By Ezechichiri L.P.O Agba
Chief Mathias Oguwuike Anumudu, Papa Pa Willie, was a successful Business mogul in Port Harcourt before the civil war. A victim of the unfortunate and unexplained ABANDONED PROPERTY story of the Igbos in 1970, Chief Anumudu settled in Aba for proximity to Port Harcourt. THAT’S HOW WILLIAM ANUMUDU, AN ORIGINAL “PORACOURT BOY” BECAME AN ABA BOY. We, the BORN-IN-ABA (ABA 1) labelled Willie, Rollings, Awuzah, Nnamdi Njoku, The Don Ebi & Co ABA 2. But by end of 1971, Willie had so integrated that none dared call him Aba 2. Back to school in Owerri, Willie was in Holy Ghost College and I, in Government Secondary School. By August 1973, when Willie passed the entrance examination to University of Nigeria, Nsukka to study Economics, he teased me “see you next long vac”. My confident response was “I’ll join you with my Inter BSc”. After registrations in September, 1974 at UNN, Willie and I became second year mates in Department of Economics because I came in for a 3yr programme with ‘A’ levels. Willie joked “Chineke! Lekwanu Lucky! Omeaniri this his Inter BSC talk o”. That’s how our journey from Aba via Owerri landed us at Nsukka. “Way back” like Willie remembered relationships, we become a family…. Pa Willie, Pa Rollings, Pa Lucky, Emma Variety, AC Pallas, Mazi Chika etc. and regularly recreated mentally by the Post Office (next to our department) with what came to be known as YAU-YAU.
The late editions in Silent End saw us home in Zik’s flats. Willie the ENTREPRENEUR, joked that his first industry would be “MULTI PURPOSE”, his slang for Toilet Paper Factory, which according to him, had a very large market because it served several needs. GLOBE MOTORS SUPPLANTED MULTI PURPOSE. The Post Office, though situated for the entire campus, was en route Mass Comm and other Departments.
The Mass Comm Trio of Pat Utomi, Sly Alakwe and Aik Emeagwali stopped by to share laughter sometimes. So did Stonne Achinivu, the AGBEBIS, CARVERS AND CARDOSOS…Phil Uche, Eme Confidential, Gary Wansho, Dean Duru, Echeta Egege, Bufo, Pecos, Dom Nkeme, Okey Nzoegwu and Shona Ekwulugo. SOME ABOVE PASSED ON BEFORE OUR DEAR PA WILLIE…MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE. Willie worked hard and enjoyed hard.
In his language, that was the criteria for being a ‘MEMBER’. From Unicoco, Aba via Motel, Owerri to Presidential Drum Room in Enugu, Willie preached “NEVER A DULL MOMENT”. Our times in C.E.C. with Ndudi Okehi and Igwilo both of LINK GROUP, as we co-hosted one another remains evergreen. WE HAD A FULFILLED TIME IN UNN. Post NYSC, after Jos for Willie and Maiduguri for me, Willie headed for Lagos while I started from United Bank for Africa, Kaduna. WILLIE NEVER LOST ONE FRIEND TO DISTANCE, STATUS OR ACCOMPLISHMENT. Each time we met, we made up for times apart AND STARTED ANEW. Willie Nigeria came by my place in Tooting Broadway, London S.W.17 in 1980. “OP Nigeria, please come and show me London shops.” I took Willie to Stephen’s, Rossini, Cecil Gee, Pinet, all in New Bond Street and a few others in Knightsbridge. HE LOOKED AT ME, EYEBALL TO EYEBALL AND SAID “OP NOT NOW. I’M SHOPPING IN MARKS AND SPENCER, COME ONE COME ALL”. That was the man, WHO KNEW WHEN TO AND WHEN NOT TO. Decades before his demise, those shops and more even in 5th Avenue, New York KNEW WILLIE INSTEAD OF WILLIE KNOWING THEM. William Anumudu had a good heart. When we lost our friend Tony Abii, Willie was on telephone with me from England and said “OP, I no sabi handle death. If na sickness or problems, I know what to do”. I have been in places where nobody guessed that I ever met Willie and the echoes were “But for Willie Anumudu… Thank God for Pa Willie… God bless William Anumudu “.
A handful of people reached me to thank and compliment me because they were richer by way of handsome discounts AND OUTRIGHT CREDIT IN TWO CASES, from Globe Motors because they were friends to OP Lucky. Willie was neither a Saint nor any Angel. BUT THE DEPTH AND DIMENSION OF HIS POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES WERE OVERWHELMING ENOUGH TO BLIND ANYBODY TO HIS SHORTCOMINGS. Pa Willie was forthright. Nobody ever profiled him as arrogant to my knowledge. HE WAS IN CHARGE OF SUCCESS. William Anumudu personified humour. Tell him a story longer than Ali baba and the forty thieves, his answer was “Arguementum Agajuonye”. Tell him a doubtful version, Willie would say “I reserve my comments to comment my reserves later “.
My brother, Chijioke Igwe drove across to Pa Willie’s to give Pa Rollings my arthritis supplements for delivery to me, Willie immediately reached me on phone “OP Nigeria, you wan knock engine? This one they’re buying you engine oil from UK! Please don’t o. We still need you. TO ALL THE ANUMUDUS…. WILLIAM HAS LEFT A VACUUM; HAVING DEEPENED YOUR FAMILY LEGACY OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP WHICH BEGAN WITH YOUR FATHER, GRANDFATHER, FATHER-IN-LAW, AND UNCLE. DO NOT MOURN!!! CELEBRATE HIM BY PERPETUATING THIS LEGACY. THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH. Willie West Africa! Willie Nigeria!! Pa Willie!!! Every mortal must die! BUT NOT EVERYONE LIVES. YOU LIVED!!! Your body heads to your ancestors in Mbieri BUT YOUR SOUL WENT BACK TO OUR CREATOR THE MOMENT YOU HAD YOUR LAST BREATH. MAY ALMIGHTY GOD FORGIVE YOU YOUR SINS THAT YOUR SOUL MAY REST IN THE BOSOM OF OUR LORD. My pain today and forever is that I missed your call at 12:28p.m. on 18April2020 and didn’t call back until after my wife reminded me to, and you did not take the call.
I was still expecting your call when Echeta Egejuru woke me up on 21April 2020 to ask IS IT TRUE??? It was a sad day and worse for me when it was revealed that you did not take calls from Dom Nkeme and others on that same 18April2020. Why did Willie call me? What did he want to share with me? ANSWERS I MAY NEVER GET. ADIEU PA WILLIE!!! EzeChichiri L.P.O.AGBA 08033111746 , 08099881404 (whatsapp)No tags for this post.