Dame Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi

Former First lady, Dame Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi, dies, as Ikpeazu mourns Lady Adanma Okpara


[From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia]

Widow of late General Johnson Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, first Nigerian Military Head of State and Nigeria’s second First Lady, Dame Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi, has died in Umuahia, Abia State capital, at the age of   98.

Dame Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi

She was reportedly admitted at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia few days ago and died early Monday morning at about 4 a.m.  

Her son, Ambassador Tom Aguiyi Ironsi, has confirmed the death of the matriarch of the Ironsi family.

The former Ambassador said in a telephone contact: “Yes, the news is true and we are going to address a Press Conference at Umuana on Friday to make public the details.”

Dame Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi (File photo)

Dame Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi’s death is coming barely 24 hours after that of Chief (Mrs) Adanma Okpara, wife of the late Premier of Eastern Region, Dr Michael Iheonukara Okpara, who died early Sunday morning.

Late Dame Victoria Aguiyi-Ironsi served as Nigeria’s First Lady for seven months as her husband, Gen. Johnson Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, the first Nigerian Military Head of State, was killed in Ibadan in a countercoup led by late General Murtala Mohammed on July 29, 1966.

She married Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi as a student of Holy Rosary Convent School, Okigwe in 1953 at the aged of 16.

Meanwhile, Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, says he received with a heavy heart but with a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty God for a very fulfilled life, the news of the passing on of the former First Lady of the Old Eastern Region, Her Excellency, Lady Adanma Okpara, at the age of 97 years.

Lady Adanma Okpara was married to the iconic Late Dr. Micheal Iheonukara Okpara, who served as Premier of the old Eastern Region from 1959 to 1966, and together, they gave the people of the old Eastern Region, a first class government whose achievements continue to reverberate even till this day.

“The spousal support she provided to her late husband was instrumental to the monumental success he recorded as Premier,” Ikpeazu was quoted as saying in a statement issued in Umuahia Monday morning  by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Onyebuchi Ememanka.

“Widowed since December, 1984, Lady Adanma Okpara remained a model of good and excellent womanhood. She was a fountain of knowledge from which most women, especially, here in Abia, drank from freely.  

“Governor Ikpeazu notes with satisfaction that the now late Lady Adanma Okpara remained at her husband’s house in Umuegwu, Ohuhu, Umuahia and continued to play the role of a mother, grandmother and community leader till her final days.

“The Governor recalls with nostalgia the moments he spent with her and how passionate she remained about the use of the platform of government to better the lives of the people. She freely shared their experiences about the public service of the first republic.

“Her death has robbed us of one of our most iconic female living legends,” the governor lamented.

According the statement, “Ikpeazu is however thankful to God for the life of Lady Okpara. She lived a fulfilled life, served God and humanity, as well as had the exceptional privilege of seeing her chikdren, grandchildren and great grandchildren. At 97, she saw it all.”

The statement further read: “The Governor assures that the people of Abia State will always treasure her memories, just the way we continue to treasure the great memories of her late husband. Together, they left imperishable legacies.

The Governor sends his deep condolences to the first son of the family, Chief Uzodinma Okpara (Omekannaya) and indeed, the entire family on the glorious passage of this truly great woman.

He urges them to take pride in the solid legacies of their parents and be motivated to keep the flag of excellence in public service, hoisted by their parents, flying at full mast.

The State Government, the Governor assured, will work closely with the family to ensure that she gets a burial befitting of the legacies she left behind.  

Governor Ikpeazu, on behalf of his family, the Government and People of Abia State prays the Almighty God to grant her soul eternal rest and console her family.”


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