By Solomon Okpo
A woman of substance, a virtuous woman, a rare gem of inestimable value, one of the pillars of Ikot Ibiok Eket and a leader whose sterling qualities cannot be forgotten in a hurry, Sister Adiaha-Sam Essong Okpo, has departed this mortal life for immorality at the ripe age of 81.
Born on June 30, 1940 into the family of Late Sam Essong Okpo of Ekoi and Late Mama Isang James Edoho of Nung Nka, both in Ikot Ibiok Eket, she bowed out on December 12, 2021.
A release from her family indicates that the deceased attended St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Ikot Ibiok in Eket Local Government and completed her Standard Six at Akim Qua Primary School, Calabar before proceeding to Mary Hanney Secondary School, Oron for her secondary school education.
Aduma, as she was fondly called, also attended the School of Accountancy and Business Studies, Uyo where she obtained her Diploma in Accountancy.
For her career, the Late Adiaha Okpo worked in the Accounts Department of the Nigeria Customs Service and retired meritoriously on December 5, 2005.
Born into a Christian family, she embraced the doctrines of Christianity at her infancy and practiced same at the Victorious Army Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God at Anwa Nsa Street, off Ikpa Road, Uyo till her last day.
The release further shows that the deceased was a woman of high social value whose life was admired by all who came her way.
She is survived by a daughter, Imaobong, brothers namely Friday, Sunday and the editor/publisher of The Evangelist newspaper, Evangelist Solomon Okpo, among other relatives.
Meanwhile, condolence messages have continued to pour in for the family of the deceased as well as one of the brothers who is the publisher of The Evangelist newspaper, Evangelist Solomon Okpo.
The messages which extol the sterling qualities of the Late Sister Adiaha-Sam Essong Okpo, also hail her exemplary Christian character, her humane disposition, kindness, love of God and humanity, and one who stood for truth and justice during her lifetime.
In his message, the Accountant-General of Akwa Ibom, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, urged Evangelist Solomon Okpo and other family members to diligently strive to fill the vacuum created by their late sister by emulating the laudable roles she used to play while alive.
Essien who described the late Adiaha Okpo as a devout Christian who was diligent in her service to God and humanity, prayed God Almighty to grant the family the strength to bear her loss.
To the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Adiaha’s lifetime on earth was characterized by love, humility, respect, philanthropy, honesty and justice.
The message signed by the chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Akpan, and secretary, Mr. Theophilus Udoh, charged the bereaved family to emulate the lasting legacies bequeathed to them by their late sister who used to display endearing qualities that stood her out as a role model.
Also, the Akwa Ibom Newspaper Corporation in their message signed by the secretary to the corporation, Mrs. Josephine Umoren, noted that death is an inescapable end to all mortals and no matter how the living look at life, it is painful to lose a loved one who was an adviser and a motivator.
The corporation urged the family to immortalize their sister by continuing in her footprints and letting her immitable words and deeds remain their guide.
As they join other sympathizers to give the bereaved a befitting farewell, they prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
A condolence message was also received from the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the National Association of Retired Paramilitary Officers (NARPO) who admonished the family to be consoled in the fact that Adiaha, though was a gallant officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, lived a worthy life and died in the Lord.
The association further noted that her contributions to the growth of her family, church, NARPO (which was her primary constituency), the society as well as the welfare of all and sundry, was greatly acknowledged.
Elder O. Umana and Akparawa Otu E. Otu, chairman and secretary respectively, of the association, signed the message.
Akwa United Football Club of Uyo, in their message signed by Comrade Omon Bassey, sympathized with Evangelist Solomon Okpo and members of his family, observing that death does not only lie on the physical separation of the deceased from the immediate family and loved ones, but much more significantly on the loss of pursuit of erstwhile lofty ideas and aspirations, thereby silencing the voice that speaks truth, wisdom, love and peace.
The club entreats the family to draw consolation from the socio-economic legacies the late Adiaha left behind which endeared her to the family, village and community at large.
In their message addressed to Comrade Solomon Okpo and signed by the secretary, Comrade Dominic Akpan, the State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists commiserated with the family over the loss of their beloved sister, assuring that the family is not alone in this moment of grief.
The union remarked that though the death of their sister is painful, the family should count it all joy that there late sister did not die unsung as she was successful in all areas of her life.
While describing the late Aduma as a woman of peace and a devout Christian who contributed immensely to the things that brought glory to God, the union urged the family to set everything she stood for in life as a light and a memorial unto their path.
The Victorious Army Mega Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Anwa Nsa Street, off Ikpa Road, Uyo expressed the pain Adiaha’s demise has inflicted on them, especially at the time they needed her wisdom and experience most.
The church in its message signed by Pastor Adeyanju Victor described the deceased as an amazing woman who was a devout Christian and a committed member of their parish.
They prayed for the family to stay strong while mourning their mother and sister, and extended their deepest condolences to them, saying that her exit is an irreparable loss both to the family and the church, Condolence messages were also received from other groups and individuals, including the Akwa Ibom Command of the Nigeria Customs Service who prayed God to grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest.
In the message signed by A. S. Ijeruh, they described the death of their former colleague as a great loss to the Nigeria Customs Service, the family and the community at large, assuring that their sympathy and thoughts are with the bereaved family at this trying period of their life.