Madam Theresa Enisuoh: Exit of A Matriarch

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Wisps of cloud floated in the sky. It was as if everything about the day would be distorted with rain as it is in the Niger Delta but everything turned out to be blissful on this day, signifying that indeed when Prince and Princess die, the heavens blaze forth.

By Ovie Edomi

Indeed driving from Warri to Agbere, a small agrarian community in Sagbama local government area, Bayelsa State was fun as the driver and the Reporter enjoyed the free movement as a result of the environmental sanitation being observed.

On getting to Agbere, the well laid out streets and tarred roads made the community more beautiful and at peace with itself. Community people sat in front of their houses well dressed perhaps waiting for the church funeral service Not far from the church, lies the remains of Madam Theresa Enisuoh at the family compound for the last respect ceremony.

Many came from different places for the burial ceremony of Madam Theresa Enisuoh, Matriarch of the Enisuoh’s family. Indeed for those who attended the ceremony, it was a blaze of glory and a wonderful way to say goodbye to a loved one. No wonder the people of Agbere and its environs say that they haven’t seen a burial like this and it would for a long time, remain in their treasured memories. How can one ever forget this burial that has brought many good things to us? A young lady in her twenties asked this Reporter as they walked towards the family compound.

Indeed, the overwhelming turn out of people during the burial ceremony and the tranquility in the community and its environs as well as the safety of visitors all through the burial ceremony in addition to the merriment before and after the burial ceremony are sufficient signs that madam Theresa Virginia Enisuoh raised children that are exemplary and stood out in life. It was also enough proof that she lived a good life in her life time.

Beginning with the preparation for the burial, the children according to the Catholic Priest, Rev Fr Cletus Okonkwo, went extra mile to provide every home and family with bags of rice, cow meat ram, goats and some cases, fish. So much that a week to the burial ceremony, many families were still eating the food that the children of late Madam Theresa Enisuoh provided.

On the day of the burial, it was a galaxy of men of caliber that joined the children and family members to say goodbye to Madam Theresa Enisuoh popularly called “Nurse”, because of her service as a medical practitioner.
As early as 8am on April 27, the entire St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Agbere, Bayelsa State was already prepared for the funeral service fixed for 11am. When the body of the Madam Theresa Enisuoh was brought into the church, it was a mixture of tearful farewell and a celebration of life.

Rev Fr Cletus Okonkwo, who conducted the church service in his sermon noted that the soul of the righteous is in the hand of God so is the soul of the evil person in the hand of the devil. Hence he averred that It’s only the righteous that can see God. The Priest encouraged people to emulate Mama who lived an exemplary life. He equally urged people to
train their children on the part of the Lord so that when they become old they won’t depart from it. Furthermore, he stated that people can have bad persons around them but it does not stop them from living a righteous life.

While describing Madam Theresa Enisuoh, as a woman of peace baptized in Catholic with rare christian virtues, he charged Christians to mind their conduct and speech. Rev Fr Cletus Okonkwo also urged those who are well to do in the society to impact lives in their communities and beyond. According to him ” It is the legacy we leave behind that would be spoken of long after we have left this earth”. He praised Mama’s children for the joy they have brought to Agbere since the death of their mother.

There were similar tributes and testimonies during the service of songs. This may be why Rev Fr Cletus Okonkwo enjoined the faithfuls to emulate Mama who lived a dedicated christian life and committed herself to helping people far and near not minding whether they were her relations or not.

“Nurse”, as she was fondly called was a woman of no mean caliber. Though she lived a fulfilled life, and impacted greatly on humanity, her death came as a sort of ironic twist for some people, just as it rekindled the excitements of the locals who got more than enough palliatives from the children of Mama.

Beyond the free food distributed to different quarters in Agbere community, the Catholic Priest said that the town equally got a face lift even as Captain Warredi Enisuoh, first son of Mama thanked the people that came for the church funeral service, he promised to construct the fence for the St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Agbere.

During the burial ceremony, the children took their turn to pour sand into the grave. ” You have left the stage and heaven awaits your soul” one of the mourners said.

The reception was held in a customized tent built for the purpose. It was indeed a celebration of life as dance group from Akwa Ibom and an Ijaw musician entertained guests without measure as both the musician and the dance group held guests in rapt attention with contemporary songs and rhapsody.

First son of the deceased, Captain Warredi Enisuoh was a delight to watch as he danced to the admiration of guests who were equally lavishly entertained. The ceremony came to its’ peak when different groups and Council Chiefs from different Kingdoms and parts of the country came out to show solidarity with Captain Warredi Enisuoh. One of such groups was the Gbaramatu kingdom Council of Chiefs among whom was Chief Kestin Pondi, Managing Director, Tantita Security Services Limited. They displayed the unique culture of the Ijaw people. Same with the other groups from Warri and Patani in Delta State, Adagbabiri in Bayelsa State, Benin, Edo State and others from Akwa Ibom State.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited sent a delegation of their own as well, whom flew in from Abuja, direct into Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State. With private jets sitting on ground, the Bayelsa international airport also felt the departure of Madam Theresa Enisuoh.
For those who thronged the venue of the church service and the reception nothing can be better than what they saw. Food and drinks were surplus and there was a rare show of solidarity and love with the bereaved family.
Many who spoke at the reception noted that “Nurse” as Mrs Theresa Enisuoh was fondly called, stood by her children and supported those who came in contact with her.

According to the eldest son, his close affinity to the late mother, and her strictness, godliness and strong influence helped to shaped his life. Furthermore, he described her mother as a woman of peace who loved her children.

Other siblings of Captain Warredi Enisuoh spoke glorily about the motherly disposition of their mother. Mrs Ebedi Enisuoh described her as a sweet mother who sat and watched him grow. While Akpoebimowei Harrison Enisuoh said his mother was a constant source of blessing in his life.

Indeed, the mood in the church and reception was that of celebration of a life well spent on earth. Mama did not only endeared herself to her compatriots with her generosity and humane nature, she was a true African woman who believed in equity, justice, giving and peaceful co-existence.

On the part of the Agbere people, the death of Mama was a big blow as the people saw her as a symbol of unity, peace and blessing. She had everybody’s interest at heart no wonder this Reporter described her as a woman of honour and a great mother whose integrity, peaceful nature and willingness to share her resources with others made her an outstanding personality.

A famous member of the Zibomoni family in Tuburukunu quarters, Agbere in Sagbama local government area of Bayelsa State, she was born 25th July 1944. She completed her midwifery training in 1965 and obtained the professional midwifery certificate of the Nursing and Midwifery of Nigeria.

She was later employed by the Western Ijaw Northern District Council with headquarter at Patani and served for many years until she transferred her service to the then Midwest Health Management Board, Benin city when she got married to late Robinson Enisuoh. She rose to the post of Midwifery Sister before her retirement. Upon retirement, she lived in Canada for some years before she returned home to live a quiet and peaceful life, devoting her time and resources to touching lives.
While condoling with the family of the late amazon and matriarch of the Enisuoh’s family, Capt. Dr. Anthony Onoharigho, former Deputy President General of Urhobo Progress Union, UPU worldwide noted that Mama has touched many lives in positive ways and would be remembered for a long time because of the legacy she left behind.

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