Tribute to Madam Lydia Ukanwa Okpo (1923-2019)
Madam Lydia Ukanwa Okpo (nee Okpara) was born in 1923 in Eziukwu, Ekwo, Amaokwe Item of Abia State. She died on December 6, 2019.
She came from an illustrious and aristocratic family, whose patriarch, the late Elder Okpara Osoka, was one of the pioneers of Christianity in Item.
Coming from such an aristocratic/Christian background, her life mirrored the discipline and hard work every scion of the family was imbued with.
For most people who knew her, Ukanwa’s real essence was to be found not necessarily in her family background. Yes, she was fortunate to be born in the Okpara family. But, she made friends and had admirers through the lift she gave to others, especially those unfortunate to fall behind life’s kind lines.
People come, people go, but the quality of a man’s life determines what others make of him when he is gone. Many prominent persons are remembered long after they have left the world because of the impact they made on humanity, Ukanwa will always be remembered for her contributions to humanity.
She was well-respected and loved in Ofiavu Ukwu Amabo, Okoko Item. Also, she was cherished by all in Ekwo, Amaokwe Item.
Like many well-grounded Umuada, Ukanwa, as we called her, was one of the pillars of the Okpara family of Amaokwe Item, despite living in Okoko, where she was married and lived with her family until her last days.
She was ever present in our house to see that everybody, especially her brothers’ children, were fine. The distance did not matter to her.
“It is to God’s glory that we celebrate a woman, who stood taller than her mates, even in death,” her nephew, Christian Okpara, said.
He continued: “Yes, Mmom Ukanwa has joined the saints triumphant, but she still lives among us, in our memories. We will miss her, no doubt. There are still many battles and life’s challenges that would make us regret that she is gone, but when we evaluate her contributions to what has become of the Okpara family, we cannot, but bid her safe plight to paradise…
“We feel joy and misery in equal measure. It is not what we desired of you, but we are consoled.
Coming after your brothers, we believe you will be well received in paradise. But we request of you one last favour: When you get there, tell Papa Ukwu that we are doing well. Don’t forget to tell Dem James that all is well with us in Abanta.
“Before your morning prayers with the Saints, don’t forget to tell Dem B.C, Dem Sunday and Dem Kwubiri that their children are in good shape.
More importantly, tell them that Mmom Ada is very strong and has promised to be with us as long as God wishes.
Adieu Mmom Ukanwa! Adieu Ada Ukwu Okpara. May your soul rest in peace!