Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet.
Margery Okadigbo, upholding a legacy and more. By James Okoroma
The appointment this first week of January 2022 of Senator Margery Okadigbo as Chairman of the newly-incorporated Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited by President Muhammadu Buhari presents a unique opportunity for one to closely examine the content and character of this lady with stoic disposition. It is within the context of the challenges she has faced in the Nigerian Project and the successes she has recorded upholding the legacies of her husband seen and regarded by many as one of Nigeria’s most controversial and cerebral Politicians who served Nigeria with every strength he could muster till the last breath.
Mrs Okadigbo’s appointment came after the President suspended the inauguration of the recently announced board for reasons which were not made public.
I make haste to state here that Mrs. Okadigbo’s appointment is not just another patronage dispensed to another Nigerian politician for political considerations. It is a well-thought out reward for merit, tenacity of purpose, discipline, good conduct and commitment to the national interest.
Since September 2003 when her husband, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo passed on, Mrs Okadigbo has held on tenaciously to those values and Philosophies that defined her husband as a great Nigerian Patriot, Political Strategist and Thinker who died in the course of National Service.
What many do not know, is that Mrs Okadigbo is a Lawyer of over thirty-six years standing and a businesswoman with vast interests in Real Estate, Merchandising and Human Resource Management. She has silently continued to record several achievements in Law Practice, business and Politics in furtherance of her husband’s wishes and Vision for the Nigerian Nation. Unlike several other women who have gone to town after being widowed,
Mrs Okadigbo has stayed away from scandals and kept her eyes on the ball in pursuit of popular causes that benefit all Nigerians irrespective of their religious and ethnic backgrounds. Like her husband, she successfully ran for the Senate and sat on her husband’s seat as the Senator representing Anambra North Senatorial District.
While in the Senate, Mrs Okadigbo made commendable contributions that helped in enriching Legislations and improving Governance generally.
At the Social Level, she has remained a motivator, role model and a beacon of hope to many Nigerian women who are facing challenges in their homes and careers.
Immediately after her husband’s death, she retreated and concentrated on raising her children, maintaining family cohesion and ensuring that her husband’s name and reputation were not soiled for any reason. Today, the children her husband left behind, are all University Graduates from some of the best Universities in Europe and America. In this regard, she has fulfilled her husband’s wish to give their children the best education anywhere in the world.
Senator Margery lives a disciplined and austere life with no interest at all in ostentatious possessions and opulence.
To ensure that her husband’s legacies are sustained for all generations of Nigerians, Mrs. Okadigbo established the Chuba Okadigbo Foundation which consistently offers Scholarships to many, picks hospital bills of indigent patients, assists widows with Credit facilities and secures employment for University Graduates and other Classes of people.
She pursues these causes with modesty and without any intent to make political capital out of them.
In Ogbunike Community, Oyi Local Government Area, Anambra State where Dr. Okadigbo hailed from, Mrs Okadigbo is regarded as the mother of the poor, widows, orphans and socially-alienated. In fact, she is the present-day Mother Theresa in that area.
This explains why she consistently wins any election she indicates interest in. She is the woman of the people and the political leader they respect and adore.
Till date, the story is still told of her Empowerment Programmes while in the Senate which liberated many men , the Youth and Women from poverty in Anambra North. Her inclination has always been to create wealth and improve lives wherever she finds herself without making noise.
There is no doubt that Dr. Okadigbo will be proud of this woman who has brought honour to his name and sustained his legacies wherever he is.
As she assumes duty at the NNPC as Board Chairman , there is no doubt she will bring her experience, discipline, business acumen and vast international and local contacts to bear on her new assignment.
Dr. Okoroma was Special Assistant to late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo.