The exact Length of Iroko is better ascertained when it’s Down’


As was the case few occasions in the past, this column is dedicated to two special characters that we lost recently. It is my special way to credit and immortalize their memories on print, for the special roles they played during their earthly sojourn. The void created by their absence is huge and it’s only Heaven that would provide adequate substitutes. It is certainly a near impossibility trying to ascertain the actual length of an iroko tree while it is standing; rather it is much easier while its trunk is lying on the soil.

Such is the peculiar characteristics of these two persons who were called unto eternity this period. Mazi Silas Okereke, a quintessential gentleman, ‘an unforgettable institution’ and a scion of the Okereke Brothers dynasty arrived on November 22, 1935 and was accorded a carnival-like departure rite on Friday November 1st, 2019. A household name in several abodes – Mbala-Isuochi, London, Enugu, Port Harcourt, etc; as a ‘prince’, he held sway with his siblings and relations in the expansive residence of the Okereke Brothers, at Ugwu, Mbala-Isuochi which was, in fact, my earliest recollection of what a cozy, GRA residence looked like. He was committed to mother earth while I was on vacation overseas, my condolences to the entire Okereke family, especially Mazi Mike Okereke, now the patriarch whose duty it is to look after every person. God’s grace is always sufficient. 

The Akuma-Oziza and Okoronkwo-Oriri will dearly miss Mrs. Stella Okechukwu (nee Okoronkwo) who was committed to mother earth on December 5, 2019. Her ever beaming smiles, a trade mark which showed that love and humility are uncommon virtues, are lost for forever. To be sure that Chinyere Igwe who reached me immediately on phone with the news knew exactly what she was talking about, I quickly asked her, ‘who is Stella Okoronkwo’? Because it wasn’t long she visited and we rejoiced together at the residence of her senior brother, Engr. Emma Okoronkwo in Abuja, and celebrated her eldest son, Jude (Bobo) who was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army. It was a joyful meet and she was full of live and joked with my wife and everyone. She even made a choice of the pictures she took while decorating Jude with his new rank which am publishing here as per my promise. The weight of the loss is heavy but God knows the best way to console every person in the family, especially her very young children. To her siblings, my aunt’s children, let’s not despair but trust God. Its well! Mazi Silas Okereke

About author

Azubike Okoro

Mazi Azubike Okoro holds two Master’s degrees - Sociology and Human Resource Management- and a Doctorate of Management of Argosy University, Chicago, USA. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria and the Nigeria Institute of Management; he is Member, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) USA and the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI), USA. Currently a Director at the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), he founded Aro News in 1997 to encourage research on the culture, history and civilization of the Arochukwu nation. Also, he was the pioneer Publisher/Editor-in-Chief. Dr. Okoro is married with children and resides at Abuja, Nigeria.


  1. Colonel Emeritus IA Okereke 29 January, 2020 at 22:16 Reply

    I salute your courage and practice of journalism. However permit me to point out a few things. My Father, Mazi Philip Okoronkwo Okereke, former General Manager NTA Aba still living is the oldest male child of what used to be called Okereke Brothers of which his Father Edmund was eldest. He lives in Aba. And it is also good news to understand that you did not mention that my good Mother Mercy Mgbeke Okereke, who was married into the Okereke Brothers Family being the First Nurse Midwife in Enugu Senatorial District, who in her life time served the Amuvi women from Enugu, to Lagos and Aba also had gone on to Triumphant Glory and her remains was committed to Mother Earth on Saturday 12th September 2019. My Mother had the privilege of decorating me on commission at the Nigerian Defence Academy on Saturday 15thDecember1984 with my Father in attendance with his press ID Card. Also you need to correct the error that Mazi Mike Okereke is the most Senior in the Okereke Brothers clan. Thank you. Colonel Emeritus Ikechi Anthony Okereke,psc(Wellington) fdc(Abuja) M.Sc(Madras)M.Sc(Ibadan)DSS ECOMOG Medal

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