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NUF, Ezilo, Nwaogu mourn Aguiyi-Ironsi, Okpara

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Adanma Okpara

Igbo group, Ndigbo United Forum (NUF), yesterday, expressed sadness over the passage of two Igbo matriarchs, Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi and Adanma Okpara.

In a statement in Enugu by its Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, Chief Chinedu Mba, the group said the two ladies “epitomised all the attributes of true legends”.

It said: “Their contributions in the cumbersome role of our nation building can never be easily quantified. Lady Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi was there for her husband and Nigeria through thick and thin. She had to endure the gloomy travails of the time without giving up on Nigeria. Even when the rowdy and maniacal events cost her husband’s life, she continued to contribute her quota till her death.”

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It said further: “Lady Adanma Okpara could be best regarded as the foremost Igbo matriarch, given the unprecedented developments she and her husband brought to old Eastern Nigeria. If she didn’t stand solidly behind her husband, he wouldn’t have been able to achieve all he did.

“The glorious exit of these two rare gems, in as much as it is sad news, still offers a wonderful opportunity for national sober reflection. Nigeria ought to reflect extensively on the type of outstanding lifestyles the two paragons of virtuosity led and see how to imbibe the same into our national life.”

Also, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Trafficking, Prof. Joy Ezilo, said their demise was a loss to Igbo land and Nigeria. The former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), said although they have been viewed largely through the prism of their husbands, the duo were women of valour.

Similarly, a former senator for Abia Central, Dr Nkechi Nwaogu, lamented the deaths. In a statement, yesterday, she said Aguiyi-Ironsi was instrumental to her success as a politician, saying she offered elderly counsel when she (Nwaogu) needed it most.

She described Lady Adanma Okpara’s sojourn on earth as worthy of emulation, noting that their deaths created a huge vacuum. She prayed that God would grant the families of the deceased and the entire country the fortitude to bear the losses.

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