Tribute To The Amazon Madam Tessy Igbeze Ozoagu (1938 – 2011)
By Peter Ozoagu
- Tribute To The Amazon Madam Tessy Igbeze Ozoagu, Ada-Eze 1, Amankwo Oghe, Ezeagu Local Government Area, Enugu State (1938 – 2011)
As the maxim goes that ‘Death is a necessary end and inevitable in life’. That was the case in 31st August, 2011, Mr Death came calling and in obedient to the will and divine mercy of God, Madam Tessy Ozoagu, willingly and without question honoured the call of nature.
Born in the year of our Lord, one thousand, nine hundred and thirty eight, to Mazi Umuzurike and Lola Akuako Ozoagu of Umueshim, Amankwo Oghe, Ezeagu Local Government Area of present day Enugu State. As a small girl then, little did anybody know who she is and what she is to be in future. She grew up just like any other person but unlike others, she was determined, focussed, agile and never willing to accept ‘NO’ for an answer in any of her dealings. She attended Saint Theresa’s Primary School Oghe.
After her primary education, she worked briefly at Ekwuezie Memorial Hospital and Maternity, Akama Oghe as a Nurse before joining the Nigeria Police Force (NPF). Her service with the NPF helped to prepare her for a greater challenges and leadership roles. She later resigned voluntarily from the NPF and went into business. During this period, she lived in Jos, Plateau State, Onitsha, Anambra State and Lagos State respectively. In all these places, she was actively into hospitality industry thus in Onitsha, it was called, ‘Tessy Cool Sport Beer Parlour’ at No. 12 Creek Road, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State. It metamorphosed to Tessy Hotel and Lodging in Owerri.
She later returned home in the late 70s to establish the famous Tessy Guest Houst, Afor Oghe, a leading hospitality industry first of its kind in Ezeagu LGA. With that she was able to bring civilization and socialization closer to the people. Afor Oghe, the business premises became a tourist attraction because of its patronage by all walks of life. The high and mighty, the movers and shakers, captains of industry and top government officials then visits Oghe, all because of TESSY GUEST HOUSE, AFOR OGHE. It then became a landmark and reference point in Ezeagu LGA where prominent activities be it meetings, weddings and other Social activities are held.
As a result of that, she was able to open frontiers of business and economically empowers our people especially the women folks whom she champions their cause. It is on record that She brought popular Musicians like Oliver De Coup, Old Oriental Brothers, Guest Artists, Popular Comedians etc live for the first time in Oghe.
The business brought her to fame and popularity to the people in the Local Government. As a result of that in 1979 she joined Politics as a member of the Nigerian Peoples’ Party (NPP) and was among the founding members in Ezeagu LGA. She was with the party all through and played prominent roles in the activities of the party especially in the Women Wing of the Party.
In 1983, she signified her interest to context for State House of Assembly, Ezeagu North in the then old Anambra State. She was unpopularly denied the chance and not being happy with the turn of event and for the fact that the Party refused to conduct primaries because it is believed that she has the greater followers and mighty defeat her opponent. As a law abiding citizen and one that believes in God, she accepted it as an Act of God.
She confided in me that she informed the Elders and decision makers of the Party that because of that she is abandoning the Party and boasted to her Opponent that ‘She is no longer going to context that State Assembly position with her rather her Son Peter Chinedu Ozoagu will context with her and she is going for something bigger, better and higher in the realm of politics’. In a bid for her to actualise her ambitions first to serve her people in a better and higher position of authority and influence and secondly to fulfil her promises to her opponent, she jettisoned the party and on her own went to the Yoruba Land where she met the Founder and Leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. With his blessings and authority, she single handily brought UPN to Ezeagu LGA. She became the flag bearer of the party in Local Government and as a result of that became among the Women Leaders of UPN in old Anambra State with the likes of Chief (Mrs) Onyibo Odinamadu, KSC, MON.
As the Flag bearer of the Party in the LGA and in fulfilment of her promises to the Elders of NPP and her Opponent, she contested for the Federal House of Representative, Ezeagu Federal Constituency and her son Peter Chinedu now battled it with her Opponent in the then NPP as a House of Assembly Aspirant of the party in the 2nd Republic 1983. With this, Madam Tessy Igbeze Ozoagu became the first in the Nigerian Political history one to context for Federal House of Representative and the Son State House of Assembly under same Political Party in a State. Unfortunately, both her son and Opponent in NPP did not win the House of Assembly election but it remains on record that she has made due her threat and promise to the Party.
At the end of the 2nd republic, she re- invigorated her business by moving it out of the State to Lagos. From 1984 – 1992, the bulk of the business was concentrated in Lagos giving her the opportunity to exploit the business advantages in the West. 1993 saw her back to the villa and like somebody who is out to make a mark, full of energy, ideas, influence, contacts, vision and mission, she brought all her potentials home. At home, she continued with her business. Later part of 90s, as a result of her foresight and creativity, she pick up a job with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria. In partnership with the Local Government and other well known individuals within the Local Government, she founded the first Radio programme for the Local Government known as “EZEAGU NDEE”. A programme meant to show-case the good things of the Local Government and its people. Concurrently, she was equally either presenting or featuring as a guest in many programmes of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 8 Enugu.
As a person, she was very active, never tired, highly mobile and a goal getter who always wants to exhibit her God given talent. As a result, she was a member of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Enugu Chapter. As an Actress per excellent, she participated in more than a dozen of Nigerian Home Movies (Nollywood). Prominent among them are as follows: Show Bobo, Knowing You, Sister Mary, Forty Days in the Wilderness, Red Light, King of the Forest, Lord of the Mountain, Osuofia in London, Egg of Life, August Meeting etc.
One thing that is consistent and transparent about her is that in all her dealing, she remains committed and holds fast to God Almighty. She is regular at masses and always with her rosary. In fact, she hardly misses praying of Angelus daily according to Catholic traditions. She told me of her experience one day at Head Bridge Onitsha on her way to Lagos to see the children that she was at those busy motor parks waiting for her bus to move only to discover that it was 12 noon time for Angelus and nobody has the courage to say so openly, she came down from the Luxurious Bus and shouted ‘Children of God let us pray the Angelus, in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, then everybody joined her to chorus AMEN’. At the end some courageous one came to congratulate her for being bold to proclaim the world of God and the Catholic faith.
She was an Amazon, a Socialite, a very good jolly fellow, Entrepreneur per Excellence, Political icon, a Woman among men, Champion of Women Empowerment and a seasoned Nollywood Actress. In addition, she was then member Oghe Social Club, unbeatable Premier Social Club, Obosi Onitsha and a host of other social, cultural cum political associations to mention but a few..
Mummy, we miss you but have no choice than to bow to the will of God Almighty. This is because, if it is something within human efforts, you could be rest assured that your Children, Grand Children, Friends, Dependants, Relations and well wishers could have fought Mr Death to a halt. Assuming but not conceding that it is monetary issue, your 2nd son Okenna, an Ex-Banker and Chartered Accountant could have solved the matter. On the other hand, if it is to be done by the use of force, intimidation or through the barrels of the gun, again, your son Peter, a retired Army Captain could have as well done it. Finally, if it is to be done through logic or the instrumentalities of the Law, no doubt peter your son a Lawyer would have been apt for it.
Therefore, mom, today as always, we mourn you, we your children, grand children, sisters, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, friends, relations, well wishers etc. We are all crying but you have no tears to shed thus fulfilling the Philosophical maxim that,
“When you were born, everybody was happy, you cried alone, thus will make your life in such a way that if you live a good and upright life on earth, on your last day, many will be crying and you will be the only one without tears to shed”.
Please friends, colleagues and well wishers, help to appreciate this woman even
at death and may her gentle soul continue to rest in perfect peace. Amen.
ADIEU ADA-EZE NWANYI!!
ADIEU ADA CHIYELUGO, MADAM TESSY IGBEZE OZOAGU!!!
Barr Peter Ozoagu
For the Family