Although she came from a village that cannot be located on the map of Nigeria, Catherine Abbah’s death in Abuja earlier this month has got especially those from the village and those who encountered hers mourning and paying tribute. Below is one of it on the eve of late final departure for the village for burial.
By Irene Helen Okoh
Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?!
It is obvious that the good ones do not last long. The death of our dear mother and mentor, Catherine Abba, is one too many of such. A tremendous loss to the people of Opialu Village in particular and other ethnic nationalities within Nigeria and beyond.
I liken her to both Michael Igoche aka 99 and Patrick Okoh aka Chicago, two others from the same village who, as police operatives in Abuja, ran open households that catered for others. They are all late. They had same trait. I admire such virtue and wondered how they could be so generous with or without money!
While they were men, she was a woman who gave the same privileges to individuals. Single boys, girls and married ones who came into town Opialu Village into the city, fondly called “Efowe” in Idoma, found a staging point in her house.
It is there they stay, accommodated and fed until they found their bearings – get connected to their relations or commence hustling or get a job or decide to migrate to Portharcourt, Lagos or return ‘home’.
Mummy Catherine believed in education and good upbringing of her children hence, even after the demise of her husband, she chose to stay back in the city and ensured the children got the best from her through her merger salary, way back. Her effort paid off, most of her children are graduates of reputable institutions of higher learning and all of them collectively are well brought up. Most importantly, her children are established in their various fields of endeavour and doing well. Consequently, as if to say “I am satisfied “, she has finally left the city to eternally relocate to the village to be interred.
There wasn’t any moment of bitterness and strife with anyone during her life time as such. She endeared herself to both adults and children. I am optimistic that with this, milestone, she is smiling with deep fulfilment to Heaven, even though she lived a short life, comparatively speaking.
She was indeed a Queen both in and Out, her beauty reflecting on her children and grand children. Rest on Mummy Catherine, you cannot be forgotten in a hurry! For now, Good Night!!