. . . Bishop Okpaleke, Fr Nwankwo, Others Eulogise Late Samuel Okoli
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The remains of late Mr Samuel Ogbonnia Okoli were last Friday, January 17, interred to rest at his compound, Ezi Village, Ikenga, Aguata LGA, Anambra State, after a concelebrated burial Mass held at St Anthony’s Catholic Church, Ikenga.
The late Okoli who died at 68 years on December 8, 2019, from prostate cancer that he battled with for six years, was the husband of the Financial Secretary of Catholic Women’s Organization (C.W.O), Awka Diocese, Lady Philomena Chikaodinaka Okoli.
Leading in the burial Mass, the former Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Peter Ebere Okpaleke, said the Mass was in thanksgiving to God for what he described as the good life He blessed the late Samuel Okoli with, and for those that supported the deceased during his life.
In his homily, Bishop Okpaleke, who recalled what he termed the unity and brotherly love that existed among relations that supported each other in businesses, regretted that such love had died in contemporary society due to lack of trust and love.
The bishop enjoined the children to keep alive the brotherhood legacy which their late father shared with his elder brother and their uncle, Livinus Okoli.
Bishop Okpaleke also extolled the deceased’s wife, Lady Okoli; the nephew, Dr Ifeanyi Okoli, and the entire family and others who took care of the late Okoli, for the love they showed him while he was alive. He expressed his delight that the wife happily took good care of his sick husband from 2013 till his death in 2019, and still remained active as a former Organizer of CWO, Isuofia Deanery and the current financial secretary of the Awka Diocesan CWO.
The Catholic Bishop, who based his reflections on the gospel of the burial Mass on The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30 of the Holy Bible, charged all to, with humility, put their God-given talents into good use for the wellbeing of others. This was even as he tasked all on proper mentorship, and those that had the privileged to train and mentor the young ones to make good use of the opportunity.
In his remarks, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, condoled with the family and prayed for the repose of the deceased, who according to the family, lived a humane, silent life and died silently.
For his part, the Parish Priest of St Anthony’s Parish, Ikenga, Rev Fr Peter Nwankwo, eulogized the late Okoli as one who had high regard for the value of the Church. Rev Fr Nwankwo, who gave the deceased sacraments, and prepared him spiritually for his demise, described the Okoli Family as a family to be reckoned with.
The quiet, humane and selfless late Samuel, who traded on motor parts, was a former chairman of Aguata Progressive Union, Owo Branch and a patron of Owo Motor Parts Dealers Association. He was the chairman of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, St Stephen’s Parish, Owo and a former chairman of St Jude’s Society of the same parish, among other positions he held.
The late Okoli was survived by his wife, five sons and one daughter, including many relations.