In our plain of existence in the surface of the earth, there is always a time for everything. Since we are all mortals, there is a time to be born and a time to depart to the great beyond. We will not be far from the assertion of Williams Shakespeare that the world is a stage where we all come to play our part and depart and that death is like a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
What would you be remembered for? The beauty of death is that it begins the story of life and beauty of life is the celebration of our times and odyssey and death itself is inevitable.
Mercy Gboribusuote Alagoa was born in Nembe 89 years ago on 11thMay, 1927. Her paternal ancestry goes back to Mingi in Nembe. Similarly, her maternal root also traces back to royalty both in Nembe and in Shidi family of Twon Brass. Her parents were teachers; her father served as Headmaster of a school in British Cameroun in Buguma, Oyo and in Degema. She grew up in a family of four boys and one girl, a family of Christian value, culture and devotion to education and a spirit of unyielding toughness in the face of challenges. She contributed immensely to the development of churches like the Cathedral church of St Luke’s and the University of Port Harcourt ’’Our Saviour Chapel’’.
Little wonder her background helped in shaping her career. She worked as a teacher and a journalist before joining the United African Company (UAC), then the biggest commercial outfit in Nigeria in 1951. She rose to become the first Nigerian that became Senior Manager and Buyer, a position that made her travel extensively round the world to purchase children’s fashion ware for all Kingsway Stores in Nigeria. She worked in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano and Ibadan offices.
On retirement from UAC in 1973, she was appointed by the pioneer administration of old Rivers state to set up its Supply Company, PABOD Supplies Company. She was equally instrumental to the establishment of the Standard Cottage Hospital in every local government area of old Rivers. She served on the board of state and federal government parastatals and companies such as Port Harcourt Flourmill as Chairman, Honourable Commissioner at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Bauchi state representing Rivers state from 1996 to 1998.
She also had her hands on various pies such as the integrated agro-business and Bakery along Kaduna street in Port Harcourt.
Madam as she was fondly called in the family will be sorely missed. This writer commiserates with her husband, Emeritus Professor, Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa (Chief Kala Joe of Nembe kingdom) and his family for this irreparable loss but take solace praying God to lessen the emotional burden it might have caused . She no doubt, lived a fulfilled life worthy of emulation.
During her 89 years sojourn on earth, she had four children and became mother, grandmother and great grandmother. I must not fail to confess that people from all walks of life thronged Nembe city to accord her last respect.
At the King Koko Square in Nembe where her casket was laid on display, the Boys Brigade of Nigeria band rendered solemn rendition and conducted a parade that finally discharged her from the organization.
Also not left out were the Knights of the Niger Delta Diocese who were present to honour her with a T-Sword formation as the pale bearers marched under it to her residence for interment.
In a tribute by Anthony Beye Alagoa, he stated that late Dame Mercy Alagoa, popularly and fondly called ‘Madam’ was the matriarch of the Kale Joe dynasty describing her as sweet mother, loving, irreplaceable and forever, remain adorable.
Rest in Peace, Madam Mercy G Alagoa; Adieu.
Alagoa, a public affairs analyst wrote from Abuja