– The Sun News

For ‘old boy’ Urum Kalu Eke

THIS is a tribute to Madam Ahudiya K. U. Eke, the mother of Elder Urum Kalu Eke, the Group Managing Director of First Bank Holdings PLC. She left this divide on September 18, 2017, aged 77 years.

It should interest Urum to know that Mama is alive in him! Anytime anyone sees you, the person will remember her if for nothing else the resemblance. Dying is for all of us. So, weep not for Mama, but thank God for her impactful life.

If it were a function of physicians or resource availability, nothing would have happened to your mother because you have the capacity and network to make her an exception to death! Alas, death will always come.

As Mama departs, you will continue to live without difficulty arising from the vacuum she has created. Do not think much of her death or dying because everyone’s got to die. Fatality is an unconscionable thing. Nobody desires it. Whenever you remember Mama in the exotic and aristocratic confines of your Romanesque home, tell your wife to kiss you in her latest dual role of wife and mother (to you)—not just to your children.

Urum, you are not alone in this translation. All your ex-classmates, friends of yours and all those you have interacted with at multifarious forums share in this your grief. You cannot afford to be inconsolable irrespective of the fondness and bonding that existed between you, particularly, and the virtuous woman we are celebrating today.

“Old boy”, I know you can forget the years we spent at Comprehensive Secondary School, Ogbor Hill, Aba, Abia State, between 1974 and 1979, but you certainly cannot forget the blissful moments you shared together with your sweet mother who you replicated, the late Madam Ahudiya K. U. Eke.

She meant so much to you—I know full well even from a distance. The only consolation you have is that wherever she is now, she knows how pained you are. It looks to me like you are the most devastated of all your siblings by her sudden death.  Who in this world will now give Urum all the pieces of advice and counsel you gave him intermittently? The circumstance, timing and suddenness of your departure will continue to amaze Urum for a very long time.

You were a compass for this your son and friend of mine. It still looks like a dream, a fairytale spun under moonlight, an illusion, a mirage, a huge joke and, above all, just an unbelievable stunt! Alas, Madam Ahudiya, my classmate’s mother of inestimable value, has left us unceremoniously without any parting word! Here goes a paragon of beauty, an Amazon who radiated love in all spheres of her existence.

Madam Ahudiya would like to let you know that her work here is done. She received a call, a sort of an offer you can’t refuse, for an appointment from which she will not be returning. This assignment comes with a huge sign-on bonus, a reunion with family and friends she has not seen in a long time. Her new mission on interment shortly takes her to a wonderful place where she will be socializing, singing and listening to gospel songs, dancing, fellowshipping, evangelizing and mothering to her heart’s content.

Music, laughter and love are guaranteed. Food is delicious and you never gain an ounce. She loved wholesome food and fruits. Weep not for her because she would want her exit from here celebrated amid pomp and ceremony as much as possible.

While she was with us, she believed that everything that happened to a man was the wish of God. That was why in all her circumstances and situations—even when she was overwhelmed by the challenges of life—she stuck to God for direction. This philosophy guided her all through her life and she impressed it on everyone that came her way. It was a source of joy and priceless fulfilment for her eventful life.

This columnist wants to let her spirit know that she did a great job and wish her a safe journey. I will remember her smile, her warmth, her energy, her love for life, family and friends, but also her business partners and clients, many of whom over time also became friends. She worked very hard all her life, up until the very abrupt end.

She made a difference in the lives of many. I invite you to join Urum and celebrate together.

This woman of virtue and many parts would be remembered for multifarious things. She meant so much to people from all walks of life. She had a passion for attending events: be they wedding, child or house dedication, hospital visitation, village meetings, religious gatherings and burials as if she knew that it would soon be her turn to go the way of all humanity. She had regard for everyone irrespective of your status or social standing in the society. The exponential success and modest opulence of her son, Urum, did not elicit haughtiness from Mama. Most other mothers would have been imposing in the community on account of Urum’s spiraling professional and occupational attainments. Yet, the profundity of her humility was inimitable.

Her attitudinal disposition and compassion for the less-privileged were unparalleled. Anyone who knew her would attest to this aspect of her life. She was too considerate to a fault. She used to cater to other people’s needs while depriving herself of such comfort. Such gestures gave her great joy and satisfaction.

It would have been better for her to be paying this tribute to another person and not her being the subject. A few weeks before her demise, nobody could have believed she would depart suddenly because she was still full of life! If it were possible to restore her existence, Urum would mortgage his own humanism to achieve that. She deserved that and much more.

Her spirit is carried on by Urum, her great-grandchildren, grandchildren, siblings and extended family of in-laws, relations and a multitude of friends. Most people who associated with her will continue to celebrate her even in death because she was a bundle of love, joy and profound kindness. Some people were privileged to learn from her invaluable lessons of life, which they appreciate more now on her translation.

  Mama Ahudiya, sleep well. The fond memories you created linger on in our hearts! I commit your soul to God’s bosom.

UK, it is well with you.


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