The late Mrs. Caroline Ogbeianu Ajufo.
Story by Dili Utomi.
The town of Ibusa in Delta State over the weekend witnessed some obsequies for several dearly departed, but none would be comparable to the funeral rites meant to pay the last respect to the late Mrs. Caroline Ogbeianu Ajufo of Umuehea, Ibusa who was also known as the “Golden mother”.
Another picture of late Mrs. Ajufo.
The late matriarch of the Ajufo clan was born on the 24th of December 1934 in Burutu, Delta state to the family of Obi William Ojei Nwaoboshi and Anasi-Obi Janet Ogolibueze Nwaoboshi of Umualofe, Umueze in Ibusa.
Paying the last respect to his late mother is the first son Donatus Ajufo.
She was married to a miner, Mr. Michael Asimonye Nwanji Ajufo in Jos, Plateau state and as a hard working person also engaged in the trade of selling household items. She gave birth to many children, five of whom she is survived by including Patricia Onwuyalim, Donatus Udenna, Michael Amulo, Catherine Ndidi and Emmanuel Nmaduaburochukwu.
Dr. Donatus Ajufo with others leading the ceremony.
The event started with a service of songs on Thursday the 25th of November at the St. Augustine Catholic Church, Ibusa and on Friday the 26th, a funeral mass that saw 23 man officiating priests led by Reverend Father Stephen Onyia handled the mass with live broadcast of the mass through an outdoor broadcasting van. The priest while saying the homily admonished the congregation to borrow from some of the qualities of the late Caroline Ajufo.
Ms. Patricia Ajufo, the first daughter of late Mrs Ajufo.
At the end of the funeral mass, the remains of the late ‘Oyibo’ as she was also called was taken to the family compound where the priests gave the last blessings and the body committed to mother earth.
Chief Emmanuel Ajufo, the Fiwajoye of Temidire Ekiti, the Onowu of Ibusa and the last son of the late Mrs. Ajufo standing for a photo ops with well wishers.
The reception which took place at St. Augustine college, Asaba road Ibusa saw a collection of who is who in Ibusa with different families, clans and villages under Ibusa in attendance. It is worthwhile to note that the late the Mrs. Catherine Ogbeianu Ajufo was also the older sister to the Obuzo (Leader) of Ibusa, His Royal Highness, Obi (Professor) L.C. Nwaoboshi, the paramount ruler of the town.
Mr. Mike Ajufo with little sister Mrs. Catherine Okocha to his left with others.
The reception also witnessed the collection of who is who in the out-of-home (outdoor) advertising industry as the last child of the late matriarch, Emmanuel Nmaduaburochukwu Ajufo, is the current president of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN). Some former Presidents of the Association were in attendance and these include Mr. Charles Chijide and Mr. Tunde Adedoyin as well as other dignitaries who were in attendance including High Chief (Dr.) T.O.E. Ekechi, the Director representing the South East at the North East development Commission (NEDC) Chief Chinweuba Nwogu, Chief Dozie Mbanefo, OAAN BOT member,Alhaji Danladi Yaro OAAN BOT Member, Emeka Okeke, Eki Adzufeh MIPAN Executive Secretary, Femi Adelusi MIPAN President, Chief Ladi Sole, the Okere brothers Louis and Bidwell, Emma Agu, Felix Ehikhuemen, Chief George Onwujiariri, Ambrose Nnodim, Sola Akinsiku and a host of other outdoor advertising gurus who trooped in all the way from Lagos and other cities in and around the country to mark the occassion.
More picture from the burial.
In an interview with High Chief T.O.E Ekechi, he said that he came to the occassion “In solidarity with a friend, an associate, a confidant, an adviser and a former staff of one of his companies who has transcended from being a staff to a friend who is actually celebrating the eternal translation of his mother at the ripe age of 86. I know that there is no better burial, no perfect burial and there is nothing like fine burial, but it is also during burials that one’s personal capacity is established. I had never met Emmanuel Ajufo’s mother personally or physically during her lifetime and I do not think that I had met any of his siblings before today, but there is something of note about this celebration of the life of his late mother today. Almost all of Emma Ajufo’s professional colleagues from Lagos and beyond have emptied into Ibusa today as a mark of solidarity, it is just like saying that Emma Ajufo is like water that has no enemy, he is a very social personality who has sympathised and empathised with almost everybody during challenges. So today for me is like a payback period, even those who are responisible for Emma’s livelihood, the clients and those who he helped in giving jobs are here today, particularly around this period of security and medical challenges, this says a lot about the personality of Chief Emma Ajufo. He has been a very wonderful friend”.
The reception continued into the later part of the afternoon with live musical bands and other forms of entertainment.
The following day which was Saturday, the 27th of November ushered in the cultural aspect of the obsequies the _Igba ilo_ , and the _Ikpu eshi_ as well as other cultural celebrations of the life of ‘Oyii the great’ as is one of her many names from her loved ones.
In an interview with the first daughter of the matriarch, Ms. Patricia Ajufo, she said that the legacy of her late mother includes ” Love for everybody, help for the needy, forgiveness to offenders and unity. She said that she will sorely miss everything about her late mother who lived with her for over ten years before her death.
In the words of the late Madam Ajufo’s first son, Dr. Donatus Udenna Ajufo “Whatever it is that I am today was the work of my mother and father and there is no way you can fully define their importance because if they did not pay my school fees, if they did not feed me, if they did not do all that they did to see me to this level, I would not be here to talk to you. You cannot quantify, you cannot qualify, you cannot fully define their importance in my life. One thing about my mother was that even at old age, her brain remained sound as she told me stories about our family, where I came from, all the anecdotes, all the history of my family so that I could be where I am now and also be a good big brother, she educated me well about our tradition too. My mother brought us all up well as can also be attested to by my younger ones. We thank God for her life. She showed us the love of God, she preached that we should love others as much as we love ourselves. She imparted the sense of loyalty in me and I have also tried to impart same into my children and that’s why thay are here, the relationship with my younger ones is fantastic because of the love imparted into us by our mother”.
Michael Amulo Ajufo the second son had this to say of his late mother “We are here to send Mama on her journey to heaven, today as an elder who lived well, she is being given the same honour accorded to men who have lived well and passed on. Mama left a legacy of committment, focus, love, and hard work. I guess I have taken after her peacefull nature myself. My life is that of peace, quietness and steadfastness as imparted into me by mama and these are qualities that I try to impart in my children too”.
The second daughter Lady Catherine Ndidi Okocha said that her mother’s death was a big blow and that her legacy of hard work and unity as well as honesty and sincerity form the qualities that she tries to also impart in her own children”. She says that she will sorely miss her late mother.
According to the late matriarch’s last child, Chief Emmanuel Nmaduaburochukwu Ajufo, the Fiwajoye of Temidire Ekiti, the Onowu of Ibusa and the President of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN) “There was a time in my life when I refused to go to school, she completely insisted that I must go to school. Some of my friends who knew me before are now amazed at what I have turned out to become, this is all due to the influence of my mother. She has left a legacy of hard work, intergrity and being visionary. I learnt a lot of good qualities from her, but if I do have some bad characters, which I think I may have, I certainly did not learn those from my mother. I think that I picked the best quality of intergrity from my mother, my children can attest to this as I have also tried to impart these qualities into them. I don’t involve myself with things that are not mine and I think that I am both straight and strict which are also qualities that I got from my mother. As she got older, she prayed for me to have the resources to take care of her at old age and also to give her a honourable burial and as you can see over the past two days, her prayers worked. I am going to miss the fact that she was always encouraging me, the fact of her prayers to all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I will always miss her”.
The cultural aspect of the celebration of the life of the late Mrs. Caroline Ogbeianu Ajufo continued until the late hours of the evening and there was a Thanksgiving mass the following day at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Ibusa.
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