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MY PASSION, UPLIFTING MY PEOPLE – Peter Idion

Our Personality of the Week is Hon. Peter Onyeisi Idion, a retired Customs Officer and Executive Assistant to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Political Matters (Non Indigene). He was born a twin on 10th of March, 1958 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Julius Idion. He hails from Alisimie in Ika South Local Government Area of Delta State.

In this exclusive interview with Mr. Ashien Ekiri-Mekiriuwa, he shares his career experience as a Customs Officer, his views on Ika and Delta politics and life after retirement.

Enjoy reading…

Tell us about your academic background?

I attended St. Charles Primary School, Agbor, now known as Charles Burr Primary School. I then proceeded to St Thomas College at Ibusa. A year later, I moved to St. Columbus College, Agbor. After my Secondary School education in 1977, I got a job with Nigerian Security Organisation (N.S.O.).  During the training at N.S.O. somebody told me that I will be among those chosen to move around with trained security dogs, at that instance; I ran away from the N.S.O. I later got a job with the Bendel State Ministry of Economic Development, Ezioti Road in Benin City and was posted to work at the Treasury Department in Sapele, through a good friend of mine, named D.N.C Onuora, who was a Principal Collector as was called then. I was enlisted into the Nigerian Customs in 1979 in Sapele and posted to Koko Port as an Enforcement Officer. I was in Koko Port when another transfer came, this time, it was to Maiduguri.

 

Do you have memories of your secondary school days and classmates?

Yes, some of my classmates were Cairo Ojougboh, late Emma Omeke, late Emma Scotland, Admiral Joe Aikomu (Rtd.) Mr. Okobu, and late Fred.

It is on record that when your twin brother, Paul died, you had so many rifts with Dr. Cairo Ojougboh; tell us about that and what led to that?

My late twin brother was based in Germany before he decided to relocate to Nigeria and take part in politics. He had so much passion for his people. He hated to see them suffering and wanted to do everything he could to alleviate their sufferings. When he returned to Agbor, he joined the camp of Cairo Ojougboh, because he was a great friend of his in Lagos. There was a time Cairo accused him (Paul) of stealing his money (a huge sum of money) and embarrassed him, until one of Cairo’s relations who was a student at the University of Jos called on telephone and told them that  she was the one who took the money. Paul felt very bad, especially when he compared the progress those in Okowa’s camp have made politically and financially. He then decided that he had to leave Cairo’s camp if he really wanted to progress in politics and do things for his people. He left Cairo’s camp on his own accord and not due to any other reason. One thing led to another and then he died. We (the Family members) knew he died of poisoning because of politics but we decided not to fight anyone.

My anger against Cairo Ojougboh then was because of some of his utterances but I would not like to go through those details; they are behind me already, so as to let the sleeping dog lie and for the dead to rest in peace. Cairo is a good fellow but feels everyone is below him; he knows how to advise people but does not heed to advice or advise himself. We have long forgotten the past. Recently, when I was appointed Executive Assistant to the Governor, Ojougboh never called to congratulate me and he told some of our friends when he was appointed NDDC Project Director that I did not call to congratulate him. I want him to know that “as elephant head dey heavy am, na so ant head they heavy am too.”

Hon. Idion, tell us about your Parents?

My father, Mr. Julius Idion, was partly from Ozanogogo and Alisimie. He was a military Nurse, the   medical personnel in charge of Ex-Service Men Battalion and worked in Military Based Hospital, Ibadan where he died. My mum, Mrs. Victoria Idion was a trader. She traded on garri and other food stuffs. I learnt generosity from my parents. My father would often go and buy drugs and injections and voluntarily treat people in the community.  Up till today, I still receive commendation from Agbor people that my father was very nice to when they were sick.

 

Tell Us About Your Career As A Customs Officer?

In 1980, I was posted to Maiduguri. While there, I was admitted into the University of Maiduguri and got a Diploma in Public Administration. I worked in all borders of Maiduguri town that are currently theatres of insurgency today.  I was later posted to Lagos, worked at Muritala Mohammed Airport, Cargo Section from where I was posted to Valuation Office in Abuja. I was later posted from Abuja to the Apapa seaport in Lagos as a Valuation Officer. Within a few years, I was reposted from Apapa Seaport to Tincan to PTML Seaport. I was then posted to Niger State, stayed in Niger State, Minna precisely for one year and then posted back to PTML in Lagos.  Thereafter, I was posted to Calabar where I seized the opportunity to apply for admission into the University of Calabar (UNICAL) and studied Sociology. While in Calabar, I was the Special Assistant to the Area Comptroller, Comptroller Bellu Obiora. After my years in Calabar, I was reposted to Lagos to PTML and then to Ijora Container Terminal, where I was also the Special Assistant to the same Area Comptroller. I was lastly posted to Kirikiri Terminal, where I became the Staff Officer of Vehicle Seat and I eventually retired in 2014 at the end of my 35 years of service in the Nigerian Customs.

personality1B MY PASSION, UPLIFTING MY PEOPLE - Peter Idion
HON. IDION(1ST RIGHT) WITH COLLEAGUES IN THE CUSTOMS

What does Valuation Officers do in Custom?

They are the ones who value goods, check their assessment and issue D/N because of false declaration. That is, they determine if the value declared is the same thing as the exact assessment of the goods valued.

 

Tell us about some of your memorable experiences while in the Customs?

To start with, to be in the Valuation’s Department, one must be very familiar with the terrain and the tariff nomenclature and most importantly must be someone with integrity. One very interesting event was when I newly joined the Customs, I was an Enforcement Officer, and we used to go on market raids. One day, we were to come to Agbor, my hometown to raid and lock up shops. On getting to Agbor, I took excuse from my superiors to ease myself. When they parked our Patrol Vehicle, I went to one side of the road and told someone to run and tell people to close their shops that Custom officers were coming to raid the shops and markets in Agbor. By the time I returned to our waiting Patrol Vehicle, the man had already gone on his bike to inform the traders of our coming, so by the time we arrive the main town, shops were already closed. I was wondering how I would face my people, if their goods were taken away.

Another Memorable event was that of a man who underpaid his import duty worth almost a Million Naira for cars he imported, he paid only One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira. It was when I was to sign the Release Order, while checking the value that I made the discovery. This made me very angry; I then went to my superior and demanded that those vehicles be seized. He gave me go- ahead to seize the vehicles, but to my surprise, while I was filling documents to seize the vehicles, I saw the name of the owner; it was an Ika man, someone I even know personally, at that point my pen fell from my hand. I had to go back to my superior and told him I would follow up on the payment before seizing it. It may interest you to know that Kingsley had given the agent almost Three Million Naira to clear the vehicles, but trust our Clearing and Forwarding Agencies in Nigeria; they like under-payments. That is why I always advise our people to always take the documents to any Customs Command and check the payments before you buy a car from any car dealer. However, I helped him clear the vehicle while he later completed the payment. I sometimes get passionate about my people even while at work. When one does some things in life, one must always remember home.

 

From what you have said, your passion for your people seem to overweigh your official decisions?

Most times it does not, but a few times it does because no matter what I do, I often remember that I will be going back home one day and that blood is thicker than water. Towards my retirement, due to the passion for my people I left some of my rank promotions for some younger colleagues from Ika, since I knew I was leaving the service.

 

What about your sad moments while in the Customs?

There was a time a highly respected chief in Agbor told my mother to come to Lagos and take me, saying that I was no longer in the Customs and have been dismissed and walking around Lagos. My mother came all the way from Agbor to Lagos only to bring me back home, since she believed I have been dismissed, then there were no phones. When she got to Lagos, they brought her to our office she stood by the roadside and watched me for a while working and giving instructions while on my uniform. My mother started crying and then my attention was drawn to her, I also started crying and felt very bad because I would not have forgiven that chief if anything had happened to my mother. It was so painful that someone I considered an uncle from my hometown could orchestrate such a huge lie and making my mother take the risk of coming to Lagos.

 

At retirement you went into politics immediately, tell us about that?

I have had empathy for politics while I was still in the service but as a Civil Servant one can have sympathy for any political party but cannot and should not play an active role in politics. I kept building my political strength. I often used my salary to assist in one way or the other politically, so at retirement, I went completely into politics and joined Cairo’s camp. There was a time Cairo told some of us in his camp to work for Okowa’s Senatorial bid and openly disclosed he was stepping down for Okowa. We joined Okowa’s campaign train, he made me Director of Protocol, Douglas Okolotu; Deputy Campaign Director-General and Kingsley Emu; Campaign Director-General. On the day of the Primary Election, Cairo called us to refrain from the campaign and we refused since we have worked this far. By the time we started working with Okowa, we already discovered very nice working conditions that was not in Cairo’s camp. We found leverage, self expression, freedom, empowerment and how people were treated with respect that was how we stayed with Okowa till he won the election. It was at that point he (Cairo) started having problems with Okowa, they are brothers and would soon settle their differences we thought. Some of the things Cairo did then; I know he is more experienced now and would not do some of those things when opportunities come again.

 

Have You Normalized Your Relationship With Ojougboh Now?

We are not having issues, we are neither friends nor enemies, I have moved forward, forgiven and forgotten the past and I know he has too. His wife is my very good friend. She is a lovely woman with a kind heart. She is a peaceful woman. Mrs. Bose Ojougboh is a woman I respect a lot; the man is ‘kawazaki’ while the woman is ‘Honda’.

personality1B MY PASSION, UPLIFTING MY PEOPLE - Peter Idion

What Positions Have You Held In Delta Politics So Far?

I started as the director of protocols for Okowa’s senatorial campaign and then became a Special Assistant to the Governor and now an Executive Assistant. While I was a Special Assistant, I founded the Bridge Builders, one of the foremost groups in Ika South, people that were not ready to join other groups that were in existence, due to their various ideologies came to join Bridge Builders and it has been working so far so good. The Bridge Builder is founded on ideologies and not a group of come and buy.

 

How Did You Form The Bridge Builders And What Was The Aim?

There were so many things lacking, I realized that Okowa was a grassroot person, he relates so well with the people at the grassroot to the extent that he knows so many people by their names even cleaners in each Local Government and its not magic, it is simply passion for his people. His wealth is in the hands of the people, you can see the result of the last election, the votes were massive from every part of the State and it has not happened in such magnitude before. We formed the Bridge Builders group to complement the effort of His Excellency by being passionate about the grassroots thereby building a bridge for those at the grassroots to get closer to government.

personality1B MY PASSION, UPLIFTING MY PEOPLE - Peter Idion
LATE TWIN BROTHER

It is rumored that you organized empowerment for the youths regularly and that you often fund businesses for youths, tell us about that Sir?

One of the things I learnt while I was in the Customs, from my parents and as a Mass Server in St. John’s Catholic Church, Agbor as a child, was that we must help the less privilege. I do all that because we have to be our brother’s keeper. Whenever I get my monthly pension, I often ask myself why I would spend the money alone when I can use it to help people. That was what brought about the Bridge Builders that we have today. There was a time I went to Agbor-Obi and a woman rushed to me, saying thank you sir. I was surprised and asked her who she was. She explained that she was among the market women who got #20,000 from me when she used to sell crayfish, saying that most days often make only #500 until she got the money and bought a goat, started selling pepper soup and palm wine. The woman now kills at least four goats in a day and has several employees working for her. It really gladdens my heart; I was so happy to hear her testimony. Currently, our female youths are being empowered to start up businesses. About seven of them have opened their shops. I am not sharing peanuts to people of which they would spend and come back tomorrow to beg again. I believe in bringing out some persons and empower them holistically so that they can empower others. If I start sharing N2,000 to N5000 to people, then, I have not done anything.

Currently, I have identified another five persons that I am going to help for them to start a business too. My passion to give and help my people is the major reason why I joined the Rotary Club about a month ago. The President, Rtn. Nkechi Odum is a good woman that has passion in helping the poor. Actually, Dr. Ugboh brought me to Rotary Club.

personality1B MY PASSION, UPLIFTING MY PEOPLE - Peter Idion
PETER IDION

The 2019 elections was marred by controversies and court cases after the results were declared especially the House of Representatives, tell us what transpired and what role you played?

I played a very big role in the sense that I don’t eat my words. When I see what is right or wrong I will tell you the way it is. What is happening here in Ika South is that we don’t prepare early and we don’t give the young men opportunity to be politically vibrant, unlike what is happening in Ika North East. The old men are still struggling with the young men for power. I am not saying the old men should be washed out of the system completely, I am only saying we should allow our younger ones do most of the political calculations and then, the elders sit and advise, caution, query and guide them through. Why would an old man be going on a campaign rally from here to Oghara, to Warri and the likes? It is not right at all. It is disrespectful. Why would I witness when an outsider will be struggling with my respected leader.

We supported Chuky Dandy because we wanted Ika south to return since every other local government representatives were coming back. Fada Ibude was one of the persons who asked us to support Chuky Dandy. We all agreed and decided to support Chuky Dandy. On the day of the primary election, he even voted for Chuky Dandy, only for him to wake up few days later and said he also wants to contest the election. I actually respected him so much because of his father’s influence on my life. His father was the one who helped me to get into St Columbus Grammar School. Dr. Phillip Okwuada was not ready for the position, he was given SSA on Agriculture and he accepted it. He was going to work receiving salary.

Surprisingly, he said he wants to contest an election. Why then did he take up the appointment when he knew he wanted to contest an election? I see him as someone who does not know what he was doing. I agree less with that style. He is a man I love and respect. Then Nwokolo, indicated interest to contest. We agreed to let him go for another term and begin to groom someone else. Victor Nwokolo was a child of circumstance and he grabbed the chance.

 

Are you now grooming someone else?

Well that’s not for me alone. The grooming is to be done by the community and even the press, in that the press can suggest and recommend to us too because they know the people more than some of us. We need all the information to work with, but lying against anyone because you are watch dog is not acceptable.

How can you access the performance of Chuky Dandy so far?

I think it is too early to access his performance. One thing we urged him to endeavour to do was to bring Ika into the helms of DESOPADEC, and today that has been done and I give him kudos for that. So far so good, he has been doing his best but he has to do more. The Alisimie Road that he graded, please let him come and tar it like he did that of Agbor-Obi, because Ahima people voted for him and that’s the only way to their Health Centre. That road will be a burden on him, if he likes, let him work on that road. Power too sweet oh, but we must learn how to manage it for the people.

Does a House of Assembly member tar roads?

It is true that House of Assembly members do not have that in their jurisdiction but maybe as his constituency project or whichever way he had tarred the Agbor-Obi Road, let him go and tar Alisimie Road too.

 

You mentioned that a friend, D.N.C. Onuora from Awka in Anambra State helped you into the customs, how have you appreciated him?

Oh! He is actually late now and I did all I could for him while he was alive. I always remember him in my prayers. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed continue to rest in peace, amen.

 

Does Ika South Have A Rallying Point?

A rallying point should be someone who can organize everyone. We have the SSG who is the highest office holder in Ika South and I believe he could be the rallying point and embrace everyone. He could easily feel the vacuum with love, because he is good in governance and also learning politics day by day. Sunny Ogwu can also be that rallying point. We also have Collins Bello, a very dedicated young man. As a Local Government Party Chairman, he is the only one who has kept the office of the party functioning for 24hours. We also have Jude Onyia who was the Youth Leader of PDP IN Delta State. And a few other young men in Ika South who can be that rallying point we are talking about. Well we are doing all we can to make Ika South a very organized political entity.

 

What is your take on the appointment of several aides you think it is necessary and are they all working?

You see it is a very welcome development, Okowa always say this, “When I appoint you, endeavour to appoint someone else so as to reduce unemployment.” Okowa is not the one paying whomever his aides appoint; they pay them from their salaries, in that way they relieve Okowa of certain burdens. The second question you asked is if they are really working. Well, I cannot say categorically if they are and I think Civil Servants have to take their jobs seriously because one thing I know for sure is that Governor Okowa rewards hard work.

 

You talked about giving space for the youths, how have you been advocating for these youths, in what ways have you been pushing for their emergence?

We need to give way to the youths and that is why some aged politicians do not like me because I often mention this to them. They sometimes see me as one who wants to drive them away from politics. I have been talking and I would not stop talking, let us give these youths a chance and advise if they fail, we would correct them. Nobody can cheat nature as the elderly cannot go beyond their capacity.

 

Who is your role model in Politics?

My role model in politics is God, politics started from God. I never looked up to anybody before joining politics, my aim was to come and help my people and I was fortunate to work with Okowa who has the same mind of helping the masses as I do.

 

Talking about your recent appointment as Executive Assistant to the Governor, what should Ika people expect from you?

Thank you so much, that is what we have started doing, helping out Ika people to start businesses. Recently some people came into Ika nation from University of California and want to invest in Ika land. They have visited our royal fathers and I believe very soon great investment would envelope Ika nation. I give kudos to Festus Okubor and Ndudi Agholor, the wife of the erstwhile University of Benin’s Vice Chancellor and Governor Okowa. They would be investing in Education, Agriculture, Technology and the likes. They will be coming back soon. At the end, more than Ten Thousand people will be employed.

 

As the Executive Assistant on Political Matters (Non Indigene) how have you been able to rally non indigenes to get them involved in the polity?

I just resumed office and I can tell you that we have started identifying with all the executive bodies of non indigenes in Ika land; the Hausas, Ibos, Yorubas, and others. Just recently, the Igbo Association in Ika nation had their election and we were notified. It was a beautiful and peaceful transition.  We are also waiting for other tribes to organize themselves and notify us of their executive body because the governor wants a monthly report on non indigene so as to ensure their safety and cooperation in our land and also to carry everyone along.

 

A gentleman by name Donald Peterson has been doing commendable things in Ika south, using his money to repair roads and empower several youths, are you aware of that and what’s your take on the development?

It’s a welcome development, but it is not the first time we are seeing such in Ika nation; several responsible Ika people have done that too, myself inclusive. Sometimes ago, I brought a grader and graded some of the roads in Ika South, It was even published on Ika Weekly Newspaper. I am saying this to let you know that it is not new to Ika people. Peterson is really doing very well. These are the things the local government is supposed to be doing of which they are neglecting and the young man has taken it upon himself to give back to the society. We really appreciate him; but if he is doing it because of politics then we all have gotten it wrong, not just him but all of us. The man, I believe has passion for his people and is bitter about the state of things in his home community and that’s why he is doing these things. God bless him because it is not easy for one to spend one’s money for the people.

 

Hon. Idion, you are now an Executive Assistant to the Governor, are you looking forward to a higher political position in future?

Not at all, I am supposed to be resting and enjoying my retirement and also groom younger ones to take our place. Why should I be struggling? Go to Ika NorthEast and see what young ones are doing, but in Ika South, it is rice and beans poloiticians.

 

You seem to be a favourite of Okowa, because we are aware he chose you to represent him in A Bi-Annual Conference in the USA, what is the relationship?

Well, I don’t know if that word favourite is correct but I only know he has confidence in me. When I was to leave on that assignment, I asked him, Oga what would I say, he said you know what to say. When I got there I said what I could then read some of his books on Stronger Delta. At the end of my speech, the people were very surprised that such level of progress has been made in Delta State because most of them are only abreast of the negative things that happen in the State. Okowa asked me to tell them to come back and invest, that the land is that peaceful and accommodating and many of them have agreed to come home. That visit, cemented the relationship between Deltans in Diaspora and their beloved State. It created awareness on the real situation of things in Delta and changed the wrong impression they had about the state.

The Dein of Agbor was there too and he corroborated what I was saying. Away from your question, I also want to use this medium to request that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele should build a Diagnostic and Dialysis Centre for us in Agbor, we really need it. We need him to make his impact felt as our own so that history will not forget him. We have heard that he is bringing entrepreneurial programme to Agbor and we welcome it but will that not be for people who are alive. Only those who are alive and have good medical care can be a part of the programme. We need better health facilities.

 

Is there any pressure group in Ika nation?

No, I have not seen, you seen. Even Okowa would tell you that he is not a perfect man, but nobody would tell him the things he has not done right, everybody keeps saying Okowa has done well. Nobody tells him what he has not done and should do. You see Okowa is a very listening Governor who often takes corrections; he is not a proud person at all.  I would use this opportunity to inform Governor Okowa that we still need assistance in Ika South; he should not feel we are already comfortable in Ika South. We still need the roads to be attended to. I also want to comment about those that went to bring Chief Patrick Gbagi from another Senatorial District? It is very wrong because they are only trying to heat up the polity.

Why must it be Ika South, it is only because of money and poverty of the mind that those people brought him. For crying out loud, Okowa is less than six months old in the new administration. They only wanted to ridicule us in Ika South, why did they not go to Ika North East?  It is so annoying. Why do they not send him to the Palace to consult with the Palace? Some youths among them took him to a particular house of their leader and gave him a heroic welcome, just because of money.  Pa Nwagimejien is a nice man that if you tell him the consequences, he will not do it, but some that needed money advised him to go ahead.

Gbagi and his people contacted some of us first, but we refused to coordinate such consultation because we believe things should be done the right way. In the privacy of their conscience, they know that what Chief Gbagi was doing is wrong but they still kept on pushing him. Let me tell you, Gbagi and his entourage went to Ika North East, was he given all that heroic welcome? No, he was not because those people are so coordinated. But there were vibrant youths that Okowa had trained. Whereas here in Ika South; we are dragging our brothers down for akara and agidi.

 

Why do we not have pressure groups any longer?

I think it is because more people are having poverty of the mind.

 

There are no industries in Ika nation that will give multiple employments to ika people what is the State Government doing to create solution?

To me the problem lies with the Presidency; we rely so much on importation, much more than on manufacturing. Federal Government has to help the situation, if you have noticed, many companies that started operations in Ika nation have always been defeated by importations, electricity and even taxation, the government policies and the civil servants are all involved in the problems of Industrialization in Ika nation. Until these factors are checked, there is nothing the State Government can do, because it is beyond the State. Anyway, Okowa is still working. Have you noticed in the State that Okowa is working as if he has an election this year? No dull moment for him, as he enjoys giving it back to the people.

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Hon. Idion, how do you relax?

I relax with hard work. If I don’t do hard work, I have not relaxed.

 

At 61, you are still very agile, what has kept you going?

I often go to the gym and I eat well, I reduce intake of carbohydrate and when I have any little medical problem I go to the doctor, I don’t do self medications. Above all, it is the grace of God. I am a testimony of the mercy of God.

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Which is your favorite food?

Any food is my food, how can I have a favourite food as a Custom officer who is always on the road. Is it when I am on patrol that I would be talking of favourite food? Now, will favourite food favour me? ( laughs)

 

What is your advice to the youths?

Planning is very essential. The youths should forget about this get rich quick syndrome. Most importantly, they should be focused, prayerful and hardworking because hard work pays.

 

To your fellow politicians, what is your advice?

I would advise them to stop eating (kpeu kpeu). They should be focused and stop eating from everybody that dangles money before them. They should give themselves respect and live by integrity.

 

So what gives you joy?

Helping people gives me joy as well as my involvement in church activities.

 

Do you have regrets?

It is the death of my twin brother and lately the recent death of my beloved sister. She used to cook for my friends. She was very peaceful and loved by the people who knew her.

If you were to live your live all over again, are there areas you would have loved to change?

Yes, I would have loved to marry early and plan my life earlier.

 

What is your most memorable day or event?

Okowa winning his election with a landslide victory and the day I became a pensioneer.

 

Hon. Idion, what is your Philosophy of Life?

Live and let live, (you eat and give your brother to eat), kpura kpura, onye kpura oye wene.

 

Have you received any award?

Yes, from Customs Valuation (as the only officer that stayed in valuation for 13years, others before then, stayed for a maximum of 3years before they were posted out) and from Rotary as well.

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

As someone that does not compromise, always on the side of the truth.

 

What are your last words for Ika People?

I want to urge the entire Ika people to unite, let us support ourselves and embrace peace so that we can witness overwhelming growth and development. I also want the elders to give the younger ones something to learn from.

 

You just lost your eldest sister, what have to say about her?

We were a very closely-knitted family. My mother brought us up to love ourselves and be close. That is the reason you see us discuss with eyes and signs. We really love one another and that love is our strength. When my mother died, my late sister took over and started caring for us.

Let me tell you a story. While in Lagos with my twin brother, my late sister used to bring foodstuffs and cook three types of soups to us every Monday. She gives them to a certain s a driver to deliver to us. My friends knew that foodstuffs and correct soups will arrive on every Monday afternoon. We will then eat together like one family. That was how my sister became very popular among all our friends.

Kindness runs in my family. It is a gift from God. That is why those who came to marry from my family find it difficult to break the family bond because of the selfishness they learnt from their homes. We resist ungratefulness from them until they change their character and become humble. All my late sister’s friends can tell you that she was a peace loving woman that never liked cheating and arrogant persons.

 

Ever since you lost your sister, your family home has become a sort of a ‘Mecca; what have you to say about her?

When you have God, He can never let your family down. He will always be there because he makes everything beautiful at His own time. My parents lived a good life and handed over to us to continue with. My parents were good Christians that had the fear of God. Our help comes from the Lord.

One thing that I must say is that all members of my family that have died, starting from my father to my sister that just died, died in November and before they die, they always found God on their sick bed. They are always ready to meet God. They received the Holy Communion and did penance before they died. They were always given the great opportunities to embrace God on their sick bed. None of them had sudden death. This has been my prayer that God would have compassion on me, and give me time to embrace Him like all my dead family members did; no sudden death. God should help me to prepare because we will all die one day. Death is a debt we must pay one day. All is vanity upon vanity. We came to this world with nothing, we will go back with nothing, it is a matter of time, and it must happen to all.

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