The city of Ozubulu in Anambra state was set agog as the remains of late Mrs. Maria Adaobi Nwabunike (Iju Wagon) nee Chukwuma, the mother of Honourable Iju Tony Nwabunike, president of Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) was laid to rest.
The burial event which is more of a Carnival and a deep celebration of life well spent started on the evening of Thursday 26th of August 2021 with the arrival of guests from far and near to the “Light of the Nation” state, as service of songs was held for the late Iju Wagon at the late Chief Johnny Nwabunike’s compound (Her late husband)
The requiem mass was held the following day, 27th August at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Ukunu-Eziora, Ozubulu with the Most Reverend Jonas Benson Okoye as the chief celebrant of the mass and Reverend Father Anselm Olua Onyebuchi as a co-celebrant.
While giving his words of appreciation at the end of the mass, Iju Nwabunike paid a glowing tributes to the memory of his mother as he thanked everyone who graced the occasion with their presence.
He however announced the launching of a foundation that will cater for the educational needs of indigent children from primary school to secondary school to fulfill his mother’s wishes and also to honour her memory with the sum of Ten Million naira.
He also specifically asked the great classical music composer, Jude Nnam to render his version of the song ‘Jerusalem’ which got everyone in the church clapping almost endlessly after its rendition.
Various sums of money were pledged by dignitaries at the mass in support of the educational foundation among which is the sum of One Million naira by Chief Henry Njoku.
At the end of the mass, the casket was taken from the church in a two horse drawn carriage that moved to the family compound where the Reverend Father Anselm Onyebuchi said the prayers, blessed the remains of late Mrs. Nwabunike and then the casket was lowered into the grave with a self moving mechanical casket lowering device as family members performed the last rite of throwing sand into the grave while saying prayers to the soul of the dearly departed.
The reception which took place in grand style has the who-is-who in and around Anambra State and beyond in attendance.
In attendance were the former governor Peter Obi, the paramount ruler of Nnewi, Igwe Kenneth Orizu, ACG Kayode of zone C, Nigeria Customs Service as well as notable politicians like Chuma Nzeribe among others.
Also in attendance are notable businessmen and philanthropist Obi Cubbana, , E – Money , professional colleagues of Iju Tony Nwabunike especially most of the high ranking national officers of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents, led by the Association Vice president, Dr. Kayode Collins Farinto.
Written condolences and tributes to the family from private and public sectors of the country, Religious leaders, Traditional rulers, Different political parties, Military General, Governors, Senators, House of Assembly members, Banks, in-laws, families and friends was captured in a 116 pages magazine.
In his tribute to his late mother, Tony wrote “Though brought up in a relatively humble family of Chukwuma from Aboh in Delta State, she worked hard in various forms to train, like becoming an artisan, sold bread, fried akara, firewood vendor, operated local buka restaurant and other ventures in entrepreneurship. My Mom dedicated her life to us, taught us how to be independent and dynamic children at an early stage”.
The condolence message sent in by the deputy governor of Anambra State reads in part ” ..Your matriarch no doubt lived an accomplished life and is survived by worthy children like your good self”.
Senator Orji Uzor Kalu wrote ” Your late mother lived and died being a good wife and a caring mother”.
Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi wrote “….. Certainly, her exit has created a vacuum in Nwabunike’s family. However, we take consolation in the pedigree of her children, especially you (Iju Tony)”.
The late Mrs. Maria Adaobi Nwabunike (Iju Wagon) was born on the 30th of March, 1930 into the family of Chief and Mrs. Micheal Obi Chukwuma of Umuegbuezi Quaters, Ogbe Oduah, Aboh kingdom, Ndokwa East LGA, Delta State.