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My Dear Clara: A Tribute By Your Husband, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole

December 20, 2010

My Dear Clara: I failed in my futile attempts to find the appropriate words to convey the full weight of my grief over your departure. But as the good Christian you encouraged me to be, I bear my grief in full acceptance of God’s will.

My Dear Clara: I failed in my futile attempts to find the appropriate words to convey the full weight of my grief over your departure. But as the good Christian you encouraged me to be, I bear my grief in full acceptance of God’s will.

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In life and in death, you remain dear to me as a God-sent companion, trusted confidant, an authentic heroine, genuine comrade and an indispensable helper. You were there for me at all times, variously as a mother, sister, comrade, prayer warrior and as a counselor. You had been the solid and only pillar by my side as a husband, father and throughout our challenging struggles as stewards of the masses and working families for a democratic, just and caring society.

As a husband, I was certainly far from perfect. My public duties consumed too much of my time, often at the expense of our family comfort. However, you understood that I had a duty as a workers’ and people’s steward, while you supported me all the way. I was never in any doubt that you were my backbone and the factor behind my modest, yet acclaimed contributions, in the struggle for democracy, good governance and social justice.

In our most trying moments, when it was my lot to provide leadership to confront the enormous powers of capital and on numerous occasions, to confront and moderate the enormous powers of the operatives of the State, you taught me to pray on my feet, while you went down on your knees to beseech God to cover me and my comrades with the precious blood of Jesus. You encouraged me to have confidence that once our cause was noble in the eyes of God, no harm could come to me or indeed to any of my comrades.
As you know darling, I am always the first to admit that without Clara, there wouldn’t have been today’s Adams. I am ever conscious that I owe so much to your total support, conscious sacrifices and undiluted love. Today, I can, indeed, I do boast of a happy home. But Clara, you alone bore the burden of peace, not only by tolerating my excesses but also by refusing to entertain gossips. I cannot thank you enough, my dear wife, for what you have done for me as a husband and for everything you have done to give me a happy home. The children, with whom God has blessed our union, give me so much pride. But while I usually take the glory for the good children that Cyril, Winnie, Jane, Steve and Adams Jnr have turned out to be, I appreciate that you bore the burden of bringing out the best in them.

Clara, you influenced so many people. So many people in and out of Nigeria appreciate your goodness and your qualities, far more than I had ever have imagined. The children and I have hosted endless delegations from all walks of life, across the length and breath of Nigeria and beyond. They all attest to your greatness as a person, wife, mother, comrade, patriot, humanitarian, and as Edo State’s First Lady. We are all so proud of you and we feel eminently privileged to be your own.

In particular, my comrades in the trade union movement as well as the working masses of Nigeria salute you and mourn your departure as one of their own. Although I have been their steward for over 30 years, they all appreciate that you were the steward beside the steward; you were the authentic comrade by the side of the comrade and you were the fighter on the home-front, behind the fighter on the picket line and in the streets. Each time I was harassed and buffeted with the intoxicating fumes of Police tear-gas and other dehumanizing tactics often employed by the State, I sought and found refuge in you. Your love and care always restored, encouraged and emboldened me.

Whereas as wife of a labour leader, you visited countless detention cells in search of me. You bore all the trauma with equanimity. Yet,  it hurts that as the Wife of the Governor and the First Lady of Edo State, your health did not allow you to perform your ceremonial functions in full comfort.

As the Governor of Edo State, I have always appreciated the way you endured the burden of leadership with me despite your health challenges. This is why the good people of Edo State celebrate you as the governor beside the governor and as the mother of the State.

I promise you that all our plans for Edo State, especially the maternal and child health development programme will be sustained. The children and I already agreed that your Foundation will be invigorated.
Although your death has left a void in my life, my pains are mitigated each time I behold our children, because I always see the goodness in you. I could not have wanted more in a wife nor indeed could I have had a better wife than you, Clara. In you, I had all I needed to succeed and to be fulfilled. I cannot thank you enough.
You are no more because it has willed God in his infinite power to recall you to his bosom, as worthy of His favoured. However, I will always be nourished by my faith in God and by my very treasured memories of the good times we had. My love for you remains unquenchable and my respect for you is unrelenting, because you made me whole and fulfilled.
Thank you Comrade Clara and rest in the bosom of the Lord you served so devotedly until your very last breaths.

Until we meet to part no more, I remain truly and lovingly yours, yesterday, today and forever.


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