In the Book of Ecclesiastics Chapter 3: 1-11, the great writer wrote, ‘’To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together, a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to get and a time to lose, a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time sew, a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate, a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made everything beautiful in hi time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end’’. All these came to pass in the life of our great mother and a lover of people. However, on the 13/5/2018, mama, A.K.A. Very Show, the mother of Emmanuel Ofomo was on the hospital bed when death came to visit her. Death invited her to a restling contest but mama told it off that the Lord God is greater than that and within a twinkle of eyes, mama who was surrounded by his children, grandchildren and family members bowed to the cold hands of death.
The children and nurses in the hospital started crying aloud calling mama all sorts of names whether she could still speak to them but all expectations failed. Those in the village of Okwighele, mama’s birth place began to make calls to her with their respective phones but mama could not answer again throwing the entire community into suspense. Few minutes later, the news has gone far and wide that mama could not pick her calls. The church members who knew mama very well began to call endlessly but the number have been switched off. Something may have gone wrong somewhere, lamented some of them. About an hour later, his eldest son and a Warri based business man, Emmanuel Ofomo, with other children and friends drove into the quiet community in the evening. By this time the entire community has assembled in mama’s compound. Before Emmanuel Ofomo and his troops could alight from their vehicles, seas of people from neighbouring communities have gathered. Don’t tell us that mama is dead, one of the eldest woman and a friend to mama told Emmanuel Ofomo. At this time, Ofomo’s friends told the people that chairs should be brought for all to sit down but the people would not listen to that rather they want an immediate answer to that question. You came to take her away alive and you should bring her to us alive was the response of the elderly man in the community. At this level, the youths have joined the sea of people in mama’s compound. The elders finally obliged Ofomo’s friend and chairs were brought but few seconds later, friends of Ofomo mounted pressure on him to announce to the family that mama is no more and that was exactly what happened. Wailing and crying took the center stage as nobody could console one another.
As the custom of the Okpe people, Emmanuel Ofomo and his arrays of friends have to passe the night in the community. With the magic of telephone, the family who did not sleep till the following morning saw more people from Warri, Orerokpe, Sapele, Asaba and the entire environs in their community. Meetings could not hold as the event was turned into telling the story of mama who was a historian, a custodian of customs and a Christian to the core. People began to say how they new mama and how she turned their lives around. Women became the great beneficiaries of mama’s wisdom in keeping marriages intact whenever there was disagreement in such marriages. As customs demand, the family began to ask Emmanuel Ofome where is the corpse of their mother and he told them without fear that she was cooling off in the mogue since the burial cannot take place in the rainy season. Although, there were some arguments from the family who felt that they can do it but the elders told Ofomo and his sisters to go and come back to inform them when they are ready for the burial and this was settled. At the end of November, Ofomo, his sisters and friends came home to take a date to the relief of the family who are no longer comfortable with the delay and December 1st was chosen as the final burial day. Preparations heightened and several meetings were held because according to the family, mama must be accorded her rightful place and the children were told that mama’s burial will be carried out by the community and beyond which the children agreed to and everything was put in place.
Three days to the time, sons and daughters including family members living far and wide have all returned home for mama’s final journey to eternity. Those who left the community more than ten years ago were all around turning the event into a Christmas celebrations. On the final day being Saturday, as early as 7am, there was serious traffic jam from Oviri Court, off Warri Sapele road to Okwighele linking Orerokpe. The ever busy Okada riders could not move due to sea of human beings that came to pay their last respect to the deceased. Exactly 9am, the Ariemughare Foundation Mortuary Orerokpe where mama’s body was kept for her final journey could not accommodate the number of vehicles waiting to follow mama to her final resting place. The traffic at Orerokpe could be compared to that of Lagos in any typical rainy day making people to ask if mama was actually going home on the day. Thirty minutes later, the ambulance carrying mama’s casket was heard blowing the usual siren and the people started another round of wailing from Oviri court to the Okwighele community. The elderly, women, youths, commendians and the church choristers have no choice but to disembarked and walk the entire ten kilometers to mama’s community. The church which have been waiting took over mama’s corpse from the corpse bearer and set it on the stage. The Soul Harvester Church, Okwighele led by Rev. E.O.Onofurho, Rev. Dr. Sam Eden, Pastor E.J.Ediku, Pastor S. Otiede, Pastor Emma Oko and Pastor Saturday Ofoko took over the church funeral service and the program commence in earnest.
When the eldest son, Emmanuel Ofomo was called to read his mother’s biography, his countenance failed him. With white handkerchief in his hand, tears flowed uncontrollable like river Ethiope. Late Margaret Ofomo was born on March 10th 1934 to the family of Iroraevha Ughwasan and Akpomughele Egberivwu both of Okwighele Community in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State. She attended Erhorwo Primary School, Evwriyen in 1951-1957 where she obtained her standard six certificate. She got married to her husband Late Mr. Thompson Ugboka, A.K.A. ODADAIGHO who is from Adeje. The marriage was blessed with many children. In search of greener pasture they proceeded to Lagos and while there, mama engaged in buying and selling of food stuffs. The business flourished and she did this for many years and was very passionate about it hence she was fondly referred to as Mama Very Show. Mama was a member of Soul Harvester Church Evwriyen. Her Christian life bagan at All Bible Believers Assembly Church Lagos and as a sanctuary worker, she contributed immensely to the service of the Lord her creator. She relocated to her home town Okwighele when she lost her husband and took to farming and business immediately. She had a wonderful social life as a community leader and lover of people. She gave all to humanity whether her biological children or not. She was survived by five children namely, Emmanuel Ofomo, Mrs. Patience Ochei, Esther, Mrs Juliet Okoh and Miss Maria Ebofua, several grand children and great grand children, son in-laws and daughters, friends and family members. She died at the age of 84. At 12.08 pm, her body in the golden casket was lowered and committed to mother earth amidst singing of wonderful songs which includes, Fading away like the stars of the morning; When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more; Ose ribevwede, Oni ravware cha vwughere, gbe riabo reyo, edobana oghogho.
The event finally shifted to the reception floor where Emmanuel Ofomo and his sisters including family members entertained the seas of guests. With eighty five canopies and twelve musicians with different clubs, mama’s death could be described as an Olympic carnival. Comedians and orators were not left out. Politicians from all the political parties were in attendance with each adorning their party flags and canopy. Assorted drinks and food flows freely like an ocean sea. Cool vans were stationed everywhere. The issue of no drink and food does not arise. The women folks did what they knew best with their bags. When this author was moving around, six boys of primary school ages were in a hot argument and I enquired what the problem was since they have been entertaining guests before. One of them named Chris who appears to be their leader said, we are sharing the money given to us during our dance and they said it must be shared equally but I organized all of them. I asked how much was the money and he told me that it was #42,000 and I was shocked. I shared the money for them with each having #200 more than the other and they were happy. It was then I asked myself what is the daily salary of the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria? Suya sellers and other traders make fortune from mama’s burial. The atmosphere was very sunny and peaceful. At 4.30pm, Dr. Luckson Ariemughare, a Warri based medical practitioner and astute friend to the Ofomos arrived to applause and jubilation. Looking at my watch, it was 5pm. What has a beginning must have an end, I jumped into my friend’s car and off we go. In life, mama makes people happy and in death, he makes people richer and wealthy.