Family members, friends, fans and well wishers congregated at the events hall of the Hatfield Christian Church Pretoria on October 8, 2016 to felicitate with her amid gentle showers from above.
The occasion was her 50th birthday combined with two other milestones in her life. The hall was resplendent with gorgeous ladies and suave gentlemen turned out in different smart attires, most with a hue of sea green – the theme colour of the party.
Like most successful Nigerians sojourning in South Africa, Anne and her husband Professor Edwin Okechukwu Chikata Ijeoma, a prolific writer, author and renowned consultant on Monitoring and Evaluation, have paid their dues. But how did the journey begin?
Anne Aduke Ijeoma was born on the 17th of May 1966 to late High Chief Francis Omuya Tomo(a community and traditional activist) and Mrs Florence Bosede Tomo both from Igarra in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State, the oldest, largest, unaltered local government area in Nigeria, famous for its beautiful hills and alluring landscape.
She attended Ekosodin Primary School Benin City, the capital of Edo State from 1973 to 1978. Her academic brilliance at the time saw her proceeding to high school from primary 5 as a pioneer student of Okpe Mixed Grammar School in the then Bendel state. Bright, bold and beautiful, Anne easily became the head girl of the school for three years from form three till she finished high school in 1983.
Anne proceeded to the University of Benin where she bagged a Bachelors degree in Botany in 1989. On completing the compulsory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) in 1991 with the Union Bank PLC in Lagos, she obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Science majoring in programming and software design. With this knowledge, Anne secured a job in the IT Department of the then Nigeria Arab Bank. She later had her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Edo State of Nigeria with specialty in Financial Management.
She participated in topical young peoples’ debates, drama and acting in her high school and college years, representing her state at national competitions with excellent results and several awards.
Anne met her soul-mate – Edwin – in 1991 in Lagos where they were both working in two different major banks, and got married in 1993.
After several years of illustrious service in the banking sector, she joined her husband in South Africa where she adroitly combined the duties of a wife and mother to three beautiful brilliant daughters, with the inevitable ‘hustle’ of a sojourner, deploying her culinary passion, her outgoing nature and her background in financial management to run a successful catering and events management business.
Anne later secured admission into the prestigious University of Fort Hare for a doctoral degree and procured a PhD in Public Administration with a dissertation on a critical area of interest – An Assessment of the Implementation of Monitoring and Evaluation Policy in the Health Sector in South Africa – a study spanning the years 2009-2014.
Icing on the cake
For the celebration were three beautiful cakes; one for her 50th birthday, another (in the shape of the Bible) depicting her love for Kingdom affairs, and the third representing her doctorate laurel which coincided with the birthday, as it was awarded on the 16th of September, 2016.
But the real icing on the cake was the launch of her first published book; Ingredients of a Good and Successful Marriage, which also took place at the event. Born out of her lifelong desire to see marriages work, Dr Anne Ijeoma demystifies in the book, the challenges that militate against successful wedlock with a view that marriage is better anchored on the foundation in which it was originally conceived – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The book was co-launched by Professor Ajuluchukwu Obi, Dr (Mrs) Jumai Sheni and Professor Kenneth Ozoemena.
Dr Anne Ijeoma is a gregarious peoples’ person. Little wonder that a vast array of personalities from different backgrounds graced her event. Over a dozen professors and even more doctors and other professionals were in attendance. She is also deeply rooted in Nigerian culture as symbolized by the caliber of traditional chiefs and princes who celebrated with her. The traditional Prime Minister of the Igbos in South Africa; a cultural icon in the Diaspora, Onowu Jonas Udeji, led a delegation of titled chiefs to the event.
There was also the conspicuous presence of trendy young boys and girls to give the party fervor and new generation flavour. Guests poured plaudits on Dr Anne in their tributes, commending her empathetic nature, sense of humour, devotion to family and friends, philanthropic zeal and love for God.
There was no dull moment at the party. The celebrant made guests to play a couples’ game during the book launch and the Master of Ceremonies; Gabriel Ozoko Ochapa, alias Angel Gabriel, thrilled the audience with fascinating jokes and dance steps while people’s poet Babalwa gave a moving eulogy dedicated to the celebrant.
NewsPlus wishes Dr Anne Okechukwu-Ijeoma the very best for the rest of her life.
For copies of her book,
Ingredients of a Good and
+27 74 434 3716
+27 79 277 4741
Prayer Mode Activated
Couples’ Game Time
Special coverage by NewsPlus
Photos by Emman Ekata (+27 83 923 7757)
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