his Life


Pa Echem Onuu fondly known as Echemicable was born on August 15, 1929, by Onuu Ohuche and Alu Ohuche in Ngodo village, Afikpo North local Government Area of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, West Africa. He had three siblings Ehihia, Otuu, and Ogeri. His father was a famous and fruitful farmer in Ngodo village Afikpo Ebonyi State,  which was the primary occupation of Afikpo people as of then. The birth of Echem Onuu was a great blessing and lovely gift to the family of Onuu Ohuche because he had the most foresight among his siblings. He was loved by his parents just as he did to them. He was a tall and handsome man with good character disposition, humanity to humankind, blessed with an uncommon sense of humor, and infectious smiles. He was very sympathetic, sweet and polite.

His parents died at his younger age. He craved to go to school like most of his friends, but he had no one to sponsor him. He was raised by his aunt Esther Igu Okokpa in Ezi Okokpa compound Amaizu village Afikpo in Ebonyi State Nigeria. He grew up with his cousins whom he loved and cherished to the highest honor. His cousins also loved him so much and never took him for granted.  All his journeys were reserved personality,  kind hearted to anyone that came across him.  Blessed with an extraordinary gift of acuity and knack for details, he can engage you for hours for tales of yesterday.

Pa Echem Onuu at his youthful age went to live with his Uncle Mr. Okochi in Calabar. In the year 1959, as a young adult, he started trading business from Otu Ozizza to Oron and to Calabar. He fluently spoke three languages- Igbo, Efik, and broken English. The trade was a stepping stone to his success in life. He also embarked on tailoring business as an apprentice. As a trader, he accumulated wealth and had the idea that no one can be rich without reaching to others. He understood the standard of giving back to the needy. As children, we remember our dad paid hospital bills for some people who were discharged from the hospital but had no money for their hospital bills. He helped his cousin to go School. On Christmas period and New Yam Festivals, he shared food condiments and money to his family and relatives to enjoy the celebrations. His generosity of souls knew no bound.

Pa Echem as a Polygamous family of Nigerian culture, married two wives, Regina Orioma Echem and Joyce Ogeri Echem. He had a total of twelve children. Regina Orieoma Echem, his first wife, gave birth to nine children, Peter and Paul- set of twins, Monday, Chimezie, Benjamin, Ifeanyichukwu, Nkeiruka, Daniel (Ogbo Echem) and Nwabueze Echem (Elem Ugo). Joyce Ogeri Echem, his second wife, had three children- Emmanuel, Ugwu, and Ngozi. 
Peter and Paul, Emmanuel, Ugwu, Monday, Chimezie, and Ngozi, were born in Oron and the rest of his children were born in Afikpo after the Nigerian-Biafran war. Peter and Paul, Emmanuel, Ugwu and Monday of their blessed memory died to be with the Lord. May their souls rest in perfect peace.

"Okpara kata n' olaga n'uhu nnia"-Please permit us to be colloquial, He grew up as a man and went back to his father's compound. It was not easy for him, some of his kinsmen possessed his father's properties because he did not grow up with them. As tough as he was, developed a rhinoceros hide and overcame some of his obstacles. Mr. Raphel Egwu he said helped him to regain some of his daddy's properties. Pa Echem as a successful man in his business raised two building structures, one in his compound Ngodo Village Afikpo and the other in Calabar where he resided for his business. In 1967, there came a rumor of the coming up of Nigerian-Biafran war. People moved to their origins. He brought his family home and planned to go back to Oron for his business; the Oron troops waved off individuals entering their city with a closed border. Pa Echem made a u-turn and came back to his village to join his family. As the war started in 1967, He was picked up as a soldier, he fought the Nigerian-Biafran war for three years and did not know the way about of his family. The war that started on July 6, 1967, ended on January 15, 1970. He lost his second wife and his two sons during the war.

As a wounded soldier after the war, he came home as a hero but realized that his buildings in Oron and Afikpo were damaged and destroyed by the constant raids of atomic bombs that tore houses down. "Nwoke n'ife" Pa Echem lamented. He faced torrent trials, but his immense capacity to endure in the time of adversity was excellent. He did not allow the challenges of life to weigh him down, rather he took a step of faith and made it an opportunity to rebuild his new and better life from scratch. His courage was beyond question. He restored his current house in a portion of land that did not belong to him because the owners built a house in his father's Land Legacy. He continued his membership in Inne Trade Union Association Afikpo, kept the standard of rules and regulations of the organization and transitioned to full-time tailoring business.

There was a fortune smile on Pa Echem's face as a talented tailor with a measuring tape in his neck; he believed that between the needs of the advantaged and the plebian, tailors could find plenty of works. His talents incorporated skillfulness, business sense, knowledge of accounting, teaching and smooth manner of customer services. His sewing machine improved the effectiveness and fruitfulness of the clothing industry. He made clothes of many colors, patch works, button holes and elegant trims for people and his children. He made his clothes and garments for men and women. Tailoring was his signature, and it boosted the local and international economy. He gave up his business when he partially lost his sight and hearing coupled with Ahia Eke Ukwu that got on fire and he lost his Shade.

In the year 1974-1979, our daddy won a case of a land dispute that cost his arms and legs paying the lawyers and transportation fees from magistrate court to high court in Afikpo and Abakaliki. He was happy to be a victor and not a victim. He lived happily ever after to seeing his second son Ifeanyichukwu building a house in the foundation as we all call it.

In 1982, Pa Echem accepted Christ as his only personal Lord and Savior. He converted from Catholic to Assemblies of God church in Ukpa and Amachara village Afikpo, Ebonyi state through her cousin Late Mrs. Briedget Okoroafor.  He became a born-again Christian, quitted alcoholism and deposited his faith in God. It suited him well because he stated that was the best gift his cousin ever gave him. Members of the church became his true family.

In 1994 he attended adult education to improve his fluency and understanding in reading his Bible. His Teacher was a co- partner in tailoring business, who had teaching as his second job. Pa Echem did very well in his classess. We wondered how smart Pa Echem, would have been if he attended school at his younger age.

2014 he traveled abroad to visit her daughter for six months and came back to Nigeria. He aged with his red hat and handbag collecting his social security from the group of people as the Ehugbo culture demands. On February 24, 2016, he died after a brief illness that took him to the bosom of the Lord. He missed the special occasion of his Horii title, the last age group in Afikpo town on April 7, 2016, but he transitioned to glory to be with the Lord because being with his maker was more important to him than any other thing else. We give God the Glory for His mercy and compassion

Adieu Ezinna, Good night Nwoke Obioma.

Echemical, Echemicable, Safe journey.

Your Children,

The Echemicables.