The Sunsets for Charles Iyizoba

23 01 2022

There are two types of people in our lives: those who bring happiness when they come and those who bring happiness when they go away from us.” May we remain the former! We need to give more and take less. We need to share more and own less. We need to realize the importance of our fellow man as the backbone of stability. We need to look more to realize that we are not different from one another. We need to create a world where we can all peacefully live the life we choose and trust each other, to the greater Glory of God

—Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.251).

Brief Biography of Barrister Charles Iyizoba

Early years

Charles Chukwuka Iyizoba was born at 11 a.m. on November 11, 1945, in Enugu. He was the third of Chief and Mrs. Richard Onuora Molokwu Iyizoba’s nine children. Two weeks later, he was christened at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Coal Camp, Enugu. He went to St. Anna’s Primary School in Ahiaeke from 1958 to 1959, and the College of the Immaculate Conception (C.I.C) in Enugu from 1960 to 1964. His favorite subject was English literature, and he received high marks throughout his elementary school years, endearing him to many of his teachers as well as the school principal.

Enugu Campus/Biafran war

After clearing the West African School Certificate exams with flying colors, he began studying law at the University of Nigeria Enugu campus in 1965. However, his law studies were cut short by the outbreak of the Nigerian–Biafra conflict in 1966. He was willing to put his life on the line to help others. For example, during a disturbance that resulted in the massacre of non-Igbo students on the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Charles offered to shelter certain Yoruba students by hiding them in his room. When a machete-wielding mob surrounded his room, shouting for their blood, Charles refused to bulge and instead barred the door with his body, telling them they had to kill him first before killing them. When he accused the blood-thirsty mob of being no better than the brutal killers of Igbos in the North, they backed down and dispersed, even feeling ashamed of themselves.

New York (1971)

Charles, heartbroken by the destruction of Eastern Nigeria, departed the country on March 8, 1971, to seek a degree in political science at Newark State College in New York. His intellectual prowess was acknowledged, and he quickly made friends with lecturers and students alike, as was his natural ability to make friends. He transferred to Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in September 1971 to study political science. His charity and care for his classmate were on display once more. He, Willie, and Eddie assisted numerous freshly arrived African students by housing them in their flat for months while assisting them in finding jobs. Because students from several African countries such as Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and Senegal were living there, their apartment was often referred to as the Organization of African Union (OAU). Charles was an “A” student at Rutgers, making the 1972 edition of “Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.” After completing his degree program, he was awarded a scholarship to The University of Columbia in September 1973, where he graduated with a Master’s degree before returning to Nigeria in 1975 to take up a position with the Ministry of External Affairs under the Federal Civil Service Commission in Lagos.

Ministry of External Affairs (1975)

Although it is often assumed that battling corruption in Nigeria is perilous and that eradicating corruption in government service is a pipe dream, Charles was determined to give it a shot. During his tenure at the Ministry of External Affairs, his honesty and integrity were obvious to all, and he would not engage in unethical behavior, such as producing fake receipts to embezzle unspent funds; instead, he would attach the receipts, air ticket stubs, and return the unspent money to the treasury. When in charge of an official visit with his colleagues, he always ensures that others get the best hotel rooms first and he comes in last, so he is frequently left without a place to sleep and has to sleep on sofas and couches. He followed due process in the Ministry’s staff employment selection, basing his decision on the candidate’s merits regardless of ethnicity, and refused to hire based on ethnicity. Charles believed that his soul’s integrity was in jeopardy if he violated his conscience and succumbed to the injustices of nepotism and dominance perpetuated in the Ministry, and he was willing to pay the price of falling out of favor with very powerful interest groups.

Expectedly, his principles of honesty and transparency enraged some less scrupulous individuals who were determined to give Charles a hard time; however, he took it in stride, never holding grudges and striving to forgive and help those individuals to rise to higher standards and remind them that the main reason why they should be ethical was that even if they were not accountable to anyone on the planet, they would still have to give an account to God. He saw people behind institutions and organizations, and as a result, he was not hesitant to go the extra mile to assist a friend, sibling, or colleague who was suffering from injustice. On the other hand, he was not hesitant to challenge those in positions of power in government to live up to a higher standard of their calling and execute their duty for the general good.

“We are atomized and it is now everybody to himself. We have crawled into a cocoon, unconcerned about the well-being of others. We have swallowed the evil fruit of materialism, ready to kill even our children for money. We have placed materialism as our new god. We can no longer tell the truth to power. We are afraid of the truth. We are afraid for our lives. We can no longer stand up for principles

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.207).

Nigerian Embassy in Washington (1977)

Around the middle of August 1977, he was assigned to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington as the secretary of education, where he was tasked with caring for thousands of Nigerian students visiting the United States. He was a firm believer in the notion that a leader must also be a servant. As a result, he spent countless hours assisting numerous Nigerian students who were in some sort of problem, while never asking for anything in return. For example, a Nigerian student was arrested by police when an inebriated female accused him of rape. When the Nigerian Embassy became aware of the situation, Charles intervened and requested that the accuser be produced by the police. When she was brought to the station, she admitted that the claim was made in jest and the police had no choice but to release the afflicted student. Furthermore, Charles was detribalized and would assist students regardless of where they came from in the country. For example, there was a case of a doctorate student from Borno state who was attacked by some people back home who were jealous that he was about to receive a Ph.D. and hence withheld his scholarship monies. Charles resolved to assist the pupil and sent letters telling the governor of Borno state of the problem and paid the student all his scholarship money. The student was pleased and sincerely appreciative that an Igbo man from the south would risk his life for him even as his fellow northerners tormented him. Charles reminded him that if it came down to justice, he would risk his life for everyone, regardless of clan or faith. The student was eternally thankful because he was able to complete his Ph.D.

In another case, the US Department of Immigration detained a Yoruba student from the University of Maryland who was working part-time to fund his tuition. The issue was that he dropped out of school to earn money to finish his education, but he had no work permit, only a student visa, and because he was no longer a student, he was detained for deportation. A number of his classmates protested at the Nigerian Embassy, and Charles raised the issue with the US director of immigration, urging him to bring back the car carrying the youngster to the airport and cancel the deportation and he did. Furthermore, he made it possible for students who completed their Bachelor’s degree in a record-breaking two years instead of four, to use the remaining time for their Master’s degree while still on the same scholarship, saving the country time and money and easing the burden on students who would otherwise have to return to Nigeria and apply for another scholarship, which might be unsuccessful.

Internal Liaison Unit (1980)

Charles was recalled to Nigeria late in January 1980, to the Internal Liaison Unit, Protocol Department, where he worked as a protocol officer in charge of managing state visits by foreign leaders, arranging state dinners for visiting Heads of State, selecting appropriate gifts for the visiting leaders, correspondences with foreign embassies on protocol issues, and issues about diplomat accreditation and their welfare in Nigeria. His responsibilities included raising the Guard of Honor and screening those requesting an audience with our President. He brought professionalism to the job and worked tirelessly to earn the respect of foreign leaders. When he was in charge of organizing the visits to Nigeria of prominent African heads of state such as President Arap Moi of Kenya, Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, Joo Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo of Brazil, and, most importantly, Pope John Paul II in 1982, he was able to save Nigeria from some embarrassing situations.

Visit of Pope John Paul II (1982)

It was an honor and a pleasure for Charles to be in charge of planning and coordinating the celebrations when Pope St. John Paul II visited Nigeria in 1982. In his memoir, he recalls some of the unforgettable anecdotes:

On the day the Pope was to meet with other Christian religious leaders at the State House, Marina, which had a large garden. One of the first to arrive was the head of the Methodist Church. I shook his hand and jokingly said, “Your Eminence, what are you doing here? This is the Catholic Pope.” He burst into laughter and said, “No, no, he is the head of all Christians.” I too burst into laughter

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.180).

Charles was able to guarantee that anyone who comes into proximity to the Pope dressed and behaved appropriately. For example, when he spotted that one of the NTA’s senior female anchors was inappropriately dressed since she was wearing shorts and a “see-through” blouse, he pulled her aside and questioned her why she was so barely dressed, knowing who was coming. When she gave an unsatisfactory response, Charles summoned the security guards and requested that she be removed from the Presidential area, where she would have no interaction with the Pope. He also protected the Pope from intruding politicians who wanted to colonize the Pope’s time and space, preventing him from effectively meeting with others. He also prevented them from crowding the Pope’s helicopter during hectic schedules, allowing Pope John Paul to have a few precious words with his Bishops and Cardinals during flights. Overall, Charles protected the Pope from the deplorable press and political abuse, and I am sure Pope John Paul II was thankful.

University of Buckingham (1984)

The military regime of Buhari, which replaced the democratic government in 1984, ushered in a slew of retirements, including Charles’. Following that, he planned to return to the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus to finish the legal studies he had abandoned in 1971 but was convinced and funded by his friend, Bertrand Ude, to attend the University of Buckingham instead. As a result, in March 1985, he enrolled in an accelerated legal degree program at the University of Buckingham and graduated in 1987, returning to Lagos to attend the Law School in September 1987. In 1988, he was admitted to the bar. Additionally, he met and married Florence in 1992, and their first child, Onyinye, was born on November 16, 1992.

Nigerian Ports Authority (1994)

Charles was appointed Liaison Officer to the Nigerian Ports Authority by the Minister of Transport, Ebenezer Babatope, in January 1994, and was promoted to General Manager, Marketing within a few weeks. He set out to modernize the NPA marketing department, which he found to be dormant and lacking in the most basic of amenities such as computers. He approved the purchase of computers for many departments, particularly the Department of Computers, Statistics, and Planning, and hence the department was able to issue its first timely end-of-year report since its existence. The increased ease of doing business was one of the most distinguishing elements of his era. Businessmen who previously had to bribe their way through the Ports bureaucracy to get their goods approved began to receive express services and their import paperwork signed without having to pay large bribes. His subordinates adored him because he would pay them visits and get down to their level. He had an open-door policy, meaning that anyone could come to him with a problem, and he helped a lot of people. Furthermore, he would not hesitate to take up an issue hurting little people with the Managing Director of the Port Authority, encouraging him to approve what these junior staff wanted. He was the voice of those who had no voice. People accused him of not knowing how to do “big guy”; he didn’t know how to toss people around. Rather, he treated everyone fairly, regardless of their social standing. He wrote in his book, Life is for Others:

There is always the fallacy among our top men that you have to keep your distance from your subordinates who have to live in fear of the “Oga.” The fallacy here is the saying that, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” I have discovered that it does not work that way. Once a leader brings himself to the level of his co-workers, shows them the way and treats them with concern, shows interest in their well-being, they will give him so much loyalty that he can repose his confidence in them

 Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.234).

As if to round out the picture of who he is, he tells us an anecdote about how he interacted with his driver when working in the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs:

I remember when I was in State House Protocol; a driver was assigned to me to take me to Ilorin on an official trip. The man had no notice that he would travel that day and as we set off, he asked for permission to enter Bariga where he lived so he could tell his wife and take a change of clothes. I agreed. When we got to this slum area, the man apologized and asked me to wait in the car while he rushed in to pack his things. I refused and said that there was no way I could come to his street and not enter his abode and see his wife and the family. I told him that he must try to eat something in his house before we set off on the long journey. We got in and the wife was bathing her newborn baby. I greeted her and my man went in to pack and asked his wife to prepare some garri for him. I held the baby whilst she was on this chore. When she brought the food, my man asked me to join him, that the wife made enough for two of us. I declined, but the wife insisted, so I joined in the meal. Before we drove off, I donated to the new baby as is customary. On the way, my driver told me, “Oga, for somebody like you I go do anything. I thanked him for the sentiment. I had shared a meal in his one-room apartment without doing “big man”

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.235).

Furthermore, while working for the Nigerian Ports Authority, he could have fallen to corruption to become wealthy. On the contrary, he fought against it, knowing that when good people fail, evil grows stronger; thus, he fought corruption, embezzlement, and graft like a gladiator, armed only with prayer, faith in the sacredness of living truthfully, and a desire to save his soul when he must stand before God’s judgment. In his book “Life is for others,” he describes a conversation he had with someone who came to inform him that he could make a lot of money by extorting money for attaching his signature as a General Manager:

I laughed aloud as was my custom. I assured him that I knew that each time I signed on a paper for a shipping company it was worth one million naira. But that was not what I was sent to do on the job. My reading of my job was to give all possible assistance to businesses so that their businesses would expand, would hire more people, and create more jobs, which would lead to the expansion of the economy. I did not believe in the extortion that I knew was going on. My father did not bring me up that way. That was not the reason he gave his children a good education. He would turn in his grave if he knew his son was now a bribe-taker. It would mean that all the education I had was for nothing. The man could not utter a word. He just shook his head and left

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.241).

Charles fought against the hydra-headed creatures of corruption, knowing that unless it died, things would continue to deteriorate and ordinary Nigerians would die in misery. He fought and lost at times. Though not everyone agrees with his methods, no one can deny the honesty and truth contained in his words. There is no doubt that Charles suffered as a result of his upright way, constantly resisting the dictates of an oppressive and unjust system, and that it would have been easier for him to just give in, be concerned only with his own pockets, and gradually lose his soul in the myriad of corruption and become just another thoroughly corrupt civil servant, but he believed that despite the odds, the fight to right this country must begin with someone, and he was that someone. Indeed, anyone seeking to live a moral life must seek strength from God. As a result, Charles was a God-fearing man, a regular practicing Catholic who attends Mass daily, because the eternal salvation of his soul was more important to him than any human success. He writes in his memoir that he even asked God to remove him from NPA if the brazen corruption going on there would cost him his soul:

Early in December 1995, I came into my office, locked the door, and prayed to God in this way, “Almighty Father, you have seen how they throw money around in this place. If you know that I would lose my soul if I continue here, please Lord, take me away and find another place for me.

Charles Iyizoba, “Life is for others” (p.254).

Retirement and Death

As a result, Charles retired from the Nigerian Ports Authority in 1995 and was delighted with the birth of his second daughter, Ekanma, in July 1995. Since his retirement, he has been able to rely on the goodwill of friends and family. He also served on the boards of the AIT television network and Thisday Newspaper in various capacities. Despite his health issues, he has devoted a significant portion of his time to raising his two girls. He moved his family from Lagos to Abuja, where he died on December 18, 2021, after a lengthy and severe illness. Some may argue that Charles failed in his mission because he died before his dreams could be realized. Everyone, however, fails because everyone dies. The important thing is to live in such a way that when death comes, the eternal reward of living forever with God in heaven, which He promised those who strove against great odds to keep his commandment in this life, is not a pipe dream but a reality, and this was how Charles lived and died, and may the good Lord whom he served grant him the reward of eternal salvation according to His promises through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Photo Reel

With his daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma
With his wife, Florence and his daughter, Onyinye
With his daughter, Ekamma
With, his brother in-law, Gabe and friends
With Carmella Ezekwe, Chike Ezekwe and friends
With Ik Onyiuke and Chief Robert Clarke
With Kaechi Ezekwe Ogbuagu
With Frank Alamah (sitting behind)
With Ijeoma and her husband
With Gabe, Liz, Florence and Ekamma and Emeka
With Odera and Ekamma
With Willy, Chiedu and friends
With family ( L-R Florence, Balum, Liz, Agozie)
With Brother Eddie and sister, Liz

Tributes

TRIBUTE TO MY TEACHER, MENTOR, AND HUSBAND

Dear Charlie, to me, you were a teacher, a mentor, and a husband. You were the best father to our two wonderful daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma. I learned a lot from you in these past 29 years we were together. You were the best uncle to your nephews and nieces and the best brother to your siblings and cousins. I am your nwayi calabar as you would often affectionately tease me. You were a very neat and meticulous person, and your life philosophy is best described as “out of this world.” You were sincere, upright, peaceful, principled, and kind and you treated everyone you met, young and old, with dignity. You were very religious (he was praying in his sickbed before he finally lost his voice on Thursday, December 16th), and it still feels like a dream that you are no longer with us. It hasn’t been easy for me or the kids, but we can’t question GOD, the giver, and taker of life. We miss you and know you’re in a better place where there’s no more suffering and pain, watching over “onyinye-again” and “fatso,” as you affectionately referred to them. Continue to rest in the LORD’s bosom until we meet to part no more.

Your wife
FLORENCE

A TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER

I was watching Sean Connery in Goldfinger order a vodka martini “shaken not stirred” when it occurred to me that I would never watch any 007 movies, or any movie for that matter, with my Daddy again. I have so many wonderful memories of my Daddy, but my favorites are of us watching late-night movies together. Nobody knows how many times Daddy watched The Incredibles with a cigarette and a glass of whiskey in his hand.

Daddy loved all the classics: 007, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and even Disney classics like The Jungle Book. Thank you so much, Daddy, for all of the wonderful movie memories… I can’t wait to share them with any future children I may have.

I love you, Daddy. May the force be with you.

Your daughter
ONYINYE

TRIBUTE TO THE BEST DADDY IN THE WORLD

When I think of you, my Daddy, the first thing that comes to mind is your great knowledge of many things and your love of books, which you have transmitted to me. You loved music; especially the Beatles and I remember us singing along to the Beatles as you drove in the car. Indeed, I recall that when I was six, every Friday night was movie night for us, Daddy! And we would watch classics like Jaws and James Bond, and you would try to explain their complicated plots and storylines to my six-year-old mind. Daddy, you made me love and appreciate different genres of music. We would often sit side by side, talking and exchanging views on different genres of music. All I can say is that my sister and I are extremely grateful to have you as our Daddy.  You were not the typical Daddy, boring and full of “do’s” and “don’ts,” rather you were a cool Daddy, so non-judgmental, so loving, so caring. You were much more than a Daddy to me, you were my friend, and I will miss you greatly.

I don’t know where I’d be without you, Daddy.

Your daughter
EKAMMA

ADIEU IS A HARD WORD TO SAY TO YOU, CHARLIE!

We miss you. You were an embodiment of love, patience, kindness, and intelligence all wrapped up in non-apologetic contentment. You would trade everything for peace in your life. You loved all and always looked out for every family member especially your nieces and nephews. Their Christmas joy will never be complete without their Big Uncle Charlie. Justice for all was your key principle. You fished out the needy for your voluntary assistance. Anyone meeting you at your quiet moment would be greeted with a wide smile and gentle invitation to shots of Whiskey and sticks of cigarettes over which you shared your deep thoughts about life and its uncertainties. Charlie, in your journey through life, you touched many lives such that your death has left a void in the family that none can fill. However, we are consoled by your long-standing relationship with Jesus and Mary, his mother. We love you Charlie, but they love you more. Stay happy with them till we meet to part no more Adieus!


Your brother and his wife
JOHNNY AND ELIZA

TRIBUTE TO MY IMMEDIATE JUNIOR BROTHER CHARLIE, THE STAR OF THE FAMILY

When we were growing up, Charlie was the star of the family. He caused no problems for our father. Papa was overjoyed with him because he aced all of his exams and was an obedient son who never did anything to deserve a beating from papa; less than what could be said for some of us who barely passed our exams and frequently did things that earned us deserved beatings from papa. He continued on his path of honor throughout his life, doing everything as and when it was due, and lived a full life by making the most of what God gave him. He had devoted friends who believed in him and were always available to him. I want to use this opportunity to place on record with gratitude the immense love showered on Charles by the family especially the younger Iyizoba generation. I thank you all and I pray that your children would do more for you!
May the soul of my brother Charles and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God Rest in Peace Amen!

Your brother
CHIEF OSSY IYIZOBA
Onyimonyi Onyibalu
Ajie Nimo
Ebubedike Enugwu-Ukwu
Onyima

IT IS DIFFICULT TO PUT INTO WORDS!

Please bear with me as I try to put into words how much I loved and respected my brother Charlie. Those of us who knew Charlie must believe that angels do exist among us on Earth. Charlie was a true angel who was unconcerned about material things. He was one of a kind, generous to a fault, and fiercely protective and caring for all who were fortunate enough to know him.
I recall a close friend of ours getting engaged to a lady from a low-income family. The majority of people were opposed to the union. Charlie drew everyone’s attention with his usual calm demeanor and asked, “What’s wrong with you guys, don’t you realize that this union will lift a lot of people out of poverty that houses will be built, that school fees will be paid?” That was Charlie at his best, always looking out for others. Life is for Others, his memoir, encapsulated his personality and worldview.
In the 1980s, he was the Education Counselor at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC, where he housed and fed a large number of Nigerian students. He did this out of the goodness of his heart, expecting nothing in return. His home was always open to those in need. Charlie was a voracious reader and student. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University, a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University, and a law degree from The University of Buckingham. Despite his accomplishments, he remained humble and true to his beliefs.

It was the last thing I wanted or expected to hear from Charlie’s wife, Florence that he had left us. To say I went insane would be an understatement. My wife Donnie (Donelda, as Charlie always called her) was completely taken aback. Charlie and my wife had a special bond since the first time they met. I knew she’d have a difficult time dealing with this devastating news, just like I did. We lived with Charlie when we moved to Lagos in 1984, and we had a great time with him and his many friends. He was always concerned with our comfort and well-being.I can’t say I’m alone in my grief because I’m not. I am in mourning with all of my siblings, as well as other family members and friends. My sorrow over my brother’s death extends to his two lovely daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma, but I take comfort in knowing that I will always see him in them. They are aware that I will always be available to them.
Rest In Perfect Peace my brother, Charlie until we meet again.

Your Brother
WILLIE

I HAD NEVER KNOWN WHAT IT FELT LIKE TO LOSE A BROTHER!

I’d never known what it was like to lose a brother before. A brother with a personality like Charlie, who took up so much space in my life as we grew up and into adulthood. My brother Charlie, I remember how, when I lived with you in Washington, you would take care of all my needs, including washing and ironing my clothes. When I went out with friends, you would give me your credit card as insurance in case I ran out of money.
Now I know what it’s like to have a gaping hole that nothing can quite fill – memories that I now hold even tighter. I’m waiting to hear your voice above the din of our Iyizoba shouting matches, which, to the untrained ear, may appear to be a fight but are usually just casual conversations. Goodbye, my dear brother. We will miss you terribly. God is the ultimate authority.
Rest peacefully in the Lord whom you served so well!

Your brother
CHIEDU

CHARLIE, THE ENIGMA!

It’s difficult to write about someone you’ve known your entire life; where do I begin, where do I end? Charlie, you had always been the family intellectual, avid reader, and philosopher. Understanding issues and putting things in their proper context was your strong suit, thanks to your analytical mind… You would have done a much better job on this. Charlie, you were a kind and caring person. You interacted with people of all ages and gained great, loyal, and trusted friends who stood by you through thick and thin. The younger generation will never forget how you used the ‘carrot and stick approach to teach them life lessons. You were the historian, always entertaining everyone with stories from the past. You would always find ways to entertain all of the children in the family during the holidays, taking them around town and looking for interesting masquerades, making the holidays memorable.


You were my doting big brother, arranging and sponsoring my first trip to the United States in the 1970s. Since you moved to Abuja, our bond has grown stronger. I realized who you truly were, and I appreciate you even more as a result. I tried to imitate your reading habits, but I sometimes gave up and asked you to read and explain to me later. You were a selfless man who was always concerned with the well-being of others. Even when you didn’t have the means, you were always there to help the oppressed. You never discriminated against or attempted to stratify people, which was sometimes embarrassing and uncomfortable for those who do not know you.

You did not scorn minor chores, and when someone younger offered to do them for you, you always responded that they should let you continue because it was your way of doing penance. You were a direct man who always said things as they were no matter whose ox was gored. You were the epitome of a man without guile. You were ready to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice, with no jealousy or bitterness in your heart for their good fortune. Charlie, you were a man of strong faith and your belief and trust in God’s providence were unshakeable. Our mother Mary had a special place in your heart as you constantly said your rosary.

From the onset, you seemed to understand a certain truth about the human experience and never cared for worldly things. Truly a mystery, you were “in the world” but not “of the world.” When you became too ill and had to be admitted to the hospital, I came to see you, and when I asked how you were feeling, you replied in your usual philosophical manner, “I am watching the sunset… I am watching the sun go down.” I wasn’t sure what you meant, so I told you I couldn’t see any sun in your room. You cracked a smile. I’ll never forget the parting handshake you gave me as I left that night, not realizing it was the last time I’d see you.

I believe that this verse of scripture encapsulates your life and that you won’t be denied the reward that awaits you in Heaven. Charlie, My ‘Charlie Parker’, my beloved brother, continue to rest in the Lord, until the resurrection day when we shall meet to part no more. Na n’udo I will surely miss you. A vacuum has been created in my life that only your loving memory can attempt to fill.

Psalm 24 verse 3-6 states:
“Who shall climb the mountain of the lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
Who desires not worthless things,
Who has not sworn to deceive his neighbor. He shall receive blessings from the Lord and reward from the God who saves him.
Such are the men who seek him,
Seek the face of the God of Jacob.”

Psalm 24 verse 3-6

Your sister
YOUR MADAM LIZ

TRIBUTE TO MY BELOVED CHARLIE

Charlie, my brother, was thoughtful. He was a man who lived for the sake of others. Thank you, Charlie, for being so selfless and thoughtful. You’ve taught me a lot about life. You took the time to teach me how to read when I was a child. You always sent me money when I was in high school to make sure I was okay. You were there to make sure I didn’t have any problems on my various trips back from the United States to Nigeria, especially at the Embassy. As a mother of four beautiful children, I appreciate that you took the time to take your nieces and nephews to see the masquerades so that they could have a vivid understanding and appreciation for their Igbo culture. You valued history and ensured that the next generation did as well.
Throughout your life, my beloved Charlie, you were always concerned with doing what was right. To say I will miss you would be an understatement. It’s surreal that you’re no longer here. Your legacy will live on through your loved ones. May your soul rest in peace. With all my love.

Your baby sister
ANN

MY DEAREST UNCLE CHARLIE PARKER!

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been born to parents who each have eight siblings. I am the first grandchild on both sides, followed by my brother Onuora; it was a long time before anyone else arrived, so we were completely spoiled by many aunties and uncles. My aunts and uncles were as important to me as my parents themselves in my early memories. My mother told me that when I was a baby, she would take me to school at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, and leave me in Uncle Charlie’s room while she went to class. Uncle Charlie described me as a “beautiful baby.”

I recall spending my vacation in Washington at Uncle Charlie’s house. There are so many memories, and Uncle Charlie’s death marks the end of an era for me. He was the most educated and well-read person I knew. He was a wealth of information. He was a true gentleman who used to chastise my husband, Nedu, for not keeping good cognac in his house. Indeed, I can’t hear a Beatles’ song without picturing Uncle Charlie.
I am going to miss you.
Look out for us from the other side, dear Uncle.
Much Love.

Your niece
EBELE

MY DEAREST UNCLE CHARLIE!

I know you are happy where you are.
I can visualize you walking into heaven with your classical wide smile.
Amongst your many great qualities, you were the epitome of COMPASSION and SELFLESSNESS.
Thank you.

Your niece
ADAORA

UNCLE CHARLIE WAS A GIFT!

If I told you everything I’ve learned from Uncle Charlie, I’d have to write a book, so I’d just pick one story.
The story is about my first day of school at Unilag in March 1992. I was living in Dolphine Estate with Uncle Charlie. When I awoke that morning, there was money and a “one naira coin” on my bedside table. I was taken aback by the sum of money and impressed that Uncle Charlie didn’t wait for me to ask. But I couldn’t figure out why he’d left a coin until I arrived at the bus station and realized that a trip from where I was to Unilag cost exactly one naira coin. I also discovered that bus drivers rarely have small change that early in the morning, and that it was best to have “one naira coin” with you. Uncle Charlie going to such lengths for me astounded me. But that was who he was.
All five years I would live with him as a student, I never had to ask for money, he would simply leave me money, and when he did not have it, he would ask his friends for me. Uncle Charlie was a gift to anyone who came into contact with him; he freely gave his time, money, and wisdom to anyone in need, but more importantly, he made other people’s problems his own and worked tirelessly to solve them. He believed that if others succeeded, he would succeed as well! Uncle Charlie was a gift to all of us.

Your nephew
Chinwuba

UNCLE CHARLIE PARKER…..IJE OMA!

Uncle Charlie and I had our little greeting custom. “Uncle Charlie Parker!” I would call out whenever we met. “Ify Again,” he’d say, his eyes gleaming and his smile cracking wide. That was our little ritual that endeared him to me, and I know it still goes on, albeit inwardly! Uncle, I can hear your voice! It’s as if you’re right in front of me!
I can feel your joy because you’ve always had such a strong connection to the afterlife. Your serene, dignified, and noble gait and demeanor are ideal for where you are right now!
Uncle, you lived this life with such acute awareness of its brevity! Everyone who knew you agrees on one thing: “He was a good man!!!” In terms of justice, you treated everyone equally, whether they were friends or foes. You were a man of integrity and moral uprightness, and you always prioritize these virtues above all else. You have truly inspired us, and your life demonstrates that a good reputation is more valuable than gold and silver!
Thank you for all of the wonderful stories and history you shared with us from your vast knowledge! We miss you and wish you a bright and joyous journey in the afterlife!
Uncle Charlie Parker…..ije Oma!

Your niece
IFEYINWA

MY DEAR UNCLE CHARLIE, SO YOU HAVE LEFT US……HMMM!

To be honest, you prepared us for this. For as long as I can remember, you’ve been open about death and its impending arrival. At first, I thought, “This uncle is so morbid,” but as I grew older, I realized that you knew from the start that this life was merely transitory. You recognized that we were all just actors on a stage and that when the time came, we would take our bows.

Uncle Charlie was a straightforward man. He never worried about accumulating worldly possessions and was quick to give out everything he had to help others. Uncle never flaunted his generosity in public; he genuinely cared for others and helped people even when he didn’t have much. Uncle remained humble and saw his achievements as a means to help others, regardless of what position he held in society, whether as a manager in the Nigerian Ports Authority or as a Diplomat in the Foreign Service.
Uncle Charlie built and maintained long-lasting relationships. He had so many prominent friends in strategic positions in society, but he didn’t let it get to his head. He was extremely loyal and kept those friendships even after they were no longer in power. Uncle Charlie’s ability to connect with anyone was one of his most endearing qualities. Uncle could strike up a conversation with anyone, regardless of their age or social status.
Uncle was a fantastic storyteller. He was extremely knowledgeable about a wide range of topics, including Nigerian history, Biafra, current events, the Iyizoba/Onyuike family tree, and so on, and we never hesitated to tap into that knowledge whenever the opportunity arose.
Uncle was always laughing, no matter what life threw at him. “Why worry about what you can’t control?” was his life philosophy. Uncle exemplified the admonition in the Bible (Matthew 6:25) that worrying is futile and that the Lord truly provides for all of our needs.
Here are some of the life lessons I learned from Uncle Charlie:

  • That we should focus on our relationship with God and eternity;
  • That family is above all else. Uncle Charlie’s love and dedication to family was worthy of emulation;
  • That wealth and material acquisitions are meaningless
  • That you cannot put a value on loyal friends and strong relationship
  • That top positions in government mean nothing when those around you are suffering
  • That whether you were the gateman or the CEO of a company, you should be treated with dignity and respect.
  • That one should always have a cheerful disposition regardless of what they are going through.

Uncle, I’ve known you my entire life, and even though your physical body is no longer with us, you will always be with us in spirit. Nimo’s family gatherings will never be the same without you. We wish we had written down more of your wise sayings, but, alas, we’ll have to make do with the memories we’ve made so far. We’re all going in the same direction, so please say hello to mummy, mama, and papa for us. We will always love you.

Your niece
IJEOMA OFODILE (NWAMMAJI)

A TRIBUTE TO UNCLE CHARLIE

Dear Uncle Charlie, I had a dream about you the other night. I dreamt you were still with us, but we all knew you were going to die. You were carrying out your annual Christmas tradition of driving us, your children, nieces, and nephews, around to see relatives. We started saying our final goodbyes to you at the last house. I started crying because we knew it was the last time we’d see you. My tears were shed not only for the loss of a loved one but also because I knew that your death meant the loss of something more. A lot of my childhood Christmas memories revolved around you transporting us from one relative to the next. I met other members of the Iyizoba family, the Onyiukes, the Ezekwes, and Agbims, all because of you. We’d go to Abagana to watch the masquerades and while we were there, we would drop by to visit the Seas.

You were the custodian of our oral history and because of you, I know the origin of the “Iyizoba” surname, a name so rare and unusual. No one could tell a story like you could, with that rich gravelly voice and a cigarette in your hand. You told stories with awe-inspiring eloquence. I used to enjoy hearing your Biafran war stories. I believe I can speak for my cousins, siblings, and myself when I say you kept us firmly rooted in our heritage. It breaks my heart to think that my children will never meet you or hear your stories. Finally, it was time for you to return to Papa, Mama, and Auntie Mmaji. The fact that you died on December 17th strikes me as symbolic. Around this time, we’d all congregate in Enugu, and then travel to Nimo, where you’d start taking us around to see relatives. That time of year will always be associated with you in my mind. Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. We will miss you. We love you.

Your niece
NESOCHI

THERE’S NO STORY OF MY LIFE WITHOUT YOUR NAME IN IT, UNCLE CHARLIE!

I thought about a lot of things while I was with you in the final hours, but it never occurred to me that I would never see you again. The events of that night continue to replay in my mind, reminding me that in life, one must cherish every single moment. When we discussed the possibility of you visiting Nimo for Christmas, I didn’t hold out much hope, but you did, albeit not in the way I would have wished, but in the way God permitted.
I’ve never met anyone who didn’t take anything personally, didn’t hold grudges, didn’t demand anything, literally didn’t expect anything from anyone, and utterly and completely relied on God. Uncle, you were and continue to be the most consistent, content, and selfless person I have ever known. Uncle, you were so brave in the last few months, cleverly hiding your pain; how could we have known what you were going through? Even at the very end, you put us all first.
Thank you, Uncle, for the childhood memories and experiences you provided us. Thank you for believing in me and entrusting me with your timeless Ede & Ravenscroft wig and gown, which I proudly wear today.
God Bless you My Uncle Charlie!!!

Your niece
BALUM

THANK YOU FOR TEACHING US HOW TO BE PROUD OF OUR COUNTRY

Spending time with Uncle Charlie taught us to be proud of our country. With his smooth, raspy, velvety, deep baritone voice, he often held us transfixed with stories of his life experiences while deeply analyzing the issue with Nigeria, unafraid to speak his mind, yet we could sense a deep abiding love for his fatherland that infected us. He was aware of its capabilities, especially in light of Nigeria’s vast natural resources. Uncle Charlie, in essence, knew what the nation could be and how we should bring our talents to the land in order to help it reach its full potential.
As a result, we were eagerly planning a trip back to Nigeria soon, to reconnect with our beloved cousins and to hear Uncle Charlie’s stories of Nigeria’s rich history once more, but alas, this was not to be. “When man plans, God laughs,” as the saying goes, and death has taken away our favorite uncle. Nonetheless, Uncle Charlie, thank you for teaching us what it means to be proud of our heritage. Thank you also for reminding us to give back to the community that has given us so much.
May God continue to bless your daughters (our cousins Ekamma and Onyinye) and your wife (our Aunty Florence), and may God’s Light envelope your soul in love, peace, and fulfillment forever. Amen

Ann’s four children
LORRAINE, PATRICK, PAMELA, AND RICHARD

UNCLE CHARLIE, A TRIBUTE

Your time shall come
You will see the end in all its glory
Then you will bleed light
The thread becomes visible
Me to you

You to me to them
The thread connects one end to another
And then another
And then another
Me to you

You to me to them
The infinite weaving of Gods plan
This is not the end.

My dear Uncle Charlie, it appears that your journey on this side of the pond has come to an end, and you have crossed the pond and are now in the evergreen meadows of everlasting rest. Those of us who remain on this side, however, must deal with the void your absence has left.
Many things will be said about the many lives you have influenced, including mine. With each decade that passed, I gained a better understanding of who you were, from the tough disciplinarian of my childhood to the historian/scholar of my early adulthood to the wise sage.
One of my favorite childhood memories of you is when we were walking around egbengwu and you were telling us the history of each family house we passed, stories that no one else had ever told us, and that we may never hear again now that you are gone. I also recall you taking us to watch mmuo every December. These are memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. Because of you, I appreciate our Igbo way of life even more, why it was important for us to reconnect with our ancestors, with our history. I’ll miss your face, which has similarities to my mother’s. I’ll miss your voice: smooth and deep, but a little rough around the edges. Uncle, you taught me the importance of hard work and striving for excellence in any endeavor, whether it was as simple as cleaning my room or as serious as working towards a degree; not for external adulation or reward, but for my own personal fulfillment and satisfaction. I’m grateful for this lesson.
You were a wonderful uncle to me, and I am grateful to God that I was able to accompany you on your life’s journey, even if only for a short time, and how short that time has been. Thank you for being who you are. You will live on in our memories, in our blood, in our decisions, in our breath, and in the stories, we pass down to future generations. Rest in Peace! Je n’Udo

Your nephew
ODERA ADIMORAH

TO UNCLE CHARLIE PARKER


Uncle Charlie Parker. I write this tribute to you with great sorrow and sadness. You were a one-in-a-million uncle; you were humble, kind, loving, caring, and all-around good in heart and soul! I remember you coming to my traditional wedding despite your frail health. Uncle, you were a shining example of humility, your love knew no bounds, and I thank God for the opportunity to know you. You were a great pillar of support when my father was down. I only wish we had more time to continue to appreciate you. May God Almighty keep you in perfect peace until the day of the Resurrection, Amen! My heartfelt farewell, Uncle!

Your niece and her husband
ODERA AND CHINEDU ODUNUKWE

HI UNCLE CHARLIE!

As I write this tribute, it feels completely surreal; the idea of you being gone is foreign to me because you have always been a constant in my life, much like the sun, moon, or seasons, your presence is unwavering. But that isn’t the only thing that remains constant about you. Nothing can shake your belief in what is right because your beliefs and principles are like a rock that ground you. To those on the outside, it may have appeared as “stubbornness,” but to those who know you, it is faith.

Your belief in goodness and truth. I have so many memories of you to share, but the Christmas memories you created for my siblings and cousins will always hold a special place in my heart. I remember being so terrified when we went to watch masquerades at Abagana that I began to pray and speak in tongues in an attempt to disperse them. Even as you laughed, you held my hand tightly, assuring me that nothing could happen to me as long as you were there.
I struggled with writing in the past tense when I began this tribute, but now I realize I don’t have to use the past tense because you are still here with us, in our hearts, minds, and the ways you teach us to live. Uncle Charlie, rest in the boundless love of God. Until our paths cross again.

Your Nephew
KAELO

TRIBUTE TO A BELOVED BROTHER-IN-LAW

Members of Charlie’s family who were with him in hospital in Abuja on the night of his departure saw a man who knew his earthly life was coming to an end. Charlie, who was in pain and unable to speak, seemed to improve and began talking and shaking hands with those gathered around his bed. Although it was late at night and the sky was pitch black, he claimed to have seen the sunset! Charlie was completely prepared to die. Charlie Parker is indeed gone!
The truth is that at this point in our lives, at least for those of us over the age of seventy, we are all on a bus bound for our respective final destinations. When it arrives at each person’s bus stop, he gets off and that’s the end of it! Charlie arrived at his bus stop on December 18, 2021. Many people may not have realized Charlie was ill for a long time. That was because he took his illness in stride and never made a fuss about it, nor did he want anyone else to worry about it; instead, he was quietly preparing himself for death. Indeed, he frequently expressed his desire and readiness to return to his creator. He was well-prepared, and I am confident that he is now where he wants to be and at peace. Charlie would not have wanted anybody to mourn; he would have preferred that we celebrate his life.


Charlie was a calm, intelligent quintessential gentleman of the highest caliber; he was also a lot of fun to be around. He was highly cerebral, capable of debating politics and current events in an analytical and incisive manner. As a result, people enjoyed his company and wanted to spend time with him. I’ve always had a special connection with Charlie. From the moment I was introduced to him, he took a special interest in me and refused to consider any event, such as religion, as a hindrance to his brother OSSY marrying me. Whenever I saw Charles or spoke to him on the phone, I scream at the top of my voice: “CHARLIE PARKER!”
His response: “THE RIGHT HONOURABLE”
It was a ritual! It is now over. The voice is forever silenced! Such a warm personality, a caring husband and father, a beloved brother and uncle, a loving brother-in-law! Charlie, you are in a much better place now – in God’s Hands! All your pains and troubles are over. Florence, Onyinye, and Ekamma will be okay. Rest in Peace, my beloved brother-in-law!

Your sister-in-law
CHINWE

TRIBUTE TO MY BROTHER-IN-LAW, CHARLIE

“Watching the Sun Set.” That was Charlie’s description of his impending death when my wife asked him how he was doing as he lay in the hospital bed on December 16, 2021. When my wife told me, those words, coming from a person of Charlie’s caliber and loaded with meaning, filled me with dread, and I made up my mind to see him the next day at the hospital. When I arrived the next day and saw Charlie, a man who was always vibrant and happy, lying prostrate and helpless on his sickbed, it broke my heart. As we were about to leave the hospital, he extended his hand and shook mine, without saying anything, and his eyes gazed on me, apparently in appreciation for everything we had shared; little did I know he was bidding us a final farewell. When I saw his lifeless body in the morning of the 18th, completely wrapped in cloth, I realized it wasn’t all a dream.

Brother Charlie is gone, never to return; gone with beautiful 60’s tunes constantly blaring in his head, tunes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys, Little Richard, and so on, tunes he loved so much when he was alive, tunes that put smiles on his face whenever we were driving together on the streets of Lagos. He was so taken with these songs that his lovely daughters fell in love with them as well. He knew almost every song by heart, word for word. He was a die-hard Beatles fan. Charlie was a simple man who cared little for the things of this world. He was happiest when he was able to assist others. He was so generous that he would borrow from others just to help the needy, and he couldn’t stand it when he saw a poor man being treated badly. It’s difficult for me to think of Charlie as someone from the past. For those of us in Abuja who spent the last days of his life with him, he will be sorely missed. May his soul rest in the Lord. Amen.

Your brother-in-law
ARC. GABE ADIMORAH

GONE FROM US BUT NEVER WILL BE FORGOTTEN

I am known as Donnie by family and friends. Charlie alone called me Donelda, hence making our relationship unique. Charlie and I met very early in my marriage to his brother Willie, and we formed an instant bond that I cannot explain. For me, it was a bond that was unaffected by time or distance. I regarded him as one of my brothers, not as my brother-in-law. I admired his intelligence, life philosophy, dry wit, giving heart, dedication to family and friends, and unwavering faith in God. Charlie was simply “one of a kind.”
I was devastated by the news of his death and walked around in a fog for several days. When I was inconsolable, I didn’t know how to console my husband and the rest of the family. If I was feeling this way, I can only imagine the profound loss his beautiful daughters, whom he adored with all his heart, were and continue to feel. Onyinye and Ekamma, I want you to know that your father will never be forgotten and that your uncle Willie and I will always be there for you.
I am going to share a poem with you that always brings me solace when I have lost a loved one and I hope it does the same for you, your mom, and the rest of the family.

If Tears Could Build A Stairway
If tears could build a stairway
And memories a lane
We would walk right up to heaven
And bring you back again
No farewell words were spoken
No time to say goodbye
You were gone before we knew it
And only God knows why
Our hearts still ache in sadness
And secret tears still flow
What it meant to lose you

No one will ever know
But now we know you want us
To mourn for you no more
To remember all the happy times
Life still has much in store
Since you’ll never be forgotten

We pledge to you today
A hallowed place within our hearts
Is where you’ll always stay
Author Unknown

Rest in peace my dear brother Charlie until we meet again.

Your sister-in-law
DONELDA (DONNIE) IYIZOBA

TRIBUTE TO CHARLIE, MY AMAZING COUSIN

I have pondered writing this tribute for a long time, but words fail me, and I am looking for words that can do justice to this man we all fondly refer to as Charlie Parker. He was an institution, very cerebral, extremely kind-hearted, intensely honest, fearless, and had little or no regard for financial appropriation. Charlie was unconcerned about factual embellishment and stated things as they were.
Though he was a thorn in the flesh to those who preferred not to hear the truth, he was a hero to others. Charlie was deeply religious and had a thorough understanding of the scriptures, which he applied in his daily life. He demonstrated a strong faith in God and was never afraid, not even of death. He had the makings of a saint, and in a better world, he could have been a holy Catholic priest, in my opinion.
He was a voracious reader with a deep thirst for knowledge, and he was always up to date on virtually every topic that came up for discussion. Charlie Parker was a very unassuming man who was unconcerned about class distinctions based on finances or education. He saw and interacted with people as humans.
Charlie was one of our best. Though he has left this world, his memories will always bring back fond memories that will warm our hearts. Adieu, Charlie Parker!!
May God grant your soul eternal rest. Amen!

Your cousin
FRANCA OFOR

TRIBUTE TO UNCLE CHARLES

My mother told us many stories about Uncle Charlie before I met him for the first time in the mid-1990. Uncle Charlie, she said, would buy gifts for everyone every Christmas. He was kind to poor and needy relatives, as well as friends and well-wishers. When I finally met him, I realized that everything my mother had told us about him was true.
What struck me the most was his faith in divine providence. I recall Uncle Charlie telling a true story to family and friends several times about how he needed fifty thousand naira to pay for his children’s school fees and didn’t know who to turn to, so he prayed to the Blessed Virgin for assistance.
Guess what, the next day there was a knock on his front door, he opened and lo and behold someone had left a brown envelope inside it was exactly “Fifty thousand naira he needed for the school fees, and he searched for the person but to no avail.” Isn’t that incredible? This incident boosted his faith in God. To be honest, Uncle Charlie’s faith inspired me greatly to grow closer to God. Though some may disagree, Uncle Charlie lived a saintly, humble, and God-fearing life in my opinion.
His life should inspire everyone to grow closer to God. So, Uncle Charlie, on behalf of everyone whose life you have touched in some way, I’d like to thank you for leading by example. I would especially like to thank you for restoring my faith in humanity’s goodness and revealing God’s goodness.
Adieu! Big Uncle, rest in the Lord until we meet again. Amen!

Your cousin
ELIZA “OBELE”

THE EXIT OF A GOOD MAN – CHARLES IYIZOBA

Charlie –Parker! My personal person! Charles purchased the jacket I wore to the party where I met my wonderful husband, Maduka. He liked me a lot, and we became close friends and in-laws. He was a great diplomat with a childlike inner being. He never stressed or fretted, as other Iyizobas do. He cherished his life and his cigars and whiskey. He rose to the pinnacle of his profession. He had a wonderful family and was loved and cared for by the Iyizoba family. A good man has perished. My greatest regret is that I did not communicate with Charlie or visit him to pray for, encourage, and support his recovery. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the whole Iyizoba family. We will do everything we can to assist his family in carrying on his legacy. You lived and cherished your life, Charles. Charles Iyizoba, farewell.

Your sister-in-law
DR. IFEYINWA NWAKWESI

ADIEU! BELOVED BROTHER-IN-LAW, UNCLE CHARLIE

I lost a rare gem. I lost a brother-in-law, who was so special and kind to me.
I lost a man who treated me like a daughter and extended the same to my children (Chikwelueze, Maama(Uju), and Ifunanya). I lost a mentor, a man I looked up to. I lost the world’s best brother-in-law, so truthful, disciplined to the core. I lost a brother-in-law whose good deeds, generosity, intelligence, and charisma will never be forgotten. Indeed, your departure pained me in my heart but I am consoled that you lived a good life and got to the peak of your career in sound health of mind and body. As God has deemed it fit to call you home, we surrender all to Him. He will grant us (Iyizobas) the fortitude to bear this loss while hoping to see you again on the resurrection day where we will meet to part no more.

Your sister-in-law
ENGR. MRS ADAEZE IYIZOBA
NMDPRA, Abuja

TRIBUTE TO BARRISTER CHARLES IYIZOBA, A KIND, AND COMPASSIONATE MAN

With extreme shock, I received the news of the passing unto glory of our dear brother Charles on January 1st. As I looked at the obituary poster I received, I realized how time had flown. Reminiscing, I cast my mind back to when we first met after I married his cousin Brian. He showed us love and was always kind, warm, and compassionate. I found him to be a straight talker, and you were never in doubt about where you stood with him.
We were blessed to have known him and still recall his words of wisdom that helped me understand the intricacies of their extended family setup. Navigating the complex family terrain became easier. What shall we say unto the Lord? All we have to say is thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord, for blessing us with a kind, eloquent, compassionate, witty, warm man like Charles Chukwuka. A true inspiration whose memories are priceless. Charlie may have passed on, but you will forever be remembered, loved, and sorely missed. Rest in perfect peace, Charlie. The precious memories we have of you will always be evergreen.

Your sister-in-law
THELMA NWOKEDI

TRIBUTE TO CHARLIE IYIZOBA

Chief R.O.M Iyizoba and Dr. P. V. N Ezekwe’s children are scions of two great Onyiuke sisters: Agnes (Onyiuke) Iyizoba and Rebecca (Onyiuke) Ezekwe. They were close and loved each other, and their love is the source of the love that has endured between the Ezekwes and the Iyizobas to this day. But then Charlie arrived, the third child of Aunty Agnes (born a day before Sister Rebecca’s third child, Carol), with his unique, sterling qualities as a human being, and endearing nature, and the love, closeness, and friendship between the two families burned even brighter.

We are eulogizing Charlie in this tribute, which is heartbreaking because eulogies are mostly dedicated to the dead, and we are deeply saddened by his passing, but Charlie is truly deserving of our praises and expressions of love. Charlie was a nonconformist who may have said to himself upon entering this world, “I will live the way I see fit, and speak from the heart, unafraid to stand alone if necessary, but respectfully and considerately and true to my God, so bear with me.” That was the essence of “Charlie Parker,” as we affectionately referred to him; a man of integrity, unapologetically frank and bold, who maintained an enviable sense of detachment from worldly things until the very end. Charlie Parker was a true gentleman.
His vast knowledge of world events, as well as his analysis of situations and circumstances, usually captivated his audience. But, alongside these admirable qualities, there was a humble soul who had no qualms about deferring to the opinions of others. He was completely certain of who he was. Charlie, no airs, no pretenses. The Iyizobas have lost their lovely son, the Ezekwes have lost a brother and friend, the world has lost a true gentleman, but God has gained a Saint.

Charlie Parker, we will miss you greatly, but we are comforted by the fact that your death brought peace and an end to all the physical pain caused by your illness in recent months. Rest in peace, dear one, and know that our prayers will hasten your journey to meet your Maker. We send our heartfelt condolences to Florence, your wife, and your two lovely daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma. Our hearts go out to the incredible Iyizoba family, who showed Charlie so much love and support throughout his life. Farewell and rest in the eternal peace of Christ.

From
UMU REBECCA NWANYIEGBOGU EZEKWE, ADA ONYIUKE
(The Family of late Dr. and Mrs. P. V. N Ezekwe of Ezeawulu Nibo)

TO MY BELOVED COUSIN, CHARLIE IYIZOBA

Charlie, you were extraordinary! You have a magnetic personality; one easily warms up to you. You were candid, truthful, and open. You were bold, qualities that endeared people to you. When you took ill last year we were so pained and prayed constantly for your recovery. I had hoped to speak with you when you were taken to the hospital on the 17th of December 2021 to reassure you of our love and encourage you, but alas! We love you and always will. We miss you, Charlie. Goodbye Charlie. May your gracious soul rest in the peace of the Lord, Amen.

Your cousin
PROF. IFEOMA ENEANYA (NEE EZEKWE)

TRIBUTE TO A RARE GEM

Charlie! Though you may be gone, you have left an imprint in the hearts of many. I remember way back in those years when my father used to tell us to look up to you as a role model worthy of emulation. You were smart and always well-behaved. Your humility and kindness were unprecedented. You were ever ready to assist people, especially your own. Indeed, you touched the lives of many in one way or another. As a diplomat, you were sound. Among other things, you ensured that every Nigerian student on scholarship in the USA was able to access their student’s loan. I especially remember how you facilitated the process for me to access mine. You were a brother and a friend to me. I will live to always remember you. We will miss you dear brother, most especially your siblings. May God in His infinite mercy grant them the fortitude to bear the loss. May your soul rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord.

Your cousin
FRANK ALAMAH

MY TRIBUTE TO CHARLIE CHARLIE, MY FRIEND & OKENWADIANA.

I received the sad news of the demise of Charlie Iyizoba from Edu Boy, his youngest brother. I was devastated, to say the least, because I was hoping to see Charlie in Nimo during the 2021 Christmas Season. Unfortunately, it was not ordained. What can I say about Charlie that many who knew him well cannot imagine? Charlie was a mellow and highly educated man with indescribable humanity and love for the downtrodden. In him, I found a man who laid his treasures in Heaven. You may be wondering what I am talking about, but please bear with me and read on.

I will share only two aspects to prove my honest analysis of this man I call Charlie Charlie. In the early 1970s when I was living briefly with the Iyizobas in East Orange, NJ; I saw a rare quality in Charlie that I have never seen in anybody, talk less of any Igbo man. Charlie would get his biweekly paycheck and sign the back of the check and leave it on the table for his immediate junior brother, the indomitable Eddy Iyizoba, now Dr. Edward Iyizoba, (MD), to cash and buy food for the family and pay the apartment rent. A normal man would NEVER do that! Rather, he would contribute his share, but everyone else must also contribute their share. The majority of men today, money mongers, would NOT even contribute their fair share without a vicious fight and someone twisting their arm. These extraordinary acts of Charlie endeared him to my heart and when I say that Charlie laid his treasures in heaven; you may begin to get my point. Charlie was not a worldly-oriented soul. He was highly religious, honest, hardworking, and a lovable gentleman.

The second aspect that led me to conclude that Charlie laid his treasures in Heaven was his refusal to accept bribes to execute his job as once the General Manager of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Lagos HQ. In a country where cheating, bribery, and corruption are the way of life and are accepted as the norm, once again Charlie refused to amass wealth and riches by trampling on honesty, decency, and good ethics. He chose dedication to duty and fear of God; for it is written: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul”. He refused to collect N10M (ten million naira) bribe/extortion to sign the shipping documents for importers of various goods into Nigeria. He also refused a “cash- thank- you” from surprised shippers and businessmen who wondered whether this rare gem was a Nigerian. Yes, Charlie was a Nigerian of the Igbo Tribe. A dedicated Federal Employee who never left his office without finishing all the in-files on his desk as the GM of NPA. Yes, he had to fight the status quo and some family backlash for playing the honest man in a country where basically everyone is a thief one way or the other. His life was threatened many times by the rogue employees who found his dedication to duty an obstruction to their daily brigandage in the name of chasing money from all angles.
Charlie truly laid his treasures in Heaven for he died a poor man on earth but one of the richest men in Paradise. I will miss your company Charlie but God Almighty needs you more than we do on this wicked planet heading to perdition. Adieu, my friend, nwadiana, and a rare gem. I am sure the Angels in High Heaven are singing their welcome chorus for your soul.

To Florence, your wife, and your daughters, I say take heart for Charlie has gone home to the Lord. If this country has people in high places and positions in the ministries and parastatals who can emulate the standards Charlie set in public service and beyond, Nigeria would be on her way as a competitor among the comity of nations around the world. Charlie lived a good life without riches, mansions, millions/billions of money stashed away for generations yet unborn at the expense of the living. He is smiling at us in our follies as we go about killing one another in our quest for worldly wealth. Goodbye, my friend Charlie until we meet again. In you, the world has lost an Angel.

From your namesake & friend,
PRINCE OKEY CHARLES ONYIUKE, KOFC
NJ, USA

TRIBUTE TO UNCLE CHARLIE… A MAN WITH A HEART OF GOLD

The news of your death came as a rude shock to me, but I take solace in the fact that you lived a life of fulfillment, a life that was in sync with Jesus Christ’s command to be good to whoever is your neighbor. You are one of those who come to mind when I think of the biblical Good Samaritan. Everyone was not just a neighbor to you, but a brother and sister. You loved and cared for everyone who came into contact with you the same way you would love and care for your biological children.
You chose the best, a life of love, which the Bible clearly states is the greatest and most important virtue of all. There was no ‘Jew or Gentile’ in your good nature and giving spirit. Even if you don’t have anything material to give, you would give your time, guidance, advice, and prayers. The place for men of goodwill is surely in the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ and I am certain that that is where you are. Adieu my sweet Uncle Charlie
Adieu Kind heart and soul. Adieu Golden heart. Rest in perfect peace Nwachukwu until the resurrection morning where we will meet to part no more, Amen.

From
MRS. NGOZI OKEREKE
(Nee Micheal Udemezue Onyiuke)

A TRIBUTE TO MY DEAR UNCLE, A MAN OF PEACE AND THE PEOPLE

When I learned of Uncle Charlie’s death on December 18, 2021, I was shocked and devastated. Uncle Charlie was a wonderful man who lived for the betterment and happiness of others. Without hesitation, I would argue that he lived solely for humanity and a life that I will refer to as “heaven on Earth.” I do not doubt that his lovely soul will live in eternal bliss.
He was gentle, kind, peaceful, generous, loving, social, happy, gentle, God-fearing, and cheerful. Uncle Charlie never discriminated against or looked down on anyone; rather, he welcomed everyone as a member of the family and a friend. He was radiantly happy on the inside, with an infectious smile and laughter. Uncle Charlie was truly the best of his breed. Rest in peace, good man, until we meet again. I will miss you dearly. May the Almighty God console and comfort the family and everyone you left behind.

From
MR. ONYIUKE IFEANYI SAMUEL & FAMILY
(Son of Late Prince Michael Udemezue Onyiuke)

TRIBUTE TO BOSS MAN, BARR. CHARLIE IYIZOBA

What a day it was when your brother, Chiedu, called to tell me you’d died. I was numb because I had just talked with Lizzy, your sister, about your condition and how God had preserved you in His infinite Mercy. However, God had a better plan; man proposes, God disposes, and God’s Will is always Supreme. You and I have been friends for about 50 years. I met you through my late brother, Prof. Dr. Ifeanyi Achebe; we all became family friends with the Iyizobas and have remained so to this day. In a strange way, you were close to me. I suspected that your elder brother, Ossy, and my brother, Ifeanyi, were plotting for us to date. I was aware of the plotting, but as a vivacious adolescent on the verge of puberty, I laughed it off.
You and I eventually settled on Agape Love, which was priceless to me because you were always there for me, whether in Washington, New Jersey, or anywhere else. You had a calm demeanor. You’re always minding your own business, reading your newspapers, and oblivious to what’s going on around you. Many people mistook your demeanor for arrogance, aloofness, and the like, not realizing that it was your own way of not hurting anyone and that beneath that outer husk was a deep humility, honesty, boldness, confidence, and courage that I always admired.

You chose your words carefully since you were a man of few words; nonetheless, you never suffer fools gladly. Regretfully, I missed the opportunity to visit you while you were having your health challenges, at least to reminisce about the old times. Oh! Well, the vicissitude of life denied me that. But God knows best. You will be remembered for your good deeds. Posterity will speak well of you. History will judge you well. Although you’re no longer with us, I know that your spirit lives on in your wife, children, and other relations. We will not mourn you. Instead, we will celebrate you. Surely, a place is reserved for you in heaven. You have run the race and now, it’s time to rest. Remember us always up there as we also continue to pray for you down here. May your soul journey well into the bosom of the Lord, Amen! May you have eternal rest, Amen! Fare Thee well! Je nke oma. Na nu udo! Good night, boss man! Agape love.

Your friend
CHIEF (MRS) NGOZI ACHEBE-AKPOJOSEVBE (Adaife 1, ifitedunu)

TRIBUTE TO MY FRIEND AND BROTHER, CHARLES

He was courageous, confident, charismatic, catalytic, and catholic. He was a patriot who lived a life dedicated to others just like the Bible instructs (Matthew 25:30) “For as long as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” Charles and I were both students at the College of Immaculate Conception (CIC) in Enugu. The school assisted us in deepening our Catholic faith. I ran into Charles after the war at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington; it was a wonderful reunion. He assisted me in obtaining materials for my doctoral research. He also treated me to a nice lunch on another occasion.
Years later, we reconnected in Nigeria, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that he was still practicing his Catholic faith and attending Mass daily. I had a chance to meet with him at Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos in December 1995. While we were talking after the Mass, he asked if I had been to Aokpe, the site of the alleged apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, but I had never heard of the place. I inquired and discovered that the apparition had drawn a large crowd. As a result, I gathered a group of people and we traveled to Aokpe in January 1996, and it changed my life. I became a devoted follower of Mary.

CHARLES despised injustice and would bravely and truthfully condemn the Society’s outrageous ills in any form, but more importantly, he was always willing to lend a helping hand. He assisted me in my Ichie ndi Igbo project. Taking me on a tour to meet with various Igbo leaders so that I could pitch my project to them. We met with the former Biafran soldier, Alex Madiebo, Col. Tony Eze, Admiral Alison Madueke, and Rich Okafor. Charles was also friends with prominent Yoruba leaders like Ayo Okpadeku and Ebenerzer Babatope. He introduced me to Professor Joy Ogwu (DG NIIA, Lagos), a classmate of his at Rutgers and Columbia.

Charles also volunteered to assist with other projects. He was a great motivator and advocated for our project to empower young people to become entrepreneurs capable of creating jobs. He introduced me to people like Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Chief Tom Ikimi, Abdulazeez Ude, and Admiral Alison Madueke. When he relocated to Abuja, he became more helpful in supporting my projects and facilitated my meeting with Professor Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), in 2013. He was also acquainted with the proprietors of DAAR communication Plc and ThisDay newspapers.
The death of my friend and supporter, Charles, has deeply saddened me. He has, indeed, left his imprint in the sands of time. He fought a good fight, and God will reward him because he lived for others, as he stated in his book “Life is for Others.”
Adieu my brother, may Mary lead you to Jesus.

From
LARRY C. FEJOKWU

THE BEST AMBASSADOR THAT NEVER WAS

Charles was a one-of-a-kind, a true brother, a diplomat extraordinaire, an officer and a gentleman. Charles was “Nigeria’s best” Ambassador, that never was. He lived up to the title of his book, “Life is for others.”
From
Emeka B Obasi, Esquire

TRIBUTE TO A FRIEND AND A BROTHER

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born and a time to die

—Eccl. 3:1-2

As human beings each time we lose a dear one we die a little, a little piece of our heart is forever broken. But then the Bible says, “O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory. But thanks be to God, who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Sir Charles loved and served God diligently so we are sure that he is heaven smiling down at us right now.
Charlie, it was a pleasure and a privilege to call you a friend; but you were more than a friend; you were a brother from another mother. Sir Charles was a decent man; he was honest, forthright (sometimes to a fault), selfless, genuine, and unique, and he was kind and hospitable. And he had the fortitude to face any challenge. But what we remember most about him is his wicked sense of humor and jokes. He made fun of himself and never took himself too seriously. We will also miss his vast and diverse knowledge of everything. If you needed a historical or cultural perspective on an issue, he was the man to see.
Those who will miss him the most are his lovely wife, Florence, and “Charle’s Angels,” Onyinye and Ekamma, whom he raised into the lovely women we see today; his girls were the love of his life.
Sir Charles lived his life in his own way, doing the things he enjoyed; he was a wonderful companion. Sir Charles was ready to meet death whenever and however it came; in fact, we could argue that he had been fearlessly preparing for it for over thirty years that we had known him. So, on December 18th, 2021, he was well prepared to give an account of his life to his Lord and Maker.
We, the Usman family, pray for his soul’s rest. We pray that God will console his wife Florence and his daughters, Onyinye and Ekamma, and that God will give the entire Iyizoba family, his numerous relatives, friends, and well-wishers the strength to bear this loss.
Rest in peace at the bosom of the almighty God till we meet again.

Love always
Miss Tootsie, Esther, Yorraha Usman

TRIBUTE TO OUR GREAT IN- LAW MR CHARLES IYIZOBA

The family of late sir FGN OKOYE sends this tribute in honor of a great son of Nigeria, Mr. Charles Iyizoba. Charle’s senior brother, Chief Ossy Iyizoba, married our sister, Justice Chinwe Iyizoba and a passionate and inspiring relationship began with the Okoyes and Iyizobas. The Iyizoba family is a role model family and many families need to emulate the unity, love, and harmony that exists in their family. Charles was a great ambassador of the Iyizoba clan as he was a very amiable, warm, and kind individual. He was a brilliant man and was a very successful career diplomat and excelled in his job. He was at one time a top official of the Nigerian Ports Authority. It was widely known that Charles never accepted to be bribed for rendering his professional services. Charles loved life, his cigar, and his brandy.

He had a great family life and was blessed with a lovely wife Florence and two beautiful daughters.
The Iyizoba clan rallied and took care of him with love prayers and financial support. We are pained that Charles passed on, so untimely, but it is not how long we live but how well. Let us all emulate the life of love, peace, inner contentment, harmony, happiness, and humility which were the hallmark of Charles’s life, and let us also learn how families can team up and sustain the great legacies built by their patriarch and matriarch. We are proud of the role Chief Ossy and our sister, justice Chinwe Iyizoba, are playing in the Iyizoba clan. We are proud of our sister Chinwe, for being part of the growth and harmony that exists in the Iyizoba clan. We condole the entire Iyizoba clan through the head of the Iyizoba clan, Chief Johnny Iyizoba, and the entire Onyuike clan, where Chief Mrs. Agnes Iyizoba, the Matriarch of the Iyizoba family came from. We also extend our condolence to all our in-laws, especially Gabe and Elizabeth Adimorah, and we thank Elizabeth for the amazing role she is playing in the Iyizoba family. We also thank God that the younger generations of the Iyizobas are doing well and ready to take over the mantle of leadership.
We say Good night to a great son of Nimo, Anambra state, and Nigeria – CHARLES IYIZOBA,

Chief JC Okoye
Chinyelugo 11
For and behalf of
Late Chief sir FGN Okoye Family.

The EXIT OF A GOOD MAN – CHARLES IYIZOBA

The family of Dr. Maduka Nwakwesi sends this tribute in honor of a good man in every sense of the word – Mr. Charles Iyizoba. We are connected to the Iyizobas as our matriarch, Dr. Ifeyinwa Nwakwesi, is the junior sister to the matriarch of Chief Ossy Iyizoba family, Justice Chinwe Iyizoba. Significantly, Charles came with Dr. Iffy Nwakwesi to the party where our patriarch, Dr. Maduka Nwakwesi, met her for the first time. Charlie-Parker was a great man that was deeply loved as he was a very warm and caring person. He was a very calm, brilliant diplomat, with a very child-like inner being. He never stressed or fussed typical of most Iyizobas. He loved his cigar and brandy and excelled to the top of his career. He is blessed with a lovely family and was loved and cared for by the Iyizoba clan. A good man has fallen.

Our greatest regret is that we lost touch with Charlie as we would have loved to pray, encourage and support his recovery. We like the bonding and love that is seen in the Iyizoba family. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with them as the warm ambiance you feel is very gratifying. Chief Ossy and his wife, Justice Chinwe Iyizoba, are some of the nicest people we know. They provided a solid platform for the expansion and growth of the Iyizoba clan. We are very proud of the inclusive nature of Justice Chinwe in being a role model wife and mother, pushing for peace and harmony in the Iyizoba family. We also recognize the role their great daughter, Elizabeth Adimorah, is playing in their family as she is a role model Ada of the family. We also are very proud of the entire Iyizoba clan as they are all committed to protecting the legacy of peace, harmony, and love put in place by their father and mother Chief & Mrs. Iyizoba
Our condolences to Florence, Charles’ wife, his daughters, and the entire Iyizoba clan.
Charles, you lived a good life. Adieu, Charles Iyizoba
Mr. Obinna Nwakwesi
Omekannia
For Dr. Maduka Nwakwesi Family

MY DEAR BIG COUSIN, BARRISTER CHARLES IYIZOBA

It is with great shock that I took the news of your departure. I was planning to see you this Christmas; I didn’t know it was not to be. While working in Irving and Bonnar Lagos, in the ‘90s, you were the only family member I had in Lagos and we bonded with my weekend hangout at your house in Apapa GRA Lagos.
You are very kind-hearted and loving. You are always willing to help and fun to be with. May your gentle soul continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord!! I will forever miss you!!

Atty. Amaka E. Iyizoba
Atlanta Georgia

Condolences

Please Pray for him!





What a woman can do: Nigerian woman fabricates motorcycles parts

1 10 2020

It is hard to find good things to write about Nigeria that is why I never let an opportunity pass if one ever presents itself. Scrolling through twitter this morning, I came across a clip from Reuters about Ukamaka Okoye, a Nigerian woman who fabricates parts for motorcycles using smelted aluminum vehicle parts from the scrap yard.

According to her, she used to work as someone’s secretary in computer firm, but one day, an opportunity came for training as an auto part fabricator at Nnewi and she volunteered to attend and instantly fell in love with auto fabrication technique. Wasting no time, she set up a small factory run entirely by hand and together with her husband they began manufacturing and today they have employed some more women to help them churn out about 1000 motorcycle clutch pads and disks a day.

Her office is no air-conditioned rose smelling upscale flat, but a rented shack, hot and smoky, with blasting furnace adding to the sweltering heat of the sun blazing down her back as she works, yet she is working and working very hard, bearing witness to the truth contained the time worn refrain that when the going gets tough only the tough gets going.

In a time when countless young people are falling into hopeless despondency, Ukamaka Okoye shines the light of hope, and providing an example that if you are ready to work hard, there is no obstacle you cannot overcome and nobody has any reason to give up hope or worse fall into the temptation of engaging in crime like many young people are doing. Here is the spirit of initiative and industriousness that Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa need to lift her from the putrid gutters of poverty.

Ukamaka and her husband have triumphed over lack of electricity Power, pipe borne water and every possible amenity that any one can imagine, and built a manufacturing firm, creating wealth and contributing their fair share in developing their country. I hope that this exposure and recognition she received from Reuters and the rest of the world would encourage investor to come forward and give her help to expand her business into a modern industry, as I know would be the case where she living in any other country other than Africa.

Yes, what a man can do, a woman can do even better. Ukamaka is a good model to many indigent young girls often tempted into prostitution and selling their bodies to survive. Ukamaka story shows that there is another way, a better way. Honest and dignified work is always available to those willing to find them, and who courageously embark on their dreams no matter the odds. Lastly the Nigerian government would do well to recognize and support Ukamaka, and more importantly study her method of enterprise so that they can guide the teaming mass unemployed young people roaming streets without direction, to emulate Ukamaka’s enterprise in other to carve a better future for themselves and the Nation.

https://reut.rs/36lZaHU





Nigerian Teens Create Sci-Fi Movies With Smartphone

21 08 2019
Critic company

The saying that if you give a hungry man a fish, you will feed him for a day but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for life is so true for 8 teens from northern Nigeria who are making science- fiction movies using a broken smart phone.

No doubt, they love watching Sci-Fi movies but unlike other teens their age, the Critics company, as they call themselves, are determined to make their own. They came together 2016, started creating short film with special effects they learnt from YouTube videos.

Using a broken tripod stand to hold up a smart phone with a cracked screen, they shot a ten minute film called ‘Redemption’.

This film caught the eye of international media organization like Reuters, Aljazeera and others who celebrated them for making history by successfully making first Nigerian sci-fi movie. According to one of the young filmmakers, Godwin Josiah, their aim was to show that kids in the north are doing something different.

Support has since started pouring in. Veteran film maker Kemi Adetiba, tweeted enthusiastically about them in June and helped them raise $5,800 to upgrade their equipment.

Imagine what they could do with a formal training in sci-fi movie production.

Ironically, this same youtube medium that can create porn addictions that wrecks the lives of other teens is empowering and enabling these 8 youngsters to acquire skills in movie production. This shows that it is not the media as such that is to blame when youths get hooked on internet porn but the lack of focus and motivation among young people.

Serious minded teens can sift out the best and useful things in social media and use them to advance themselves without necessarily falling prey to harmful contents as these 8 teen have aptly demonstrated.

Still, it takes guts and drive and thinking out of the box. It demands  finding a dream, pushing forward and following that dream to its logical consequences.

In life, honest and productive work is usually rewarded with fame and success, and Godwin Josiah and his cousins are making themselves useful with a broken smart phone

Nigeria has over 70million are teenagers, but still teen productivity is so low. Experts say that this is due to skill deficiency Nigerian educational curriculum, which is shockingly theoretical rather than practical, and many teen leave school ill equipped to earn a living. Hence the high rate of youth jobless, resulting in political unrest, economic instability, drug abuse, crime, prostitution, human trafficking, terrorism and kidnapping..

The Critics Company have alerted people to the possibilities of digital media like YouTube to tutor themselves in skills that can fetch money or jobs or even help them start their own businesses. 

Many handy skills can be learned via YouTube: from air-conditioning repairs to fashion designing and computer programming and countless free online tutorials on software development. Furthermore, an average low-end smart phone is chockfull of useful apps, such that an average user cannot exhaust 1% of its capability.  There are apps that can transform a smartphone  into a math lab, reader, and multimedia learning platform and many other things, and most are available free.

The triumph of these teen is good news for a region considered by most as educationally backward and where teens are often school shy. The Kaduna state governor, Malam Nasir El-rufai has praised their creativity, invited them to statehouse for special visit and is generally making a fuss of them. He has also offered the government’s support and constituted a team of senior officials to work on the details with their family.

Josiah and his cousin are blazing a path for African teens to follow, and confirming that with courage and determination, any African teen will not only survive, but actually thrive in these polluted waters through through hard work, unrelenting focus.

  Their fame and success has even wider relevance. Teens the world over should cease being passive consumers of social media content and become innovators, leveraging on these platforms to create and market their own ideas and become creators, and contributors to human progress.

They are an indictment of those who engage in online scams popularly known in Nigeria as “419”, a scam that has given millions of Nigerians a very bad name.

They are also showing up the so called Nollywood industry, still stuck in their abysmally low quality films, rife with poorly written scripts and stale story lines  revolving around time worn themes of sex, money and power.

They may yet give the Nollywood oligarchs a run for their money and possibly break their  strangle hold on the industry.

With sci-fi movies like Star Wars and Avengers grossing over $900Million and $800Million respectively, a sci-fi skill set is not a bad investment and the Critics company could be pioneers in a business that could bring much needed foreign exchange flowing back into African pockets. Time will tell.





No Excuses says 22yro youth born without legs.

17 06 2019
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The story of Zion Clark

From the start, the odds were heavy against Zion Clark. His mother, a prostitute, gave birth to him while in prison for drugs. He literally hit the ground running with both hands because he had no legs, rare medical condition known as caudal regression syndrome, a consequence of his mother’s drug addiction.
He was whisked off to a foster home, where he was often beaten, hungry and unloved, yet he was determined to survive.
Had no time to brood over his misfortunes, had no on to gripe to how life has dealt him a bad hand. Rather he thankfully grabbed whatever life offered with two hands and ran with it.
One day someone offered to teach him wrestling, but how do you wrestle when you have no legs? Undaunted, he took up the challenge, began training day and night to be a wrestling champ. He wanted to be the best wrestler in the world, who could beat anyone, and he knew that without legs, he needed to work extra hard.
Daily workouts, iron pushups, he soon became a formidable opponent for his bigger two-legged contestants
He had plenty of help from his friends, especially his high school Couch Gil Donahue who guided him through thick and thin till he mastered the art of the throw
“He pushed me to the point past exhaustion,” Zion said. “And when I had mental breakdowns, he just talked me up, really got me going.”
He first heard that word “No Excuses” on the lips of his couch during a match in which his opponent jumped over him and collided with his head.
“I took a hard hit to the face,” he explained. “My nose was bleeding, my eye was cut. I had to be taped up to keep going. I said to my coach, ‘I can’t do this.’ Coach Donahue said, ‘you made it this far, you have to keep doing your job. Don’t give me any excuses.’”
“I went back on the mat, and when he jumped over me again, I caught him in midair and put him down on the mat,” Zion said. He went on to win the match – one of the most memorable of his high school career. He has since tattooed the word on his back.


As the old saying goes, “Men learn when they teach.” Coach Donahue himself learnt new ways of couching thanks to Zion.
“I’ve never seen anybody like Zion” said Donahue, “it made me look at coaching in whole new perspective. How do you coach a kid with no legs?” He said that he and his couching team tried different techniques, trying to take advantage of Zion’s strong point until the figured out a technique that worked for him.
Zion loves others.
There were many things Zion could have been mad at life about. He could have chosen the path of hate, raging at the life’s apparent unfairness, why this or that should happen to him, why people have to look at him funny the first time they see him. Why the first thing that comes up when his name is put on Google is “How does Zion Clark pee.”
But Zion chose not to walk down that path, rather his chose the path of love. He loves his present foster mom, Kimberly Hawkins, and is motivated to keep going because he wants to succeed, make enough money and by her a car.
He loves his Couch because he gets him to push himself harder to get the outcome he wanted in his matches. “Zion is one of the most coachable wrestlers I have ever coached, said his Coach, “He is a remarkable team player that is willing to do anything needed to help the team succeed.”
Coach Schlarb described Zion as a team motivator who always wears a smile and never says “I can’t
So that is how he is able to take it all, how come he hasn’t come down with some major depression and wishing to kill himself big time.
Quick to point out the secret to his happiness, he said, “You want to be happy you have a challenge,” he said. “Things shouldn’t always be easy. Keep it simple, just have fun, work hard and be happy. And of course, make no excuses.” He is presently hoping to be part of the team USA at the Olympics games, and is determined to win a gold medal.
Like Zion, many African youths have great challenges. With both hands and feet tied by the economic hardships brought on them by their corrupt leaders. Studies show that 6 million Nigerians have slipped into extreme poverty recently. Sudan is on the verge of another civil war, Liberia is economically ruined, these chains threaten and submerge the African youth, many have taking to begging in the streets, and others are wallowing in idleness, contemplating crime or suicide.

Some may scoff at the fact that Zion lives in America, a land of opportunities, and hence can’t possibly be compared with their situation here in Africa, but they should remember that there are plenty of people living in the US who have both hands and legs, yet live in misery, feeling sorry for themselves and failing to make any success out of their lives. Worse, in America today some people argue that someone like Zion should be killed via abortion in their mother’s womb with their mothers consent, because their quality of life will be too low. Zion Clark has proved them wrong, and his story has inspired others to pull themselves out of whatever shackles holding them down and to fight, never settling for what has been achieved, but pushing ahead for that which is still out of sight.

So it doesn’t matter where you are, or what your challenges Zion says, “There are no excuses for those who refuse to push themselves and work at it till they get it right.”
Money cannot buy courage, but with mentorship and nature, many young Africans can triumph over the chains imposed on them by their purposeless and thieving leaders.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





The Millionaire Who Loves Street Children

27 05 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Mully family

His father was an alcoholic and often beat his mother. At 6, he knew the pains of hunger, cruelty and indifference and at 17, he ran away from home, walking all the way to Nairobi. There, a kind lady offered him a job. He later worked for a construction company and started his own transport business, with one taxi, which grew to a fleet, then a bus company, a transport company and finally, an insurance company, and by age 40, Charles Mully was a millionaire.

He began living in luxury, enjoying the company of the rich and powerful and forgot his past.

“I associated with big people, rich people,” he said. His home life was also a happy, he and wife; Esther lived with their eight children in a beautiful, large home on a big spread of land near the Kenyan town of Eldoret.

Wake up call

One day, while parking his car, a group of street children approached and asked him for money. Suspecting that they probably would use the money for drugs, he ignored them. When he returned, his car was gone.

Shocked and dismayed, not for his lost car, but because for the first time, he remembered himself as a little abandoned boy fending for himself, with no one to help.

He saw himself in those street children. He realized that they must despise him as strongly as he had despised the rich and powerful who wouldn’t lift a finger to help him. Now he was rich and powerful, and he wasn’t lifting a finger to help.

The excuses the rich gave for not helping him were the same excuses he was not giving for not helping. He was no different. His was selfish, a coward and a lover of comfort. He wept for hours, wrestling with a hard decision that was pressing urgently upon him.

“I saw myself in their eyes,” he said of those desperate children. For the next three years, I saw the children everywhere.”

Finally, he decided. He would sell his businesses and take into his own home the children from the slums.

When he told his family of his decision, they were horrified. They had a comfortable life and didn’t want to be inconvenienced.

His wife was heartbroken by his decision. “People told my wife to take me to the hospital,” he said with a chuckle. “They thought I had lost my mind.”

Yet, she supported his plan to sell off his business and take in street children.  His biological children were alarmed when their father started bringing home children from the streets, their alarm turned to anger when they realized they had to share their rooms.

“Daddy will come home later from walking the streets, smells of streets children filling the house, and some skin disease,” his daughter said.

Soon, their large home had nearly 100 orphans from various tribes, sleeping in every corner of a house. The house was soon too small to carry on and they rented a much bigger house. After taking in hundreds of children the Mully’s needed even bigger house, and so they moved to a dry and deserted land with nothing on it, not even water.

The going was rough at first until, through a miracle, they discovered water, which transformed the land into a fertile land so that they could cultivate their own food and as time went on, they had a sizable farm from which food came to feed the growing number of children.

With God’s grace and hard work, they have transformed this dry patch land into a home where abandoned children can find a true home. Charles called it the Mully Children’s Family (MCF), and he is so happy to give these children, who call him and wife, dad and mom, a true home and loving family.

Today, the MCF has taken more than 23000 abandoned children off the streets and given them education and a future.

In Africa rife with startling inequalities, where a few have so much when millions have nothing, Charles Mully has shown that sharing with the poor is a way to make personal wealth more effective. Just as he built a great business starting with one taxi, he has built a great family starting with one child at a time, a family of every race and color. His efforts have spawned MCF vocational schools and colleges right within the community.  While the boys learn technical skills, like carpentry, electronics and mechanic, the girls are equipped with catering, fashion and dress making. The brighter children go on to college and higher education and many have become medical doctors, engineers and lawyers.

He could have used his hard earned money to build fantastic houses. He could have deposited his money in the bank, earning generous interests. Rather, he chose to lead the way by his example so that others can follow his footsteps helping and stop attributing their misfortune to laziness.

Though Mully isn’t Catholic, he would understand well the teaching of the Church on the universal destination of good, that every person should regard the external things that they legitimately possesses not only as their own destined to benefit not only themselves and their family but also all others.

Feed the people dying of hunger, because if you do not feed them you are killing them,” above all by giving them aid which will enable them to help and develop themselves. (Gaudium et Spes 68)

It is true that not everyone can be as courageous and generous as Charles Mully, but like Mother Theresa of Calcutta said, if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed one.

Chinwuba Iyizoba





Abducted girl turns 16 in the forest

15 05 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Leah Sharibu pics

Her eyes were diamonds, sparkling brightly when she laughed. Leah Sharibu was only 14 in February 2018 when she and over a hundred of her companions were abducted from their school in Dapchi, by boko haram, the Islamic terrorist group that has been devastating parts of Northern Nigerian for decades. She celebrated her 16th birthday yesterday, Tuesday 14th May, in Sambisa forest.

They had broken into her school like infernal spirits, eyes red like open wounds; breath, foul and putrid.  Their laughter like clanging steel frightened the captured girls whom they herded like lambs into waiting Lorries and driven to the forest by night.

The girls knew neither where they were nor why they were there. Hunger and tiredness overwhelmed them. Bugs and flies tormented them. They cried until they could cry no more, and realizing that the dirty jackals could never be move by tears, they ceased wailing and collapsed in exhausted sleep.

When they woke, they realized their captors thirst for blood, cruelty and hideousness was just beginning. Soon, thugs ordered them to renounce their Christian faith and accept Islam, in exchange for their freedom. Repulsive fiends! Who would want to worship the god that made you so foul?

The ogres promised the girls freedom and food and many too tired and weak to resist, they broke down and gave in, and gave the yellow fanged jackals all they wanted. Only Leah stood firm. She will not succumb and the trees danced for joy.

Shortly afterward, they released all the yielding girls, except Leah. They then announced via social media that according to their Islamic faith, Leah was now their slave, and that they were permitted to do whatever they liked her.

O infernal vermin, who permitted you to do vile things in the name of God!! You permitted yourselves to do violence to a religion of peace!!

News of the freed girls broke the internet and parents and relatives jubilated, but for Leah’s mother, however, it was a nightmare just unfolding; she wept herself blind for her sweet child still in captivity, and called for help till her voice broke.  For 2 yrs, little seems to have been done, and nothing may be done for many years to come.

Rebecca sharibu

Like the Christian martyrs of old, Lear is ready to die for her faith. Still, how hard it was for her to watch her companions fall one after another, swept by fear, one by one, till she was all alone, like a lone leaf left on a storm swept tree. With no one to lean on, no friend, yet the Angels are with her. Her captors must have howled and jeered with their disembodied voices, flies and venom spewing between their crimson fangs.

They are fools, though. Leah has chosen to serve in heaven rather than to reign in hell, and her love is mightier than their hate, and for that we salute her. Her parent salutes her, her family salutes her, her kinsmen salutes her, her village salutes, and her Nation salutes her.

She may die before any one lifts a finger to save her, yet her blood would water the tree of life for generations of Christians yet unborn. The Christian faith that they seek to extinguish in Nigeria will only grow stronger because of her witness, her blood. If she accepts death in bondage, she would have accepted a temporal bondage that would yield eternal freedom in Heaven and it’s not a bad deal; though few know it.

Her companions testified that she sang daily in her cell praising God’s name.  Her voice carries to heaven breaking the hearts of God even as a busy bee, she flirted around the forest, and did many things to ease the pains of her companion while they were with her.

 But God is wisdom

The angels of God are watching keenly with flaming swords unsheathed. All but a nod from God and the heads of those infernal jackals will roll. Yet, God’s plans are all wise and He will not retract a freedom once given to men though they long misuse it.

They may imprison Lear’s body, but they cannot imprison her soul, dancing like a butterfly, touching us all with suffering. The curtain of night fell upon us the night they took her. The stars are still blinking and the winds still wailing nonstop until we see Leah free. Happy birthday Leah! May the Angels protect and keep you safe. Amen

 

Chinwuba Iyizoba

 





Forgive but Never Forget: 25yrs After Rwandan genocide

9 04 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

crowd of Rwandan at 25 yrs of genocide

 

Forgive and forget is an old saying but not in Rwanda as it marks 25 years after the genocide that killed close to a million people. The people are convinced that peace will continue only if they never forget.

 

“We are family once again, but never again will this happen”, said Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president on April 7 during the lighting of the commemoration lamp that will burn the whole of 100 days, the time it took to end the genocide that began on April 7, 1994.

On 6 April 1994, a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana – a Hutu – was shot down, killing all on board. The government blamed the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), a Tutsi led guerrilla fighters in the north. The next day a well-organized campaign of slaughter began. Youth militias (Interahamwes) were given hit lists of Tutsi victims. Many were killed with machetes in acts of appalling brutality. They set up road blocks to find Tutsis, incited hatred via radio broadcasts and carried out house to house searches. The killing lasted a 100 days ending when the RPF, led by Kagame and backed by Uganda, marched on Kigali. Some two million Hutus fled, mainly to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Unlike the sowers of hatred who orchestrated the genocide and ethnic division, Kagame has fostered unity and common brotherhood of all Rwanda.

Today, the country has recovered economically, with President Kagame’s policies encouraging rapid growth and technological advancement. Growth remains good – 7.2% in 2018 according to the African Development Bank.

“The arms of our people, intertwined, constitute the pillars of our nation,” Kagame said. “We hold each other up. Our bodies and minds bear amputations and scars, but none of us is alone. He added: “The fighting spirit is alive in us. What happened here will never happen again…”

From the constant bloodletting of Boko Harm in Northern Nigeria to the threats of vicious Somali gunmen in Kenya. African sees a lot of blood and horror. The African leaders present at the ceremony are hopefully here to learn how to stop the constant bloodshed, hatred and injustice in their own countries by building bridges that create spirit of brotherhood like Kagame has done in Rwanda.

 

True peace comes from Forgiveness

Immaculee Ilibagiza

The 1994 genocide destroyed the illusion that African fault line wars are triggered by lack of religious homogeneity. With an estimated population 5.6 million, 80 percent of Rwandans are Christians, mainly Catholics, yet they ditched the truths of the Catholic faith taught to them as children to heed the screech of murder and rape.

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a woman who survived the genocide hiding in a pastors toilet for 90 days with seven other women but lost her entire family with the exception of one brother who was outside the country, in her New York Times best-selling Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust, she talked about her struggles with hatred and desire revenge against those trying to kill her, and her initial inability to forgive. Then one day like one who had since been looking at a tapestry from behind seeing only a meaningless jumble of treads, she was finally given through prayers to see it upfront, and marvel at its beauty . She tells the story like this:

One night we heard screaming not far from the house and then a baby crying. The killers must have slain the mother and left her infant to die in the road. The child wailed all night; by morning, its cries were feeble and sporadic, and by nightfall, it was silent. I heard dogs snarling nearby and shivered as I thought about how that baby’s life had ended. I prayed for God to receive the child’s innocent soul, and then asked Him, How can I forgive people who would do such a thing to an infant?

I heard God’s answer as clearly as if we had been  sitting in the same room chatting: You are all my children . . . and the baby is with Me now.

In God’s eyes, the killers were part of His family, deserving of love and forgiveness. I knew that I couldn’t ask God to love me if I were unwilling to love His children. At that moment, I prayed for the killers, for their sins to be forgiven and for the first time since I entered the bathroom, I slept in peace”.

immaculee in toilet where she lived for 90 days with 7 other women

Immaculee in toilet where she lived for 90 days with 7 other women when she returned to Rwanda after the war

True, bad indoctrination can contribute to evil actions, but every evil act is still an individual act. Those who choose evil exercise personal freedom and thus are responsible for their acts.  It is heartening to note that many  Hutus chose to die rather than kill. They were true Hutus because they chose freedom rather than slavery of evil and their action are an indictment of those who took up the machetes to kill.

One can be trapped in the most horrendous and inhuman prison and yet be free, by accepting God’s will and by loving sacrifice, thinking of all the souls on earth Immaculée found her deepest relationship with God, learning to love all mankind, especially to pray and forgive her enemies.

She reached the peak of  forgiveness when she decided to visit Felicien, the man who killed her mother, and personally forgive him. After she had told him so, she asked him: “How can you have done this? Killing so many people, you can’t be at peace.” In rags, he seemed small and confused. “”I wanted to reach out to him,” she said. “I cried, and then he himself started to cry.”

The official in charge of the jail, a Tutsi who was a survivor like Immaculée  who was initially angry at her for forgiving the man latter came to her and said, “You don’t know what you did to me, when you went to the jail and forgave Felicien.  I was shocked but I learnt the necessity for forgiveness.”

Just like a tennis ball striking a soft pillow decelerates and loses its power to rebound, violence stops when it hits a forgiving heart. This is a lesson that Rwandans and millions of African victims of violence should take to heart and never forget.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

 





Tears to Joy (Ekundayo)

4 04 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Tybello

Photo journalist, TY Bellow, who discovered the bread seller model also discovered an unsung hero, Ms Ekundayo, a woman who had single handedly cared for near 500 orphaned children without any public or private applause.

An economist graduate, who had a brief stint in Government, Bello is a passionate Christian who has an amazing eye out for underdogs. Transforming the life of an illiterate bread seller caught in her camera by accident to a supermodel. But she wasn’t done yet.

In 2003, on a whim of philanthropic spirit, she decided to go visiting orphanages round the country to see which was in dire straight and how she could help, to her great surprise, she discovered an unknown and unsung heroine, who had quietly fed and sheltered close to 500 children in the backwaters of Kogi state.

In 1959, Mama Ekundayo, a married woman with five biological children of her own, decided to take care of orphans and abandoned children as well. Without money or power, she set about her goal and by 2003, she had taken care of well nearly 500 children without any government or international aid.

mama ekundayo

Mama Ekundayo

“Ekundayo,” which translates, “(my) tears have turned to joy,” captured Bello’s sentiments the days she met this woman.

“After talking to her about 10 minutes, I just started to cry,” TY Bello said.

“I felt so empty, you know there is something about her that is very peaceful, very wholesome. You can tell that she was happy but I felt that my whole life was just about me and my project and the things that I wanted.”

Greatly edified by sheer munificence of the woman and the gloriousness of this hidden sacrifice and the contrast of her own life Bello wrote a song for her which she turned to a music video called “Ekundayo.”

ekunday ophanage

Just like many things in life, there are many unsung heroes, people who do good quietly while the world largely remains unaware. Men and women who spend their lives serving others selflessly, at the cost fortune and family. They are so noble, inspiring and out of the ordinary.

It is like catching a glimpse of that image of God we bear in our souls, so obscure and difficult to see in a world marked by unchecked greed and selfish ambition for power, lust and personal gratification.

Using one’s talents or money to serve the greatest number of people is obviously more rewarding and effective, yet it is strangely not common in Africa, and in Nigeria especially. The truth is that it requires degree of spiritual awareness rare and hard to acquire, and even more, it requires willpower and self mastery over the animal instincts of self preservation that only very few can achieve in society rife with insecurity and poverty.

Yet, the Ekundayos of this world aren’t superhuman. They are people with deep convictions who choose to live out the consequences no matter the odds.

ty bello with mama

TY Bello with Mama Ekundayo

But they are the truly free. Those who understand freedom as the radically arbitrary license to do just what they want and to have their own way are living in a lie, for by his very nature man is part of a shared existence and his freedom is shared freedom. His very nature contains direction and norm, and becoming inwardly one with this direction and norm is what freedom is all about.

It is this radical shift in thoughts and philosophy that distinguish Ms Ekundayo from many. Yet, all Nigerians retain the capacity to walk the footstep of this giant.

Admittedly this is no easy task from start to finish in Nigeria. From scarcity of adoption agency to fraudulent agencies that run orphanages with a mind of achieving a clandestine agenda, to lack of proper documentation, to legal challenges to bureaucratic bottle necks ensure that only the truly convinced can walk this course on scathe.

“Mama Ekundayo has shown us how you can do so much with so little. There are countless examples of people like her out there,” said Bello,   “I hope the videos inspire us to help make their work easier or at least spread the word as much as we can.”

EKUNDAYO – TY BELLO (video)

LYRICS: EKUNDAYO – TY BELLO

Ekundayo sugbon E mi ko

Ise Oluwa ni

Her words resound over and again

Undoubtedly I’ve been changed

Madam your life your heart touched mine

And finally I realized

Even I can give a life

Ekundayo sugbon emi ko oluwa lo fun mi se

Mo dele ever before open my door

Jojolo

 

Life was all about me

My life was all about me

Did not see nothing wrong

The life that I lived

Was far from her reality

Don’t know how empty I was

Madam your life your heart touched mine

I was struck by the purity of your smile

Now I know

Realize the change I can bring (Change I can be)

To suffering children who’ve got no home

Pray for me so I can see

Through your eyes

Repeat Do you know beautiful you become

When you make way

For the all little ones

Who otherwise would not have made it through their day

You become a part of their tale

Oh how beautiful are the feet of every man

Who brings tidings of hope to children broken

Blessings from heaven gate

Will shower you every day

Everytime you open the door to link a child

Open my door

Eje ko mode ko wa

Eje kan wa oh oh

 

Open up my door (Say yeah)

Open my door

Eje ko mode ko wa

Ki won wa oh oh

 

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





How to Shield Your Children from Corruption

24 03 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Robtel Neajai Pailey
Robtel Neajai Pailey

Rife in every section of Nigerian society, corruption is more visible in the armed forces who clog highways with sandbags and drums, and openly extort money from motorist.

I was driving with my 7 yrs nephew, Jonathan, by my side. It was a hot afternoon. We came to a police check.

“Do you want to be a policeman? “ I asked mischievously.

 “No,” the boy answered, without hesitation.

“Why?”

I was curious to know the reason for such categorical rejection. A police job is honored work in many countries.

“They are corrupt!” he quipped without blinking.

The policeman by the car in front crumpled something into his pocket waved him on. We were next.

 I wound down and greeted him cheerfully.

“Anything for your boys?” drawled the officer.

“Nothing today, sir” I said, sheepishly. “May be tomorrow.”

He waved us on.

We drove on in silence. I was wondering how much harm was done to children by witnessing daily daylight graft on our roads by men in uniform.

It reminded me of another story a woman told me, some time ago, about her 7 yr old son, Hamza. He had just joined the boy scouts, the uniform and badges gave him such a trill, he felt like an officer, and like officers do, he wanted money. The next day, on his way to a scouting activity, he stepped into the middle of a busy road and faced a fast approaching taxi. He had seen policemen do all the time. As the car raced towards him, horn blaring, he raised an authoritative hand. Stop!

 The car swerved at the last minute to avoid running him over, the driver spat at him, passengers cursed and showed him their five fingers. Passersby screamed as they hauled him by the ear out of the road and someone whisked him back to his shocked and grateful mother. That was the end of his scouting career.

The difference between Jonathan and Hamza, it occurred to me, was that Jonathan goes to a private school where Christian ethical codes were taught every week. During classes, teachers emphasize the difference between good and evil, and how lying, cheating–in a word corruption, harms. They help them discover good and do it, they help them uncover evil and avoid it; they learn that they can make mistakes and how to be quick in correcting themselves.

Hamza, on the other hand, attends a public school ill equipped to teach him Math’s and English, but very efficiently creates an environment that makes it hard for him to be virtuous.  He learns from older pupils how to steal, smoke, drink and climb school fences at night to visit brothels. He has never been furnished any argument against the corruption he sees.

Yet more Nigerian children attend public schools than private schools, and we cannot have it both ways. Either we teach these children about the evil of corruption now or we have corrupt citizens later.

This troubled Robtel Neajai Pailey, a Liberian academic, activist and author until she decided to do something revolutionary.

 In 2012, frustrated with all the rhetoric about fighting corruption in Liberia she wrote anti-corruption books for kids. The first one, Gbagba loosely translated, means ‘trickery’ or, ‘corruption’

 “I realized that integrity must be strengthened at the earliest stages in a child’s life in order to mitigate the practice of corruption in the next generation” she said.

Gbagba is the story of young twins, who leave the countryside to visit their aunt in the capital, Monrovia. The intrigues of adults in everyday corrupt practices—robbery, bribery, fraud, vigilantism—collide with the children’s strong moral sense of right and wrong.

Immediately after the children arrive in the city, a thief “in dirty clothes” snatches their suitcases in broad daylight. The description of the robber tells us that that the man is poor and desperate. But the idea that it is greed rather than dehumanizing poverty triggers the man’s thievery incites the threat of mob justice

And in no time, the twins later observe their aunt’s driver bribing a police officer. Their aunt’s indifference during this encounter stands in stark contrast to the twins’ sharp perception of the unfair advantage that takes place after the transaction.

You can watch the video adaptation of the book below and please share with your children

Pailey was inspired to write the book in order to give children the verbal tools to question the ethical and moral values of adults around them. The book received critical acclaim and has been adopted as compulsory reading by Liberian Ministry of Education

“Eight to 10-year-old children are the perfect targets because it is at this stage that they begin to form an ethical core,” Pailey continued.

 “In writing Gbagba, I imagined myself a proverbial anti-corruption pied piper, without the instrument of doom…. Even though Gbagba‘s setting is Liberia, it remains a universal tale about children’s emancipation from the confusing ethical codes of the adults around them”

As Pailey says, children are the moral compass of Liberia if not the world. When they start publicly exposing corruption for what it truly is, my hope is that adults will be shamed into living more honestly, with integrity.

The book has been turned into a play and the play was well received by parents, teachers, and school administrators in Liberian and other African countries.  It has also been converted to a play, and 200 theatre-goers enjoyed the performance in the audience on debut day.

A parent of one of the cast members informed Pailey her daughter is now the integrity police in their household, pointing out when her parents and siblings are being dishonest.

This is a worthy investment Nigerian government should consider making, inviting Pailey with her project and give children like Hamza the knowledge they need to fight corruption in themselves and later in the Nigerian society . Pailey has since written a sequel to Gbagba called Jaadeh.

By Chinwuba Iyizoba





Boys behaving badly.. By Pius Adesanmi (Professor)

18 03 2019

Today, I decide on a capitalist lunch alone. My assigned driver takes me to a capitalist restaurant – one of the elitist watering holes of anybody who is anybody in Nigeria’s centre of power.

I invite the driver to come in with me. He is shocked. He is used to waiting in the car. Or being given some change to go and find an appropriate Mama Put for his own lunch while the Ogas eat in the capitalist location.

I have no idea why I asked him to come with me. Inside, we strike a picture of contrasts. All eyes raised. All eyes looking at the odd pair.

We are taken to a table for one because the waitress naturally assumes that my driver is just carrying my phone and will find his way out to wait in the car as soon as I am seated.

I ask her for a table for two. She looks at me, looks at the driver, mouth agape. Something ain’t adding up. She takes us to a table for two. The driver is in a strange universe. Fish out of water.

I help him with the complications of the life of the rich: how to order swallow and “protein” from a menu in the ways of the rich instead of barking at Sikira to add more ponmo and shaki at Iya Basira’s buka. I order the same swallow and protein for both of us.

Inquisitive looks. Hostile looks. Querying looks. You’d think we were a black and white interracial couple that had just entered a public space holding hands in America or Canada. It is the same looks of disapproval. But this time, it is not from folks frowning on interracial border crossing. It is from rich Nigerians, big Nigerians, Ogas at the top and their accent-forming sophisticated mistresses, feeling that their space has been violated by the presence of my driver.

Much to my disappointment, nobody says anything to us and I miss the opportunity of a fight. However, I’m extremely pleased with what is going on – this sense that I am violating that space gives me immense satisfaction. I am also pleased that once he attacks his food, the driver no send anybody again. He eats with the natural noises of his normal buka environment – sneezing, belching, guffawing, etc.

There are moments when one has to be a strategic agbaya if it serves the purpose of getting on the nerves of a certain class of people so I join in the bad behaviour, also belching loudly and drawing satisfaction from the disapproving looks on the faces of some of the accent-faking sophisticated ladies and their male company at other tables.

We walk out royally after our meal. I can sense the happiness which engulfs my driver. We strike a conversation about it all on the way to the airport. He tells me that the most painful part of it for him is that all those madams and ogas spending about N10,000 for a meal for two are often people who owe their drivers, cooks, houseboys, house girls, gardeners, maiguards and nannies salary arrears and refuse to pay.

That is when it occurs to me that he probably would have appreciated the cash equivalent of what I just spent on a single lunch for him.

Our bill was N8000.

At the airport, I give him N4000.

His profuse prayers are the last words I hear as the airport terminal swallows me on my way to Lagos………
~~~~~~~~~***~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Pius Adesanmi is a Nigerian Professor with Carlton University in Canada that is among those that died on the ill fated Ethiopia airline

Rest in Peace Professor Pius Adesanmi…..🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾





Breadseller or model, a good job is attractive

15 03 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Jumoke the bread seller whose ordinary work turned her into a model has uncovered how extraordinary and attractive an ordinary work done well, with love and a smile can lead to success.

In 2016, 27 yr old breadseller, Olajumoke Orisaguna—Jumoke, a mother of two was pounding the streets, carrying her wares on her head, eking a living to save her family from starvation.
Unawares, she walked into a street photo-shoot and was caught in the background. While editing the pictures later, the female photo-journalist was so smitten by her photogenic beauty and determined to find her, she posted the picture on instagram and successfully tracked her down and offered her a job as model, thus making an inspiring rag-to-riches story that held Nigerians spell bound for years. Fans couldn’t get enough of her, hope spread among desolate millions in the streets that one day their luck will change.

Olajumoke Orisaguna walks into a photo-shoot accidental
The Picture of Jumoke at background that made her famous

Her parents were too poor to send her to a formal school, Jumoke had trained as a hairdresser because and in 2010, met and married a craftsman. But their combined income wasn’t adequate to feed their two children. To haul the family out of appalling straits, she moved from Osun to Lagos with one of her daughters, to work in a bakery. It was a hard and difficult work, on foot each day with a tray laden with bread loafs on her head. Yet, come rain or shine, she kept a smile on her face.
That afternoon walking past people talking pictures, unconcerned, she smiled and hurried on, calling for customers; little did she know that Lady Luck saw her.

She had since become a runaway success, yet she remains inwardly unaffected by it, humble and straight talking her reality TV shows are filled with great street wisdom and is the darling of you-tubers.

In one of the episodes, she spoke with her usual unadorned candidness, of the shocking things she had seen on social media, things like a man getting married to a man and a woman marrying another woman.

With the candidness of a child she expressed it as utter “unNigerian” and unthinkable.

Jumoke’s wisdom

She was simply expressing her opinion, and besides she isn’t a lettered woman, and as Peter Kreeft, philosophy professor of Boston College said, “There are certain falsehoods that you need a PhD to believe.”

Yet, the floodgates of hate and cyber bullying were immediately flung wide open and attacks on her person and family began. Orchestrated and led by a Ghanaian self proclaimed transsexual who continues to smear her, intent on ruining her, and getting her blacklisted by modeling companies.

Not satisfied with hounding her job, they have turned on her husband and marriage, spreading vicious rumors that she was sleeping with other men and disrespecting her husband.

Yet, come hell or high water, Jumoke is refusing to succumb to threats, and continues sharing her hard gotten wisdoms with Nigerian youths who adore her. And she is not all talk, often swinging into action when she comes across women in grim straits. She recently convinced her promoters to intervene and build a house for an aged woman she saw being evicted from her home.

Jumoke

Yet, young people best remember that Jumoke’s success wasn’t entirely of her own making. “Lady Success” lent her a hand whilst she was busy with her ordinary work selling bread, for love of husband and children.

How true what someone said, that success, true success is really carrying out the duties of everyday and the little things of each day well, with a smile if possible and always elegant. For it is along ordinary paths of life that we meet our destiny.

Still her success is an unlikely story for millions of indigent youths. A rare combination of luck and the goodness of a relentless photo-journalist had made her what she is today, and many Nigerians may never have such luck. They should not be disheartened however, but rather continue doing their ordinary work well, throwing in a smile along, even if their work should suffer the privation of remaining unclaimed till death.

They should remember that just as a man submits to the cruel torture of a surgical operation in order to save his lives; it is quite possible ordinary life’s cruel sufferings might save the life of their souls if accepted with love and a smile. “Pain or suffering of any kind for that matter can, be bearable when accepted as a form of purification,” some spiritual writers say.

And anyone who examines himself honestly will find much to purify: sins, omissions in love, disorderly inclinations which must be paid either in this life or in the next. Suffering is necessarily part of this life, and those who wish to go straight to heaven, after a life spent wholly in God’s service must not shrink from it

And St Paul exhorts in scriptures, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us when we contemplate God face to face.”
And St. Josemaria Escriva adds,“ Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine, hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it.”

Infact, Escriva, with Gospel in hand, constantly taught that God does not want us simply to be good . . . , he wants us to be saints, through and through. However, he wants us to attain that sanctity, not by doing extraordinary things, but rather through ordinary, common activities. It is the way they are done which must be uncommon. There, in the middle of the street, in the office, in the factory, we can be . . . holy, provided we do our job.”
Young people might not all become famous like Jumoke, but their work no matter how ordinary, done with love, and extraordinarily well, is attractive and is a sure path to happiness.





An African gift to a Danish woman

24 01 2019

By Chinwuba Iyizoba

Video of the African Gift: Story of Anja

Danish woman social worker who fed and gave new life to a Nigerian child left for dead by his family because they thought he was a witch is herself rewarded with a new life.

In 2016, a Danish woman, Anja Ringgren Lovena, a social worker, found a toddler, emaciated and riddled with worms wandering the streets of Akwa-Ibom, he was naked and fending for himself.


She bent down and gently fed the boy and gave him some water, later she wrapped him in a blanket and with the help of her team took him to a hospital where he was given medications to remove the worms from his stomach and given daily blood transfusions till he was stable enough. She then took him home, washed, cleaned, fed, clothed him and called him Hope.

Pictures she shared of her feeding the starving boy broke the internet and the hearts of many the world over; and she received more than a million dollars in donations. A few months later she posted pictures of the fully recovered boy looking healthy and robust. Again, the pictures went viral and she became a celebrity, but more important, her life was changed forever.

The boy Hope had brought hope back into her own life.

“I have been looking to find meaning in my life,” said Anja, who grew up in a loving home, where her Mom worked with elderly people and thought her how to care and love other people. Her mom often told her stories of African children starving, and as a young woman she became very fascinated with Africa.

At 23, her mother’s death from cancer shattered her life. Distraught, she began looking to find meaning in her life, and decided to come to Africa.

 She founded an organization for children in 2012 in Malawi but opted for Nigeria when she stumbled across online articles about children killed after being accused of witch craft in Nigeria.

“When I found out that so many innocent children in the Niger Delta Region were tortured and killed due to superstition and the belief in witchcraft, I was in total shock,” said Anja, “it really made me so sick to my bones. How could anyone do this to children?”

From then on nothing could stop her from coming to Nigeria. Children needed help

 In Nigeria, in 2013, she met and fell in love with David Umen, a social worker and a law student; together they formed a team and built a children center.

She and David had been on many rescue missions, in obscurity, unclaimed until that fateful morning of 30th January 2016, when she found Hope, a most precious gift clothed in distressing disguise. Hope made her famous.

Now she has 100,000 followers on instagram, more than 150,000 Facebook followers, and millions across the globe who, admiring her generous heart, wish to be better.




On that January morning when she first looked into Hope’s frightfully hungry eyes, she saw with crystal clarity, what many Danish people  or Americans or European can’t see, and therefore can’t understand or even imagine exists.

She grasped that unless she helped them see what she was seeing with her eyes, through the lens of her camera, many will continue drifting aimlessly, chasing shadows and fleeting pleasures, unaware of that inner call to dedicate themselves to something greater than them.

Her pictures shattered the comfortable selfish lives of millions, and raised consciences long dead; and as she extended her hands to feed that little starving child, many satiated stomachs whose hands never extended to feed any other but themselves quivered uneasily knowing they could be better, they could contribute something, they could share some of their bread with those who have naught.

When she saw the starving child, she acted like a human being and became an inspiration for millions,” says the editor of German-language Ooom Magazine that listed Anja as the most influential person of the year 2016.

 “Her sustained efforts to help the abandoned children of Nigeria gives us hope and encourages us to follow suit.”

Africa has given Anja a gift, a return to humanity now lost to many of her folks bent on killing their children through abortions. Abortion is fully legal in Denmark, done on-demand up to twelfth week. A super rich country like the United States killed more than 45 million children via abortion since the 70’s, and just this week, New York legalized abortions until birth for any reason whatsoever!

Africans are ignorant, backward and poor; no doubt and in their ignorance, kill children. Yet, they are excusable precisely because they are poor, ignorant and backward.

More shocking and inexcusable are the acts of nations and peoples, highly educated, highly progressive, and super rich who kill unborn children as a right and a privilege. According to Mother Theresa of Calcutta, “Any country that accepts abortion is the poorest of the poor.”

“Many people are concerned with children of India, with the children of Africa,” continues Mother Theresa.  “These concerns are very good. But often these same people are not concerned with the millions being killed by the deliberate decision of their own mothers. And this is the greatest destroyer of peace today- abortion which brings people to such blindness.”

Unlike African blindness, easy to cure with education and bread, European blindness is complicated and requires a complete surgery to right their crocked world view filled with anti-human ideologies of trans-genderism, of homosexuality and atheistic anti-life policies.

Africa has given Anja a home to welcome as many witch-children as her heart desires; Africa has also given her a gift of love in return: Emmanuel, her handsome husband, has filled her heart with joy of life and a gift of her own very son whom she cherishes more than life itself.

By extension, Anja’s action encourages all Nigerians to rise and uproot this evil superstition killing children and do more to help others; there is a joy that the world cannot give that comes from helping others, and as the end of life approaches, perhaps those acts of charity are the only things that will endure; for it is simply true that when we help others, we become better.





Transformative Power of Work by Ikechukwu Onuoma

28 09 2018

 

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UNIV NIGERIA 2019: Getting down to business

Did you ever think about the fact that only humans have hands? It may seem obvious, but it’s not. In the world of nature, we humans are uniquely vulnerable: wings, paws or flippers get you around a lot faster and farther; furs and feathers provide protection from the elements; refined senses, instincts, and defense mechanisms automatically kick in to ward off dangers and detect opportunities for growth.

But our vulnerability is at the same time our strength.

With our hands, we can build wings to fly.

With our hands, we can design our own habitat and weave our own clothe.

With our hands, we can provide care, establish relations, and protect ourselves and others.

Our hands are instruments open to infinite possibilities.

With our hands, we humanize the world through arts and Medicine, Gastronomy, Architecture, Fashion, Communication, Education, Domestic Work and Design.

Our interdependence creates employment opportunities in Commerce, Health Care, Politics, Law, Economy, Business and International Affair.

Our openness to infinite possibilities drives work forward creating Technology that entertainment us and innovations in research.

With our hands, we work. But have we always worked in the same way? Today the world of work is undergoing arguably the most drastic transformation since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th Century. Information technology, shifting social demographics and globalization are some of the factors that are shaping the ambiguous future of work, in which one-track careers are being replaced by multi-faceted professional trajectories, and personal capacities and aptitudes such as critical thinking, resilience, problem-solving and decision-making are increasingly valued over technical know-how.

The world of work in the 21st century is full of challenges: vast geographic and social inequalities, corruption, inefficient structures, forced labor, unrecognized and uncompensated work, human trafficking, unregulated activity in emerging sectors and high levels of youth unemployment.

So let’s get down to business. The 21st century professional is serious, dedicated, diligent, creative, focused and capable of persevering in an integrated cognitive and physical effort. What kind of personal development does a professional in today’s workforce need in order to convert needs into opportunities and vulnerabilities into strengths? How does one´s profession become an authentic service to society and the individuals who surround us? What can your hands do that a robotic arm cannot? What can you contribute beyond the scope of artificial intelligence? The challenges are many, but our hands are open to infinite possibilities.

 

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Ikechukwu Onuoma is a lawyer and the national coordinator of
Univ Nigeria








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