"The Spirit of the Lord surrounds us,
The Love of the Lord engulfs us
The Power of the Lord protects us
The Presence of the Lord takes care of us
So that wherever we are...God is
  • 61 years old
  • Born on September 22, 1956 in Nigeria.
  • Passed away on December 9, 2017 in Maryland, United States.

Psalm 116: 15
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.

This memorial website was created in memory of our beloved mom, daughter, sister and grandmother Mrs. Oby Theodora Nwankwo, 61, born on September 22, 1956 and passed away on December 9, 2017.

She touched so many lives.

We will remember her forever.

Please click here for additional information or to send flowers.

For questions and comments, please contact
the family via email at VONDTeam@gmail.com 


Posted by Luke Onwuka on 10th December 2018
Hello Aunty Oby, I want to say so many things, but my mind is filled so many things at once that I can't seem to make any words.. I really miss you a lot.. and I am very grateful for how you took care of me and Emeka through all those years in Nigeria. Thank you so much being a big part of the reason I am who I am today. You really inspire me a lot. You were always on the move when I lived with you, so I never really knew how much you were doing to change the world. Gosh, I hope I can do cool and amazing things just like you did. I miss you, love you and can't thank you enough. Ttyl.
Posted by Osai Ojigho on 9th December 2018
Aunty Oby, I remember the monograph you wrote for WACSI: Reviewing the 50+ Years of Women Participation in Politics in Nigeria in 2011. It showed your wealth of experience and understanding of the complex and often difficult terrain women in Nigeria need to navigate to gain prominence. As we eagerly await the 2019 elections, we hope your dream of a better Nigeria for all its peoples - men or women or children or youth would be achieved. Thank you for your service. Rest in Peace Ma.
Posted by Amaka Nwajagu on 9th December 2018
Dear Aunty, It’s still painful knowing you’re no longer with us :( We love and miss you always and forever, you will never ever be forgotten. Continue to rest in the Lord’s bossom. Love always xxxx
Posted by Ngukwase Surma on 9th December 2018
Always remembered with a smile. Wondering what we would have being doing together if you were still on this side of eternity.... Plateau State gazetted the GEO law this year. And it reached second reading in Adamawa State as well....your work lives on..Aunty Oby.
Posted by Akwasi Aidoo on 9th December 2018
Sister Oby's passing away a year ago was and still is an extremely sad and big loss to the field of human rights and social justice. May her soul rest in perfect and eternal peace.
Posted by Chino Obiagwu on 9th December 2018
Oby, The Africa Network on ICJ, which you inspired in 2013, and ceaselessly encouraged me to move on with it, holds its first outing at the world's stage: its Side Event at the ASP17, tomorrow, but without your inspiring smiles. Oby, you were an inspiration, and an angel gone home too soon. Continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord.
Posted by Christiana Okechukwu on 9th December 2018
My tears are still flowing. Remain in Peace.
Posted by AMina Salihu on 9th December 2018
Dear Oby, Recently, at the Women's Conference in Nigeria, I shared a story about women who are the true sheroes of our time. Even though you are gone, your name featured prominently in my submission. You remain a true icon of our time whose legacy will endure. Rest on darlyn Nnem
Posted by Adewumi Oluwadiya on 25th January 2018
I got to know Oby Nwankwo through my work with the Goodness and Mercy Foundation , Atlanta , Georgia that mounted yearly Medical Missions to some states in Nigeria - Amambra, Enugu, Abia, etc. This Volunteer Organisation with several medical professionals from the Nwankwo, Nwosu , Ononu families of Ajjalli is well known for her quality medical services , which are often free, and is recognized by the people, the Federal Government and the state governments as a force for good in Nigeria. Oby Nwankwo was a great supporter of this work and that's how I got to know her . A passionate volunteer and fearless ,knowledgable , peaceable leader, she blazed a trail in all she did . Her passage has robbed us all of a worthy role model. We are already missing her , but take solace in God Almighty to guide , protect, prosper, and keep her family . May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace.
Posted by Dr Ada Menakaya on 24th January 2018
Aunty, When are you in NY for the CSW62 Session! Aunty this is our usual conversation and you always respond with instruction and discussion on what you want us to do. Why are you not doing it this time. Remember you once told me, ada umu nwanyi ime obodo na ata afufu, now the discussion is on rural women and I cant receive instruction from you on what to do. I am handicapped. please say something Aunty.
Posted by Elise Keppler on 22nd January 2018
Oby - you will be so missed. I am pasting here a dispatch I have just published from Human Rights Watch as a tribute to you. JANUARY 22, 2018 Nigeria Loses a Treasured Justice Advocate Nwankwo Advocated for the ICC, Women’s Rights Elise Keppler Associate Director, International Justice Program Oby Theodora Nwankwo, a Nigerian activist who tirelessly advocated for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and women’s rights, died on December 9, 2017. She was 61 years old. I got to know Oby through our common work to push back against unprincipled attacks by some African leaders on the ICC. The attacks surged after the ICC issued arrest warrants in 2009 and 2010 for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for alleged genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Darfur. At the time, people had limited knowledge of the ICC’s role as a court of last resort, and many did not know that several African governments had requested the ICC to investigate crimes in their countries. The court’s critics exploited this, spreading false information about the court being biased and targeting Africa. Oby stood out as someone willing to jump in and speak up on behalf of victims, whether in Nigeria or around the world, countering the prevailing narratives in African media. “It is high time African governments and the AU [African Union] put themselves on the right side of history and support justice for victims, not abusive leaders,” she said. Over the years, Oby was a member of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and she led the Nigerian Coalition for the International Criminal Court and the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center. Oby also helped guide the work of the global Coalition for the International Criminal Court through its steering committee. Oby encouraged strategic activism. When al-Bashir turned up in Nigeria after the ICC issued warrants against him, Oby went to court to insist on his arrest – after which al-Bashir hightailed it out of the country. Activists in Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Zambia, and South Africa have taken up similar efforts, campaigning on the streets and in the courts for al-Bashir to be arrested when he arrives or threatens to arrive in their countries. I looked to Oby for guidance, sound advice, and the passion needed to keep at it even when the landscape was challenging. Her efforts have made a difference. In the past year, some of the worst attacks on the ICC emanating from Africa have ebbed, and more than a dozen countries stepped forward to reaffirm their commitment to the ICC. Nigeria – and Africa – lost a tremendous activist. Oby’s energy for the cause will remain in my heart as the work continues.
Posted by AMina Salihu on 15th January 2018
Celebrating a Kind and Genuine Soul My mother, Mami, loved her. It took me a while to inform Mami her friend Oby had passed, as I was reluctant to break the news to her. You can imagine her expression and her state of mind when she learnt the sad news. Mami met Oby a few years ago when we went to Enugu for the wedding of one of Oby’s children. Mami became enamored of her, for her kindness and warmth and the special attention given her. She saw Oby as the facilitator of her visit to South East Nigeria, a part of the country she had heard much about but never visited from her town of Zaria in northern Nigeria, where she had lived for over 40 years. Mami would often ask after Aunty Oby and say when are we going to Enugu again and I would tease her with a reply, your friend has not yet invited us for another wedding.. And that is who Oby Nwankwo was- in many ways - a bridge maker and activator. A gracious, winning soul. We are told always to be good, to do good, to put others first, and to keep our ego tucked away, to engender a sense of community and embrace the spiritual. As we mature and grow in physical stature and wealth that currency becomes more scarce. Oby however had those in abundance. It was as if the greater the height she attained, the more simple and kind and humane she remained – and became. Oby took pride in the right things; her work, speaking out, standing by and with and if need be marching with the voiceless. She lent voice to issues that could open the door further ajar for our daughters, our sons, our communities, seeking to erase discrimination, seeking equality in likely and unlikely places. Oby did all these calmly, unobtrusively but you could not miss her in the room. Beautiful and full of personality. Her voice was quiet and soft not because she didn’t know what to say or how to shout. She shouted loudest at her most quiet. Oby was / is genuine. What you saw what all she was about. She didn’t seek attention, talk about herself and what she had achieved. I remember talking to her at the start of her campaign for the UN CEDAW chair, I said: sis we will need to profile you a bit o. She said something like: Ok my sister we will try… When are we going to another event in Enugu? Mami, I don’t know. Nme m, your friend passed.. Dear God grant; Oby eternal rest, her family and friends the fortitude to bear the loss and to protect her legacy. Amina Salihu Jan 15 2018 Abuja
Posted by Israel Ekanem on 11th January 2018
Oby,I lack words to describe the shock I had on hearing the news of your demise while on active service of your assigned duties which was service to humanity especially your untiring advocacy for the equality of men and women. I miss you and May your soul rest in perfect peace. Amen
Posted by A-CODE Enugu on 11th January 2018
We share in this time of grief but also share in the love and memories of Aunty Oby. What moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch. We may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say goodbye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. Rest in Perfect Peace. We pray the Good Lord to grant your family the fortitude to bear this loss. Iheanyi Igboko Ag Executive Director Agents of Communication and Development (A-CODE)
Posted by Emem Okon on 7th January 2018
Aunty Oby, I lack words to express how pained I am at your passing. I am consoled that you are resting in the bosom of the LORD. You were my big sister, Aunty, mentor, and teacher. I recall that program in Enugu in 1997 where I first met you. Till your passing you have remained soft spoken, kind hearted, beautiful, intelligent, assertive, excellent team leader and positive minded. I owe part of what I have achieved in women's rights advocacy to your tutelage. You didn't mind my humble background and beginnings but encouraged me to gain more self confidence and increased capacity. You provided the necessary platforms, opportunities and exposures. I remember the several training sessions on Affirmative Action. In fact you made CEDAW and Affirmative Action so realistic and practical. I will keep your memories afresh by continuing in my little contributions to sustain the campaigns you promoted. ADIEU sweet Aunty! You are God's Angel to WOMANKIND!
Posted by Adaobi Egboka on 7th January 2018
Aunty Oby, the news of your death was the shocker of 2017. I had just come to Feminist WhatsApp group to follow-up on GBV football match for the end of 16days of activism when I saw the sad news. Absolutely unbelievable!!! Aunty Oby , you were a role model to many of us. You believed in me as a young human rights advocate and the Lagos State Coordinator of NCAA for the passage of the Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill without doubting my abilities. Your belief in gender equality was a great inspiration. Aunty Oby, your humility and exemplary leadership will be missed by many. The subtle way you reminded me of deadlines and pending activities is a lesson I have used in my managerial roles. You are a big sister to the core, ready to speak Igbo with me at every point. You never bothered about status, titles or age. I remember meeting you in Geneva and how we cooked and chatted away in your room with other CEDAW Committee members. You wouldn’t let me spend a dime throughout my stay, even though you didn’t know I was coming for that session. Each time we meet at CSW, you are always quick to remind me of all necessary avenues and persons to network with. Aunty Oby, with a heavy heart I bid thee farewell. This is victory over death for a peaceful and impactful life you lived here on earth. Having laid every burden down, I pray the angels provides you a robe and a crown to join the host of heaven and sing a joyous new song to the lamb that was slain. ADIEU Advocate for justice, a prompter of peace, a woman of courage and principle. ADIEU Meek, Peaceful, Loving, Humble and Adorable woman. ADIEU Aunty Oby, Nwanne m oma!.
Posted by Anne Ikpeme on 6th January 2018
Tribute by 1979 Law Class University of Nigeria (UNN) Unforgetable that is what you are----- Princess Theodora Oby Nwankwo nee Ndigwe was a hard worker with passion and commitment to whatever she set out to do. She achieved and made an impact on the society. Oby always had a smile and an ear for every one that needed her attention. Her heart of compassion for the poor and downtrodden was just priceless. Her work in defending the rights of women and children both in Nigeria and on the international stage will not be forgotten. Our condolences go to her children, grandchildren, brothers, sisters and in-laws. Rest in perfect peace. Hon Justice Peter N.C. Umeadi (Chief Judge) ,Mrs. Uzi Didigu,Chief Mrs. Rhona Eze Dimude,Toni Igboji,Offiong Offiong SAN,Mrs Ngozi Okwesa Barda,Mrs Egoro Awa- Kalu, Anne Ikpeme,Azuka Ogo, Shiela Phil Ebosie, Eddie Ntephe , Hon Ifeatu Obi Okoye, Margaret Nwagbo , Eze Duru Iheoma-SAN, Lady Obiagheli Obi, Chuma Mbonu, Eziafa Ike Osakwe For and on behalf of 1979 Law Class UNN
Posted by Udochi Ucheya on 5th January 2018
Aunty Oby, I still find it very difficult to believe that you have passed. You are truly one of the most amazing women i have known. One of the greatest memories is you making 2017 as a breaking point by reuniting my mother and i, after 17 long years of been apart. The most amazing thing to me is the way you took care of the situation, backed it up with prayers, and gave in your very best to make sure the prayers came forth into reality. I wouldn’t have the testimony I have today if it weren’t for the power of your prayers, your love and your amazing daughters. The second attribute that stands out for me is giving. whether it be in acts of service, generosity, or compassion. You have always been the type of woman that pours out love in tangible ways to others. You portray this love with warm embrace, sweet encouraging words, and selfless attitude. I can truly say with everything in me that you are the kind of woman who shines the love of Jesus everywhere she goes. I truly hope to carry on this amazing trait as I can see a world that is in growing need of love, encouragement, and compassion. I admire your qualities and attributes. You are an inspiration to me and other women. With your life experiences, you touched the lives of multitude. You are indeed a woman of great strength and inner beauty,a woman, who brought great warmth in my Life, helped me believe in myself. A woman of great faith, fun, and endurance. A woman who has consistently stood strong in times of trouble believing in her God. I love you sooo much, and i will greatly miss you
Posted by Dev Ifendu on 5th January 2018
TRIBUTE TO MRS OBY NWANKWO By Sister Rose Uchem, MSHR (Executive Director, Ifendu for Women’s Development) Ifendu for Women’s Development (Ifendu) based in Enugu, Nigeria, is a non-governmental organization, dedicated to promoting inclusiveness in the society. Mrs Oby Nwankwo was until her death a member of the board of trustees of Ifendu right from its inception. She was happy to be of assistance both in person and from a distance. She gave generously of her time and ideas on how to run an NGO. The news of Oby’s death on 9th December 2018 struck like a thunder bolt from nowhere, leaving me speechless and in denial for so long until it began to be widely discussed. Even now, it is still so so hard to accept and to speak of Oby in the past tense. I elect o retain memories of Oby as I knew her, in her live state. In my experience, Oby was not a haughty person. She was simple, open and approachable; unassuming, gentle, kind and gracious. She exemplified affirmation, encouragement and positive regard for others. She will be greatly missed for who she was as a person and what she stood for in endlessly opening doors of opportunities and worldwide connections to all and sundry. Oby will be sorely missed generally in the development circle and particularly on Ifendu board of trustees where her death has created a big vacuum. Oby, thank you for who you were, and for the indelible legacy you have left us in the development circle in Nigeria, in the United Nations, and in the world. Enjoy eternal bliss with your God! Till we meet to part no more and finalize the unfinished business items. Go well Oby! Adieu!
Posted by Ene Ede on 5th January 2018
Beloved sister Oby,you genuinely very soft ,kind ,calm,harmless and your disposition was very infectious and convicting ! Your presence in the human rights sector ,particularly women's rights was a covering for the many accusations and suspicions about the way we work. You were a coach,mentor and character builder of both old and young men and women alike. Your sudden transition to higher glory has left a crack on the wall of the sector. You were a geneine Representative and Ambassador of rural poor who many in the human rights sector claim they represent and speak for. Your community office as the headquaters of your initiative (CIRDDOC) speak volumes . You empowered many ,you left empty of all you needed to off load to your generation . May the rest of us not dissapoint our Maker. Ever fresh in my memory. Ene Ede Community Empowerment Champion.
Posted by Ogo Nwachukwu on 5th January 2018
This tribute is written by Patience Onwuka ( Omenwa) on 31th December 2017. Mummy Oby as I usually call you, I knew you through Mrs. Bene Nwachukwu. The little I knew you, you sent me to an international market women conference at Ghana, not quiet long after that, you sent me to another conference at Abuja based on gender inequality, you asked me to create a group of Anambra women whom you intend to organise a seminar for, when next you come, Mummy I have done all as you requested, all we need is you, please come back and continue this wonderful work you've started for your children. Oh death why, why have you taken from us such a priceless jewel, a woman of peace and justice, soft hearted in decision. Mummy, we miss you a lot , but who could question God's decision , he knows the best. May your Legacy live forever among us. Sleep well in the blossom of the all mighty till we meet again.
Posted by Osai Ojigho on 5th January 2018
I remember Aunty Oby for her determined and positive approach to ensuring gender equality in Nigeria. She was unrelenting in promoting all issues of women in her unique soft-spoken way. She will continue to inspire me and I am thankful for the opportunity to have met and interacted with her. Rest in peace Aunty Oby.
Posted by Felicia Onibon on 5th January 2018
Calm, Regal, Confident and Kind. My dear Oby Nwankwo, your departure came to me as a shock, you will be greatly missed. My consolation is that you made great strides and marks in the sands of time. Your contribution to the development of Nigerian Women cannot be overemphasized and will not be forgotten. Rest in Perfect Peace dear sister. I pray that God mercifully console all members of your family in the name of Jesus.
Posted by Hauwa Shekarau on 4th January 2018
Aunty Oby, it's really so sad and heartbreakng to imagine you in the past tense now. But who are we to question God? We are consoled that You came, you saw and you conquered. You lived a life that was impactful and worthy of emulation. Clearly, your work here on earth is done and the Lord has called you home to enter into your rest. We thank him for that. So rest on my dear aunty. The work we did together at LACVAW on the Violence aganinst Persons Prohibition Bill that was eventually passed into law, the work on Gender and Equal Opportunities Bill, ad so many other women's rights struggles remain ever fresh in my mind as I ponder over your demise. Suffice it to say you have played you part. We will continue with the struggle God helping us. Rest assured that we will not let go until the goal is achieved. Continue to rest in the bosom of the Lord until we meet to part no more on the resurrection morning. Adieu Aunty Oby Nwankwo!
Posted by Christiana Okechukwu on 4th January 2018
Oby Nwankwo Oby, my sister, my mentor, my great friend, my tears are overflowing. What do you want us to do? Your absence has left a great vacuum in the landscape of love for humanity in Nigeria and beyond. Our oil has splashed on the ground. How do we gather our oil from the sand. What can I say. What can we say? I don’t know what to say. What do you want us to tell Oby jr., Ralu and the rest of your children? I don’t know what to do. Please guide us; please guide me from where you are to know the right thing to do by these children and the right way to go about it. My heart is breaking. I know that I am rambling, but forgive for I don’t know how to deal with this heartbreak . When the vulture becomes sick, what will be the fate of the kite? Oby! The bottom has fallen from our pot of oil. How can our oil not pour away? Oby!! The mother of all. What do you want us to do? The devastation is too much. Do you see us from beyond? Please help us. Inwelle Centre is weeping. You nurtured us. Please help us as you always helped us when things were too great to bear and when the wind was blowing so heavily that the tree was tottering on the brinks. Help us from the bosom of the Lord where we know you deservedly are right now, for if anyone deserves to lie in the bosom of the Lord our Good God, you are the one. The eagle of our time, Oby Nwankwo; Brain and beauty, garnished with compassion and gentleness. Dear darling of all, I will not just say go in peace, for you are peace itself. To have known you is one of the greatest ICONS of my life, Oby, the epitome of goodness and Godliness. Have a very good and hitch free journey as you ascend into heaven to be with your maker. Prof. Christiana Okechukwu, Ph.D. Executive Director Inwelle Study and Resource Centre Amorji Nike, Enugu, Nigeria.
Posted by Christiana Okechukwu on 4th January 2018
Oby, my sister, my mentor, my great friend, my tears are overflowing. What do you want us to do? Your absence has left a great vacuum in the landscape of love for humanity in Nigeria and beyond. Our oil has splashed on the ground. How do we gather our oil from the sand. What can I say. What can we say? I don’t know what to say. What do you want us to tell Oby jr., Ralu and the rest of your children? I don’t know what to do. Please guide us; please guide me from where you are to know the right thing to do by these children and the right way to go about it. My heart is breaking. I know that I am rambling, but forgive for I don’t know how to deal with this heartbreak . When the vulture becomes sick, what will be the fate of the kite? Oby! The bottom has fallen from our pot of oil. How can our oil not pour away? Oby!! The mother of all. What do you want us to do? The devastation is too much. Do you see us from beyond? Please help us. Inwelle Centre is weeping. You nurtured us. Please help us as you always helped us when things were too great to bear and when the wind was blowing so heavily that the tree was tottering on the brinks. Help us from the bosom of the Lord where we know you deservedly are right now, for if anyone deserves to lie in the bosom of the Lord our Good God, you are the one. The eagle of our time, Oby Nwankwo; Brain and beauty, garnished with compassion and gentleness. Dear darling of all, I will not just say go in peace, for you are peace itself. To have known you is one of the greatest ICONS of my life, Oby, the epitome of goodness and Godliness. Have a very good and hitch free journey as you ascend into heaven to be with your maker. Prof. Christiana Okechukwu, Ph.D. Executive Director Inwelle Study and Resource Centre Amorji Nike, Enugu, Nigeria.
Posted by Akwasi Aidoo on 3rd January 2018
So sad to hear of the passing away of dear sister Oby... May her soul rest in perfect peace!
Posted by Uchenna Idoko on 3rd January 2018
Rest in Peace Aunty Oby in the bosom of HIM that loves you more! May your wonderful children be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding them now and forever! Gone from my sight, but never from the treasures of my heart! ADIEU Uchenna Idoko Executive Director Center for Gender Economics (CGE Africa)
Posted by Josephine Anenih on 3rd January 2018
Oby Nwannem since I heard of your passing I have been in shock and utter disbelief. I am just waking up to the reality of your present existence on the other side of the bridge. You quietly crossed over and ascended without making any noise in your usual manner. Your life achievements have been attained noiselessly but with resounding impact. Your kindness, generosity, gentleness, humaneness, patience, love and beauty will make it impossible for the world to ever forget you. You quietly, consistently and diligently fought for justice for the poor and oppressed and marginalized in the society. You educated and empowered women across the globe. You gave and gave and gave pouring out your life to uplift and protect women and children all over and anywhere you found yourself. Never a politician yourself, you trained and supported female politicians in all political parties. Oby my own sister your legacies are too numerous to list. You are a light that continues to shine from the other side and will continue to illuminate the paths of those you have left behind on this other side of the bridge. Shine on my quiet and humble Giant. You have permeated so much that your presence and soft speaking voice is ever audible and felt. You ensured that you established structures that will continue your work after your transition. You can continue with your beautiful smile as you rest peacefully in the bosom of the Lord. Bye for now. Iyom
Posted by Sarafina Nwokenta on 2nd January 2018
'Aunty Oby', a name I fondly call you when we are away from the Ipas table and I just needed to level with my 'Big Sis'. You taught me to take the CEDAW document and other International Treaties in bits and break them down to community women, in simple language. Your unbeatable mentoring capacity and your soft, yet firm tutelage is second to none. Will I miss you?. . . . Forever, my soft-spoken Big Sis. Will this pain go away?. . . when we meet again. May Jehovah remember you for good, Aunty'm.
Posted by Chino Obiagwu on 2nd January 2018
Oby, I had always called you the 'Amazon' and you lived it all your life. When Victor was killed, you truly lived the 'amazon': Courageous, fearless and passionate. You loved and committed to your children, and mentored hundreds more. You touched millions of lives. You were a sincere confidant, and a true friend. You had a deep commitment for human rights & a passion for gender justice, You invited me into most of your inspiring initiatives that made me a better rights defender - Gender & Equal Opportunities Bill, NCAA, community paralegals, your books on Int'l Crim Justice, etc, and lately our NCICC; You were a Star indeed. A Star gone so soon. It is hard to believe the Amazon herself is gone. Rest in the bosom of the Lord, whom you served diligently while you were here. Adieu Oby. Adieu the amazon.
Posted by Maryam Uwais on 2nd January 2018
It is still hard to come to terms with the fact that our gentle but indefatigable Oby has left this earthly realm. Oby’s departure is a huge loss to the Nigerian civil rights movement, and for gender activists, in particular. Oby’s gentle mien belied her fierce passion and energy for social justice and women’s rights, in Nigeria. She was kind and soft spoken but determined, focused and diligent; very competent with an unending capacity for hard work. She always led the way, often inviting some of us to support her on her many initiatives. Both of us being lawyers, I recall, in particular, the privilege of working with her on the 5-member Technical Committee supporting the Gender Electoral Memorandum in May 2008 (under the auspices of the Coalitions for Change), as part of the efforts of the Gender and Affirmative Action Coalition to mainstream the involvement of Nigerian women in governance, elections and public affairs, generally. We had also served together on mock tribunals, towards drawing attention to the nature and implications of gender based-violence in our country, as well as on sundry initiatives to clarify the manner in which cultural and religious misinterpretations impact negatively on women, thereby drawing us back as a Nation. Her empathy knew no bounds. She was fearless when it came to her causes and was such a joy to work and be with. Her accomplishments are many, as she distinguished herself wherever she went. A Global citizen and Nigerian patriot, Oby traversed far and wide, in the search for good governance and ensuring substantial justice, especially for women. As a Chief Magistrate in Enugu, she performed brilliantly. As a member of FIDA, Oby was a thorough-bred professional. She set up her own NGO, the Civil Resource and Development and Documentation Centre, from which platform she applied herself selflessly and tirelessly on so many projects around our country, and in other African countries such as Liberia. She served on the UN CEDAW Committee and excelled. Oby was a devoted wife and loving mother (and proud grandmum), devout Catholic and a dear friend to so many of us. Her sense of humour was so infectious, her compassion palpable; plus, she was so pretty too! Oby shall be sorely missed, but she leaves behind a legacy of meticulous hard work, commitment and integrity. She stood for what she believed in and never shirked from speaking truth to power. The life she lived is a testimony to her strength of character in fighting for those less privileged. I pray that she is finally with her beloved husband, and at peace with our Maker. Amen. Adieu dear Sister and friend. Farewell. Maryam Uwais MFR Special Adviser to the President on Social Investments Office of the Vice President
Posted by Amaka Nwajagu on 2nd January 2018
My soft spoken but strong-willed aunty, I can’t believe you’re gone :( You fiercely protected your family and successfully fought off so many opposing ‘factors’ after the death of Uncle Victor -a woman of great inner strength and insurmountable love. You have raised your children and testified on how successful they are. The world has lost a rare gem but heaven has gained a beautiful angel. Rest in the bossom of the Lord, Aunty.
Posted by Pauline Muoneke on 2nd January 2018
TRIBUTE TO A GREAT WOMAN-OBY NWANKWO SR In loving memory of a great woman, a wonderful mother, loving grandmother and aunty. I thank God for your great but to me a short life....You have impacted on so many people..You were a source of joy encouragement to everyone you meet...I will surely miss you aunty..it was an honour and privilege to meet and interact with you. RIP aunty until we meet to part no more.
Posted by Stella Odiase on 2nd January 2018
A THANK YOU NOTE TO MY VERY LEARNED SENIOR, MY MENTOR, & MY PERSONAL AUNTY Dear Aunty Oby, You were not perfect but you were definitely in a class of your own. You were first of all a senior colleague, then you became a mentor and eventually a 'very personal aunty". Thank you for being a confidant who could listen to anything without judging. Thank you for teaching me about patience and how important it is to look out for as many sides to a story as possible. Thank you for your empathy, your compassion and for always speaking the truth to me, but in love; for having my back even when it wasn't entirely convenient for you. Thank you for your consistency, your loyalty and for the many career opportunities you pushed my way. I pray that Almighty God raises people in the lives of your children as HE raised you in mine. Good night Aunty.
Posted by Abiola Akyodei on 2nd January 2018
TO MY SISTER, OBY NWANKWO, A THOROUGHBRED PROFESSIONAL AND WELL ENGAGED FEMINIST ACTIVIST My dearest friend and sister, the news of your departure has been a very difficult one for me. The entire women’s movement in Nigeria has been thrown into mourning since the news of your death came and I have been in shock, not knowing what to do or write. Aunty Oby, AO as we call you, you have been a friend, a colleague, and a sister to me, a comrade waging collective struggles for the emancipation of the poor and marginalized Nigeria women. AO, you were a dedicated human rights defender, a big voice for the mases, a patriot, a worthy ambassador, and a proud global representative of your country. Your contributions to gender equality and governance in Nigeria, Africa, and globally are immeasurable. Your legacies are golden and you will forever remain in our hearts! A thoroughbred professional and well-engaged activist, founder of the Civil Resource and Development and Documentation Center (CIRRDOC), a former Chief magistrate, Member of FIDA, Vice Chairperson of the CEDAW Expert Committee, founding member of several organizations including Nigerian Coalition on International Criminal Court, Transition Monitoring Group, Nigeria Social Forum and Electoral Reform Network. I can continue to roll out more leadership positions, you have held within and outside the country, the few that I know of and many more unknown to me.  I became closer to you in 2003, when you invited me to join you on a trip to Calabar for the review of the first draft of what today is known as the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill. Your leadership and charisma imbued me to you, your commitment to gender equality cannot be qualified. You kept the flag flying Aunty Oby despite all odds, you led states in Nigeria to adopt the bill, you were unstoppable, you were not deterred, and you kept pushing and hoping that the bill will become a law in your life time, you did in some states! As the National Coordinator of the National Coalition on Affirmative Action, you taught us to demand for better representation. At different times, you brought together women from all walks of life to advance the cause of women and children in Nigeria. You have left an indelible foot print, you were indeed a conqueror, an amazon, and a unique and different person! I wish I knew our conversation in October was going to be the last, I imagined what I would have told you, how I would have let you know that you mean so much to me and the movement. I would have thanked you for all you have done to support and promote women’s rights, I would have let the world know that you were one of the most selfless human beings I have ever seen on earth! Aunty Oby, you were a pillar of the movement, were so meticulous in all your dealings, and a trailblazer and committed fellow, you will really be missed. Even in those difficult moment of your illness, you still took your time to support the last status of women report in July 2017, your review was excellent. You were a very courageous woman, a pillar to your children and friends, you were so bold, so strong even in those painful moments, you kept your links with friends. I never knew the end was around the corner for my dear friend and sister, I was still hoping and praying that it will be well. Until I saw the news of your demise. In the words of Debra Chesnoff (2011) ‘ I wish I could give you many more years.. …If someone had to describe you so many words come to mind. Beauty and grace, a heart so kind. You radiate warmth like a blazing fire. You are courage and wisdom. You truly inspire. You attract like a magnet beautiful things. You sparkle and shine like a diamond ring. You light up a room when you walk in. If someone feels sad you can make them grin. You are elegant and charming. You know right from wrong. You are the melody from a beautiful love song. You are a breath of fresh air on a hot summer's night. When there is darkness you turn on the light… I do not want to ever say goodbye…You are loved so much. https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/my-wish-for-you Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Chairperson, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) Founding Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC)
Posted by Ayo Obe on 2nd January 2018
It is so painful to lose a younger sister, particularly a younger activist like Oby Nwankwo. Yes, at first glance one might take Oby for a traditional Legal Practitioner, and a gentle Nigerian woman, but that would be to see only half the picture. Oby was indeed a lawyer and a kind and delightful friend. But she was also extraordinary! The work she did to advance and uphold the rights of women in Nigeria cannot be forgotten. The area where she was active might appear to be stony ground, yet her tenacity and commitment did much of the transformative work that might almost make us imagine that she was working in fertile soil. Oby, I salute you for your peerless representation of Nigeria on the UN CEDAW Committee and for your tireless work on behalf of Nigerian women in particular, and for humanity in general. May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Ayo Obe
Posted by Anne Ikpeme on 31st December 2017
A Tribute to a dear friend – Oby Nwankwo The news of the sudden death of Oby Nwankwo came as a shock to me and it is with a heavy heart and a sense of loss that I write this tribute. Oby meant different things to different people but there is however a consensus about the views of people whose lives she touched: she was a role model, strong, beautiful, kind to a fault and supportive, humble, intelligent and truly humane, loving, generous, thoughtful, respectful and very caring. Oby was a special person. A great deal of her resources was spent on feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, clothing the naked, sacrificing for others. Oby would buy food for families that did not have and pay school fees for some especially women and widows. She treated everyone with respect and was nice to everyone including those who were not nice to her. However, even though she was humble she had an inner strength and discipline that enabled her be firm when necessary and this helped her to achieve a great deal in her personal life and career wise. She distinguished herself as a leading human rights activist: promoting the dignity of the human person and the human rights of women in particular. She also distinguished herself as a CEDAW Committee Member representing Nigeria, rising to the position of Vice President before her death. She was a woman of great strength of character. To her children Uzo, Oby junior , Ogo, Ralu, Chidera and Chinaso I will say rejoice that even though your mother was taken at a young age, she lived a fruitful life which impacted on a lot of people. God loaned you an angel and a star for a mother, she came and shined brightly for some years and had to return back to her maker. Take heart and find consolation in the legacies she left. Oby, like 2 Timothy 4:7-8 says: You have fought the good fight, you have finished your race, and you have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for you the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give you on that day Goodnight dear friend and may the Holy Spirit comfort your children, siblings and all the loved ones that you left behind Anne Ikpeme
Posted by OBY OTTI on 30th December 2017
From Mrs Nwando Obika TRIBUTE TO HIS WORSHIP OBIAGELI THEODORA NWANKWO, CHIEF MAGISTRATE (RTD) (1956 – 2017) As we mourn Oby my cherished friend, I readily recall the lamentation of King David in 2nd Samuel 1: 19- 27 over the death of King Saul, Jonathan and others during the battle on Mount Gilboa. "How are the mighty fallen!" She was a colossus of our generation. Oby was a princess born to the late traditional ruler of Awka, HRH Igwe Alfred Ndigwe (Eze Uzu) and Ojiefi Uzoamaka Ndigwe. She was soft spoken, gentle, honest, energetic and well mannered. She retired voluntarily from the Judiciary of Anambra State of Nigeria in 2004 as a Chief Magistrate. She was an asset to the Anambra State Judiciary during her tenure. She was a quiet achiever, intelligent, very courageous and a master planner. This is not all. She was a human rights activist, a brilliant speaker and writer during meetings and conferences both at home in Nigeria and abroad. The World Conference in Beijing among others testify to her acumen and knowledge. To better actualize her vision and goals, Oby founded a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by name CIRDDOC: Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center. Her pursuits therein were greatly successful because of her integrity, honesty of purpose and effectiveness. No wonder she attained the coveted position of Vice Chairperson [ until her death] at the United Nations Committee On The Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which is based in New York and Switzerland. She was totally vindicated during the rancor of the International Association of Female Lawyers (FIDA), Enugu Branch wherein she was the Chairperson. "Build the youth yields a great nation" was a slogan Oby was a proponent of and she practiced it. Hence, her children and other beneficiaries turned out to be sound in education, hardworking and of good character. Notwithstanding her very busy schedule, she devoted time to her husband Engineer Victor, her children, family and many others attending to their needs. She had a pet name for everyone and had a great love for mankind. Above all, she was a practicing Christian. Personally, I recognized her attributes and potentials right from the time she was living with her family in Anam Street, New Haven, Enugu in the early eighties. These were more apparent and strengthened when we became neighbors in Second Avenue, Independence Layout, Enugu. I benefitted from the wise counsel and inspiration she gave to people. Some people would hoard information and advice but Oby found joy in helping people. Thus, her friends always stood by her in any event or situation. A saint has gone home. Death, where is thy sting? I, therefore, conclude that in life it is not how long we lived but how well we did. Behind her calm, gentle and tender disposition was a woman endowed with a lot of strength, wisdom and a kind heart. Obiageli Theodora Nwankwo nee Ndigwe aptly fits squarely into the description of a noble, virtuous, capable woman in Proverbs Chapter31 verses 10 to 27. To Uzoma Nwankwo, her other children, staff, families of Nwankwo and Ndigwe, her in laws, partners and friends, be consoled and have courage. Embrace the Lord all the more. You will be safe. ...
Posted by JOY EZEILO on 30th December 2017
A TRIBUTE TO MRS. OBIAGELI THEODORA NWANKWO AN OUTSTANDING FRONTLINE ACTIVIST AND HEROINE The management and staff of Women’s Aid collective (WACOL), Tamar Sexual Assault Referral Centre; and the South East Women’s Network (SEWNET), received with colossal shock, and a great sense of loss, the news of the death of Mrs. Oby Theodora Nwankwo, the Founding Executive Director of the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), a retired Chief Magistrate and a United Nations Expert of the Committee on Implementation of the UN Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee). I have tried many times to write a tribute in her honor and each time I became too emotional and words failed me. Finally, I have summoned courage to do this last minute knowing that Oby would have expected us to be strong and to do the needful whatever the situation. Alas, where should I begin to describe this colossus that we were fortunate to have as a driving force in the civil society movement in Nigeria, especially for gender equality and women’s empowerment? Where do I begin to talk about this outstanding woman who dismantled several road blocks to attain enviable professional heights? Mrs. Oby Nwankwo was a passionate believer in a world where human rights are women’s rights, and one where democracy and citizen’s rights reign supreme. She used her training as a lawyer, a Chief Magistrate, and advocate extraordinary to fight and lobby for change in laws and practice to promote and protect citizens rights. She founded CIRDDOC, CENGOS, NCAA amongst other coalitions that she belonged to and was always tirelessly pushing for the cause she believed in. She initiated with partners several bills to protect particularly, women and girls from sexual and gender based violence. She was the brain behind the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill (GEOB) that is still before the National Assembly and several States Houses of Assembly. I was privileged to work with Oby on several projects, including the ground breaking work we carried out on Maternal and Reproductive Health Rights from 2002 to 2006 funded by MacArthur Foundation that resulted in enhanced capacity among the legal community in Nigeria, including law students, lawyers, the judiciary and academia on the important role of law on reproductive rights issues, especially as it affects women and adolescents sexual and reproductive rights. This work culminated in curriculum revision for the teaching of health law and reproductive rights in Nigerian Law Faculties. Oby was an activist who practiced what she preached and when her will was tested during the burial and mourning of her husband late Engr. Victor Nwankwo she stood her ground and made the right choice not to be subjected to dehumanizing widowhood practices prevalent in her locality for which she had been in the frontline advocating for the abolition of such harmful traditional practices. She showed leadership when and where it mattered most. As a witness to that ugly incident that took place in her husband’s village I doffed my hat in honor of this heroine and frontline feminist/activist for being resolute and true to her beliefs despite threats of customary sanctions. Oby Nwankwo was resilience personified and kept abreast of her activist and development work in Nigeria and beyond even while in the USA receiving treatment for her illness. She was not one to be tagged missing in action, she was always there as a team player. I recall all our correspondences in relation to the Nigeria’s combined seventh and eighth periodic reports on CEDAW and the significant role she played to ensure that a mock CEDAW workshop the first of its kind happened before the examination of Nigeria’s report in Geneva by the Committee where she served also as an expert. As one of the consultant for that mock workshop retained by the UN Women she provided me with relevant resource materials. What a charismatic enigma? What a loss to the human rights community? There will never be space enough to write about Oby- our colleague, friend and sister in the struggle for gender equality, human rights, democracy and development. She did an amazing work in a very hostile environment and recorded notable achievements too numerous to begin to mention. I will now turn to the family she loved and was forced by the hands of death to leave behind. I want you to know that your loss is our collective loss. I wish to recall what I said to her first daughter- Dr. Oby Jr. -when she phoned to inform me of her mother’s demise. I said you know your Mum was a fighter and she would have fought death hard to stay with her family that she so much loved. Yes, she fought death against several predictions and God graciously granted her opportunity to see her children marry and have grandchildren; and importantly to witness the recent graduation of her twin girls that she gave so much to. The death of your mother a unifying pivot of the family is an extremely painful one but I want you to always remember that she had no choice in this otherwise as a lioness she would have fought her way or used her gentle and amiable nature to diplomatically negotiate a way out. Her legacy lives on and should be a great source of consolation and inspiration that she impacted her world. In the end that’s what really matters. It is not how long one lived as often said but how well? Testimonies are abound about her work, lives she saved and changed for better. As you mourn hold on to those memories and know that it’s well with her soul for she lived well. We pray that the God Almighty in its infinite mercies and blessings will give your entire family, especially her children, mother and siblings the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss. It is well! Adieu to an extraordinary activist! Adieu Oby the Princess! Adieu my dear friend and sister in activism! Adieu Oby- the heroine. May her gentle soul find eternal peace in the bossom of our Lord Jesus Christ Amen! Please do accept our deepest and sincere condolences! Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, OON [Ph.D. (Nig.), LLM (London), LL.B. (Nig.), BL, Diploma Peace & Conflict Res (Uppsala)] Professor of Law, Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus Founding Director, Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL)/Managers of TAMAR Sexual Assault Referral Center United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children (August 1, 2008 to July 31st 2014). Member, Board of Trustees, UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking – 2013 to December 2016. Also: Member, Governing Council of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), 2012-2015.
Posted by Jane-Frances Nwachukwu on 29th December 2017
TRIBUTE TO MY DEAREST GOD MOTHER Aunty dearest, writing this tribute is the hardest task I have ever had to carry out. When I got the news of your passing-on to glory, my immediate reaction was one of sadness and sorrow knowing that I will never see you again in this life. What hurts me most is the fact that I did not have the opportunity to say goodbye. Then, I remembered that you have gone to be with Jesus, joining your loving husband (Uncle Victor), your dear father, Eze Uzu 1 of Awka, and your dearest sister, Aunty Ifeoma; I can only imagine the grand reunion. Mummy dearest, It is not about how long but how well you lived. Instead of mourning, I will celebrate your life/achievements. You touched my life in so many special ways. You laid the foundation and gave me the direction that has brought me to where I am today, which is beyond my wildest imagination. When I married my husband, Victor, he automatically became your son. I know all you did before, during and after my son Victor Junior was born. Thank you so much for being such an angel. I am sorry if I did not tell you enough, how so much I loved and appreciated you. You touched so many lives. You served God through humanity. Your heart was full of love and compassion till the end. Thank you for all the women you fought for their rights and got judgment in their favour. Thank you for being the best role model I can ever have. Thank you for raising godly children. Omalicha, it is impossible to describe you on a sheet of paper. The shoes you left behind are so large; who can fit into them? You left very giant steps on the sands of time. You came, saw and conquered. Your legacies shall live from generation to generation. Rest-on Nwanyi bu so nma, rest-on Ada-Eze, rest-on Anyafulugo, rest-on my own Angel of life, till we meet again to path no more. Jane-Frances Tochukwu Nwachukwu Nee Nzekwe
Posted by Ven. Emeka Ezeji on 29th December 2017
On behalf of the Cathedral family, Cathedral Church of the Good Shepherd, Enugu, I write to console you on the death of your beloved Mummy, Mrs Oby Nwankwo. Mrs. Oby Theodora Nwankwo was a staunch member of the Cathedral until her death. She was very conspicuous in the activities of the church, humble and moderate in her dressing. No doubt you will miss her but the Lord she followed will grant her eternal rest. May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Amen. Ven Emeka Ezeji Sub-Dean of the Cathedral
Posted by Imelda Feludu on 28th December 2017
I met Oby briefly through another friend, Anne Ikpeme. When she called to inform me of your death, I couldn't believe it, I was too shocked. Oby, I want to thank God for the life you lived and the legacy you left. Your life was short but it impacted others. Through your life many life changed. You will be missed greatly. I pray that the God of Comfort will comfort your family at this time.
Posted by Julia Takahashi on 26th December 2017
I didn’t know Oby or your family but wanted to share some words of encouragement. It’s never easy to see the ones we love pass away. We can take comfort in knowing that as 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4 shows the God of all comfort is always watching over us to comfort and encourage us in all our trials. Also in the near future God promises He will eliminate death, tears, and pain in Revelation 21:3, 4. Until that time— deep sympathy— Julia
Posted by Nnaemeka Okoli on 25th December 2017
Adieu Aunty Oby! The news of your passing to glory came to us as a shock. However, God knows the reason why you have to leave us so early but we give him the glory for the fulfilled life you lived. You discovered your purpose and fulfilled your destiny on earth by touching a lot of lives through your work to humanity, just like Apostle Paul told us in 2 Timothy 4:7 to describe the life he lived "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith". You lived an exemplary life. I was thrilled by the comments of my Late Uncle and your husband (Victor) in the interview he granted Quality Magazine in 1989, where he described you as a pillar, supportive wife, intelligent, pretty - the best wife one can think of. This is truly who you were. You were a visionary leader, a think-tank and a legal luminary. We shall miss you dearly but continue to rest in the bosom of our Lord until we meet to part no more. Kachifo! May God bless your soul! Nnaemeka & Obuteaku Okoli Family
Posted by Francis Nwachukwu on 25th December 2017
It is with great sorrow that we bid you farewell our great in-law. A woman of wisdom, beautiful heart, and of great substance. Words can not truly express the love and care you show to your family and loved ones. We will remember and cherish all the times we shared with you. May the Almighty God grant you eternal life and may the angels welcome you into paradise. We miss and love you.
Posted by Anuli E on 25th December 2017
Dear Aunty Oby, The news of your passing has come as such a shock. You were such a beautiful woman with such a kind spirit. Thank you for always inspiring us young women to trust in God and reach our full potential. You are gone too soon, but I know you are watching over your beloved family. May your soul rest in God’s eternal peace. Anuli
Posted by Priscilla Ucheya on 24th December 2017
Coping with grief is a great challenge for a loved one. Oby Nwa amama [well known, beloved] like I used to call you. Your departure has left a void that is hard to fill. How can I put into words the rush of emotions that flooded my heart when I got that early morning call from my sister Ugo, that you had passed on to eternity. Time Stood still, pictures of our prayer time together, visitations, gospel ministrations and faith that you would one day give a testimony of your healing flashed through my mind. The telephone line was silent and my sister Ugo, spoke after what seemed like forever to know if I was still on the line. Oby, your faith and worship of God was infectious, touching lives, and encouraging them to talk the talk and walk the walk. You were the embodiment of a good Christian woman, very courageous, fearless and uncompromising in speaking out against injustice especially against women and children. Though gone to be with the Lord you will never be forgotten. Everyone who knew you was all the better for being part of your life. I join them in expressing my gratitude at your numerous Works of Mercy of which my daughter Ruth Udochi and I, Priscilla Ucheya, were beneficiaries. I hope I succeeded in making you understand how appreciative I was. What you did for all those whose lives you touched so positively reminds me of Tabitha, the Dorcas of Acts 9:36-43, who was so full of good works and acts of mercy that the widows she had labored to help wanted her to resurrect from the dead. I wish your story would end like Dorcas story, then our mourning would turn into dancing. TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO LOVE YOU IS NOT TO DIE. GOOD MORNING OBY, FOR WE SHALL MEET AGAIN ON THE RESURRECTION MORNING PRISCILLA A. UCHEYA.
Posted by Ebube & Uche Odunukwe on 23rd December 2017
A tribute to Mrs. Oby Nwankwo. Oby's personality has been aptly described by many observers as gentle, humble, kind, resourceful, godly, etc. I could use superlatives of each of these, but that is not Oby's style. She lives in her children who have been endowed with her excellent attributes. She has left a void in many lives which we pray that the Good Lord will fill. She was a very good friend who will be remembered how she lived and not how long. May she rest gently with the Lord as a faithful servant. So long Oby!
Posted by Sewuese Surma on 23rd December 2017
Ma I write this from a very saddened heart. You made a huge impact on my life positively. You were a powerful mentor for women in Nigeria, Africa and across the world. You did your work with tremendous passion. The women you mentored which am one of them will carry on where you stopped. Rest in Peace with our Lord and may your family members be consoled in Jesus name, amen.

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