left the legacy of her love, compassion, generosity, kindness, and perseverance. “The ways she touched our lives and the lives of many people that came across her will remain and all those that love her will forever keep those memories alive.

Choristers

Mum’s spirit of love, patience, generosity, kindness, and compassion endeared her to everyone she encountered, and this is a great testament to her nature that she formed so many long-lasting friendships over the years,” she said.

Another daughter, Onyeka Udenze, said her mom taught her the importance of having a relationship with God. “She told me ‘daughter without God, you are nothing. Oh, you may run fast and you may make good grades and do a lot of things but He’s everything you need. You are nothing without Him.’

“There isn’t anything more important for a mother to teach her children than to teach them how to have a relationship with God. Mom taught me how to endure. She told me and my siblings to never quit no matter what. Growing up, we endured some hard times, but through my mom’s example of endurance, we learned to keep going even in the hard times,” she said.

In his tribute to his late mother, Anene thanked his mother for making selfless sacrifices for him and his siblings. “I can neither find appropriate nor enough words to adequately appreciate you for what you did for me but from the depth of my being I say, thank you Mummy,” he said.

Cross section of family members during the church service

Among prominent Nigerians who attended the funeral is Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Maureen Chigbo, publisher of Realnews,  Henry Omeogu, a retired airline pilot and Uchenna Apakama, managing director, Pax Pharmacy; Clement Analikwu, Otie Abatete (traditional prime minister) Morah Austin, Onwa (traditional ruler) Abatete, Philip Chukwuka, (Akum Abatete and Ifeanyi Ibezi, former member, Federal House of Representatives and Obiora Chidozie, a political strategist.

According to families and friends, late Hope was a natural leader and a social mobilizer and an active politician during the first and second republics. The family said she was once the vice-chairperson and subsequently the chairperson of the then National Party of Nigeria, NPN, Women Wing, Idemili North local government area, and a member of the NPN national women wing, inner caucus.

She is survived by six children, nineteen grandchildren, in-laws, families, and friends.

– Sept. 24, 2020 @ 11:55 GMT |

Cross section of mourners in the church
Elvis Emecheta in the church
Clerics praying for late Hope at the grave side

 

 

Anuli Emecheta with her sister
Anuli Emecheta (middle) and relations at the burial
Elvis Emecheta and Professor Chukwuma Soludo at the burial
Emecheta (middle) with Soludo and relative
Eldest child of the deceased Dr. Engr. Obiorah Anene (US based)
Eldest daughter Mrs. Chinwe Okakpu
Fourth daughter Uji Isiadinso, US based registered nurse
Sobechukwu
Last child of the deceased Mrs. Chikodili Nwoye, senior accountant with FAAN at Enugu Airport

 

Dabeluchukwu
Emecheta with one Abatete Sir Austin Morah

 

 

 

In-laws, Dr. Nnamdi Okakpu, Medical director, Mendal Hospital Aba, and Dr. Chike Nwoye
Sir Maduka Ezekwesili (ritd bank executive), one of the two surviving male siblings of the deceased
Family and friends

 

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