A dark cloud enveloped the residence of the Deputy Governor of Delta State, Sir Monday Onyeme, FCA, on October 30, 2022 when the news filtered in that Ezinne Gold Obinnaya Egege, Sir Onyeme’s mother-in-law, had passed on. Yours sincerely with other close friends and family members of the Deputy Governor were around when the news broke out and the challenge was on how to manage the situation as it was at the heat of the campaign for the 2023 general election.
The campaign for the 2023 general election was a rigorous one and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state embarked on a Ward-to-Ward campaign, local government-to-local government campaign and ended with house-to-house or family-to-family campaign as described by some persons, an unprecedented electioneering campaign in the state. Obviously, Sir Onyeme as the running mate to the governorship candidate in the election, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, was actively involved. Governor Oborevwori, then a guber candidate, was among the first set of people to reach out to Sir Onyeme giving strong indications that Deltans were going to have a governor and deputy that will work for the benefits of all as brothers, people of like-minds with only one objective, delivering M.O.R.E. for the good of Deltans for today and the future.
Trust Deltans as they showed palpable love for Sir Onyeme! His residence in Asaba became a Mecca of sorts. A condolence register was opened and after every campaign exercise, which he was actively involved in, top politicians retired to his residence to keep him company, and to some of us who are event watchers, we had only one prayer – for the people to translate such love to votes for the ticket of Rt. Hon. Oborevwori and Sir Onyeme. To the glory of God, Deltans showed their love for Oborevwori and Onyeme with their voters’ cards as the outcome of the election was a resounding success; Oborevwori and Onyeme emerged as Governor and Deputy Governor of Delta State, respectively.
As we get set to lay to rest the remains of Ezinne Egege – bearing in mind that the state is very stable with capable hands of Rt. Hon. Oborevwori and Sir Onyeme – one will not fail to note that though death is the inevitable end of all mortals, it is also, very painful to lose a dear one, especially, a mother who played so much roles in your life until the end. So, one can only imagine what will be going through the mind of Ezinne Catherine Onyeme, wife of the Deputy Governor of Delta State as she prepares to bid her mother final farewell on Friday, October 6, 2023.
Expectedly, Ezinne Onyeme has been very busy and attempts to reach her for a brief interview concerning the preparations for the burial has been anything but easy as she shuttles between Ntiagha-Uzo, Isi-Ahaba Autonomous Community, Amuke, Isiala-Ngwa local government area of Abia State, where the burial ceremony of her mother will take place, and Asaba, Delta State where she still performs official functions as her position as wife of the Deputy Governor of Delta State demands.
However, she made the biography of her mother available which is reproduced below:
Biography of Late Ezinne (Lady) Christiana Gold Egege (JP)
Ezinne (Lady) Gold Obinnaya Egege (née Samson Ahuchuogu) was born on the 10th of October, 1954, in Umuojima Ukwu, Owerrinta, Isiala-Ngwa South, Abia State. She was the third child of her (now deceased) parents, Pa Samson Ahuchuogu and Mrs Elizabeth Ahuchuogu who both hailed from Umuojima village in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area.
Ezinne Gold Egege began her early education at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Rumukurushi, Port-Harcourt. Later, she returned to her village and completed her elementary education at Umuojima Catholic School.
Ezinne Gold married Sir Ishmael Nwaoru Egege (JP), and they were blessed with three sons and three daughters. Throughout her earthly sojourn, she was a devoted and loving wife and mother. Her unwavering love and support for her husband were evident, an exemplary life that won her admiration and respect from couples and others in the community at large.
Ezinne Gold was reputed for her strong and diligent work ethic with entrepreneurial spirit. She was an exceptional entrepreneur, receiving recognition and awards from the Anglican Church for her remarkable achievements and contributions as a ‘Daughter of Zion’. She was deeply involved in various humanitarian efforts, which was evidently acknowledged in the admiration and respect she enjoyed in her community.
She also played a significant role in the growth and development of St. John’s Anglican Church Ntigha-uzor, St. Cyprian Anglican Church Umuojima, and Anglican Church of Comforter Rumuigbo, Port-Harcourt. Her dedication to these Christian bodies led to her being honored with the titles of ‘Ezinne’ and ‘Eziada’ as well as receiving numerous accolades within the church community.
Ezinne Gold Egege was not only a pillar of strength within her family and Church but was also a source of wise counsel and guidance to all who had the privilege of knowing her. Her words were filled with profound wisdom, and her counsel was sought after by many. Her caring and loving nature made her a beloved mother-figure, not only to her own children but also to those who knew her.
From a relatively tender age, Ezinne displayed a strong entrepreneurial spirit. After completing her education, she established a successful supermarket in the bustling area of Elekahia in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. The supermarket quickly gained popularity and became a go-to destination for the local community, providing essential goods and groceries.
Recognizing the demand for quality dining establishments, Ezinne expanded her business venture, opening a restaurant in the Trans-Amadi Industrial Layout of Port-Harcourt. The restaurant became well-known for its mouthwatering delicacies and warm ambiance, thus attracting a sizeable loyal customer base and further cementing Ezinne’s reputation as a savvy businesswoman.
Building upon her success in the retail and hospitality sectors, Ezinne transitioned into the field of contracting. She focused on supplying goods to various road construction companies and private individuals in Port-Harcourt. Her keen eye for quality products and exceptional customer service earned her contracts with esteemed organizations, and allowing her to contribute significantly to the infrastructural development of the famous Garden City.
Ezinne’s commitment to excellence and dedication to providing top-notch services led to the growth and expansion of her contracting enterprise. Her ability to forge strong relationships with clients and suppliers ensured the smooth functioning of her business operations. Through her hard work and professionalism, she became a respected figure among other contractors in the construction industry.
However, despite her flourishing career, Ezinne faced health challenges. Her indomitable spirit and fighting nature propelled her to confront her illness with courage and determination. Throughout her battle with health challenges, she drew strength from her family, friends, and the support of the community she had become an integral part of.
On the 30th of October, 2022, Ezinne Gold Egege passed away, leaving behind a legacy of virtue, strength and love. Her remarkable contributions to her family, community, and church will always be cherished and remembered. Her life serves as an inspiration to all who aspire to live with integrity, industry, and devotion to God and fellow men and women.
Today, Ezinne continues to be remembered as a trailblazer and a role model. Her legacy lives on through the impact she has made on the lives of those she encountered and the lasting contributions she made to the development of her community.
Ezinne (Lady) Gold Obinnaya Egege (Nee Samson Ahuchuogu) has left an enduring legacy as a Godfearing woman, a resilient businesswoman, a community leader and a loving mother. Her experiences and commitment continue to inspire and motivate others to strive for greatness, even in the face of adversity.
As we grieve her passing, we turn to the One who granted her the precious gift of life and chose the time of her departure. So, we humbly pray: “Dear Lord, be magnified!”
FIDELIS EGUGBO is the Senior Special Assistant, Media to the Governor of Delta State.