Scholastica Ugomma Madu (1934 – 2015), A Tribute
WRITING the biography of my highly revered Mum at this time has been the most difficult task for me to undertake. Time and space will be inadequate for me to capture the full essence of this noble woman.
Lady Scholastica Ugomma Onyekwere was born on February 10, 1934 into the royal family of Eze Pius Onyekwere Njoku Ogbu (Nfunala 1) of Nnarambia, Ahiara, Mbaise, Imo State. She was the first out of the three surviving children of her mother, Maritha Oduagu Onyekwere. Her early education started at St. Brigid’s School, Nnarambia. Later she moved to Holy Rosary School Ogbor-Nguru and Oru, Ahiara, which were established as girls’ schools.
She towed the line of other young women of her time to be trained in domestic science, which included knitting, sewing, weaving and home keeping. Her excellent display of mastery of these skills endeared her to her late brother, the late Mr Oliver Onyekwere, who took her to Owerri and found a job for her. She lived with him until she met and married her heartthrob, the late Sir B.E. Madu.
Mama and Papa were married at Lokoja, Kogi State on December 30, 1956. Their marriage was blessed with eight children (four ladies and four gentlemen) and 14 grandchildren.
They raised their children up under a loving atmosphere that was not devoid of discipline. For instance, we never went to church late because Papa and Mama never tolerated that. Night prayer was also a time no one dodged because it was a family affair. They always reminded us that “a family that prays together stays together.”
Mama was a member of the Legion of Mary, St. Joachim and Anna group, the Catholic Family Movement, pioneer member of both the CWO and Christian Mothers.
She always shared with us what Father Antonio Massey, a French Canadian Holy Ghost Father used to tell her when they were building the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Lokoja — “Scholastica, I want to build a church for God on earth, so that God will build a house for me in heaven.” This left a lasting impression on her that she urged all her children to do our best for God while on earth so that he will prepare a better place for them in heaven.
Mama was passionate about her faith, believing that with God all things are possible.
Mama and Papa put all their effort in educating us. Mama spent most of her life as a stay at home mother; her minimum target for each of us was a good education. She maintained that they did not have any big business or inheritance to bequeath to us, so the best option was to work hard and succeed educationally. They were so passionate about education that they sacrificed all pleasures to give us the best education they could afford. To the glory of God, she witnessed the success of all of us.
Mama was always involved with the community. She loved the Obohia Development Front, for the development of our hometown. During the civil war, she worked with different groups including Biafran Freedom Fighters (BOF) and Mrs. Nwankiti, the wife of the former Anglican Bishop of Owerri Diocese in gathering food in support of the Biafran soldiers.
In the late 1980s and early1990s, Mama was drafted by the Igbo community in Lokoja as the Women Leader to represent the interest of Igbo women in Lokoja. The Maigari of Lokoja accorded her respect after it was known that she was the child of a respected Eze in Igbo land.
Finally, five days before Mama’s death, she called our youngest brother, Uchenna and left a parting message for all of us. The message was “I want all of you to continue to live in peace.” Uche shared this message with me three days before Mama died. I wondered why Mama was sending such a message to him. It didn’t really dawn on me until she died.
She will be laid to rest today, December 12, 2015 at her husband’s compound in Umuhuocha Obohia Ekwereazu, Mbaise after a funeral service at Christ the King Catholic Church, Obohia.
Ugobeke, LaaN’udo, Amen.
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