Mrs. Rachael Eréziovo Ogula, age 90, passed on Monday, September 19,
2011. The following are personal tributes by one of her sons,
daughter-in-law and some of her grandchildren.
First, a word or two about all mothers:
Our journey on earth begins with
a mother; in her we form and draw life
for nine months till she brings
us forth. She is the locus of our first life
experiences. She situates us in
the family nurtures and lays the foundation
for a rich personal identity.
This foundation gives us the chance to be persons, leaders,
professionals, philosophers, wealthy or even presidents.
Dr. David Ogula, Son:
Imagine a world without people of character, integrity, and virtue;
people who uphold families, communities, and civilized societies;
people who are beacons of our moral and spiritual values. Because the
traits of such people transcend the narrative and descriptive
limitations of language, and labels, the term “hyper virtue” has been
adopted as the closest signifier of their superlative attributes. The
persona of the hyper virtuous is palpable; it can be felt or beheld. It
is an extraordinary blessing to be born by one such person as the locus
of my values.
Mama was a woman of hyper virtue who perceived life only in humane
terms. Her humanity was defined by an abiding faith in God,
selflessness, and boundless love. Mama’s long-habitual life of
selfless service, faith, and loyalty, distinguished her as a hard
working woman; a great provider, an innocuous perfectly ordinary human
being. She sold groceries, engaged in subsistence farming to support
her children and complement her husband. Mama was an embodiment of a
mother’s intrinsic and volitional love for her children. She supported
us emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and financially. Mama had
a warm, kind, and generous personality, but she was by no means a push
over. When confronted with adversity, she stood her ground. She had a
brilliant mind that approached conflict with the philosophy that
winning the war was more important than wining a battle. “Korokpo Olotu!!!”
[Down, but still the champion]. Mama shared her wisdom, mentored young
women, comforted the despondent, and gave hope to those in despair.
Mama touched and inspired many lives by simply living her life.
Mama signified love in its purest, warmth, in its coziest, and cared
from the heart. She gave me a life and legacy of faith, selfless
service, sacrifice, and love. It is a privilege to have been born by
Rachel Ogula, and I’m profoundly grateful that she gave me the gift of
Like all human journeys, mama’s journey came to an end on September 19,
2011. This dreadful reality stimulated in me the feeling of exposure
and vulnerability. However, I found comfort in Paul’s admonition in
Romans 14:7, which reminded me that “. . . both if we live and if we
die we belong to Jehovah.” Mama truly lived to Jehovah and we honor her
life and legacy, for she has passed on to Jehovah. As a testament to
mama’s generosity she cloned herself in Lucia who is an enduring
evidence of her love, kindness, and generosity, and Eden who
exemplifies her simplicity and authenticity. My deepest thanks to Eden
Ogula and Lucia Ayaoge.
I will miss mama dearly but she will always be my inspiration and my
pillar of strength. Mama’s life and my memories of her are vivid,
profound and eternal.
Vera Ogula, Daughter-in-law:
How do you say goodbye to a woman who loved generously, gave
unconditionally, and exemplified a near perfect personality. She was
simply as accomplished and graceful a human being as God saw fit to
create. Comfortable in her own skin and with her own nature, my
mother-in-law was able to open her arms to the world. When her son told
her he loved me, well … she did too and accepted me whole-heartedly
into her family. Summer 2009 was our last meeting, I took my children
from New York USA to see mama in Yenogoa Bayelsa State Nigeria. Her joy
was palpable, Powei!, Enitare! She was blissfully happy. That memory
will be forever etched in our minds. Mama, you may be gone but your
memory will live with us forever.
Enitare Ogula, Granddaughter:
Grandchildren can only hope to create a special bond with their
grandparents as they do with their parents. Although I did not have as
many opportunities of sharing that wonderful bond because I live in the
United States, I am grateful that my grandmother gave me one of the
best gifts a person can have which is my father. I know my father has
the impeccable traits my grandmother displayed, and as an adult, I can
only hope to reflect those traits to make them both proud. My brother
and I will surely miss our grandma Rachel.