For quite a long time I was used to a situation of neither Dad nor Dad in-law, with my Mum and Mum in-law intact until the demise of my Mum in 1996. Thereafter, I became used to having just one Mum. Now, that last support is no more with her exit. How do I become used to this new situation? To God be the glory. The Board and Management of Aro News Publications Ltd issued a mid-quarter edition, a special publication dedicated solely to honor late Mrs. Grace Arukwe, and commiserate with my humble self, her son in-law. In a special way, I want to appreciate my colleagues at Aro News who saw the depth of my sorrow and correctly reasoned that neither silver nor gold shall match this historic legacy of honoring my amiable late mother in-law with its rare special edition. Indeed, she is the fourth person and the second woman to be so honored in the newspaper’s two decades of existence.
Obinikpa village, Ajalli, Orumba North Local Government Area, Anambra State, the abode of Umu Okoronkwo-Emuwa family was agog on Thursday and Friday, January 28 & 29, 2016 when it played host to a crowd of mourners that witnessed her final burial rites. She was a scion of the famous late Mazi Lazarus Ogbonnaya Okereke family of Ndi Okoro-Avigbo, Amuvi, Arochukwu; a wealthy produce merchant who franchised for J.B Ollivant, UAC and John Holt before the civil war. Her only daughter, Mrs. Stella Chika Arukwe is married to my humble self. The late Agaezi or Elemma, as she was popularly known, got married early in her life to late Mazi John Okwudili Arukwe. Her marriage was blessed with four children (Christo, Stella, Chibu, Chuma) and all through her life she relied strongly on God. She was consummate Catholic, peaceful, charitable and served her community at various levels.
A statement by the eldest son, Barrister Chris Arukwe indicated that she died after a brief illness at the age of 71 years. There was service of songs at her Enugu residence; all-night wake at the Arukwe-Okoronkwo-Emuwa family, Obinikpa Village, as well as, burial Mass at St Mathew’s Catholic Church, Ajalli before her remains was interned. Her USA-based only surviving brother, Mazi Nnanna Okereke (Topsy) and other relations, including Mrs. Nnenna Echebiri, organized a service of songs for her on Friday December 4, 2015 at Randolph, Massachusetts while her son in-law hosted a special production on her “life & times” on a dedicated page to immortalize her. Mourners from various walks of life swarmed the entire environment in multiple colors akin to a carnival, including entertainers and music makers that provided rich side attractions in the midst of sumptuous meals and choice drinks that flowed endlessly as she departed to eternity in a blaze of grandeur. Adieu.