The life and death of Oha Boniface Oparaugo were written by Godspower Oparaugo (6th son) and was signed by Emeka Oparaugo (1st son, for the family).
Once upon a time, great iroko was born and lived among us. But today, that great iroko has fallen. The fallen of this iroko tree is a fact that Ndi Okolochi has lost an epitome of truth, an embodiment of peace, a generous and decent man whose life was full of hardworking, transparency, and wonderful testimonials.
He was known for his continual refusal to partake in shared enmity which always made him ask those who tried to lure him into unnecessary fights a question: “Onye ugwo gi owu onye ugwo m?” which is translated in English as “Is your enemy, my enemy?”
Daddy, most people from all walks of life who have had encounters with you are all testifying of your peaceful conduct and generosity while you were alive.
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You taught us how to survive in the midst of many challenges. You showed us ways to create opportunities for ourselves. You made us hardworking even when people felt we were lazy. You made us strong even when we had no weapons to face our battles. You made us fearless even in the darkest night.
Nda Blackie as you were fondly called, you were not a university graduate or a civil servant but you had achieved more than expected even as an ordinary hunter and palm wine tapper. For this reason, one of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates said:
“If you’re born poor it’s not your fault, but if you die poor it’s your fault.”
Death is a soldier no mortal can defeat which awaits to attack humanity at any moment. However, our comfort and hope were assured by Christ according to the scriptures in the book of Romans 14:8
“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.”
Oha Boniface Emelurumonye Ejimogu Oparaugo was born on the 27 July 1936 to the family of a great and peaceful man, late Oha Oparaugo Jacob Agunanne and Lolo Catherine Ekwuka Oparaugo of Umumoche, Umuejimola, Okolochi in Owerri West LGA., of Imo State. He was the fifth child and second son in a family of ten.
He assisted his mother in training his siblings after his father’s death which led him into hunting, and later palm-wine tapping.
He schooled at St. Michael’s Primary School, Ihiagwa; a Catholic missionary school from the year 1947 to 1955. He was one of the best racers in sports and won several prizes in sports including football.
However, his struggle to get the education to the level he wanted was cut short by the family’s request to assist his mother in domestic agriculture at home. He invested his resources in supporting his siblings in their academics and other means of livelihood.
Papa, being a gifted and humble young man, was enrolled in the Biafran Army where he played a very sensitive and important role during the Nigerian-Biafran War in 1967 as a Search Officer.
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In other words, he played the role of identifying where Nigerian soldiers planted bombs or camped to enable the Biafran soldiers to avert unexpected attacks and destruction during the war.
He was an active Biafran soldier till 1970 when the war ended. Many of his kinsmen testified that despite the situation during the war, he never ceased to return home frequently to check on his mother and siblings.
As an infant, daddy was baptized and named ‘Boniface.’ He was an active Catholic faithful even before Obibi Parish came into existence, and he remained faithful till his death.
He got married to his first wife immediately after the civil war but due to a divine wish, both parties separated and the contract was terminated.
In a strong quest to procreate, he entered into a fresh marriage contract in 1972 with his present wife, Mrs. Theresa Onyejiuwa Oparaugo from Ulokwo, Owerri North LGA of Imo State, and their marriage was blessed with eight children; six male and two female.
In 1983, they received their matrimonial blessings at St. Mary’s Catholic Parish, Obibiezena. Since then, he had never compromised his faith with anything; he always made God a yardstick in all he does.
In recognition of his servitude in God’s vineyard, he was awarded ‘Pillar of the Church’ by Rev. Fr. Ugochukwu Eke in 2017.
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Most importantly, Oha Boniface Emelurumonye Ejimogu Oparaugo had never been a part of people who oppress others in any way and had always said the truth even when saying it would place his life at risk. He was not afraid of anything or anybody. His Christian life on earth was a smooth one, and worthy of emulation.
Oha Boniface Emelurumonye Ejimogu Oparaugo was a founding member of the Ozuzu Hunters Association of Imo State in the early 60s and was a member till his death. He was a great and famous hunter who had hunted both big and small animals alike. Unbelievably, he achieved milestones through hunting and palm-wine tapping more than anyone would ever imagine!
As a lover of children, you would hardly distinguish between my father’s children from other children because he had always embraced every child with love.
Oha Boniface Emelurumonye Ejimogu Oparaugo was the second eldest man in Umumoche Village. The eldest man in the village senior him with just a few hours; he was born in the morning while my father, Oha Boniface Oparaugo was born in the evening on the same day.
He was a member of Oha na Ikoro Okolochi and maintained the treasury position of the traditional body till death.
Today, we are mourning a great man, father, best friend, and instructor, and we are also celebrating him as a good man whose life was full of testimonies.
In conclusion, one of the novelists of the 19th century, George Eliot said: “Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.”
Nda Blackie, World Bank as we fondly call you, your good name shall endure the test of time, and shall never be forgotten by your lovely wife, children, friends, and well-wishers. Farewell….laa n’udo.
Frequent Asked Questions FAQs
1) What are the full names of Oha Boniface Oparaugo?
Ans: Boniface Emelurumonye Ejimogu Oparaugo.
2) What is Oha Boniface Oparaugo’s nickname?
Ans: Blacky, World Bank.
3) Which year was Oha Boniface Oparaugo born?
Ans: 27 July 1936.
4) How old was Oha Boniface Oparaugo before his death?
Ans: 86 years.
5) What year did Oha Boniface Oparaugo die?
Ans: 23rd June 2022.
6) When was Oha Boniface Oparaugo buried?
Ans: 9th September 2022.
7) What religious denomination did he belong to?
Ans: Catholic Church.
8) What was his career/profession?
Ans: Hunting and palm-wine tapping.
9) Which organization did he belong to?
Ans: Ozuzu Hunters Association of Imo State, and Oha na Ikoro Okolochi.
10) Who was the owner of Mortimore Bar in the early 70s?
Ans: Oha Boniface Oparaugo.
11) Where did Oha Boniface Oparaugo school and what year?
Ans: St. Michael’s Primary School, Ihiagwa (1947 to 1955).
12) Which award did Oha Boniface Oparaugo receive from the church?
Ans: Pillar of the Church in 2017.
13) Who is the wife of Oha Boniface Oparaugo?
Ans: Mrs. Theresa Onyejiuwa Oparaugo.
14) How many children did Oha Boniface Oparaugo have?
Ans: Eight (8); 6 male and 2 female.
15) What are the names of Oha Boniface Oparaugo’s children?
Ans: Emeka Oparaugo, Maxwell Oparaugo, Tochukwu Oparaugo, Onyemauche Oparaugo, Uchechi Oparaugo, Godspower Oparaugo, Onyinyechi Edet (Mrs), and Blessing Daniel (Mrs).
16) How many grandchildren did Oha Boniface Oparaugo have before he died?
Ans: Twenty-three (23) and another male grandchild was born to the family on the same day he was buried, making his grandchildren a total of 24.
17) Who among Oha Boniface Oparaugo’s sons is most popular?
Ans: Godspower Oparaugo (author).