Her Life

Biography of Mrs. Nelly Uzoamaka Iwenofu

Mrs Nelly Uzoamaka Iwenofu was born in Port Harcourt, into the family of late Mr Lawrence Obiekezie and Mrs Roseline Nwabialu Ikeh of Umuokwasalu clan, Umuota village of Obosi in Idemili North LGA of Anambra State on the 21st of June 1947.
Even though they were eleven children in the household, she was the third child of the eight biological children of her parents as three of her cousins were raised together with them. They all had respect for one another. Having a father who was a disciplinarian, every child in the household knew to behave well and perform their chores. She carried on with this sense of duty and responsibility with her siblings after the death of their father.
Mrs Nelly had her primary school education at Obosi Central School between 1954 and 1960. At some point, she lived with her maternal aunt, Mrs Afamefuna, a teacher at Central school Obosi. When Mrs Afamefuna relocated to the United Kingdom to join her husband, she moved to another aunt from her paternal side, Mrs Eliza Onwuemelia. Before enrolling in secondary school, she returned home to her family.
Mama had her secondary education at the Umunya Girls’ Secondary School from 1961 and was known to be a quiet and peaceful person, a good sprinter and played volleyball at school. It was during her secondary school education that she got  married to her now late husband and her education was briefly interrupted.                                                              
She got married on the 24th of December 1966 to Late Mr Vincent Nnaemeka Iwenofu of Umuezeagu clan of Umuota village of Obosi. God blessed the union with five children- 3 boys and 2 girls, all happily married today. Mum spent a good part of the early days of her marriage nurturing her children. After her fourth child, a trifecta of resilience, focus and a supportive husband made her go back to school to complete her secondary school education. Afterwards, she moved to Jebba in Kwara State with her husband where he worked at the Nigerian Paper Mill, and in 1976, they moved back to Enugu when he got a job at the Project Development Institute (PRODA). This was when she decided and chose teaching as a career because she believed it would give her the time to look after her growing children and her husband at the same time.
Mama began her teaching career after attending the Women Training College (WTC), Enugu. She taught at Army Barrack Primary School (1979-1981) and Independence layout Primary School from 1982 till she had to transfer to Awka following the creation of the state.
Not one for resting on her oars, her deep quest for knowledge propelled her to obtain a distinction in Associate Certificate of Education (ACE) from the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1987. Following this, she signed up for a sandwich and pursued a university degree in Education in the same university while three of her children were studying various courses in tertiary institutions. Mama had grit and quiet determination to get to the top of her career and missed getting a first-class by a few points!!
Mama distinguished herself in her teaching career. She loved her job, especially Mathematics, and determined that every pupil she taught would like the subject too. Due to her national recognition as one of the outstanding Mathematics teachers of her time, her extra class lessons (the popular Mrs Iwenofu’s lesson) drew people from all walks of life, and they brought their children, especially to prepare for common entrance into federal government colleges.
Mama barely worked in Awka for a few months and stopped after her husband retired. They travelled to the United States of America for a holiday at the instance of our aunt, Mrs Ngozi Okagbue. It was while on this holiday, her husband after a brief illness passed on to glory on the 10th of February 2000.

Consequently, she moved in to live with her first son Emeka in his new house at Emene and took up a teaching position at the City Primary School where she became the headmistress of the school till her final retirement in July 2009.

After the demise of her husband, her relationship with God became stratospheric! She got involved in fellowships, prayer meetings and church activities. In addition, Mama took time to nurture her grandchildren, especially when one of her daughters had to travel to further her education.

Everyone around loved her, both young and old. Her patience, ability to listen and the ease of confiding in her endeared her to many. 

Mama never took her siblings and the affairs of her father’s house lightly and always stood up for her family in all circumstances. In the last few years, she put away her quietness and became vocal to ensure justice and fairness ruled. She played this role so well that it earned her the moniker ‘Nwanne ma Nwanne’.

Mama was firm yet loving, calm and very meticulous. Neighbours and children who lived around her fondly called her Grandma. She moved to her apartment in No 4 Joseph close by Ozubulu Street Independence lay-out after her son relocated to Canada. She was involved in church and was a part of the Cathedral Church of Good Shepherd community, Jesus wives group, and the love group fellowship in the church.

Mama is survived by her children, grandchildren, sisters, brother, in-laws, cousins and friends.