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Lady Comfort Okorocha: Remembering Our Mother Theresa

Published by Leadership on Fri, 19 Aug 2016

By Ngozi Okorocha.Comfort Okorocha was a woman who captivated people with her kindness. Dubbed Nigerias Mother Theresa by veteran journalist Ejike Omenazu, today marks the third anniversary of her death. Known for her many charitable works, including mentoring of younger women, and for being the indefatigable wife of Gods General, Sir Samuel Nwakanma Okorocha, former chairman of Ahiazu Mbaise local government, Imo State. I am today taking a look at the life and times of this remarkable woman who was my mother Its hard to believe its already three years since Lady Comfort Emerechionu Okorocha died at the age of 79.A devout charity worker and virtuous woman, she was the founder and president of Sir Samuel Nwakanma Okorocha Foundation, a non-governmental organization, that has continued to provide succor especially for widows and the less privileged. As the buzz builds around the formal inauguration of the Samuel and Comfort Okorocha Foundation set up in her memory and that of her late husband, many reminisce of what she meant to them.One thing divine wisdom teaches human beings is how to live and die gracefully. People, therefore, crave for this but however only a few can attain the virtue. Late Lady Comfort Emerechonu Okorocha has continued to live in the hearts of all who encountered her in life.She died on the odor of sanctity, serving God and humanity.The virtues which God imbued in her remained very infectious and affected the society positively. Little surprise that the saints never die due to the footprints they had left behind; hence Comforts successful sojourn on earth has continued to reverberate in the eyes and minds of those she left behind. Lady Comfort offered undiluted service to God and humanity. Like Mother Theresa of Calcutta, this matriarch of the famous Okorocha family in Akabor-Ahiara, Ahiazu-Mbaise, Imo State, indeed ran a good race of life. Her childhood aspiration was to be a nurse, but fate had a higher purpose for her. While waiting to be trained, she got married to Sir Okorocha, who had just resigned then as a teacher and relocated to Jos, in the present Plateau State, where his exploits as a businessman and politician started. She had to be trained in catering and cake-making which launched her into entrepreneurship. She was remarkably dexterous and intelligent, garnered as many skills as possible. She could sew and design clothes, knit sweaters, and accessories, make soap, and confectionaries. She made hundreds of wedding cakes in her lifetime.The famous saying that behind every successful man, there is a woman, finds full expression in the marriage and family life of the Okorochas. Lady Okorocha was a strong pillar of support for her husband, Late Sir Samuel Nwakanma Okorocha. Lady Comfort was inducted alongside her husband as Elders in Saint Paul Anglican Church Jos, Hall of Fame; due to their exemplary Christian lives and sterling contributions to the building of the church.Soon after the civil war, she and her husband, like almost all Igbo families, had to face severe economic and social downturns, having lost most of their material acquisitions. She was undaunted. While urging her husband not to give up hope, she worked tirelessly with her skills to support the family, praying the dry bones to come back to life. And indeed, they did. As soul mates, they re-launched together, setting up the New Life Bakery, arguably the best bakery in Mbaise.Both were dogged fighters for the cause of the oppressed and those whom justice and fair hearing were denied. There was a particular case of the poor widow and her only son whose family relatives snatched their plot of land and took them to court. They had no one to defend them, but Lady Comfort and Sir Samuel Okorocha took up their case, went as far as contacting the then Imo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Late Justice Ubochi Osuji. In the end, the widow and her son had cause to smile again. Their land was restored to them. Similar cases like this abound.When in 1985 her husband became one of the 12 knighted by the old Owerri Diocese in a pioneering ceremony that was to mark the beginning of knighthood in the Anglican Church in Nigerian, she automatically became a Lady. That honour, to her was a call to higher service.Her faith in Jesus Christ was action-oriented. When she taught her children and those around her love, she exemplified it. She taught them never to see anyone as their enemy. To her, giving was a passion. She gave to the cause of the Gospel, cared for the poor, provided succor to the sick and needy.A prayerful woman, Lady Comfort even prayed while asleep. Those close to her said to sleep in her room was like an encounter with a praying machine. She must wake up to pray at midnight and 3 a.m. before joining the general family prayer at 6 a.m. She fasted every Wednesday of the week and her noon prayer was like a tradition. She loved to fellowship with other believers. The Bible was her companion. When she could no longer read because of her failing health, she demanded that Gods word be read to her every morning. Psalm 91 was her favourite chapter.Lady Comfort spoke Hausa, Igbo, and several other Nigerian languages, even as she loved singing and dancing, especially to Christian music.The late matriarch was the greatest Cheer Leader of the Leadership Excellence Talk show, even as she was the Matron of Media Action Coalition, a group of journalists and public speakers sold out to support credible initiatives aimed at the enthronement of righteousness in governance.True to her name, she comforted people in distress. She was indeed the Mother Theresa of her time, especially in Mbaise area of Imo State, and in Lagos where she partnered with her daughter in caring for the needy through the Grace Worldwide Foundation.It was in Lagos that she made the final journey of her life. She was a goldfish with no hiding place. She pitched her tent with the Saint Andrews Anglican Church, Apapa GRA, where she also emerged as a reputed elder. Her zeal and passion in the things of God were legendary; she loved to worship God and encouraged others. No wonder she became the Matron of the Choir, a Sunday School contributor, a delegate of the Mothers Union. She loved the Church as much as she loved God, to the point that once when she took ill and was rushed back home during a church service, she refused to eat until the Archdeacon of the Church, Venerable Mike Gbadebo, came to her house and received her offering.Her numerous missionary and church activities, devotions and involvement were such that engaged her throughout her lifetime even at the hour of deathTo her, it was all about service to God and humanity.Ngozi Okorocha, wrote in from France
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