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Lady Susan Uzoka: Amazing mother, exceptional teacher

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The late Lady Uzoka

TUESDAY, August 9, 2022, marked exactly one year Lady Susan Chinwe Uzoka (nee Borlin), a native of Onya in Delta State, left the world to join the saints in heaven. Mama prayed the Angelus by 12noon and began intoning the Divine Mercy prayer before she gave up the ghost that fateful day. Until her death, Enyi Nwanyi Lady Susan Uzoka, popularly known as Eziogeli, was married to Akunne Prof Azubuike Felix Uzoka (KSM), of Atani, Ogbaru LGA, Anambra State for 65 years; a marriage contracted when they were barely 20 years old . Their shining example of marital stability and harmony earned them an award of ‘ Outstanding Marriage of Example’ by parishioners of St Joseph the Worker Catholic Chaplaincy, Awka, in 2002.

  Born as the first child of Mr & Mrs Martin and Margaret Borlin in Egwumegwu, Benue State, on November 17, 1935, she was enrolled in school in 1943, because of her parents’ passion for education, even for a girl-child, which was rare in those days. She indeed excelled in school and won several distinction awards.

  Among the schools she attended are St John’s Primary School, Obosi (1943), Immaculata Catholic School, Onitsha (1944-1949), Holy Rosary College, Enugu (1950-1953), University of Nigeria Nsukka, Teachers’ Summer Course (1963) and Headmasters’ Institute, Benin City, for Diploma (1970). In USA, she enrolled in Miami Dade College, where she obtained Associate Degree in Education and later enrolled in Florida International University, Miami, Florida, where she obtained an Associate Degree in Education and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.

  Mama’s teaching disposition was discovered early in her life and upon completion of studies at Holy Rosary Teachers’ College, Enugu, the school management immediately employed her to teach in same school, a not too frequent occurrence.

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  Her subsequent teaching career took her through schools in Umudioka, Onitsha, Owerri and Enugu at primary school level. At Owerri, she was appointed the headmistress of the school. After her university education, she was engaged as a secondary school teacher in Nsukka Educational Zone. She served at St Theresa’s Secondary School and St Cyprian’s Teachers’ College before being appointed a school principal and later, a Supervising Principal, a position she held till retirement.

  Upon retirement, she was appointed Board Member of the State Education Commission by Anambra State Government, where she served for four years and was again appointed a Board Member of Federal Government College, Onitsha, where she served for many years.

  She was active in various social organisations and was at a time the President of Holy Rosary College, Enugu Old Students’ Association, for which she received a ‘Distinguished Service and Dedication Award’. She was conferred the honour of ‘Mother of Council’ by the National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) for her dedication to social causes. She acted as President of Ogbaru Union, Awka Branch, for some time. For her outstanding contributions to social and religious lives in her hometown, Mama was admitted into the prestigious ‘Otu-Odu Society of Atani, with ‘Enyi-Ugochinyere Eziogelibuno’.

  As a devout Catholic, she remained a lifelong active member of the Legion of Mary. Her passion to bring up young children made her to organise several Block Rosary Crusade Centres with St Peter’s Catholic Parish being the latest. She was awarded the honour of ‘Ambassador of Jesus and Mary ‘by the parish in 2020, for her service and commitment. As a strong member of Catholic Women Organisation (CWO), she served in many leadership positions and was for many years, the President, Home and Abroad CWO of her home parish, St Joseph the Worker Parish, Atani, where she received Certificate of Merit . Other awards received from her parish include Ezinne, Daughter of Mary and Mother of the Year in appreciation of her dedication and commitment.

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  On the request of a priest, Mama and her family were accorded Papal blessings of ‘Abundance of Graces’ by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. As a Lady of St Mulumba, Mama served as a good ambassador.

  As a matter of fact, Enyi  Nwanyi Lady Susan Chinwe Uzoka lived her life in service of God and humanity; always reaching out to people of different ages and holding on to lifelong friendships. Her love for teaching made her use every opportunity to teach and empower people around her, particularly the youth. One exceptional thing about Mama was her amazing capacity of recalling names and relationships. Her home was home for many extended family children and others whom she and her husband nurtured as their own. She retained the love and admiration of her former students and wards throughout life. Mama was indeed a woman of fortitude which was manifested throughout her illness; making people wonder how ill she really was.

  She is survived by her husband, Prof Azubuike Felix Uzoka, four children, 15 grandchildren, four great grandchildren, a brother, several cousins, brothers and sisters-in-law, nephews, nieces and numerous other relatives.

  Describing her in a tribute, her husband, Prof Uzoka said, Enyi Nwanyi was an enduring gift, wondering how he would continue living without her, while Mama’s brother, Chief Christopher Ossai Saco Borlin (KSM), simply described her life as saintly.

  Mama’s first daughter and wife of the traditional ruler of Atani, Odua Nwanyi Adaeze Ngoddy noted that Mama had so many great qualities with unparalleled love for family; simple yet elegant with a beauty from inside.

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  Her son, Onyechi Uzoka of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, observed that by living life so simple, constantly in prayers, never in remorse always in humility and in service of God, Mama demonstrated the joy that could be lived if one went through the route she passed throughout life.

 For Ken, her son, Lilian Ngozi Mgbahuruike and Emilia Madubuike, daughters,  Mama was the rock behind all they achieved; very encouraging and supportive. She adopted so many people as hers and gave them equal treatment.

 Mama’s daughter-in-law, Ifeyinwa Gertie Uzoka, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Deputy Governor, Anambra State, described her as a model wife; a totally submissive companion to her husband, who chose to live peacefully with all. 

Also, Mrs Obiageli Uzoka, another daughter-in-law, noted that Mama proved the world wrong that mothers-in-law are bad, stating that Mama was a friend and mother with so much beauty, grace, love and patience.

  Indeed, as her title name, Eziogeli connotes, mama was a good wife and mother whose self-effacing sacrifice knew no bounds and one cannot actually do full and adequate justice to her story. She will always be remembered by all whose lives she touched through her good virtues.

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