The twenty-first day of October, 2018 will remain indelible in the hearts of men, women and children of Owa-Alero in particular, Ika nation and Delta State as a whole. There is only one reason for this. It was the birthday of Hon. Chief Emmanuel Chukuemeke Nwaebo, the Akpara of Owa kingdom. And it was the 80th of such a day in the life of the man whose sojourn on earth is so inspiring that his priest and Vicar of St. Michael’s Anglican Church Owa-Alero summed it up as grace from God.
Going by all the reports on E.C. Nwaebo that was made available on 21st of October 2018, describing him as a success can even be an understatement. He is not just successful. He has imparted success onto others, especially those who cared to read the life story of Akpara and others who are privileged to have come in contact with him. This notion was revealed by one the many successful Owa-Alero business men and cousin to Nwaebo, Mr. Herbert Ojeh. In his tribute, Herbert said “You brought us into the light and illuminate and guided our lives with the force of your exemplary character”.
According to Bishop David Oyedepo, “If you want to know the secret behind any man’s success, read his books”. Though Nwaebo is not known to have written books, his profile, the written tributes on him and the message of Ven. Jonathan Adudu on Sunday, 21st of October at St. Michael’s Anglican Church, Owa-Alero are enough for all to know why the man’s journey in life has been upward and forward only since 1938.
In his sermon, the Anglican cleric attributed Nwaebo’s accomplishments to the grace of God upon his life. The man of God stated that it was the grace of God that transformed Paul from a sinner to a saint and Hannah from barreness to fruitfulness. He added that the same grace is available to all believers. He further enjoined Christians to be mindful of the fact that all their accomplishments are as a result of God’s grace. In his words, “if you think you are so powerfully connected, will anyone be connecting you in the grave?”
The Bishop of Ika Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Peter Onekpe in his written tribute portrayed Nwaebo as a man of humble disposition, hospitality, charity and patience. The rare combination of these virtues in the life of a man sums up the secret behind the success of Chief Emmanuel Nwaebo.
However, the submission of the Anglican Bishop can further be expanded by actually examining the life of this worthy celebrant chronologically from 1969. As it were, this is the year he “became” a man as he got married to a lady who was simply known then as Alice or Efoma but today called, Mama, Ezinne, Chief or Odonziaku. These serial assessment of Akpara is important because there are still some salient attributes that can be further deduced there from.
In 1969, Elder Emma was 31. It was rare for a handsome man to wait that long before getting married in those days. More so, he already had the Teachers’ Grade 3 Certificate. This qualification was one of the highest any child of a peasant farmer from a village could aspire to attain then. Again, marriage was so cheap that his parents could have arranged a wife for him had he wanted it that way. Instead, the then young man waited until he was emotionally, economically and matured in age enough to bear the title of ‘husband’. This is patience at work!
The young Alice on her part, was one of the most disciplined babes with strong Christian character in town who could easily have been ‘stolen’ from her parents by ‘wealthy’ rascal Nigerian soldiers who were highly paid during the Nigerian Civil War. She was not only intelligent and charming, but also a devout Christian. These sterling qualities in her were captured by one of the close family friends of Nwaebo, Mr. Chris Omilo as he wrote “When you came to our Idumu-ebor Anglican Youth Fellowship to pick the bone of your bones, I knew God was bringing us closer. Ever since God brought us together, it has been one testimony after another”. The grace of God available to Christians connected her to an equally handsome and intelligent young Christian.
When asked by Ika Weekly reporters about who his role model was, Akpara was sincere enough to mention his age and primary school mate, HRM Dr. Emmanuel O. Efeizemor,OON, JP, the Obi of Owa Kingdom. This is humility! He called a spade a spade. After all, an Ika adage says “a king is born to be honoured and not be called a small child”.
Nwaebo is not a ‘gra gra’ man. He is very sincere. In an answer to the question of how he came about Ezinne Hotel and Suites, he was humble enough to publicly acknowledge his wife as the brain behind the establishment.
Akpara and Ezinne are good examples of happy lovely family union. They exhibit love for each other both at home and in public. On page 23 of the birthday programme, Ezinne (Mrs.) Alice Nwaebo wrote “Thank you for being there for me ‘Akpara’ sir… you have always played fatherly role in my life as well as shown me excess love”.
Another deduction from the life of Hon. Nwaebo is that he is a very determined fellow. He does not give up hope. For some folks, possession of G.C.E O/L and Teachers’ II Certificate were all that was required for good life, especially when it is obvious that they do not have parents who could see them through higher education. He turned all obstacles to stepping stones until he found himself in America for his university education.
Beyond all these, Nwaebo remains a man of immense gratitude. He has continued to appreciate Chief Ignatius Igabor Erigbuem for the role he played in his (Nwaebo’s) sojourn to the United States of America. He crowned up his appreciation to both men and God by organizing a big ‘thank you’ programme for God on the 21st of October 2018.
To say the least, Nwaebo’s profile and the message from Adudu are guiding light to greatness.
BY AUGUSTINE OMILO