Our Reporter, Abuja
Family, friends, mentees as well as well-wishers, gathered Saturday at Peachvine event centre, Wuye, Abuja, to celebrate the Matriarch of the Ogbuoji family of Ebuwanna, Afikpo, Ebonyi State, Evangelist Maureen Ogbuoji, who attained the milestone age of 70 years.
Evangelist Maureen Ogbuoji, the wife of the late co-founder of The Open Christian Assembly, TOCA, Mr Onyinba Nnachi Ogbuoji, was the first graduate of Agricultural Engineering from the prestigious University of Ibadan in the early 70s. She also studied at Queens College, Lagos.
In a well attended ceremony, it was a harvest of encomiums as speaker after speaker extolled the qualities of Evangelist Ogbuoji.
In a tribute, Evang. Mathew Owojaiye, a Kaduna-based televangelist and a close friend of the late husband of Evangelist Ogbuoji, described her as no-nonsense person, who speaks frontally, without leaving any space for hypocrisy. He also extolled her for always being around her late husband and taking seriously with the highest sense of responsibility her family welfare issues when she was not ministering the gospel.
Senator Sonni Ogbuoji, younger brother to the celebrant’s husband, described his late brother’s decision several years ago to marry Evangelist Maureen Ogbuoji as the right one. He said he wished his late brother were around to witness the event of the day but said he was reassured believing he is in better place.
“Sometime in 1975, I had the privilege to meet with the young, beautiful, graceful young lady that my only brother desired to marry.
“That marital journey that didn’t look like much then, although not devoid of its vagaries has produced so many wonderful memories, and today the Ogbuoji dynasty is better for it.
“On behalf of our family, we are honoured to celebrate you, Evangelist Maureen Awele Ogbuoji.
“You have been rock solid in character,fervent in faith, and motherly all round.Thank you for taking care of Onyinba, his family and his deepest concerns…,” Senator Ogbuoji said.
In his own tribute, the first son of the celebrant, Osondu Ogbuoji, a medical practitioner in North Carolina, United States, described his mother as the best mom and grandma he could ever wish for; and an inspiration to many young girls and women.
“My Mom, or ‘Mama World,’ as we fondly call her, is my living hero and a true inspiration. I am proud of all she has achieved in her career, her ministry, and her life. I am most thankful for who she is to me – her love, care, and prayers – have helped me at every stage of my life. She’s the best mom and grandma we could ever wish for. I wish her the best birthday, and many more years in good health.
“She has blazed many trails and achieved many firsts, despite the challenges she faced and the obstacles in her way. She is an inspiration to many young girls and women around the world.”
Speaking on behalf of other grandchildren of Evangelist Ogbuoji, Miss Toluwani Ogunlade, while wishing her many more years thanked God for the inspiring life of her grandma. She said she does not take it for granted that her grandma, who she described as her best friend, teacher and mentor, is standing strong on her feet at 70 years of age seeing that there are many in her age group already on wheelchairs.
According to Mr Akin Ogunlade, Head Public Affairs at Digital Bridge Institute, Abuja; and husband to Evangelist Ogbuoji’s first daughter, Chidinma, her mother in-law, is a selfless woman and “living proof that you can climb the ladder of success, even to to its highest rungs, without straying from God’s path or losing your humanity.
“At 70, she has joined the pantheon of Amazon Legends, and far from being the end of her story, it is the beginning of another chapter.”
The 8th child of her parents, Evangelist Maureen Awele Ogbuoji was born in the ancient city of Kano to the family of the late Mr & Mrs T.U. Akwule of Asaba in today’s Delta State on November 7, 1953. Her father was the first African Manager of the then Barclays Bank in Kano.
Although she has every reason to live with hate and anger having lost her father, Reverend Akwule; her two beloved brothers, Dr Eugene Akwule, a senior medical officer at the Asaba General Hospital; and Mr Gregory Isioma Akwule; to the infamous Ogbesowa massacre in Asaba during the civil war, Evangelist Ogbuoji instead channeled her inner energy to preaching peace, loving God and taking care of the needs of others who are not even related to her by blood.
After graduating from the University of Ibadan, Evangelist Maureen Ogbuoji was said to have did her compulsory national youth service at the Ministry of Agriculture, Kano, and was employed after the service year by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and posted to Kano. She rose to the position of HOD in the Federal Department of Agriculture in the same Ministry.
A devout Christian and evangelist, Mrs Ogbuoji is committed to preaching and spreading the word of God through evangelism; mentoring younger women and girls; philanthropy; and book publishing. A well travelled preacher, Evangelist Maureen Ogbuoji is the publisher of Dayspring, “a daily devotional book, which keeps blessing many homes.”
A cofounder of TOCA church with her husband, Evangelist Ogbuoji in 1995 started the Maureen Ogbuoji Ministry (MOM) in Jos, Plateau State; and runs programmes for married women and children, ‘Home Makers and Goodnews Club, respectively. As an untiring advocate of strong family bond, every weekend Evangelist Maureen Ogbuoji hosts the zoom programme, ‘Fight for the Family.’