Remebering Mr Nwosuagwu, Mrs Ekechukwu and Mazi Ubaka

Before writing this enrty, I searched the internet and found nothing on any of the above three, my secondary school teachers, who have all passed away. This is my little way of immortalizing them and making their legacies live.

Mr Damian Nwosuagwu

When Sir Nwosuagwu first came to our school, the rumor was that our school had offered him more money to get him to leave another top private school in town. My school needed him to help improve our science class. Not long after he came, he was made the Dean of Studies and with it came the added responsibility of instilling discipline in not-so-well-behaved girls in a Catholic school. And instill discipline he did! It only took a yell of ‘Sir Nwosuagwu is coming!’ from a girl sitting close to the window to stop a delinquent student from further engaging in whatever mischief she was involved in.

Mr Nwosuagwu went on to improve our science class. He introduced Further Mathematics to the few students who were willing to ‘endure’ an elective course with him. Most of the students had enough of him from his General Mathematics class. Nonetheless, I had a certain respect and admiration for him. It was Sir Nwosuagwu who taught us how to know  at a glance if a numbers is divisible by a single digit number. For example, I know instinctively, without solving the math, that 468 is divisible by 3. Yes, because the sum of its digits is divisible by 3 i.e, (4+6+8=18) 18 can be divided by 3 to give 6, a whole number. And however many digits a number contains, if the last two digits together is divisible by 4, then the entire number must be divisible by 4. Again, for example, without doing the math, I know that 5,679,348 is divisible by 4 because 48 is divisible by 4. The divisibility rule is one of the things I learnt in school that didn’t leave me. And trust me, many did including Almighty Formula and Standard Deviation(did you ever wonder in secondary school what use those were? I still do.) See here if you will love to learn more of the rules.

Thanks to Sir Nwosuagwu, I still have average basic Math skill despite the reputation lawyers have in some quarters for being bad in Math. (I was thrilled when I reviewed some standardized tests recently and found that I still remember the area and circumference of a circle! Don’t judge me Engineers. It’s a big deal for me, I have no need for Calculus).

Besides being a Math genius, Sir Nwosuagwu also played the role of a life coach. Despite our Unruliness, he cared enough to teach us some life lesson. It was from Sir Nwosuagwu (or his friend) that I first heard that saying that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. When I reunited with a secondary school friend about eight years after our graduation, we differed on how Nwosuagwu imprinted that truth in our very much impressionable minds. My friend remembered Nwosuagwu saying it himself but from my recollection, Mr Nwosuagwu brought one of his friends to talk to us. The friend must have given a very good one because I recalled that he ended his speech with that saying and left the class as quickly as he had entered.

Mrs Isabella Ekechukwu

Aunty Isabella wasn’t your typical teacher ; she drove a car to school – something we considered a luxury at the time – and always wore well-tailored matching skirt and blouse. She was light skinned and had a gap between her front teeth. Thanks to Elechi Amadi’s depiction of Ihuoma in The Concubine, I still consider both proof a woman’s beauty. Now, I am baffled any time a dentist recommends closing gaps between teeth.

Mrs Ekechukwu helped hone our English Language proficiency. Her Impromptu Speech series during morning assemblies taught us to speak good English while literally thinking on our feet. Her reluctance to give an A made us work harder. I give credit to Mrs Ekechukwu for being part of the team helped me build the foundation in my use of English. Though she hardly meted out corporal punishment, we used to joke that her blunt and honest remarks directed at errant students were equally as scarring. Despite her intolerance for mediocrity, she genuinely cared about our welfare and showed us motherly affection. My fondest memory of her was when on an occasion, she stopped to ask me about some bug bites she had seen on my skin.

Mazi Ubaka

I knew Sir Ubaka for barely two years (or was it three?). We learnt of his death after we returned from a long vacation from one of my Junior Secondary classes. I never knew his first name. He was dark, a little plump and of average height. He taught us CRK (Christian Religious Knowledge) and CCD (Catechism of Catholic Doctrine). It didn’t matter that I didn’t know him for a long time. One thing he taught us would in later years be the subject of numerous family meetings, countless sermons from pulpits, and would cost government agencies millions of Naira on billboards and TV ads in the campaign against HIV and Aids. He advised us to say three Hail Marys everyday imploring the Virgin Mary to give us a certain virtue.

Playing Our Parts

I don’t know at what age any of these remarkable teachers died, but in my estimation, none of them lived past sixty. Their deaths are a sad reminder of how ephemeral and fleeting life is. We just need to play our parts and influence as many people as we can in a positive way. They did play their parts remarkably well and I do hope ( as one of my other teacher used to say, albeit mockingly, in mild protest of the pittance teachers are paid) that teachers’ rewards are in heaven. In my opinion, that’s where these amazing teachers who guided me, and other young girls, should be.

Do you have a teacher who influenced you or a fond memory of one of them? Please share in the comments section below. Don’t have time to give details? Simply write their names and anyone who comes here will appreciate your effort to honor them.

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16 thoughts on “Remebering Mr Nwosuagwu, Mrs Ekechukwu and Mazi Ubaka

  1. Thank you Anne for taking time out to write about these teachers. Mrs Ekechukwu (fondly called aunty Isabella) left an indelible print on my mind. I remember her most times and wish she were alive.

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    • I remember how fond she was of you, Grace. I also know you showed her your appreciation in your own little way in her lifetime. I do hope her family knows how much we treasure her even in death.

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  2. Nice piece. Honour must be given to whom it is due . That said I must not fail to acknowledge the efforts of the two most amazing teachers I have the privilege to be related with ; my mum and my grandpa. I owe who I am today to God through them. It is my grandpa who helped me choose my career and my mum I owe my virtues and character (the good ones lol) . All my classroom teachers from nursery to date I may not have a favourite but collectivly they rock.

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    • Thanks for honoring your mum and grandpa, Chika. Your grandpa must be educated to have helped you make that important life decision. I hope we ditch those things we didn’t learn from mum (lol!). God bless all your teachers. From the little I can see, I believe they did an amazing job.

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  3. Grandpa is a retired headmaster one of the best in his time. Mum will soon retire she is presently an education director. For those stuff nothing bad o but I little spice always makes a happy meal #wink~wink# am happy with the way I turned out. I love your blog on HUSH … But??????? #lol# its kinda hard to confront a gossip over a gossip friend or not it never ends well my s

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    • I see you are from a family of educators. I hope your grandpa and mum know that their efforts are not in vain. On ‘Hush…” I know it’s hard. I have read that excerpt severally but still struggle to keep its precepts.

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  4. Hmmm anne this is really great, that was a touching and heart warming trip down the memory lane. I remember Mr. Ubaka instructing us to call him our father in law (Nnaa dim) anytime he enters our class and how he was always giving us fatherly and spiritual advice. He was the 1st to teach me to ask anything from God when the Host or Blessed Sacrament is raised up during the Holy Mass and i will get it. I also remember how we refered to Mrs Ekechukwu as a woman of substance because we believed that she had it all, coupled with the way she dresses, speaks, and carry her self, she was indeed an elegant woman. Ehmmm Mr Nwaosuagwu, that man!! I will never forget him, very strict and was always smilling anytime he is teaching. I will never forget the day he flogged every body in my class because of one person, it was really terrible. After that day i vowed not to be on Mr. Nwaosuagwu’s black-book as we called it then. He disciplined us and turned all that came across him into a responesible person.
    They have left an undeletable foot print in our lives and contributed to who we are today. We really appreciate and miss them, may they rest on the blissful bosom of the Lord, Amen.

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    • Oh, Amadeus. It was fun reading your comment. I laughed all the way. Good you have fond memories of them and even shared details I left out. Yea, Mrs Ekechukwu was indeed elegant. Mr Ubaka gave us lifelong spiritual advice we still carry with us. Given how good our students are doing, am sure Mr Nwosuagwu’s reprimands paid off. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and I hope to see more of you.

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  5. This wonderful……. you are Amazing indeed, stil full of wisdom. i remembered one of our teachers we used to call AUNTY INTE..SCIENCE. She is very tall and huge;she normally cut her eye-brow &draw her black eye pencil; a friend to Sir Martins;she is a GOOD Teacher indeed. if she teaches you and u were not able to understand; bear it in mind dat u wil never eva understand dat topic again. may her Brave soul rest in bossom of de lord. oh……………mrs Ekechukwu,our oral English teacher.may ur gentle rest in peace. i now remember what she told us in a our classroom one afternoon. that when we speak English we imitate the white. you know when it comes to IMITATION one hardly notice the differrence bltw the Original and its Fake & thats what it should be in speak English language. We should speak like white. That wonderful woman is Epitome of beauty indeed…

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    • Thank you, Amara, especially for mentioning Aunty Joy, our Integrated Science teacher. I heard of her demise too. Yes, she was a talented teacher who made science easy to understand. It will be nice to speak with you again to see how well you followed Mrs Ekechukwu’s advice (lol). It’s really sad we have lost a lot of them. May their souls rest in peace.

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  6. I didn’t know Aunty Joy is late too. May God grant all these teachers, eternal repose. Honouring those who are alive too, I remember a young woman who taught us biology. She did so well too. I remember Aunty Ichoko and Mrs Aginam. These two left when I was still in Junior secondary school. They made me realise my potentials. Mr. Felix made me to know the importance of leaving a legacy. I love most of the teachers who taught me. God bless them all.

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    • Yes, Aunty Joy died. Good of you to remember those who are still here. I am indebted to Joseph Osademe, Mr Obi(Math teacher) Rev. Sr Gloria and Rev. Sr Anne Ngadu. We did have amazing guardians at Mercy Girls’. May God bless them all including those we haven’t mentioned.

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  7. I could not take my eyes off this piece, it took me down the memory lane. Anne, you are sure a genius. May their souls rest in peace. Mazi Ubaka(gulururu- his way of addressing all the mischievous girls in his class), I would never forget him in this life time. Mrs Ekechukwu too was one woman I admired, the lil’ I can boast of today in phonics I got from her. She was so good, may God continue to bless her soul. Mr. Nwaosuagwu too was one man who improved my confidence in mathematics. He introduced further maths to us then and very few of us had his time.I thank God for the priveledge of being tutored by this great people. I have no memories of aunty Joy….more light on her could help.

    I wish to celebrate Mr Bayo(Joseph), Sir Martins, Felix (who always designed our legs with marks ) ,thanks to them and may God continue to bless their souls.

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    • Thank you very much, Amara. You remembered well. You know, when I was writing the post, I tried to remember what Sir Ubaka used to call girls caught in a mischief, with a finger pointed at the culprit…thanks for supplying it. Wao!, I also have vivid memory of some marks on my legs from Sir Felix. They all wanted the best for us. Aunty Ekechukwu and Mr Nwosuagwu sure did a good job on you because you went on to do exceedingly well in your university. I remember particularly an essay you wrote in your first year about a hand on the wall that earned you one of the best, if not the best point. Aunty Joy taught us Integrated Science. She was friends with Sir Martins. She was dark, tall, endowed with huge well rounded legs, what we used to call elephantiasis. I think you knew her. But then, it’s been such a long time. Thank you for stopping by, Amara, and may God grant them eternal rest.

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  8. Wow, Anne thanks so much for this , I can never forget mazi ubaka,a nice man who was always there to help us out, never had one on one contact with Aunty Ekechukwu but I admired her a lot back then ,hmmmm sir nwosuagwu I was so scared of him that I dreaded going for his classes guess that’s y I don’t know mathematics .lol, yea I heard of Aunty Joy,Amara she is nkolika nwokeji’s aunt.may their souls rest in perfect peace. Lost my Lill sis too Okenu Chidiamara.

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    • Oh my dear, I am so sorry about your sister. I remember Chidiamara to be a very smart, confident and energetic young girl. I don’t know how long she lived, whether she lived into her twenties, but from the little I know her, I believe she lived her life to the fullest. Please accept my sympathy and may God grant her eternal rest. I also remember your mum. I hope she is doing good.

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