Nonye Soludo @ 53: The Making of Another Mother Teresa

Nonye Soludo @ 53: The Making of Another Mother Teresa

By Daniel Ezeigwe

There are just few dimensions of knowledge provided to those who wish to study the life and times of Saint Teresa of Calcutta. There are even fewer for those who wish to follow the footsteps of a woman so revered for her compassion, humility, lowliness and classlessness. But Mother Theresa had and still has few students, probably because of her rare life’s philosophies. The fact is that certain deep-rooted virtues are neither learned nor availed to the whim of human consciousness. Compassion and humility are not learnable. They are extraordinary traits carried by unique hearts.

You could go on only to scratch up just a few souls who laid commitment to the ‘burdensome’ calling of unconditional love. These are saints, living or demised, who defied cultural and socio-religous impediments while lending shoulders, back and arms for the good of mankind. They shine their lights selflessly for others and soaked in impeding stumbles with contentment and deep smiles.

It was a bright Afor market day, mid rainy season in Adazi-Nnukwu, Anaocha Local Government Area. Friday, July 31, 1970. The day Mrs Frances Chukwunonyelum Soludo was born. Nonye’s mother, late Mrs Gloria Ezenwanne was, coincidentally, a student at the then Teachers Training College, now Loretto Teachers Training College, TCC, Adazi-Nnukwu. Nonye’s birth kicked off the entrance of a woman who would change the world with her predictable virtues. A daughter of a disciplinarian teacher, Nonye grew up on principles and complete consciousness of the world around her. Sharing a lineage with the late Professor Dora Akunyili, tells more about the woman that Mrs Soludo has become. But then, in the late Professor Akunyili’s fearlessness sits Nonye Soludo’s unflappable humility.

Most people who have had encounter with the Anambra governor’s wife, have something memorable to take home. Mother Teresa was clear: “Be kind and merciful. Let no one ever come to you without coming away better and happier.” It didn’t just start with her current occupation. Mrs Soludo’s humble preference to remain perpetually anonymous in her charity moves, often keep the flashes away. But not the lights. Self-effacingness is a permeative virtue.

In a life that has spanned over five decades, Mrs Soludo has made so much impact on humanity. She has achieved so much for herself and her family, and is constantly setting the right example for women and girls. One of such is that a woman can become what she dreams of, by staying committed to hard work, humility and dedication. No excuses. In all of her life’s endeavours, what makes the Anambra governor’s wife most unique is the involuntary impact she makes on the world around her. Her simplistic standards and overall way of life.

Most people have often joked that Mrs Soludo doesn’t exhibit the traditional flamboyance that often spotlights a governor’s wife, especially in Nigeria. Not troubled, the Anambra First Lady finds peace and satisfaction in the simplest ways of life — compassion, empathy and altruism. In living for those who are grappling with life’s unpredictability, the Isuofia ageless queen finds her best inspiration. The Anambra governor’s wife has often attributed her existence to charity. Unsurprisingly a very practical Christian, Mrs Soludo must have been at home with lessons from the Beatitudes of Matthew five, from verse three to twelve: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”

On Saturday, May 28, 2023, Mrs Soludo visited a children’s home in Awka, Anambra’s capital city. The children, who had become so used to the presence of the governor’s wife were expecting it. But it wasn’t the usual plan. Barely twenty four hours after the global commemoration of Children’s Day, it would never be complete — despite the good number of people thronging the home — if the governor’s wife didn’t show face. Just at the right climax, Mrs Nonye Soludo arrived at the children’s home, went into the kitchen and put on an apron. In her usually low-light nature, she didn’t want the event captured on camera.

But such unusual memories are better replayed than remembered. She spent hours making different delicacies in her typical culinary compassion. Next, she shared a dinning table with the children and made sure every one of them had a fill. They danced together, shared gifts and prayed. In the bits of moments that made the event a whole, you could see the ordinariness of this woman’s life; that what makes her happy and whole are to be found just within. That’s the way of the saints! Happy 53rd birthday to wife of the Governor of Anambra State, Mrs Frances Chukwunonyelum Soludo (Mmiliguluegu). Long Live the Queen!

Photos of the beautiful

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