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‘Miss’ returns gloriously to her Creator

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On Wednesday June 22, 2022 at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro Cathedral, Area 3, Abuja there will be a requiem Mass in honour of late Mrs Anne Odufa Tabal (nee Enarhome). I have always called “Miss”. She was one of those responsible for my early formation in life. Sadly she will be interred at the Lokoja cemetery on Saturday, June 25 2022 after a requiem Mass at the Catholic Cathedral Church Lokoja. The land where her own father, my first headmaster, lay buried. She was elegant. She was beautiful in the true sense of the word. She had the ability to romantically communicate with her sexy eyeballs her displeasure. She had measured and gallant steps. She had a fantastic memory, quite retentive and pleasantly unique feminine voice that is common amongst the Enarhome girls. As my (or our class) teacher in the mid-60s, those good old days, good old days when the society had values, values that were profoundly held sacrosanct. Those were the days when the society had morals. Not any more. When the community trained the child collectively. That was the generation l was born into. That was, nostalgically speaking, my experience growing up in Lokoja of old, not of today regrettably so. Of course, it was an era of corporal punishment in schools. And that was where “Miss” was different. She hardly implored the services of a cane to convey her disappointment in us as her pupils. We, her pupils, called her “Miss”, not teacher as other pupils in the school called their class teachers. Strangely, she had a sobriquet name for me. She fondly called me “small Bernard”. I think, she gave me that name because of my “pint-sized stature” at the time.

Those were the fine qualities associated with the woman we have gathered to honour and bide farewell. Of course, Miss deserves the honour. It is so hard for me, realising that these interactions which l have just recalled took place just across the field, at St Mary’s Catholic Transferred School. l have pleasant memories of her.

I write this dirge with a deep sense of loss. “Miss” l refuse to mourn you. Rather l stand proudly to celebrate you ma. I recall the last encounter l had with you at the Garki General Hospital. You did not think deep. You called out to me…small Bernard… with a genuine radiant smile. I marveled at your retentive memory. I never knew that was going to be our last encounter, painfully so.

Miss, Ooops l goof,
Mrs Anna Odufa Enarhome-Tabai, the daughter of late papa Stephen Peter Joseph Enarhome was such a humane, understanding and unassuming mother to her adorable children. Papa Stephen Enarhome (your affectionate father) as my (or our) headmaster impacted knowledge with dexterity known only in the days of old. On retirement papa returned to the classroom, so unassumingly. Papa taught Peter and l and indeed other children. I also recall aunty Catherine, (the immediate younger sister of “Miss” who was popularly called aunty Kate) was also around to impact knowledge, not only to children with Catholic background but to children of other religious denominations, including Muslims. The Enarhome family truly represents the Catholic spirit in every direction.

The family contributed significantly to the development of education in the early days of Northern Nigeria, to the days of NorthCentral State, which later metamorphosed to Kwara State and of course the present Kogi State. Though originally from the old MidWestern State, now Edo State, papa Stephen and Chief Mrs Enarhome, the loving parents of “Miss” found and made a home in Lokoja. It is therefore not astonishing that His Royal Highness Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir, Maikarfi III, the Maigari of Lokoja found our late mama, Miss mom, Chief (Mrs) Mary Awawu Ebuade Enarhome
worthy to be honoured with the chieftancy title of Sarauniýa Matan Etsako (Lokoja) on 28 December 1996.

“Miss” this is “small Bernard” wishing you a blissful rest in the bosom of your Creator.
I join your worthy siblings and adorable children in giving you this grandiose and glorious exit.
May Mother earth be friendly to your body. May you find peace and joy in the celestial realm. Adieu ma.

Bernard Balogun (BenPino) writes from Wuse District of Abuja.

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