The last day of the year 2020, December 31st , will continue to sink in memory of Ubulu-Uku town, a community in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta. It was a day prominent sons and daughters of the community who were joined by well wishers, friends, colleagues and business moguls from all walks of life, stood still to bid farewell to an illustrious daughter of the community, Mrs. Josephine Adaolie Oji nee Mukolu who exited this sinful world at the very ripe age of 93.
Born on August 25, 1927 to the Mukolus, Adaolie exuded perfect combination of daintiness and beauty growing up; a testimonial of a well groomed girl child. As a teenager with the innocence of unparalleled feminine features, ebony black Adaolie soon became the cynosure of all eyes; attracting eligible suitors from far and near; most of who she turned down their overtures. However, she could not resist the admixture of the masculine sleekness and brain of a young teacher, Onyekwuzi Paul Okolie Oji. So before long, the nocturnal romance between the young non-nonsense teacher who graduated to become school Headmaster and damsel Adaolie became noticeable and in August 1950, they were joined together in holy matrimony. Nwunye teacher or Mama Ujunwa as she was fondly called; was a perfect definition of discipline. She was circumspect in all her endeavours and ensured that her children got the right parental socialization. Though not as cerebral as her hubby, Adaolie was no less a virtuous woman. Her exemplified fidelity bore credence to the oriental looks of all her children. In traditional African setting, the indices to measure a woman’s faithfulness to her spouse are the structural semblances of their father.
A devout Christian of Anglican faith whose submissiveness new no bounds, Adaolie soon yielded to her husband’s stance and toed the line of Catholic faith just to show obeisance to her love shortly after marriage. Mama Ujunwa grew to become a community leader whose voice could not be ignored by discerning minds. Little wonder, she was to be interred to rest in the bosom of her creator on the same day the world would later celebrate the triumphant entry into a new year.
Late Adaolie’s journey to eternity began as early as 8.00am that last day of 2020 at the massive St. Charles Boromeo Catholic Chirch on Mission Road, Ubulu-Uku. The encomiums on her from the presiding Very Reverend Father Augustine Ohanwusi who was assisted by Reverend Innocent Onyeogo during mass were testimonies of her selfless lifestyle while she lived. “Mama was a devout catholic whose candor and selflessness new no bounds. She gave freely to the needy even to her discomfort. We are here not to mourn but to thank God for a life well spent; because this world is not our home but what is required of us how we utilize the very little time allotted to each and every one of us. We shall take solace on the promise that on the resurrection day, we shall all meet again. Let us all learn to live a life of selflessness just like our saviour Jesus Christ did,” remarked Rev.Ohanwusi.
From the church to her husband’s compound where she would lay side-by-side the love of her life eternally, mourners were treated to an exhilarating non-verbal rendition by Sir Goro; a totally new genre in Anioma traditional musicology from a live band. In a shortly while, the entire hemisphere had assumed a metaphor of amphitheatre; with mourners, guests and the ‘dancing queens’ alike; twist-turning away in an uncontrollable frenzy to the sonorous notes from the mouth organ. Not even the dusty red sand could deter dancers from the rhythmic notes doled out by the band. It was more of dance away your tears; a marvelous scene to behold!
The denouement of it all was the surprise arrival to the scene, of the Director General of the Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency, DSCTDA Rt. Hon. Joan Onyemaechi Mrakpor. An illustrious daughter of Ubulu-Uku, the former law maker who almost unwittingly turned the occasion to a political rally of sort, could not hide her admiration for one of the children of late Josephine Adaolie Oji, Christopher Oji, a journalist with The Sun newspaper; who she described a true son of Ubulu-Uku for his responsible journalism practice. Though she also extolled the virtues of the deceased, the tall and light complexioned delectable lady nicknamed Ada Anioma for humanness and philanthropy said she would not have attended the funeral but for the journalist’s abhorrence to denigrating stories from the state especially, those that touched on her person. “I respect Chris Oji because he will always balance his stories before publishing. I am not speaking to the fourth Estate of the Realm alone, I am talking to all and sundry. Let us shun gossips and rumor peddling. We should criticize people constructively. As for the Ubulu Uku/Onicha -Ugbo road, the Governor has promised to do it , he is an action Governor, he will do it. I want to use this opportunity to also observe Covid-19 protocols, Social distancing is very necessary. May God continue to protect us and grant Ma Oji eternal rest,” she admonished.
Earlier in his welcome address, Chris Oji who was visibly elated by the arrival of the DG, DSCTDA, Mrs. Mrakpor and of course, his colleagues from Lagos State headed by Odita Sunday-Odemaguna of The Guardian newspapers could not also hide his appreciation for their presence; saying, “I sincerely appreciate all those who honored our Mother’s burial ceremony. I appreciate Mrs. Joan Amaechi Mrakpor for the honor bestowed on Oji’s family. It is not easy with her tight schedule to spare her time. I can’t appreciate you enough. I am grateful to my colleagues led by the President of Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria Mr. Odita Sunday of The Guardian newspapers, the Ebu Prince, Albert Akpor Uba, the Publisher of CrimeWorld magazine is here, Eugene Agha of Daily Trust is here, Taiwo Jimoh of the New Telegraph, a Yoruba man is here also, Hycent Beluchuba is here, Emma Edom, Ismaila of the Leadership, another Yoruba man is here, Adaobi Mourine Obiechina of NTA is here and our own son, Frank Oshanugor who has been with us from day one is also here with us. These are top journalists making waves in Nigeria. I couldn’t be much happier.”
Continuing, Oji who had to remind the visiting former law maker to constantly entreat on the Governor to give heed to the construction of the Ubulu-Uku-Onicha-Ugbo road that had remained a death trap for long; said, “Well, there is no way a top person like you will pay a visit to my place in Ubulu Uku/ Onicha -Ugbo road without me requesting that you take up the matter of the dilapidated state of our road to our Governor, Senator Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa. Please the Governor had promised to do the road for us, you managed to pass through the road because of our self efforts as few families from Onicha- Uku quarters contributed money to sand-fill the road. We are appealing to you to help us remind the Governor of his promise to do the road in 2021, ma.”
Left to mourn late Josephine Adaolie Oji who breathed her last on November 8, 2020 are Charles – Adim Oji, Emmanuel Oji , Christopher Oji, Mrs. Felicia Ayogbe, Pastor Joseph Oji, Tony Osadebe Oji, Mark Chidozie Oji, Patrick Sunny Oji Uche Oji and John Paul Christopher Oji.