Profile of Mrs. Bessie Ikpeazu (May 7, 1928 â€“ November 29, 2015)
Mrs. Bessie Ikpeazu (Nee Nwagwu) was born on May 7th 1928 to Mr. Nwagwu Anaba and Mrs. Mabel Nwagwu of Umuafor village in Obingwa L.G.A of Abia State. Mamaâ€™s father died in 1944 when she was 16 years old and her mother decided, against the wish of her in-laws to send her to school instead of getting married. As a result of this disagreement, Mama and her mother went to live in her maternal home Ukpakiri, also in Obingwa L.G.A in order for her to go to school. In 1945 at the age of 17 years, she started primary school. She obtained her primary education from Adventist primary school Aba; she attended School of Nursing, Adventist Hospital Ile Ife and graduated in 1959. In 1975, she went back to further her education at School of Midwifery, Methodist hospital, Amachara Umuahia. She married to late Mr. Ishmael Uleanya Ikpeazu in December, 1961 and this union was blessed with three children; Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu ( The Governor of Abia State Nigeria), Mrs. Edith Ocheze Ugboaja and Barrister Iheanyichukwu Ugonna Ikpeazu.
As a Registered Nurse, Mrs. Ikpeazu worked at Ahoada county hospital, Ahoada Rivers State, Okpuala Ngwa General Hospital(Matron,) and Nigerian Christian hospital Onitcha Ngwa where she served as the matron until she retired in 1994. During this period, she also served as the Nursing supervisor for the Motherless Babies Home, Adventist Hospital Aba.
As an entrepreneur, she was the owner and CEO of Ulari Maternity Home/Clinic Umuobiakwa, a clinic where she saved many lives, and delivered thousands of babies for little or no charge.
Mama was a peace maker, she was kind, loving, honest, straightforward, transparentand God fearing woman; she loved her God and her fellow humans and lived peacefully with everyone. Through her warm loving kindness, she touched many lives both within the family, the church, work place and in the community. Through her kind generosity many orphans, widows, widowers and less privileged adults and children found a home in her home. These many acts of kindness gave her the name â€œNne Ohaâ€ as her love for people had no boundaries. Every time wecame home and saw another stranger at home and asked mama who that was, her response was always the same, â€œ You know that I have many children and they are scattered all over the world, I donâ€™t know them all, but whenever God brings them into my life, I have to be mother to them.â€ She was a devout Christian woman, a prayer warrior, a Deaconess in the church and alsoserved as Womenâ€™s Ministry leader for her local church for many years. In Umuobiakwa village, she was a model wife and a role model to other women in the village. With the help of a few other women, she formed thepopular â€œWe-Weâ€ meeting for women married into the village. This meeting serves a melting pot and an avenue for acclimatization for many women married into the village.
Her hobbies in her younger years includedreading, knitting, sewing and agriculture. During her middle age and later years, she continued to read but dedicated her life more to the service of God, prayer ministry andhumanitarian work. Nothing gave her joy than putting smiles on the faces of hurting individuals. When her health started failing about 22 years ago and the doctors told her that she did not have much longer to live, she gave away most her possessions to the poor. When we questioned her about her action, she stated that she did it because she knew that we might not remember to give things to this group of people when she is no more. One can say that at this time she began to prepare her life for the journey for eternal life just as Jesus demanded from the rich young ruler.
As our mother, mama loved and nurtured her three children and a host of other children with such love that is indescribable. Her gentle touch was a soothing balm, her beautiful smile was calming, and hertemperament was peaceful. Nothing provoked her to anger and she saw greatpotential in everyone. She raised us with the fear of the Lord and taught us love and forgiveness. When things seemed to be going in the wrong direction, she will always say â€œCalm down, forgive and let it go, It is better to be a peacemaker than a renowned warriorâ€. Mama taught us hard work, honesty, dedication and perseverance. She was indeed a Proverbs 31 woman, a virtuous woman and we, her children arose daily and called her blessed. We are thankful to God for giving us an angel as a mother, grandmother and mother in law. We will miss her love and her presence but we shall remain eternally grateful to God for the life He gave to her, and in mamaâ€™s own words, â€œThe Lord is our strengthâ€
In death, Mama remained strong in her faith and never wavered, she reaffirmed her love for the Lord repeatedly saying, â€œMy God is good, the Lord is my strength, I love Jesus and Jesus loves me.â€ She reaffirmed her love to all her children, grandchildren and in laws and made sure she told us that she loved us. Finally she asked about United African Church and asked if we are steadfast in prayer, and her final message was that I should tell members of this church that she loves you all.
Mama we love you too and may your gentle soul rest in peace!
Okezie Victor Ikpeazu Ph.D (Governor, Abia State)
Mrs. Edith Ocheze Ugboaja (Family Nurse Practitioner) U.S.A.
Barrister Iheanyichukwu Ugonna Ikpeazu (Attorney)
Somtochukwu Crown Ikpeazu
Daughters in law:
Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu (Abia State First Lady)
Mrs. Ucheoma Ikpeazu
Son In law:
Mr. Nnamdi Ugboaja