Remembering My Wife And “Twin Sister”, Anne Juoin Johnnie
MUMMY, as all her children call her, including my humble self, was a woman of fine mien, candour, poise, grace and disposition. She was a very simple and uncomplicated person.
Deaconess (Mrs) Anne Juoin Johnnie. B.Sc (Hons) MBA, my wife, was the engine that propelled me to imbibe the culture of simplicity. Her simple life style had often made some people see that as weakness.
Rather, her simplicity has endeared her to those who truly understand the meaning of life, as a Christian. Anne came into Christianity and her life was moderated and modulated by the Christian doctrine of necessity.
Anne did not compromise her Christian faith with any other doctrine outside the confines of the “Big Book”. Anne maintained her stance for truth, righteousness and humility as core values for a true Christian. She held on to these virtues until her last day on mother earth. Anne was an extremely humble person.
Her general demeanour at all times exuded humility but almost always, breathed out flames of wisdom. The Bible says, “Wisdom is the principal thing (Proverbs 4:7)”.
Anne, my wife, was a “Wisdom Bank”. She combined Christian wisdom and raw native intelligence in building homes that were on the entropic road to anomie. Anomie in Durkheimian Sociology, means, a state of normlessness.
Anne was a bridge builder made of the finest human fibre. There are two kinds of Christians today. The “Odds” and the “Evens”. The “Evens” are cast as those who look out for and easily take the beaten path.
They join the bandwagon. The “Evens” do not question their culture – their grand narratives. They compromise or are easily compromised. In every context or situation, their sense of what they intend to benefit in contrast with what they intend to give is sharp. Because of this trait, the “Evens” take the worst buffets of the anomic society. Contrarily, the “Odds” are the pathfinders.
The “Odds” are not flappable. The “Odds” do not operate on the principle of quid pro quo – meaning they give no thought to what they stand to gain before enlisting in a service.
Their overriding obsession is to serve. Their role model is Jesus Christ. As a result, they see opportunity everywhere in everything. The “Odds” are constructed as those that Christ came to look for – the true Christians.
Not the “Believers“ as quoted in Ezekiel 22:30-31, which underscores the fact that the “Odds” are in high demand in God’s scheme. Their scarcity highlights the reason they are shielded from the vicissitudes of the world system.
The “Odds” are framed as brimming with a heightened consciousness of the boundless opportunities for service in Christianity. My wife, Mrs Anne Johnnie, fell squarely amongst the “Odds”.
I learnt so much from the rich fountain of knowledge of my beloved wife. Her Christian and literary vocabulary were quintessentially flawless.
Whenever she mounted the pulpit in our little home fellowship, her language does not only ignite deep knowledge in Christian literature but an amazing command of Christian ethnology.
Anne taught all her children, including me, “her twin brother”, the virtues of honesty, truthfulness and uprightness. Anne propagated and pursued the message of brotherhood of the equality of mankind.
How, and in what lexicons of the world’s tongues shall I find words of adequate beauty and power that might serve, even approximately, to portray the rare and exquisite courtesy and compassion, courage, wisdom, humour, and humanity of this unique woman, who was assuredly, a lineal descendant of the great Opuene Alayemieka dynasty and the blue blood of her forebears, taught her the gospel of love, truth and peace.
Anne, you are where you truly and rightly belong — seated in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ. I love to remember Anne, first and foremost as my dear wife and jewel, an extremely devoted, caring and loving mother of my children, and grandmother of my grand children. I love to also remember her as a sister, aunt, cousin, in-law, peacemaker and counsellor.
I would also want to remember Anne as the granddaughter of the great Alabo Opuene Alayemieka of lbaka in Okrika. I love to also remember her as my best friend and domestic ‘Pastor’, but perhaps, the most poignant and memorable of all is the last picture of her escorting me to the international airport Omagwa – Port Harcourt, on my way to the University of Oxford, England to deliver my Annual Lecture Series at the Oxford Round Table – University of Oxford, England. I became a permanent member of the Oxford Round Table in 2008.
In all my previous trips to Oxford, Anne had always accompanied me. Her company has always been regarded not just as help meet but also as someone who has strong fiduciary relationship with Christ, therefore, a godly soul mate and companion, who should always be by my side.
But for this one last time, Anne did not accompany me to Oxford, death came like a thief in the night and snatched her away from me. She translated in a tragic instant of martyrdom from mortality to immortality at the sunset hour of 4:30pm on Monday August 11, 2014.
Oh death, where is thy sting? My baby and my first love, sleep well; I can never have another you. In Okrika dialect, I say: Ibibara se munu ani ibi ama mi bie. Anne Deinamu. Prof. Johnnie, FBIM, FNAM, wrote from Port Harcourt.