Margaret Obaigbena, Princess of Owa Kingdom Passes on

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Buhari, Atiku, Tinubu, Sultan, Saraki, Lawan, Amina Mohammed, 15 govs, Captains of Industry, Emeka Anyaoku, other leaders Condole with THISDAY/Arise Chairman over Death of Mother

The matriarch of Obaigbena family and a Princess of Owa Kingdom in Delta State, Margaret Obaigbena yesterday passed on at age 87 after a brief illness, drawing condolence messages from diverse Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhari.

Princess Obaigbena, who left her footprints in the health sector of the defunct Bendel State and later, Delta State was adviser to three successive governments in Delta State due to her wealth of experience.

The demise of the matriarch was announced by the Royal family of Owa Kingdom led by the Obi of Owa Kingdom, HRM Emmanuel Efeizomor in what he termed “celebration of life and times” of the matriarch.

The late Princess was born in Enugu on August 16, 1934 to Pa Paul Owakwe and Mrs. Grace Osinole Usifoh of Owa Kingdom in present day Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State.

Fondly called “my pearl” by her father, Princess Obaigbena spent her early years in Enugu and Onitsha before she finally settled in Agbor when her father retired.

She was married to late Prince, Edwin Ukperi Obaigbena and the marriage was blessed with six children – Prince Ben Obaigbena who retired as Group General Manager of defunct Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation; Prince Alan Glory Obaigbena, a retired Florida Director of Highways, USA; Princess Isioma Ukwa; the late Prince Rotimi Obaigbena; Prince Ndukka Obaigbena, Chairman/Editor in Chief, THISDAY/ARISE Group and Princess Ogochukwu Aneke. She had many grand and great grandchildren.

Growing up, late Princess Obaigbena was obsessed with the sight of nurses, especially their dress in immaculate white and finally had her dream when she was admitted into the school of nursing and midwifery in Ibadan and later, Benin.

She was a winner of many awards, including Best Academic Nurse in 1971 by the British High Commission and Best Practical Nurse in 1972 by the military Governor of the then Western Region.

Armed with her training and adroit discharge of her duties, the late Princess rose to the position of Chief Nursing Officer in the defunct Bendel State and later transferred her services to Delta State when it was created in 1991.

Condolence Messages Pour for THISDAY/Arise Chairman

Within minutes of the disclosure of Princess Obaigbena’s passage, condolence messages poured in from across Nigeria for Prince Nduka Obaigbena.

President Buhari, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar and United Nation’s Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, led the way.

The list has fifteen state governors, including governors Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State); Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi); Babagana Zulum (Borno) and Nasir El-rufai (Kaduna).

There was also former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi and former Commonwealth secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku.

Anyaoku wrote: “Dear Nduka I have just read while here in London of the passing of your mother. My wife and I send you and your family our deepest condolence. We should celebrate her fulfilled life and thank God for her producing you an undoubted asset to our country Nigeria. We pray that her soul will rest in perfect peace. Emeka Anyaoku.”

Captains of industry like Aliko Dangote, Abdul Samad Rabiu, Segun Agbaje, Ebenezer Onyeagwu and Herbert Wigwe also condoled with Prince Nduka Obaigbena.

President Buhari… 

President Buhari in his condolence message sympathised with the Royal Palace of the Obi of Owa Kingdom in Delta State “on the passing of a most treasured daughter, Princess Obaigbena.”

Commiserating with members of the family, and Prince Nduka Obaigbena, Buhari, described the late Princess Margaret as “a pillar of strength for the family, an accomplished mother and revered community leader, whose absence will be felt far beyond her immediate environment.”

Noting that the demise of Princess will create a great vacuum in the community, the President urged the family to take solace in the understanding that she lived her passion by caring for the distressed and disadvantaged.

He also eulogised her steadfast disposition to servicing mankind, beginning early in life and reaching the peak of the nursing profession, channeling her energy and resources to the realisation of lofty convictions.

Atiku, Tinubu and Saraki…

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar in his condolence message said, “I have received with sadness but with gratitude to God for a life fulfilled, the passing away of Princess Margaret Obaigbena, the beloved mother of the Chairman of THISDAY Newspapers and founder of Arise TV News, Prince Nduka Obaigbena.

“On behalf of my family, I wish to convey my deepest condolences to the Obaigbena family of the Owa kingdom of Delta State. May her soul rest in peace.”

Also, the standard bearer the APC for the 2023 presidential election, Bola Tinubu commiserated with Nduka Obaigbena and other family members over the death of Princess Obaigbena.

Tinubu said: “We must thank God that Princess Obaigbena died at an advanced age and left worthy children including you and your other siblings. I commiserate, through you, with other members of the family, particularly your siblings.

“While praying that Almighty Allah comfort all of you over this passing, I also beseech Him to grant the soul of Princess Obaigbena eternal rest.”

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki described Princess Obaigbena, as a great woman who also lived a good life.

Saraki in a press statement signed on his behalf by Yusuph Olaniyonu, the head of his Media Office, said though Mama Obaigbena attained a ripe age before she transitioned to glory, she would be sorely missed by all those who came into contact with her during her lifetime.

“Mama Obaigbena was a good woman who saw all the friends and associates of her children, particularly, Nduka’s friends as her children and always prayed for their progress and safety.

“My family and I commiserate with the whole of the Owa Kingdom which has lost a great Princess and mother, the government and people of Delta State who Mama served as a nursing officer and Special Adviser to three different governors as well as the Obaigbena family who have lost a matriarch.”

Sanwo-Olu, Okowa and Uzodimma…

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urged the deceased’s family, friends, associates and the entire people of Owa Kingdom and Delta State to immortalise the good name and legacy of the deceased.

He said the death of the matriarch of the Obaigbena family was a loss not just to her children and family but to the people of Owa Kingdom, Delta State and the society at large because of her positive impact in the lives of many people during her lifetime.

Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State said the government and people of Imo State share in Prince Obaigbena’s loss, “particularly at a time like this when her mother’s wise counsel was needed most in the country.”

Uzodimma said Princess Obaigbena’s contribution to her community, state and country, using her nursing profession, “is something that ought to be emulated,” noting that it was by dint of hard work, discipline and her believe in God that Mama was able to get to the pinnacle of her profession and even surpassed it.

Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, described Madam Obaigbena as “a great mother and an accomplished Nigerian who dedicated her life to the service of mankind through her profession and philanthropy.”

He urged the media mogul, Obaigbena and the family to take solace in the fact that their mother lived a life of sublime accomplishments and impacted society positively in diverse areas.

Dapo Abiodun and Lawan… 

Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun described the deceased as a woman of substance, thoroughbred caregiver and great influencer of social justice while alive.

Abiodun urged the Obaigbena Family, particularly, Nduka, to take solace in the fact that their mother lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation.

In his own condolence message, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the departed Princess lived an exemplary life as a wife and mother and “delivered meritorious services in her nursing profession and as an Adviser to the government of Delta State.”

Also, an Abuja based Publisher of the Whistler, Chief James Umeh commiserated with the publisher of THISDAY and assured him of his support.

He regretted that the matriarch died when the country needed her most to help with professional counsel on how to better the health sector of the country.


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