She was a passionate organizer of all her communities in her cherished life. Chief (Mrs.) Patricia Nwabuaku Enyekwe Akudinobi passed away in Los Angeles, USA, on June 15, and was given her due befitting obsequies at the home of her beloved husband, Chief Emmanuel Patrick Emeka Akudinobi, in Umunuko, Ukpor, Nnewi South LGA in Anambra State on September 13.
Patricia wore with dignity the distinguished title of Nneorah in her native Nri while her husband is the Omeluorah.
The funeral ceremonies started out with a vigil mass on Thursday, February 12, in the expansive compound of her husband Emeka. Then followed a well-attended wake-keep coordinated by Emeka’s eldest brother Dr Jude Akudinobi, a professor of Film Studies at the University of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara. The chief mourner’s immediate elder brother, Tony, the Aba-based genius of utilitarian home designs and art at Hammerhead Ltd, welcomed guests with his characteristic bonhomie. Emeka’s younger brothers, Vitus and Simon, arranged accommodation and took photographs respectively.
It was a gathering of committed friends from way back in primary school at Sacred Heart Onitsha, the secondary schools CKC and QRC Onitsha, universities at Nsukka, Lagos, Ife etc. Emeka’s attorney partner in Los Angeles, the very personable Chijioke Ikonte, made everybody comfortable while also sharing in the photography-taking role. The Special Adviser on Physical Planning to the Anambra State Governor, Chukwunweike Maduaekwe, graced the eve. Former Anambra State Commissioner for Information, Chief Maja Umeh, filled the eve with his wisecracks. Emeka’s bosom friends, notably, Pat Ubajaka, Ikechukwu Tagbo, Kenechukwu Udechukwu etc were a joy to behold. The home lad of the Akudinobis, Iwunze, was all service with an affectionate smile.
The burial date on September 13 began with a flag-stop trip to Nri to display her remains in her maiden home. Back in Umunuko, Ukpor, the funeral mass at the Emeka Akudinobi home was quite solemn, followed by a consummate burial witnessed by Engr. Mike Uzoigwe, Chief Obi Ene, Prof Achike, Barrister Innocent Obidi Umeh, Benjamin Avenger Uzoka, Isidore Emeka Uzoatu, Ogechukwu Aginam, Hon. Anthonia Tabansi-Okoye, Reverend Fathers and Siaters, and the afore-mentioned dignitaries at the vigil.
Reverend Father Jude Okwuelu and Mr. Mike Akudinobi paid laudatory tributes.
Nneorah Patricia Akudinobi was honored in death by members of the Ada Nri Global Initiative (ANGI), an organization she founded and facilitated. The group had a rousing dance and issued a tribute thus: “Pat, as we fondly call her, was indescribable. A rare gem, an amiable, pleasant and gentle soul who saw the need to bring all, adopted or born of the ancient Nri, under an umbrella and assiduously actualized it. Through the birth of ANGI, she reaffirmed that, together in love, friendship and unity, we can remember and give back to our coveted place of origin, the first of its kind in Igbo land.”
Hon. Lynda Chuba Ikpeazu, Member, Nigeria Federal House of Representatives, representing Onitsha North-South Constituency, wrote: “You were a true friend and sister. I miss you but I know you are surrounded by angels and Mother Mary and that the Almighty God is holding you in his palms and you are looking over all of us with your beautiful and radiant smile.”
Prof Jude Akudinobi paid this ennobling tribute on behalf of the Akudinobi family: “Nneorah, your insuperable faith in God, and love for humanity are abiding testimonies. Nneorah, you may no longer be with us in flesh but your extraordinarily inspiring and accomplished life has woven a tapestry of legacies that will remain for many lifetimes, as veritable testimony to posterity.”
Alfred Enyekwe relays the testimony of the Eyekwe family of Nri: “Words fail us but it has been great to have you as a sister.”
Reverend Father Ikechukwu Ikeocha of her California parish, St. James Church, testifies: “Nneorah, we are not crying because we know you are before God, praying for us.”
The last word, of course, goes to Chief Emmanuel Emeka Akudinobi (Omeluorah) who showed appreciation in these words: “Your diverse gestures of sympathy and support have been an inestimable source of strength to us.”