The late Mrs. Elizabeth O. Ndibe, mother of US-based Nigerian novelist, academic and columnist Okey Ndibe, will be buried on Monday, January 7, 2019 in Amawbia, Awka South Local Government Area in Anambra State.
Mrs. Ndibe died on November 18, 2018. She was 93.
Mrs. Ndibe served for many years as an elementary school teacher and headmistress in various schools in Nigeria, including St. Theresa’s in Yola, Adamawa State, as well as in Nnobi, Amawbia and Enugwu-Ukwu, all in Anambra State. She retired in 1977.
Popularly addressed by her praise name, Ngala, the late Mrs. Ndibe was born on April 18, 1925. She hailed from the Odikpo family in Onitsha.
On March 1, 1958, she married Christopher Chidebe Ndibe, a native of Amawbia. The couple was blessed with four sons and a daughter. Mrs. Ndibe’s survivors include her oldest child, John Ndibe, a medical doctor and acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health in Anambra State; Okey Ndibe; Ifeoma Mokwuah, a New York-based social worker; Jude Ndibe, an architect employed by an oil services firm in Lagos; Patrick Ndibe, an attorney who works for the city of Houston, Texas, and Chuks Odikpo, a US-based businessman.
Okey Ndibe, who has written numerous essays about his parents, stated that his late mother was “a passionate teacher who regarded all her pupils as her children, a fearless Christian who cared for bed-bound elders, prisoners, orphans, widows, and rejects of our society".
The US-based author, whose books include a novel titled Foreign Gods, Inc. and a memoir, Never Look an American in the Eye, disclosed that the late Mrs. Ndibe made frequent visits to prisons to pray with and offer advice to inmates.
“After her retirement from teaching, she celebrated each birthday by spending several hours of the day with prisoners. She would take food to the inmates and treat them to a small feast,” the novelist said of his late mother.
He also described his mother as a tireless advocate for the impoverished of society, often counselling government officials to implement policies aimed at reducing Nigeria’s levels of poverty and alleviating the suffering of marginalised Nigerians.
Okey Ndibe said he and his siblings had received a steady stream of condolence messages since their mother’s death. “Messages have come from lots of her former students as well as those who admired my mother’s extraordinary generosity to others, especially the least fortunate members of society,” he said.
Mrs. Ndibe will be laid to rest after a funeral Mass at 10 a.m., January 7 at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Amawbia. Auxiliary Bishop Jonas Benson Okoye of the Awka Diocese will be the chief celebrant at the funeral Mass.