By Ebube Edieh
The day was all golden when on Saturday 30th September 2023, Chief Sir Pius and Lady Lucy Obiakonwa (Ezeana Agunecheibe) marked the 50th Anniversary of their Marital Union. The grandiose celebration which took place at their posh compound in Amolu Village of Adazi-Nnukwu, Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, attracted the mighty and the lowly, clergy, religious and lay people alike from Adazi-Nnukwu and beyond.
The celebration kicked off with a well-attended pontifical concelebrated High Mass, led by one of the sons of the soil, His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Jonas Benson Okoye, in the company of another Prince of the Church, the Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese, His Eminence, Peter Ebele Cardinal Okpalaeke, represented by his Vicar General, Very Rev. Fr. Prof. ABC Chiegboka.
Others were the Parish Priest of the Jubilarians, Very Rev Fr. Irenaeus Bernard Okonkwo and the Director of Fides Media Okpuno, Rev. Fr. Dr. Robert Anagboso, among a host of indigenous and other priests and religious.
In his homily, Fr Chiegboka thanked God on behalf of the Jubilarians whom he described as God fearing and exemplary in their practice of the Catholic Faith. Speaking further, he maintained that the Golden Jubilee Anniversary was a celebration of the gift of life which comes from God, the gift of marriage as instituted by God and commendation to work as exhorted by God.
Fr. Chiegboka called upon Chief Sir Pius and Lady Lucy to glorify God because ‘You have the grace of God to have had and lived a good and healthy life; to have kept to the sanctity of the sacred marriage institution till date and to have worked assiduously in your various fields of life in the Church and in Adazi for the good of mankind’.
Exhorting the golden couple further, he said many people longed to reach where they were now but did not, noting, ‘It is either that one of the couple is no more or that they are too sick or even that they don’t have the means. But in your case, everything has gone your way. You should therefore thank God and we thank him with you.
After the homily, Bishop Okoye led Chief Sir Pius and Lady Lucy to renew their marital vows to the cheers of the congregation. At the end of the Holy Mass, Bishop Okoye presented the Jubilarians with a gift of Papal Blessing bouquet and Rosary beads.
In his vote of thanks, Chief Sir Pius and Lady Lucy thanked God for his abiding love and mercy upon them, especially for the gift of life and health. He thanked Bishop Okoye for promptly accepting the invitation to come and preside over the thanksgiving Mass; even as he thanked the entire host of priests, religious, lay faithful and his fellow Ndi Ezeana, Nze na Ozo of Adazi.
He particularly acknowledged the children of the Trinitarian Foundation for Orphans and the Helpless (Home for Special Care), Ugwudunu Neni, Anaocha LGA of Anambra State, managed by the religious congregation of Trinitarian Missionaries of Merciful Love Sisters whom he referred to as his children.
Ezeana Agunecheibe is known to be a huge benefactor of the orphanage home. He has been contributing immensely to the welfare of the children and gave them special prominence at the Golden Jubilee celebration.
Chief Obiakonwa was born to the family of the late Matthias and Lucy Obiakonwa on 4th July, 1941 as the last of the seven children of his beloved parents.
Chief Obiakonwa attended the famous Christ the King College, CKC, Onitsha and Ibekwe Primary School (Ota-Kara) He was also a pupil of St. Andrew’s Primary School, Adazi-Nnukwu, from 1949 to 1957, where in 1958 he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC). Afterwards, he enrolled in Holy Cross High School, Umuawulu, as one of its pioneering students and graduated in 1962 with the West Africa School Certificate (WASC).
In 1963 he joined the services of the Federal Census Department as an Inspector and quickly rose to the post of Supervisor in record time due to hard work and commitment to duty. He left the Federal Census Department in 1963 for the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power.
In 1965 he left the Federal Ministry of Mines and Power for the Nigeria Customs Preventive Service. He was a staff member of the Nigeria Customs Service when the Nigeria Civil War broke out in 1967. He was actively involved in the war until it ended in 1970.
At the end of the Nigeria Civil War in 1970, he was reabsorbed into the Nigeria Custom Service in 1971. In 1978 he was seconded to the Nigeria Drug Unit (NDU) that later metamorphosed to Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). He served as a pioneer member of the agency for 5 years. In 1981 he was re-seconded from NDLEA back to the Customs. He served briefly at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, and was posted to the Nigeria Customs Training School, Yaba. From the training school he was sent to a drug Course to the USA in 1983.
When he came back, he continued his service at the Training School in Yaba till 1986. In 1987, he was posted to Apapa Port where he served for 3 years. Towards the end of his service he was posted to Port-Harcourt, Rivers State. It was here he retired as Chief Superintendent of Customs in June 2000.
Chief Obiakonwa is married to his heartthrob, Lady Lucy Ngozi Obiakonwa (nee Eze-Umeh), from Ubaha Village, Nanka, Orumba North L.G.A. of Anambra State, whom he met at St Joseph Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu, through the late Mrs Margaret Akwudolu (Nee Muogbo), a nurse at the same hospital, when he visited her. She introduced her to him. After 3 years of courtship, they tied the nuptial knot on the 29 September 1973 at Fatima Catholic Church, Kano. Their marriage is blessed with four children, two boys and two girls – Jude Nnaemeka Obiakonwa (late); Adaobi Obiakonwa (late); Ngozi Onyekonwu (nee Obiakonwa) and Gerald Ebuka Obiakonwa.
Chief P.N. Obiakonwa joined the Rotary Club International in 1983 and was the President of the Tin-Can Island of the Chapter in 1988/89. He is a four star Paul Harris Fellow of the Club. He is also a member of Udoka Social Club, FESTAC Town, Lagos. He has also bagged many meritorious service awards as a result of his age-old philanthropy.
In 2016, CHOICE National Magazine gave Chief Obiakonwa a Community Development Service Award for Outstanding Selfless Service to Humanity. On the home front, he also received an award from St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church, Adazi-Nnukwu.
As a result of their abiding faith and commitment to the cause of Catholicism, Chief Obiakonwa and his lovely wife, Lucy, were initiated into the ORDER of the Knights of St. Mulumba in November 1993. They rose through the ranks to become 3rd Degree Knights of the Order.
Chief Obiakonwa is a member and patron of some pious societies like St. Anthony and Sacred Heart pious societies; and Grand Patron of Awka Diocesan Catechists, etc. He is a staunch member of the Catholic Men’s Organisation, (CMO).
Chief (Sir) Obiakonwa is a member of the Board of Directors of Key Investment Company Limited, Lagos. He is also a member Adazi-Nnukwu Microfinance Bank and the CEO of ONEN INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED, Lagos.
SERVICE TO ADAZI-NNWUKWU
In 2004, Chief Obiakonwa was initiated into the prestigious ICHI Society of Adazi-Nnukwu, wherein he has served in many capacities, including Ime-Obu Adama.
Following the demise and burial of the sitting Clan Chief of Amolu, Chief N.N. Obiadi, in 2009, Ichie Obiakonwa was unanimously elected to succeed him. The installation took place on Wednesday 25 August 2010. During the period of interregnum in Adazi-Nnukwu, following the passing away of Igwe Michael Ojiako, Adama of Adazi-Nnukwu, Chief Obiakonwa filled the vacuum as Regent (Adama Representative) from 2011 to 2016; representing the town in the assemblage of traditional rulers in Anaocha LGA, Anambra State and beyond.
Today, 30 September 2023, marks yet another milestone in the life of Chief (Sir) and Lady Lucy Obiakonwa as they celebrate their 50 years of married life. Life begins at 50 years.