Our River Of Wealth (Mmiliaku) Bianca Ojukwu’s Tribute To Mother.
The funeral ceremony of Chief (Mrs) Carol Onoh, the late mother of Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu, who was laid to rest on August 5, 2016 has come and gone but the memories of the event and the life and times of the mother of Bianca, the best ambassador Africa and Nigeria has ever produced will live to be remembered for a life time. Bianca Ojukwu whom her tributes and dirges has been turned into a classic rendition for poetry books, gave another heart touching tribute to the mother. Please see below.
OUR RIVER OF WEALTH (Mmiliaku)
We are assured and know that God being a partner in their labour, all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God and are called according to his design and purpose. . . . . . . . (Romans 8:28)
And for you, Mummy – mum, so it was. Your love for God, your faith in God and your submission to his will was total and unshakable in the face of untold trials, tribulations and tragedies.
It is because of you that I know Christ as I do, clutching desperately at his sleeve, confident in the knowledge that His love is absolute and unconditional and convinced beyond doubt that without His grace, my labour here on earth would be akin to building a house of sand and fog.
My own journey on earth began on a sunny day on the 5thof August many years ago when Christian and Carol Onoh welcomed a newborn into their family. At a time when a great deal of importance was attached to, and a high premium was placed upon male children, I can only imagine my mother’s hopeful anticipation of a male child, following a string of females who were already in residence, but this was not to be, as I made my debut (being yet another female and the fifth, to be precise) to their already crowded collection. I was aptly named ‘Odinakachukwu’ which literally translates to everything is in the hands of God. Curiously, your pet name for me was ‘Ogbooh’, meaning your name sake even though we shared no first or middle names.
Mummy –mum, I have often wondered if by naming me ‘Odinakachukwu’, this somehow absolved you at the time, of any culpability regarding my gender, but every now and then, in my adult life you would remind me of my arrival and entry into the world, received with mixed emotions, and then end up by affirming that God is the great architect of life. You would relay to me with great fondness that I was indeed one of His greatest designs within the framework of your life and that though you had fervently prayed for another male child. ‘All things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to, and for those who love God . . . ‘After me, you went on to bear two more male children. The design was now complete, I hope I did fit appropriately into God’s purpose in, and for your life, mummy – mum. I hope I have done you proud.
Mummy –mum, as I sat on your hospital bed on that fateful morning of your departure, I had no inkling it would be your last day on earth. It was such an unfathomable thought. Who would I turn to in times of despair? The prospect of a future without the sanctuary of our warm and welcoming home within which I felt safe from the billowing storms of life, without your soft embrace which cocooned me and your soothing words of comfort and consolation frightens me.
Mummy –mum, you were loving, humble, patient and brave. You have left me with so many priceless memories to treasure, delightful memories of my childhood…. the exhilarating moments spent sitting on the steps, waiting for your return from the market, the ‘Ihe afia’ that would herald great jubilation, the joy of our annual trip to Santa’s Grotto inside Kingsway Department Store to visit father Christmas at yuletide. All the bickering and banter that usually accompanied the ritual of dressing the Christmas tree and putting up the home decorations, and the carol singing contests on the night before Christmas.
I have so much to be thankful to you for, mummy – mum. . . . the endless hours you spent with me in the study room trying to ‘knock some sense into my head’, all the time you dedicated to doing my times tables with me over and over again. I was not spared your dreaded cane when I got them wrong despite several attempts but you always hugged me afterwards when lesson time was over.
Thank you for all those delightful fairy tales and story books; the Land of Tales, the Brothers Grimm; the trusty medicine chest which housed the cure and remedy for every manner of ailment; for always coming to my rescue whenever I was distressed at school, and for teaching me some of life’s most profound lessons. It was you mummy –mum, who taught me, that life has no reward for victims, only plaques and memorials and that only a tree would wait patiently to be cut down without any form of protest; that gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues but the parent of others, and in those indelible words of Ralph Waldo Emerson that ‘a great man is always willing to be little.’
Thank you mummy – mum, for giving me the courage to fight for my dreams and my rights; for supporting me through some of the most difficult choices and most fundamental decisions I have ever had to make in life and for always impressing upon me the importance of being hospitable and a good hostess.
For sure, there were times I exasperated you, such as when I invited my friends to the house and they stomped all over your newly cultivated backyard farm, destroying your budding crops whilst we were all playing ‘hide and seek’. You almost brought the house down in your thunderous anger but that didn’t stop you from letting me accompany you to your ladies meeting later that day after previously threatening that I would be house bound for the rest of the holidays.You were always very forgiving, mummy – mum.
A house is not a home without a mother’s warmth, and I remain eternally grateful that you always strived to maintain a sense of normalcy in our home whilst shielding us from the disorder and mayhem which was often times beyond your control.
Thank you, mummy – mum for those long beautiful and comforting letters you sent me when I was homesick at Boarding school in Yorkshire; for always reminding me that in life there can be no crown without a cross, and reassuring me that there is no night so long that isn’t followed by day. To quote a verse from one of your favorite Psalms ‘weeping endureth for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Most of all, mummy – mum, I thank you for being present at the births of my children, for taking care of me, my husband and the kids and for staying with them whenever I needed to travel. You were the perfect grandmother to all your grandchildren. And today of all days, mummy – mum, on the anniversary of the day God designated you the vessel to bring me into this world, I am bidding you farewell for the very last time. What an irony, but then, your response would have been “all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to and for those who love God. . . . .
No words are enough to describe how I feel. There are only feelings, overwhelming emotions that are capable of melting my entire being. You were my rock and my anchor. I feel like a boat cast adrift. But our lives and our times are in the hands of God……odi na aka Chukwu. Thank you for holding my hand and accompanying me through life; thank you for taking me to the mountaintop….. It’s a beautiful view
May God grant you peace, joy and total fulfilment in His paradise.
Farewell, mummy – mum, and Goodnight.
Bianca Odinakachukwu Odumegwu-Ojukwu
Photospeak of the event