A Tribute to my Father-in-Law, Christopher Nweke Ijeh

''Lord, We are in shock and in pain. We're not sure where to turn or what to do, but We know that Your love can sustain us. The loss of Papa Christopher Nweke Ijeh has left us feeling alone and overwhelmed. At moments, We're not sure how We will move forward. 

Please fill us with your peace and help us through this difficult time. Help us to see Your love and Your purpose. It is only with Your love and care that We know We can move forward. Please help us pick up the pieces and forge on in Jesus name. Amen''.

My father-in-law, Elder Christopher Nweke Ijeh was one of the best! What made him so special in my eyes, was that he was the father of seven children who wakes up very early and work hard all day long to return home exhausted but happy and willing to assist his family, the childreneach one of them looked up to him with respect, love, and admiration. 

That’s not to say that they didn’t look up to their Mother in the same way, but, there was something different about how they all related to him. They fondly called him ''OKO MAN'' based on his intelligent, smartness, sense of humor, advocate of peace, coordinator, and fun filled live. 

As my daughter will say "Grandpa" it was just almost a month ago (in February 2019) we were all hanging out with you during Charles wedding, you play with your grandchildren and also have a father chat with my wife and Colins. Your warm smile and your energy kept us going. We were all happy as a family. 

You made us all laugh especially when you joke that Chioma Ashinze should get you a wife and mama said there is no problem, the young wife should come so that she can start cooking and doing house chores. Your death was the last thing we ever imagined. On that faithful night when we heard that you were in hospital, my wife said that this is the first time you will sleep in the hospital because they have never seen you slept in the hospital due to your strong and good health. 

We spoke with you around 8:30pm and, there was no sign that you are on your way out. But few hours later, around 11:00pm, we received the bad news of your passing away. We prayed and prayed but you did not come back to us. We are still in shock but we cannot question God as He knows best.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians: “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col 3:12). Papa Christopher Nweke lived out these virtues more consistently than anyone I’ve known. This isn’t just a grieving son-in-law writing with a tendency to exaggerate. These words – “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” – describe Papa Christian Nweke Ijeh. He received me with warm and open arm, love and care into the family. I can’t think of a better tribute to offer him.

This is not only the most difficult post for me to pen down but this also is an incredibly difficult time for my family. Still I feel it is important for me to share my feelings by my writing which otherwise however hard I try I will not be able to give words.

Through the post I also want to highlight the fact that blessed are the families who have elders with them. Diokpa, Our elders are the blessings that Almighty God showers on us. We have more to gain than we have to lose. With them beside us:

         We enjoy our lives like free birds,

         Coming home from work, we do not feel lonely,
         We can share our joys and sorrows with them,
         We can discuss our problems with them and benefit because of their rich experience,
         Working couples do not have to worry about their children, as grandparents are there to take care,
         Kids learn so much about their culture, values and history in the form of stories from their grandparents.


Not only was he a man of principles, a disciplinarian, a loving father, a caring, playful, cheerful grandfather, a devoted husband, and was married to my mother-in-law for 44 years, but one of the best planner, organizer, extremely intelligent man and most respected person I have ever known.

In all the 8 years I have known him, I cannot recall a single moment where he raised his voice or complained about anything. From the beginning when I met him in 2011, he took me in as his own son and made me feel part of his family from that very moment. 

He did not reject me because am a Yoruba man from South West of Nigeria, he warmly welcome me in and accepted me as I am.

I can say without any second thought that time spent with him have been a treasured time in my life, my wife’s life, and my children’s lives. We were so fortunate to have him with us for all these years. Always the first person to wake us in the morning with phone call as his usual way of checking on us to know how we are faring.

My father-in-law has touched each of our lives in ways that cannot be expressed with words. For my children, he was their best friend. Damilola is fortunate and blessed to have grown up with a super star model grandfather. Through his living example, he has taught her what it means to be respectful, honor and grace. We have so many wonderful memories with him that we will treasure for the years to come, all of them happy and joyful. Not only has he been an amazing father to my wife, brother-in-laws and sister-in-law but also an incredible role model to all his grand children.

I have also witnessed my wife, Lilian, in another light, as a wife material (as we called a good wife), organizer, good planner, faithful and loving daughter to whom her father was her biggest hero. We will miss my father-in-law dearly, but I am confident that his legacy will live on in my wife, my children, and future generations.

Papa and Mama @ Georgia, USA

Papa Nweke Christopher Ijeh is no more, he is gone, yet he is not. He lives eternally within all of us. We will always remember him for his loving nature, strong personality and the values he passed on to us. Praying to Almighty God for his soul to Rest in Peace. Amen.

From your son-in-law

Emmanuel A. Olatoye.
A Tribute to my Father-in-Law, Christopher Nweke Ijeh A Tribute to my Father-in-Law, Christopher Nweke Ijeh Reviewed by E.A Olatoye on May 25, 2019 Rating: 5

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