By Mrs. Jacinta Ngozichukwuka Dike (Nee Emegano), the first daughter (Ada) of Papa.
To some of you, he is Dee Dona, Dede Okigwe, Dede, to me, he is Papam, my prayer warrior, my advisor, my counselor, and my all. The first man l ever loved in my life. Papa lived and loved as Christ preached. He loved everyone, even those who presumed him to be their enemy, to the extent of praying for them. Papa had no enemies. Family was of paramount importance to him, from immediate family to extended family. This can be seen from the way he treated his siblings. I remember when we lived at Okigwe, Papa was preparing to build his house. He sent money to one of his brothers to start making blocks for him. After a few months, my lovely Mama (May her Soul Rest In Peace), went home to see how many blocks had been made, only to find not even a single one. She came back furious about what she noticed and talked to Papa about what she saw. Papa asked his brother about the money he had given him. He said he spent the money to feed his family. Nma continued to express anger at the whole situation but Papa just said, “am I going to continue to build a house while my brother and family are dying of hunger (Owum ruwa ulo ma aguru gbolem nwannem na umu ya)?” That’s papa for you, he will give you the shirt off his back.
For us, his children, he gave us everything we needed to succeed in life and that is why we all are where we are today. I remember when Papa had the opportunity to buy a car in those years. He said his car is to train us to any level of education we want to attain. Which he did. I really thank God that our elder brother bought Papa a car when he did. Papa loved us so deeply that there is nothing he would not do for us, and that is why we took care of him the way we did, because he sacrificed so much for us.
Papa and Mama showed us how a husband and wife should live, love, and respect each other, no matter what. I remember in 2012, when my whole family came home. My children even saw the love between Papa and Mama such that one day, in the USA, they said to my husband and I that they noticed that Grandpa and Grandma cannot eat without the other. And that has been true since I have known my parents: I told my children the whole background story about that. My father’s faith in the Lord is second to none. He lived and practiced Christianity till death. Papa’s principles in life were Honesty, Humility, Love, Peace, Transparency, Equity, Justice, and Fairness and he lived by them, everyday. If you know Papam, he is an embodiment of righteousness.
Papa lived a good life. He reached self-actualization in life and when he was ready to go to the Lord, he was ready too and he knew it. My father is a righteous man; he is resting in peace for the book of Wisdom 3:1-3 says: “But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be an affliction and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace.” I love you Dad, but God loves you the most, and now, I have two of my favorite people watching over all of us. Rest on.