by Suoyo Ekubo
Thank you dear friends;
Sir Obinna Anaba, Okpongedenge Ndingwa, and the Anaba dynasty buried their beloved patriarch Late Sir Samuel Ihemereonyeihu Anaba on the 17th to 18th of November 2022 in Abayi Isingwa in Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State.
Sir Ihemereonyeihu Anaba was born in 1920, a few years before the Aba Women’s Riot of 1929, in Abayi formerly in Ngwa Ukwu autonomous community in present Abia State. He passed away at the age of 102 on Sunday 21st August 2022.
He was married to his dear Wife Lady Emily Eziakwa Anaba for 59 years with Seven children and grandchildren.
Often times, longevity creates an illusion of immortality. Late Sir Ihemereonyeihu Anaba lived such a long, impactful and fulfilled life, Even in his senile days Late Sir Ihemereonyeihu Anaba was a strong man and mentally alert.
While as a young man, Late Sir Ihemereonyeihu Anaba commenced his first primary education at the Qua Iboe Church primary school Abayi, where his mother enrolled him at over twenty years of age. Consequently, during his early years he attended many schools for Christian denominational reasons. He skipped infant one to three due to his age and good knowledge of the Bible, which he had learned so well at the Qua Iboe Church Sunday School.
Late Sir Ihemereonyeihu Anaba, was a registered life member of the BIBLE SOCIETY OF NIGERIA (BSN) since 1971. He was one of the two Eastern Representatives at National Executive Board of the Bible Society of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. He was Chairman, Isiala Ngwa Auxiliary, Bible Society Nigeria from 1976 to 1981. He was also licensed as an Anglican Lay Reader in Diocese of Aba by Bishop Afonya in 1975 and was board of Aba Diocese from 1975 to 2007. As a knight of Saint Augustine of Hippo, He was knighted in 1996 by the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Aba, Rt. Rev Prof. A. O. Iwuagwu.
Late Sir Ihemereonyeihu, belonged to a class of Nigerian teachers who received their training under the colonial masters on the eve of independence. They left a stamp on the service and on nation in a way that is wholly out of the reach of their Successors.
His only daughter out of seven children, Ezinwanyi, says Late Sir Ihemereonyeihu will always be quick in stating, “I do not belong to the foolish majority, and it is not true that there is wisdom in all majority decision. I will always be the first to speak against any form of oppressive and unethical practices in any form.”
Ezinwanyi whom he fondly calls Adanne grew up knowing Sir Ihemereonyeihu as a very firm disciplinarian, a teacher, a very decent man, very intelligent and a man who had strong faith in God. She said that Sir Ihemereonyeihu was her very first teacher from whom she learnt how to read, write and sing.
According to her, he virtually laid the foundation upon which her educational achievements and her faith in God were built. He was her psychologist and counsellor. She further revealed that a great lesson she learned from her dad is his selfless services to people whether they appreciate the services or not. She also pointed out that her father’s love for education is immeasurable, and for this reason he named his compound in Abayi, ‘Sir S. I Anaba World Education Centre’ of which she sometimes fondly mocks him by saying that he is the Professor Emeritus of this World Education Centre.
According to the Son, Obinna, the story of Sir Ihemereonyeihu is that of a “Man who surmounted incredible odds to be what he is today: a man who if he were to be named afresh, will correctly be named Onyekwere meaning who would have believed. It is a very rich, long and captivating story. We have had the privilege of hearing it in snapshots, witnessed some of the events.
He continued by saying that “Our father Is not patient. His long and tortuous journey through life robbed him of that kind of patience – in a good way. He fought so many personal wars that he developed an uncanny ability to read things ten miles ahead of most people. He had zero tolerance for bad behaviour, absence of integrity and dishonesty. That will appear as impatience. But it has served both him and us, his children. Because you know you will not mess around him, you either come prepared or you don’t come. That’s our father, a very great man.
The funeral ceremony attended by top Government officials including the Executive Governor of Abia State His Excellency Okezie Ikpeazu, Engr. Adokiye Tombomieye, the group executive director, upstream of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, Engr. Ambassador Idaere-gogo Ogan the Governing Board Chairman, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Hon. Dr. Abiye Sekibo, Former Minister of transportation, members of Port Harcourt City One Love, Kingsley Wenenda Wali, and many others very distinguished personalities.