By Emma Onumah
The family of late Eze Sir Emmanuel Emenyonu Njemanze, the Ozuruigbo V of Owerri, has been challenged not to mourn like those who have no hope, but to take consolation in the fact that Jesus died and rose again, and so it shall be for those who have fallen asleep in Him.
The Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt, Rev. Cyril C. Okorocha Ph.D, who gave this advice while delivering a brief homily at the Service of Songs, Tributes, and Testimonies, in honour of the departed monarch at the Cathedral Church of the Transfiguration of Our Lord (CATOL) Owerri last Tuesday, counseled ‘the Njemanze family members, along with other Christians, to live in such a way that, when it becomes their turn to die, they would have the hope to be with God in paradise, emphasizing the need for one to have genuine repentance before one’s death.
Bishop Okorocha noted that, in view of the deepening economic down turn, and increasing hardship, prevalent in the country today, it has become necessary that everyone should work in order to be able to find something to eat.
He advised that, in situations such as this, frugal spending was necessary.
In his tribute, the President of the Owerri Council of Knights of St. Christopher, Sir Gab Oduah, described Sir Emmanuel Njemanze as a noble Knight of the Order, and an experienced Pharmacist who, not only attained the pinnacle of his profession while in the Civil Service, but also used his Ezeship position to popularize the Oru Owerri festival.
Presenting a tribute, on behalf of the Traditional Rulers in Owerri Zone, Eze Emmanuel Okoro, noted that the departed monarch made his marks while alive, and also attracted uncommon respect among the Traditional Rulers. He prayed God to have mercy on him and also console his family.
The Chairman of the Interim Management Committee of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri Prof. Ndu Eke in a tribute on behalf of the Cebtre, described His Royal Majesty, Eze Njemanze, as one of the greatest Traditional Rulers that Nigeria has ever had, adding that the King was a pillar of support to the FMC Owerri since the IMC’s inception.
In their own tribute, the Old Boys Association of the Government Secondary School Owerri, which spoke through Professor 1C Nwaigwe, described Eze Njemanze, a senior old boy, as a man of many parts and who, he said, excelled in all facets of life, saying that he was an all-rounder, regular in attendance at President’s Nights, and helped to make the association functional. He was an Orator and Encyclopedia to the Association, he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Opara family, from Mbaise, the home place of the monarch’s wife, Ugoeze Paulina Njemanze, Mrs. Rose Opara, who narrated how the relationship between the fallen Eze and the wife started, described the monarch as one who possessed an enviable charisma, good smiles, and very accommodating but resolute in his life time.
In her tribute, on behalf of the nuclear family of the late King, one of the children, Princess Ngozi Njemanze, who fought seriously to hold back her tears, declared that their father was everything that a father should be to his children, a great historian and English master to the family, and one who loved every member of the Njemanze Dynasty unconditionally, adding that, even though it is said that a child ought to bury his or her father, but sorrowfully remarked that they were not ready for such now.
In his own remarks, Chief Dr. E.C. Iwuanyanwu, Ahaejiagamba Ndi Igbo, who happened to be the Chairman of the Eze Njemanze’s Burial Committee, noted that, to take up such a responsibility for a friend of so many years was a great but painful nostalgia to him.
He described the fallen monarch as peaceful, and a gentleman who always sat with him on the same bench in the CATOL during church service, for many years and commended the son, for being a very good young man.
Chief Iwuanyanwu also used the opportunity, to express profound gratitude to His Lordship, Rt, Rev. C.C. Okorocha for condescending to come to his house, to find out how they were getting on with the burial arrangements, instead of asking him (Chief Iwuanyanwu) to come to his (the Bishop’s) house for the briefing, pointing out that, he was humbled by such an undue honour the Bishop gave to him,
The special service was attended by Traditional Rulers, Old Boys of Government Secondary School Owerri, Knights and Ladies of St. Christopher, Owerri Council in their great number, members of Njemanze Dynasty, friends and well-wishers of the Njemanze family, as well as numerous sympathizers from here and there,