Ohanaeze Ndigbo mourns Ironsi, Okpara’s wives
By Millicent Onaga, Enugu
The South East apex sociocultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has joined the rest of the world to mourn the death of two eminent Igbo daughters, Chief Mrs Victoria Aguiyi Ironsi, wife of Nigeria former head of state and Chief Mrs Adanma Okpara, wife of the first republic eastern premier, who died at 97 and 96 years respectively.
The group in a statement made available to Newsmen in Enugu by its National Publicity Secretary, Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia, described both women as unassailable Igbo archetype rooted in hard work, tenacity, self-esteem and faith in God, stating that the both women fit into the classes of women who stood firmly even after their husbands’ death.
The group recalled that Victoria and Adanma lost their heartthrobs early in life but still summoned courage, fortitude and steadfastness in order to chart enviable courses for their children.
According to the statement, “The Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide are devastated by the death of two eminent and virtuous Igbo daughters: Chief Mrs. Victoria Aguiyi Ironsi (1923-2021) and Chief Mrs. Adanma Okpara (1924-2021).
“Chief Mrs Victoria Aguiyi Ironsi was the Nigerian First Lady while her husband, Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi (JTU) lasted as the Nigerian Head of State from January to July 29, 1966. Although her tenure as the First Lady was very brief, she added prestige, colour, glamour and regality to the Office of the First Lady
“Beyond her roles during and after the death of General Ironsi was her innermost Ironsi subconscious; she would pray for the soldier husband, she would nudge, motivate and package him for the tasks ahead and she would strive to be by his side to manage the exuberant gusto of the Lion, JTU.
“Mrs Adanma Okpara, was very famous among women. Her frugal lifestyle and prudent resource management endeared her to many. The husband, Dr. M I. Okpara, a former parliamentarian and Premier of the Eastern Region at 39 was a charismatic, sagacious and formidable politician whose legacies still resonate several years after his demise.
“Okpara created wealth for the East but refused to appropriate it to himself. Okpara gave all and took nothing. This is where Adanma comes in as a disciplined noble wife.
“The idiom that behind every successful man is a strong woman standing illustrates the life of Mrs Victoria Aguiyi Ironsi and Mrs Adanma Okpara.
“It is possible that that these two beautiful Igbo souls had seen heaven and hell while alive but their virtuous lives shall remain fresh in the minds of the present and future generations of Igbo women.
“Ambassador Professor George Obiozor, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide mourns with the Ironsi and Okpara immediate families, the people and government of Abia State and indeed all the good people of Igbo Land and prays that the Almighty will grant their souls an eternal repose in his bosom,” the statement read.