Sophia Chioma Alaku JP (1943-2018): Quintessential Mother
Mrs Sophia Chioma Alaku, who died on May 3rd was born on June 12, 1943 into the religious family of Chief Philip Ezembu of Mbu Amon, in Isi-Uzo Council Area of Enugu State. Her father, Chief Ezembu was a foremost itinerant Church Teacher (Catechist) who assiduously travelled to various churches in his evangelical expedition in the old Nsukka Division.
Despite the troubles and copious inconveniences, associated with apostolic work then, her father travelled with his entire family, while spreading the gospel. That was how little Sophia was recruited as an evangelist as a toddler.
It was when the exigencies of evangelical schedules brought the Ezembus to St. Thomas Anglican Church Aku, that they savoured the warmth hospitality and love of Aku people and partially made Aku their home.
It was while in Aku with her catechist father that the young, beautiful and quiet Sophia met with her would-be husband, the charming and handsome, now late Clement Alaku, who was by then one of the auspicious and prominent teachers at St. Thomas School Aku.
The charming Sophia and Clement later got married. When marriage united Sophia with the rest of Alaku Obodoagu family and Aku people, God opened in her the vessel of goodness.
The family saw a woman of peace, a paragon of beauty both in body and soul, a model of excellence and the epicentre of family re-union and a mother indeed.
As a caring young lady, Sophia joined nursing profession, assisting the midwives at Aku Health Centre Onu-agu Obie.
After her training, she served at Ibagwa-Ani Health Centre and Enugwu Abor Health Centre, Ufuma in Anambra State.
She distinguished herself as a caregiver, thanks to the wonderful and estimable commendations she got during her service years.
Nurse Sophia, left nursing for further education, which took her from labour room to classroom.
She was admitted at St. Cyprain Teachers’ College Nsukka, where she graduated as a teacher full of diligence and brilliance.
Her teaching job spanned for decades before she retired.
From her approach to teaching, she multiplied her children, from her eight biological children to such a number she couldn’t count.
Virtually all her students called her “Mama”. Indeed, she was a mother to all.
Her house remained full of these children she got from her classrooms.
Mama was a centre for all, and her cooking pot was never meant for the number of mouths in her immediate family.
Mama, lived a happy life, despite losing her spouse so early in 1978. No one could tell that she was a struggling widow for forty years.
Her smiles covered her challenges, her charity was a clear defeat of her condition, her religious life was a model for widows, her integrity was emulative.
Mama was in distress, but was conquering same with a strong will, anchored on God and hard work.
To God and His works in the Church with a view of winning souls. St. Thomas Church Aku, has lost one of her best.
As a chorister, her regularity in the affairs of the Church services gave a lift and glamour to the choir and their renditions.
As a lay reader, she was exceptionally outstanding. Her presence, attention, participation, contributions and services to the Church was admired and applauded by all.
The first Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Jonah Ilonuba (late) conferred on her the prestigious title of “NNE OKWUKWE”, as a mark of honour and in appreciation of her efforts in the Church.
She never troubled anybody. That was why even in death, she chose not to be a burden to anybody.
A Sunday before her death, she participated fully as usual, glowing in health and spirit and no one knew she was there to bid the Church members farewell.
She will be buried on July 26 at Alaku’s compound in Aku.