Home AFRICAN STORY Resilience And Legacy: The Multifaceted Life Of Mrs. Bernadette Nkiruka Areh – Priest, Educator, And Guardian Of Values

Resilience And Legacy: The Multifaceted Life Of Mrs. Bernadette Nkiruka Areh – Priest, Educator, And Guardian Of Values

by inlandtownadmin
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In the heart of ancient city of Oyo state the citadel of education a state with botanical gardens, pulsating with life and culture, a beacon of inspiration emerged- Bernadette Nkiruka Areh (AKA Bènè) A priest at Eckancar. Her life, a tapestry of dedication, resilience, and love, serves as a guiding light for families and communities alike.

Bènè was born on the 7th of December in Oyo state into the esteemed family of Stephen Iweanya ( AKA StiffWayas ) , a Respected Renowned Journalist, Bènè was the embodiment of hard work and determination. Her mother, Bernadette Onyejiaka Iweanya (Nee Mobede), instilled in her the values of strength and wisdom. These early influences InlandTown was made to understand shaped Bènè’s character, preparing her for the journey ahead. She later moved to Lagos where she schooled.

Bènè went further to tell InlandTown how she embarked on her journey in education within what was formerly known as Bendel State, where she began her teaching path at Government Primary School in Ogwashi Uku, which is now situated in the vibrant Delta State, which spanned over two decades, was a testament to her passion for education. She believed in the transformative power of knowledge and dedicated herself to guiding her students towards the path of discipline and success. Her teaching philosophy was deeply rooted in her love for English language and literature, and she used this passion to inspire and discipline (when necessary) her students.

Bènè is portrayed as a woman of great determination, and can be described as a priest, a mother, a dedicated educator, care giver, a woman with value. She embodies strength, forged through the values instilled by her esteemed parents and the influential figures in her life. Bènè is also known to be a woman of integrity and honesty, passionate and disciplined, she is a product of diverse experiences and cultural immersion.

Her marriage to Chief Nwakibie Ifeatu John Areh, a Banking Executive, was a beautiful union that stood the test of time. Their marriage was not just a union of two souls, but a blending of families, traditions, and cultures. This union was later blessed with children, further strengthening the bond of their family.

Bènè realized her father-in-law, Akunwafor John Areh, who actually a father who took her as a daughter, Akunwafor was prominent figure associated with Onitsha Pharmacy. Among his accomplishments was the creation of a patented medication for children named OP, renowned for its effectiveness in treating children during that era. Akunwafor’s impactful philosophy and values left a lasting impression on Bènè, influencing her in numerous positive ways.

Bènè’s admiration for the Otu Odu society, a women’s group known for their grace, affluence, and influence, reflects her deep respect for her culture and community. Her aspiration to join this society signifies her commitment to contribute to the betterment of Onitsha, her beloved community. Otu Odu members are in their outings wear immaculate white which is graceful, they wear around wrists and ankles ivory ornaments made from elephant tusk.

As a descendant of a royal family, Bènè understood the importance of leadership and service. Her grand mother Omu (Mrs) Catherine Uwamudiniru Iweanya née Ofulue who was Omu, her stand as Omu is stand of a woman in all ramifications. Her grand mother was the Queen mother Omu of Ubulu-Uku, served as a spiritual and administrative leader, catering for women and markets in the community.
Her Omu throne was given because she has royalty in her lineage and her junior brother was Obi Edward Ofulue of Ubulu Uku
During the war of Biafran Nigerian the Omu of Ubulu Uku made sacrifice of protection at the exit and entry of the community that debared the armies any presence in Ubulu. That made her to be revered because of her prowess.

Omuship is an institution spanning over seven centuries and predominant amongst people of Anioma extraction of Delta state Bènè saw the white regalia Omus wear and described it as a significant of Chastity, purity, representing the character of a virtuous woman and woman of integrity.

The Omu role is ninety percent spiritual and 10 percent administrative. Omu carters for women affairs and market, endlessly praying for the King and the community. Omu is well structured with her cabinet and performs annual festivals. Omu is not by contest but by spiritual appointment. The last Omu of Onitsha had was over a century ago, was Omu Nwagboka from Ogbeotu

This legacy of leadership and service is deeply ingrained in Bènè’s beliefs and actions.
Today, Bènè continues to serve her community in the medical/care field in the USA. Her hobbies, which include reading, singing, public speaking, cooking, and caregiving, reflect her diverse interests and her commitment to lifelong learning.

Bènè’s life is a beautiful narrative of resilience, passion, and dedication. Her story serves as a reminder of the importance of family values and cultural heritage. It inspires us to uphold our traditions, serve our communities, and strive for excellence in all our endeavors. Her life is a testament to the fact that we can make a difference in our communities and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.

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