Tropical Leaves

Tributes

A TRIBUTE TO MY LOVING BROTHER, LUKE EKWEMNACHUKWU OKAFOR AND SOME OF HIS GOOD DEEDS

Look at me, writing the tribute of my senior brother L.E. What do I say? L.E., our mother told us that in her dream one night she saw St. Anthony carrying a child on his shoulder and was going towards her house. She said she ran to see where he was taking the child to. All she saw was him coming out from their room without the child. That same month, conception took place after nine months. A baby boy was born into the family, and my father gave him the name ‘I believe in God’ (Ekwemnachukwu). L.E., you grew up and believed seriously in God. L.E., our grandfather took you to live with him; he was a teacher and later became a principal of St. Charles College Onitsha. At the end of your five years in CKC, we left Kaduna with our mother to Abba to receive you on your coming home from CKC. I still remember everything. On the day you came home, mama Kwachiefo, misisi Paul, nnem Okeanyanwu took me and some others and we trekked on foot to Oyeagu. When we got there, we sat on a place waiting for your arrival. My mother was at home preparing rice with some other women for your reception, we waited until the bus carrying you got to Oyeagu. You came down and we all embraced you. We were very happy, and all trekked back to Abba. When we got home, everybody was dancing and celebrating. My mother asked you about your luggage. L.E., your reply to mama was that your luggage was left at Onitsha, for you had been offered a job by a white man. You told mama that a white man came to CKC and offered a job to four out-going students, of which you were one of them, at Standard Bank of West Africa (now First Bank Plc), and that you would be leaving Abba to Onitsha to take up the job.

 

As the first son of the family, L.E., you saw the love Nwinyi Anarienyi, and Udenze, our father and his two brothers had for one another and took up their footsteps. And that love, they had for their two sisters Mgbeke and Nwodu. Omelora, you loved everyone! L.E., you cared for everyone. L.E., you were so loving, so caring, so humble, so Godly that you never left any one behind. Your immediate junior Anselm, now the Onowu of Abba, was living with my mother’s brother, Late Mr. Ignatius Muodili at Onitsha, learning how to trade. At the end of his apprenticeship, mama sent 25 pounds to L.E. those days. Mama said you should add it to enable Anselm start off his own business. After some time, one day mama came back from the market. She called me, “Veronica, bring your pot of ink. I want to write a letter to Luke; I heard that he has used the money I sent him for Anselm, to send Anselm to school in Asaba. Who is going to assist Luke in paying the school fees since Bartholomew is already in a secondary school at Agwu?” The letter was posted and after some time, the reply to that letter came and I heard mama telling our father that Luke asked her not to cry and that he will never rest until he sees that all his siblings are in a good position, and that was exactly what L.E. did. You single handedly made the Okafor family what they are today in Abba. A very poor family and L.E. raised every one of them and today they are answering NDI OKE OBI.

 

Omelora, after the Nigerian Civil War, your immediate junior embarked on a chemist shop and was managing it. You later secured a job for him at General Cotton Mill, Onitsha as an electrical engineer. The drinks business Aloy (Eze Udo) is doing today is from you. L.E., being the Manager of First Bank, the Nigeria Breweries offered you a distributorship. You opened a shop at Oyeagu, bought a bus and handed the business over to Sylvester Anyanti. Aloy Okafor left his flask business and shop at Onitsha Main Market to join Sylvester Anyanti. Today, it is Aloy’s business. L.E., you left everything to him because you wanted all your brothers to be big in good faith. L.E., you are so good. Augustine Okafor, on coming back from his studies abroad you gave him a job. Michael Okafor, on coming back from Cameroun you gave him a job. You sent CH to University of Lagos where he studied and graduated in Microbiology, and later left for London. I, your sister Vero, you gave me a job. Evelyn your sister, you gave her a job. Only Florence Nwugo was left because she was taking care of our aged mother. We learnt you wanted to settle Nwugo after the burial of our mother, but things never worked out as you planned because since after our mother’s burial, you hadn’t come home. Still, on your sick bed, you still asked, “How does Nwugo feed? How does she manage?” In your sick bed, you still sent Nwugo money to meet up with her needs. L.E., you extended your goodness to so many families here in ABBA and neighbouring towns, giving jobs, money and feeding to so many old men and women. L.E., you’re so good, so caring, so kind.

 

TO THOSE THAT SERVED OUR PARENTS

Thomas from Nike Enugu served our parents for so many years. He was a very humble servant. You asked Thomas to go to school. Thomas refused saying he had no brain to read. L.E., you went to Nike and built for Thomas five rooms and parlour, and later gave him job as a messenger in the bank. Thomas’ kindred came from Enugu to Abba to show their appreciation to you. Philomena served my parents and at the end of her tenure, she was sent to learn how to do saloon work. L.E., you bought all the equipment used to open a saloon shop for her. Philomena’s father came to Abba with two of his brothers to show their appreciation to you. John Obinna from Abakiliki served our parents. L.E., you paid his school fees up to university level. Chiedu Okutalukwe lived with my mother; he is now a final year student in ESUTH. Even in your sickbed, you still paid his school fees. L.E., you extended your kindness to my family by asking to be part of paying Okechukwu’s school fees when he was at UNIZIK. You gave job to Ogonna after her youth service at Valmon Securities in Lagos. Omelora, you never lived to reap the fruit of your goodness to humanity and mankind. But your goodness is never in vain. Almighty takes note of all your good deed, and your reward is in heaven. All your messengers, your staff, your drivers, both Hausas, Yorubas, Ibos, Calabars etc speak good of you. Our mother used to call you “Omelora nke mbu na Abba, my son, continue to extend your goodness to everyone.”

 

L.E., you came to see me (you and your wife) at Onitsha after the traditional marriage of Nkechi, on the death of my husband. My brother L.E., you gave me money to be feeding with until the burial date was out. Two days after, you left Abba for Lagos, and along Benin Ring Road, tragedy struck. You were taken inside the bush in the name of kidnapping, you were left inside the bush for days because they were asking for a huge sum of money. It was hidden from me but later when someone told me, I knelt down and wept. OMELORA, you never deserved that. The heavenly beings rejected it, the earthly beings rejected it, the sand of my father’s land Abba rejected it. We, the Umuokpu of Abba land rejected it, the whole godly people in the whole world rejects it. L.E., you never deserved this wrong done to you, inspite of all your goodness, your kindness and your caring. Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka calls them a very wicked generation. My bible tells me that the wicked will never go unpunished. L.E., since that incident, Omelora has never been the same.  All you told me and Nwugo when we came to Lagos to visit you were all noted. I, Vero will always be your sister and you will always be my brother. We have lost the diamond of our family never to be seen. Thank you L.E. for taking the footsteps of our parents. I have no doubt, you are in the hand of the Almighty. I will never fail to say thank you to your dear wife, Chinwe who took proper care of you all these years of your agony. How do I say thank you to Mr. Emma Aniakor (Chikeluba) Konac, who made himself a junior brother to my brother L.E. He paid his medical bills both home and abroad. He visited my brother regularly, consoling him and encouraging the family to be strong. Chikeluba, your goodness to my brother is so much. Your future generation will reap the fruit of your goodness. My thanks goes to Mich Nweke Echiobi for his continued visits to my brother, to Anyichie from Ojoto and so many others. Thank you all.

 

Rest in the Lord, L.E.

Adieu my brother.

Adieu L.E.

Your sister,

 

Mrs. Veronica Obi

A TRIBUTE TO Chief L. E. OKAFOR – The Omelora of Abba

As I struggle to come to terms with your heavenly trip, it gives me pleasure to say that you very fully and completely paid your dues on earth.  

Fondly called by your initials, L.E., to miss your generosity, your kindness and affability is getting increasingly difficult to cope with, but we succumb to the Will of the Almighty God. You completely believed and wholly trusted in God and lived your life in Him, as expounded by your middle name – ‘Ekwem na Chukwu’ – (I believe in God).

Elegant; Gentleman and Professional, you lived a life worthy of emulation: selfless and peace-loving. You touched lives, positively and profoundly. Your generosity and kindness were phenomenal and captured the Biblical injunction of ‘not letting the left hand to know what the right hand was doing’.

You served as vehicle, transporting goodness and kindness to people, near and far, so much so that our uncle gave you the nickname of ‘STEP’, a reference to how you became the stepping stone in peoples’ lives. 

Your humility and modesty are mind-boggling.  After much pressure, you grudgingly accepted to be honoured with a Chieftaincy Title by the traditional ruler of Abba, HRH Igwe L. N. Eze. I recall how we sat around the dining table, about 1995, at your Ikoyi Lagos residence at the time, searching for a name that would encapsulate you. Every name that seemed to glorify you, you rejected, until after much persuasion, you accepted to be the ‘Omelora’ of Abba – The one who favoured everyone. While we readied for the installation, I was saddled with the duty of writing your citation for the ceremony and I did, reflecting a bit of your person and your achievements. When you reviewed the final document, you said it was too glowing for your liking and you trimmed it down to ‘bare bones.’ 

In you, Omelora, I found a most loving and exemplary Brother, Guardian and Mentor: the true Brother’s Keeper. Without a doubt, our loss is Heaven’s gain, but my family and I grieve with faith and give God the ultimate Glory, for your life and death. I dare to ask: There goes a brother, when comes such another?

‘His Life was Gentle and the elements so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world: this was a man!’ - taken from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. 

Chris Obi Okafor (Younger Brother)


 

TOO HARD TO LET GO

The morning I heard of your demise was when I knew that something unforgettable has happened. Why! Why!! I asked as if I have the answers in my hands. 

I stood motionless, consumed in grief. My heart hurts and is shattered severely. It was hard to accept that I will no longer see you or hear your voice. I know you did not mean to leave us. You will ALWAYS remain green in my heart. I miss being your little sister, hearing you call my name. You were my confidence, my bosom brother. Who am I to question the ALMIGHTY GOD. 

I wish God could grant me one last request. I`d ask to say “Goodbye.” You will always mean a lot to me, we have all been blessed having you in our lives, but now the time has arrived for you to rest. My joy is that you left heavy footprints in the sands of time.  

Adieu my beloved Brother.

Mrs. Evelyn Okonkwo

Sister

TO MY BELOVED BROTHER, CHIEF LUKE EKWEMNACHUKWU OKAFOR - OMELUORA 1 of ABBA

Life has shown us again its hurtful side by taking you away from us when we didn't see it coming. There's no way to make up for time lost and now gone. You were the most amazing person and light of entire people both at home and outside.

I will miss you more than words can say. R.I.P!

It's funny how life works. You remain caring, loving all the time, accommodating, knowing and seeking the happiness of every person both small and big without division in your heart. The strongest person we know weathering everything life threw with such bravery you almost seemed invincible. You have touched the lives of countless people and today you leave a void in our hearts NO ONE CAN FILL. REST in PEACE!!!

You were a man who fought in lots of wars, you are a winner in life. Goodbye my beloved brother.

You are a role model for everyone, always in the mood of helping and caring, and gave confidence.

You always keep your promises and never ever broke them.

On the sands of time, you have left your footprints 👣 with 'GLORY'

Everyone will know your name and shall recall your 'STORY' 

Omeluora, you were too great to ever be forgotten.

I wish RIP meant Return If Possible. I will miss you my beloved brother. Rest in the bosom of Almighty God. 🙏 ADIEU, my beloved brother.

Luke Ekwemnachukwu. ADIEU, Omeluora.

Your soul will rest in perfect peace. You always did the rightful thing and put smiles on people's  faces.

Goodbye,

Your junior sister, Ugofora.

 

 

 

Tribute to my Friend, Brother and a Father

Chief Sir, L.E. Okafor, Omeluora na ABBA

Growing up, my desire, aspiration, vision and ambition was to become like you. You were my role model and a mentor. 

Even though I didn't become a banker like you, your modest lifestyle, integrity, simplicity, love for people, your selfless service and sacrifice for others was and still is what I have continued to emulate and live by.

I remember how you always warmly welcomed me to your office when you were MD of UBA. I remember how you consistently advised me to "Remain focused, modest, honest, unassuming and allow other people to tell my story." This has guided me up until today. 

You taught me humility, selfless service, patience, perseverance, forgiveness, love for others including those who accused me falsely and even my enemies. You were a father and mentor to me. I remember talking with you, taking pictures with you, playing with you in your house in Lagos, just few days before God called you. Little did I know it would be our last moments together. 

You have gone, yes.

But you still live in our hearts.

You will remain indelible in my heart.

I will miss you. I will miss your advice, counsel and protection as a Father.

May our good Lord grant you eternal rest.

 

Adieu Omeluora. Goodbye till we see to part no more!

 

Emmanuel Aniakor 

Chikeluba na Abba

Chairman, Konac Drywall Solutions Ltd

KLM 20 Lekki- Epe- Express, Lagos

TO MY MENTOR: CHIEF SIR LUKE EKWEMNACHUKWU OKAFOR (OMELORA ABBA)

We mourn the loss of a lively, dignified soul. A soul that brought joy and fulfilment to many, and whose legacy will live on forever. What a privilege to have you as a mentor and counsellor. Life is but a stopping place, a pause in what's to be, a resting place along the road to sweet eternity. When our journey finally ends, we will claim a great reward and find everlasting peace, together with the Lord.

 

I will not remember you with sadness, neither will I remember you with tears.

I will remember all the laughter and times we shared throughout the years.

Years may come and go, but your memory will never be erased.

 

He was indeed a man of excellence. When he was informed that one of my sons gained admission into an Aviation school to study commercial piloting, he was so excited. He immediately demanded for his phone number and has since then monitored his progress even after he took ill.

 

Ekwemnachukwu, one thing I know definitely in my heart is that you are in a better place.

I love you but our Almighty Father loves you more.

 

Rest in the Bosom of our Lord.

Mike E Okafor (Ezekwesili)

 

GONE BUT LIVES IN OUR HEARTS

Death is a deal every living soul must pay, but I never expected you to pay yours this soon.

Well, who can question God? Omelora, I take solace in the exemplary life you lived and l have no doubt as to where you are with God in a place better than here.

When I visited you in October and November, little did I know that I will not see you again. 

Omelora, you and your wife welcomed me into Okafor’s family, corrected and accepted my shortcomings. 

 

When transfer was hard to obtain, you single handedly handled my transfer from Union Bank Abagana branch to any branch of my choice in Aba with the help of your good friend Paul Ogwuma (GMD Union Bank).

You gave me a name only known to you and your wife - Odudu Nwanyi Ma Eme.

You were a man worthy of emulation in character, achievements and learning.

You were our hero all our lives that we couldn’t imagine you transitioning to eternity.

You positively corded the lives of many people during your stay on earth.

Your death is so painful to all who have come in contact with you.

I thank you so much for all the guidance, advice and acceptance towards me and my family. 

We love you but God loves you more. 

Sleep well Omelora until we meet to part no more.

 

Ezinne Edith Ogoamaka Okafor

Odudu Nwanyi Ma Eme


 

 

TRIBUTE TO CHIEF LUKE OKAFOR (OMELORA)

The title given to you by the ABBA community sums up your personality. You gave our family a name we all enjoy today and carry with pride. You were a very kind man and you cared about everybody’s welfare and success. Back then not many people knew we were from different mothers because there was no discrimination in your attitude to us. I feel consoled by the fact that you brought us to a level where we can now manage ourselves. The news of your death really brought confusion in my head as I asked ‘’who else can we rely on for sincere, frank, and honest advice?’’

When you started work in the late fifties at Onitsha, you were living in just two rooms along Omegana street and because you welcomed everybody, it was a shift from village to urban or ‘’township’’ life with its consequent exposure to better life. You were a big tree that provided branches for us to perch on and because of the level of discipline in your head. We copied that and feared not to falter. God called you to give you rest in a better place at a time when life on earth wasn’t too sweet or enjoyable anymore. 

You had it all as a young man: you were handsome and hardworking, tall, lovable, honest and above all down- to-earth. It is said ‘’No good thing lasts forever’’ and that also applies to the truth of mortality. You inspired me to want to become a banker by enviously admiring your dressing / attire every morning (aka tie & suit as it was called then). According to you, ‘’Pocket money’’ was a formality for all of us in school back then. I really cried when I visited you in Lagos and was trying to help you remember things as your conversation wasn’t what it used to be. My prayer is that God will give you a comfortable place in his kingdom.

 

CHIEF JIMMY OKAFOR (COUSIN)

OZO EZECHIYELUGO

 

 

TRIBUTE TO LUKE OKAFOR

The news of the passing of Luke Okafor (LE as we fondly called him) hit me like a thunderbolt. This is because of my long association with him. In fact, our lives seemed to be criss-crossing at every stage. The news triggered a long string of memories. Our primary school days at Onitsha, our boarding school days at CKC Onitsha, our period working in the bank and finally the years we spent together in Lagos before we went into retirement. In fact, it is ironic that the last time we met was on his last visit to London when he came to my house to condole with me on the death of my son. I first met LE when he joined our class at St Mary’s Primary School, Onitsha. He was living with his uncle who had just been transferred to our school as a teacher. We were all about 11 years old and played the usual pranks common with boys of our age. Even at that young age, LE showed more maturity than boys of his age. While some boys got into at least one fight a month, I cannot recall LE being in a fight throughout our period at that school. We completed our primary education at St Mary’s and sought admission to various secondary schools. Christ the King College (CKC) Onitsha was one of the most sought-after secondary schools in the then Eastern Region of Nigeria.  Admission was highly competitive. An indication of this is that out of our year at St Mary’s school, only six of us made it to CKC and LE was one. 

It was at CKC that we were all formed as men. It was a boarding school and all activities, from waking up in the morning to going to bed at night were controlled. One important thing CKC gave to all of us was deep devotion to the Catholic Faith. LE imbued this and, I understand that he was close to his faith right up to the last minute. At CKC he was a bright student and was always in the top stream of the class for the five years we spent there. We completed our secondary education in 1957 and by coincidence both of us ended up working in Banks, LE in the former British Bank for West Africa (BBWA) now Standard Bank, and I in the former Barclays Bank DCO, now the Union Bank of Nigeria. I left the bank after a short spell to further my education while LE stayed on to carve out an illustrious career in banking. At this stage our paths diverged, but only temporarily.

We were thrown together again in 1976 when I was transferred to Lagos and found that LE was living a short distance from me in Ikoyi. We resumed our friendship, this time older and more mature. We both had families now and it was not long before the two families met and got on very well together. It might have been helped by the fact that both wives were nurses and always had enough to talk about. For a long time, LE and I formed a tennis partnership meeting two or three times a week for tennis at Ikoyi Club or just to reminisce about old times.  Another activity which we enjoyed very much was attending CKC Old Boys’ meeting (a monthly meeting of CKC Old Boys held by rotation in an Old Boy’s residence). Nothing of much importance was ever discussed. They were essentially social occasions to reacquaint with old school friends, meet those who left before us and those that came after us.  We were god-parents to one of LE’s daughters and they to one of my sons.

Death comes to us all; it is just a question of when. So farewell my friend I know that God is there to take you home. You are leaving us physically but you will live in our hearts. You brought so much happiness with your gentle and loving ways. Thank you for your friendship; it has been a privilege to have known you. The memory of the fun we used to have when we were together gets me feeling alone. Sleep in peace my friend.

 

Edward Agbakoba


 

LOOKED BEYOND AGE AND TRIBE

Chief Okafor, as I always called him, was a father and a friend. He would look beyond age and tribe in his interactions and he almost always had a smile on his face. We lived on the same street for over 20 years and in all of that time, there was never a time I heard his voice raised.

Discussions with Chief Okafor were cerebral, broad and always a delight. One doesn’t walk away from that time spent feeling less.

One of my last memories was seeing him taking one of his many walks down the road right past the front of my house and as I prostrated, he held on to my hand and called me by name.

We love and miss you but know you are in a better place.

Rest in peace my uncle, Chief Luke Okafor.

 

From Ayodeji Oyinlola

1st Avenue, L Close, Festac


 

WE BID YOU FAREWELL

Chief Luke Okafor,

We still can’t believe we are writing a tribute for your passing on into glory. Words cannot describe this moment, but if this is the last time we get to say goodbye, then we know we will do so with the knowledge that we consider ourselves blessed to have lived this part of our lives as your neighbours. You touched so many lives by your selfless and countless acts of kindness. You were a peacemaker and a pillar of wisdom. Your dedication to our community was what set you apart.

While we mourn today, we also take comfort in the fact that your mission on earth has been fulfilled.

 You have left a void in the community that will never be filled but still, we thank the Lord for your life and bid you farewell until we meet again.

 

The Secretary

L Close, 1st Avenue Association

For and on behalf of all ‘L Close’ residents


 

 

I know you are at Peace

Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful. So I remain ever grateful to God for the type of life you lived here on earth which was so beautiful and gracious. Your life transformed and brought joy and happiness to many lives. In your profession as a Banker, you gave people the opportunity to show their talents and worth that changed and raised them to greater status.

You are gentle, humble, faithful to the service of your God, loves, cares and encourages all who minister at the Altar.

Farewell, Great Son and defender of the Catholic faith. Because your God and Creator whom you strongly believed in, as your native name depicts, wants you to come home, it is well.

I know you are at peace with Him now. Farewell, Ekwemnachukwu! Farewell Great Son of Abba. It is well with your soul. It is well with your soulmate - Victoria and your beloved children.

 

Your son, brother and friend,

Rev. Fr. Andrew Ukonu, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos


 

TRIBUTE TO CHIEF SIR L. E. OKAFOR

A Great Man. A man of God. A kind-hearted man. A Knight of the Church who understands the motto of the Mulumba: Tempus Fugit: Memento Mori. Time flies: Remember death I have known LE since 1988 when I came to the Parish of St Gabriel as a curate. Chief was so meek he couldn’t refuse a favour. He was generous. He was a peacemaker, a community leader. Though living in Lagos and very busy as the CEO of one of the foremost banks in Nigeria, he never missed any important event in the church in Abba. He was a gentle man and held every person in the highest esteem.  He was a devotee of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and attended the prayer meetings dutifully weekly even as CEO of UBA. He put in so much money in the construction of St Paul’s Catholic Church, Abba. He and Joe Billy Ekwunife were the inspiration behind the speedy completion of the Church.

He told me of how there was a riot once in his headquarters while he was the CEO of UBA. While the rioters were outside the office with clubs and placards, he walked to his car and his driver took off without a scratch on him or the car. He narrated to me, while in retirement, how a Yoruba retiree came with a letter to his office as CEO of UBA, asking for help to train his son in secondary school. Without seeing the man in person, he granted the plea and trained the boy till he finished his PhD. The man confessed he had gone to more than 20 offices without anyone giving him a hearing. Chief never met the boy till maybe his graduation. A priest wanted him to help secure a job for his brother in First Bank while he was there. He took the CV and told him he was number 85th in the list of job seekers in his file. Within two years, the man got the job.

About his impeccable Christian life, a friend of mine from Ifitedunu, said: He is the only Catholic in Abba! An exaggeration no doubt but it spoke volumes of this saintly man! And why was he thus rated? He had a wife who is thoroughly and devoutly Catholic and virtuous to support him. When I did not see him at his younger brother’s wife’s funeral last year, I placed a call and his good wife confirmed he was sick.

I am heart-broken like many because Abba, the Church, Anambra and Nigeria and all of us have lost a rare gem but I am consoled because he is a saint and has gone home to be with Christ. 

 

Requiescat in Pace.                     

Rev Fr Christopher Aniukwu

First Parish Priest, St Paul, Abba (1990 – 1995)


 

An Outstanding Figure of a Man

It feels strange that you have left us. There are moments when it hits me, I look over at your picture and then remember that you are gone. Death is powerful if it can take one like you and make you fall asleep forever never to wake up again.  My words are few but my thoughts are deep. For me, you left a legacy of brotherly love and constant appreciation of natural energy. You never failed to advise me to stay focused on my goals and disregard any distractions. Memories of you will never die. It is said, “The good does not last”. Your journey on earth impacted a lot of people, including my family of which we always remember. You have scattered so many mustard seeds everywhere, you lived a Christian life the way our Lord wants us to. Your spirit of humility, love and kindness, respect and generosity has touched everyone, you have lived the teaching of (St James) as an example to everyone. These examples are not hidden, neither did you broadcast them. In religious belief you were a firm Catholic, an ardent supporter of the Catholic principles and doctrine. Your passion and love to serve the underprivileged is irreconcilable. My mentor, a worthy companion and a great blessing and honour to the Nwoye family. Where do I start, how I got employed in the First Bank, how I got the mortgage for my property, how you stood with me during my marriage and how I eventually relocated overseas. These were all through your open-minded love for the Nwoye family. A  very rare gem in our present world, a man of great principle, whose YES or NO stands firm and deep rooted. Unfortunately, your life was not long enough to reap all the fruits of your labour. Your demise has changed the way I perceive life. Death is an inevitable part of life, a harsh reality that makes us question our own mortality. The sooner that we realise that life could change with the blink of an eye, the sooner we can learn to live in the moment so that we may enjoy the journey of life. I have to recount those days when Chief Omelora was Manager at First Bank New Market Road Onitsha. The  man mountain (Okwuloka), elegant, handsome and outstanding figure of a man that was respected by Onitsha wealthy businessmen. I remember the sound of his footsteps when he is coming back from break, everyone will be turning to have a look at him, every noise will die down for a while. LE, though you are no longer physically with us, you will forever remain in our hearts and your spirit will always be felt. Thank you for coming into our lives and enriching us. You were amazing and showed us how to live life to the fullest in peace, love and compassion to others. 

 

You were God sent, our “Angel” in heaven.
Adieu, till we meet to part no more. Rest in peace, Amen.
 

Michael Nwoye, for the Family



 

A GOOD AND AN EXCELLENT HUMAN BEING

On the morning of January 2, 2022, I received a call with some terrible news. My idol and mentor who hugely shaped my outlook on life and living, and many other things, has passed away.  Chief Luke Okafor who we all fondly call and widely known within our kindred and beyond as “Omeluora” was a gentleman Par-excellence. He was equally impressive, smart, and shaped the intellect of so many youths of my age within our Abba environment. While I was young and growing up, everyone loved and admired “Omeluora”. He was a man I didn’t just want to know, I wanted to be just like him - a gentleman Par-excellence.  As a child growing up, I once told my father that when I grow up, I will like to be like “Chief Luke Okafor.” He catered to so many. He loved encouraging and supporting young people to get involved in activities that will be beneficial to their future. Before I left for the United States of America (USA), in 1981, he attempted to secure employment for me at the First Bank of Nigeria Ltd which was a dream job for the youths of my generation. However, I ended up immigrating to the USA. After so many years in the USA, he strongly encouraged me to invest in Nigeria's economy which I did. He was a man that respects and participates in activities involving his kinsmen. He was in attendance for three consecutive days in Abba during my late father Chief Gregory Akpuaka’s burial. Chief Luke Okafor (Omeluora) was one among the exceptional. He was a good and an excellent human being.

I will miss him and his legacy will continue to inspire. 

 

Chief Sir Dr. Aloysius Ike Akpuaka (Ozodinobi)

 

ADIEU SIR LUKE OKAFOR

The name Luke Okafor carries a lot of gravitas- Corporate, Religious and Cultural.
Always with Grace and Dignity intact. Sir Luke cheerfully welcomed us into his home whenever Victoria his wife was hosting our Meeting. Their home/life a representation of unflinching commitment to the Catholic Faith.
We knew him as a gentleman with a happy, healthy disposition in retirement from the banking industry -First Bank Nig Plc, IMB and UBA. Was a past President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. A Knight of the Catholic Church, a nobleman/Chief of ABBA. We belong to Njikoka LGA of Anambra State.
Having fought the GOOD FIGHT, he’s now free from the harsh realities of life on this planet. Sir Luke Okafor has departed in the manner we all hope to go-the full works of the last sacrament timely administered on him. MAY HIS GOOD SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE. Amen! 


Our darling sister Victoria, we all observed at first hand the love, tenderness, unmatched attention you gave your dear husband right through his ailment. As our Association’s Treasurer, your rare blend of knowledge, and tactical prudence, your ability to cope with today’s rapidity culture, makes you a priceless gift to us. We love you and pray that this tragic void be drowned in the LORD’S guidance, protection and unfathomable Mercy. Amen!
ADIEU SIR LUKE OKAFOR.


THE CHRISTIAN SISTERS
BENEDICTINE WORD INCARNATE MONASTERY, 

NIKE,
NIGERIA.

 

 

TRIBUTE TO A DEAR FRIEND

Chief Luke Okafor's death came to us as a rude shock. Frankly speaking, we were very optimistic he would recover from his illness, but the Lord has the final decision. 

 

A gentleman to the core, he was very transparent and always willing to help both young and old. He was an ardent Catholic and rose to the highest level in the Knight of St Mulumba, where he was a member.

 

As a family man, he made sure that his dear wife and children came first. He had a close-knit family. He was very jovial and made people around him laugh.

Being an astute banker, he dealt with his banking problems with surprising ease.

We miss him greatly, but God loves him most. We know he is resting with the Lord. 

It is hard to say goodbye. May God grant you eternal rest in His bosom.

Jee nke oma, Adieu nwokeoma.

Sir Thomas and Lady Nkechi Mgbor (KSM)

 

 

 

Tribute to Chief (Sir) Luke Ekwemnachukwu Okafor (Omelora Abba)

It is with pain and severe shock that we received the news of passing on to eternal glory of our dearly beloved family friend. Omelora will forever be remembered as one of the best men God created. He lived an exemplary life full of love, care, selflessness, compassion, generosity and philanthropy.

We pray to God to repose his soul and grant his loving wife, children and grandchildren the fortitude to bear this great loss. May God Almighty grant him eternal rest and let perpetual light shine upon him. Amen.

Chief and Chief Mrs D.E. Ogona 


 

TRIBUTE TO L.E.

I started writing this short tribute as at 27th December, 2021, when the very sad news of the demise of L.E. like a thunderbolt, came to me at exactly 2.26pm. I wasn’t really writing something as if it was coming from my heart, it was like a dream to me. 

The year 2021, as at that day, was coming to an end. HRH Eze Onyeforo first sent me a photograph that seemed like L.E Okafor’s picture. This was followed by a WhatsApp message announcing the sad news. 

L.E was indeed my mentor and a brother when I was transferred to Owerri from Enugu as a supervisor. He was the area manager first bank Plc based at Onitsha and quickly identified me on my return from Officer’s course First Bank Plc, Lagos. At his instance, I was transferred to Onitsha Iweka Road Branch- first as the accountant from there to Bright Street branch also as the branch accountant. From there they transferred me back to Enugu where I took over the management of First Bank Plc, Uwani branch. 

After five years, he picked me up as his personal assistant when he was Deputy General Manager First Bank Plc (DGM) East, a great banker he was. He was a man who believed in high professional and moral standards. It was indeed an amazing upward movement. That job really exposed me to lots and lots of First Bank Plc head office activities. I had the opportunity to attend several head office events and annual general meetings with L.E. 

One can now understand why he was my great mentor. 

I pray God to please console his dear wife Chinwe, Obiora, Chinelo and others. 

May the soul of “Omelora” rest in perfect peace in Jesus' mighty name. Amen. 

 

Emma Ogbonna, for the family. 


 

OMELUORA LIVED FOR MANY

We all give glory to God for the life of Chief Sir Luke E. Okafor who has returned to the Almighty. His life clearly shows that it is the intention of God that we should live, not only for ourselves, but even more importantly, for others. Sir L. E. gave generously to all, especially in business, schools, churches, the poor, his family and extensions, peers, and colleagues. It is most remarkable that he raised many members of his Age Grade here in Abba in the Banking Industry where he rose from Manager to Managing Director and worked in two leading banks in Nigeria. Okpoka is the name of the Age Grade of which I am a member, though I didn’t work in the Banking Industry. Those in that Industry made our society rich in their contributions which were passed on dutifully to Abba Town Union. Omeluora also made useful suggestions for the building of our Union. Those who came to Annual meetings of the Town Union knew that Omeluora never missed it whenever he was at home during the Christmas seasons. He was always at the High Table to guide the President General as well as the Igwe in Council. He followed with deep interest all the efforts to liberate Abba Town from a few individuals from our neighbouring town who wanted to confiscate our Agu Abba. Omeluora knew that our people were united and would never give up. Our enemies would surely quit.

Let me cite one other example of the generosity of Omeluora. The Abba Town Union Lagos Branch, under his guidance decided to give an Administrative Block to our new Secondary School in Abba. Omeluora brought together a few members and raised a substantial amount of money to complete the building, dedicate it and hand it over to Abba Town Union. It was a remarkable gift at a time the Principal of the School needed an upstairs for security and adequate surveillance of the school. Many people are able to cite numerous and far-reaching examples of the services of Omeluora to the society. Those in the Banking Industry would enumerate his contributions to the First Bank of Nigeria, and subsequently, the United Bank of Africa. They would tell us that the growth of the Banking Industry remains a good measure of the growth of economic development of our country. Omeluora worked very hard to keep the Nigerian economy moving while employment and real output rising satisfactory. In the end, we must trace Omeluora’s success to his excellent character. It was typically a British model developed in Christ the King College, Onitsha where he studied. It was further refined in the Bank of West Africa, now First Bank of Nigeria, where he was employed, trained at home and abroad becoming a Manager in the London Headquarters. He was simple to be engaged, very respectful to others and willing to accommodate without sacrificing principles.

His wife, Mrs. Victoria Okafor knew that she had to make serious efforts to help him build a strong family and a home on which to base these achievements. Mrs. Okafor raised children, male and female, who are now working independently in good establishments at home or abroad. We pray that the legacy of their father will endure. May Omeluora rest in perfect peace, and may God bless you all.

C.C. Ozumba

Ezennia of Abba


 

TO A WONDERFUL FRIEND

A tribute to a wonderful friend, God fearing and caring man, Sir Chief Omelora L.E. Okafor.

Words cannot express our sadness to hear of your passing from this world to the very best place. We will miss you a lot, Omelora with a good heart. We love you but God loves you more. May your happy soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.

Sir Austin and Lady Jo Jo Anagor


 

AN IROKO HAS FALLEN!

It is difficult to believe and even harder to accept that Omelora has passed on and will no longer be available to give those rare invaluable words of wisdom and advice or share in our jokes. An iroko has fallen! 

I cannot find words to adequately convey my feelings when the news was broken to us. In my shocked and dumbfounded state my blank mind was immediately filled with the words of the Poem, “A Psalm of Life (1838)” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882). We know that life is but an empty dream but are still greatly shocked when this type of parting occurs so suddenly, so soon and apparently without much warning. The only consolation is the thought that he lived a productive blessed life. 

Chief Luke Okafor’s departure appeared sudden and unexpected to us as humans but God the Almighty Father knows why He wanted him home at the time. We trust He does not give His children any load they cannot carry. It is therefore a great privilege to be able to say a few parting words relating to Omelora’s life and the relationship our families shared and enjoyed over the years. 

Chief Luke Okafor was a stately hardworking gentleman, who did not encourage situations of conflict and stress in the environment. He had a keen sense of humour which he usually applied at the appropriate time to diffuse argument, tension, or conflict. He showed absolute loyalty to the Catholic Church, his family and friends. He showed dedication to any duty he accepted to perform. He was a dependable friend. Although we did not attend the same schools, our families were closely knit and held by inexplicable affection for many years. 

May I seize this opportunity to convey the condolences from my family to his wife Lady Victoria Okafor and their children and families. May God grant you all the fortitude and strength to bear this irreplaceable loss. We shall keep you all in our prayers and be there for you. 

May the soul of Chief Luke and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. 

 

Dr Gilbert Igboaka, KSC 

Ichie Ihechukwudere of Ihiala 

For and on behalf of Igboaka’s family

TRIBUTE TO A GREAT MAN ! A GOOD AND  GENTLE MAN !! A TRUE CHILD OF GOD WORTHY OF EMULATION.

 

IT IS WITH HEAVY HEART THAT I WRITE THIS TRIBUTE IN HONOR OF YOU MY FRIEND, A BROTHER,  A FATHER FIGURE AND A ROLE MODEL.  I WILL NEVER FORGET THE ROLE YOU AND YOUR WIFE PLAYED WHEN I GOT SPINAL INJURY IN MAY 2005 . I THOUGHT THAT MY WORLD HAS ENDED BUT WITH YOUR EFFORTS IN TALKING TO THE DOCTORS AND WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENTS AND PRAYERS , I WAS ABLE TO PULL THROUGH.

 

 YOU ALWAYS BRING US TOGETHER ALL THE CATHOLIC FAITHFULS FROM ABBA RESIDING IN LAGOS FOR THE PROGRESS OF OUR HOME PARISH ST PAUL'S ABBA,  AND EVEN MORE FOR ABBA TOWN IN GENERAL.  TRULY YOU'RE A FATHER INDEED. 

 

YOU PRACTICALLY DEVELOPED OUR TOWN BY GIVING JOBS AND CONNECTIONS TO OUR PEOPLE FOR OVERALL DEVELOPMENTS. 

 

TRULY A SAINT HAS GONE HOME TO BE WITH HIS MAKER ,  WE CANNOT QUESTION GOD. HE GIVES AND TAKES,  MAY ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL AND GRANT YOU ETERNAL REST AND ALSO BLESS AND PROTECT YOUR FAMILY IN JESUS NAME AMEN. 

 

CHIEF JULIAN AND LOLO CHINWE OKPALA 

OKPOLOKOOKU ABBA 

Tribute To Our Hero.

Omelora, I didn't know that I would be writing a tribute to you at this point in time. For I strongly hoped that the God of miracles would one day bring you home healthy to, among other things, move about on foot in the villages, greeting people. He has decided otherwise, and we cannot question Him.    

But your death is very painful to us as humans.We are, however, consoled by the fact that you have left us a Book Of Precious, Indispensable And Indelible Lessons Of Life to be read by many for many ages to come.

Yes, you were an epitome of faith, peace, humility, generosity, caring, honesty, diligence, courage, excellence, transparency, perseverance and selflessness. Indeed, you were a hero, ODOGWU!

You touched the lives of thousands of people of all walks of life in ways it is almost impossible to forget you: Omelora is not answered anyhow or with mere lips.

On the whole, God loved you copiously, gave you a long and fulfilled life, and many other temporal and spiritual blessings. Whatever remains we, strongly believe and pray that He will do even behind you, because as the Bible says, "their good works will be following them".

Omelora, in the words of St Paul, you have fought the good fight, and kept the faith. What remains is the crown of unfading glory the good Lord promised you. May He also grant it to you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Adiu, Ogaranya na-ejere ogbenye ozi.

Adiu, Onye udo.

Adiu, my loving senior brother.

               -  Fr Leo Okoye.

Omelora !!!

 

Gentle yet firm

Disciplined

Well nurtured by parents and teachers

Intelligent

Civilized

An astute banker

Well accomplished

Cheerful

 

What a shock we had to learn of your passing.

We're particularly pained that we couldn't see you while you were sick.

May God console and comfort your amiable wife and children, protect and guide them.

Good night Omelora,

You came, you saw, you conquered.

Sleep well, Gentleman of the First Order.

May the Good Lord keep you in that prime place for His beloved children till the resurrection morning.

Journey well to your Maker, Omelora.

Love from Chio and Nma Okeke

*Ozodiugwu na Irugegbe* *na Alor*

I feel very reluctant to write your tribute because I refuse to believe that you have passed on from this live. As days come by, it's now very clear to me that I will never see your beaming smiles. I know that the good Lord who has endowed you with integral goodness will reward your good life. May the Lord reward you and exhalt you amidst his saints which your live deserves.

Adieu Omelora

Adieu Great Ambassador of Christ.

Farewell a great saintly soul.

Rev. Sr. Mary Cordelia Udala DDL

TRIBUTE TO CHIEF OMELORA, LUKE OKAFOR-from Prof Benjamin and Mrs Ndali Akpati

We will not mourn you, rather, we will celebrate you, the one and only Omelora, not just of Abba, but of Nigeria. You lived a life of detachment from self, in fact, a life of selflessness. You touched many people’s lives, some of whom you sponsored in educational institutions, others you gave employment, some promotions, the remainder, purses to help alleviate their financial needs. For all of these, we salute your generosity!!!!

Likewise, you lived a life of contentment. You were always content with what you had, always lived according to your means. Although you were a bank manager for different banks, you did not cart off money for yourself and family. You did not steal money to purchase property, neither did you stack up your bank accounts. I am positive that you will be churning in your grave as you look back at what obtains in some institutions in Nigeria, where some public officers think that such is an opportunity to enrich themselves, not minding if they bankrupt the institutions they are placed to lead. You truly left a legacy for the young ones to follow. For your transparency and exemplary practice, we salute you!!!!

Additionally, you were humble to the core. You were relatable and approachable because you mixed with all and sundry. You were a great observer, and only spoke when it was necessary. You were quite a reflective soul. Coupled with that, you practiced spirituality because you lived your Catholic faith to the core. Like your wife, Chinwe, you loved Mother Mary. You belonged to different church organisations, like the Sacred Heart and the Knights, to mention but a few. Chief Omelora, for your spirituality, we salute you!!!!

Finally, I want to wish you a temporary good bye, because life is but a journey. That day would come when each and every one of us would be called by God to give an account of our stewardship. As we all prepare for that day, meanwhile, we will forge ahead with strength. That is why as I grieve with my dear friend, Chinwe, our Lady’s daughter, for her faithfulness to you till the last, I want her to take heart and not to grieve your loss. I would want her and her kids to celebrate the opportunity God gave them to have known you for so many years. I plead that God’s angels take your soul, give it Mother Mary, who would douse it with the blood of her Son Jesus, and present it to the Blessed Trinity, because when Mother Mary pleads, the Trinity will never say no. Rest in peace, the one and only Omelora, till we all meet before the throne of God, that place where there will be no more sickness, no more pain, no more sorrow, nor mourning. ADIEU!!!!!!

Letters

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