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Mother Invictus...' Celebrating an Outstanding Single Mother


 *BOOK TITLE* : 'Mother Invictus (Stories of Grit, Pains and Triumph)'

 *PUBLISHER* : Deacons Publishers Ltd deaconspublishers@gmail.com

 *AUTHOR* : Chief J. Aka Maduakolam

 *DATE* : 2024

 *ISBN* : 9789787854785


SAINTS and legends are ordinary people who did ordinary things, extraordinarily. Even in executing commonplace activities like parenting, one can make the fold of saints.

Good mothers are held in very high esteem by their children. Apart from being held in very precious stead, some children like the ones the late Mrs. Agustina Maduakor left behind, who enjoy(ed) benefits of her outstanding maternal love, parenting and guidance hold awesome views of their Mom. They regard her fondly and hold her in high esteem. They have a plethora of emotive memories of her which they collate and project like fanatical acolytes of a deity.

Beyond the usual tales of mother's love, there are some rare women whose acts of love, parenting feats and outstanding records in life transcend just excelling as the female parents of their children. When a mother is as much a father, mentor and strick enforcer of values in a family, children of the home would not just have a mouth-full of tales in her exit but a lavish of encomium and marveling tributes. They would deify her and paint her portrait with halos upon her exit. Some heirs would would even deem the woman larger than human and invincible. 'Mother Invictus (Stories of Grit, Pains and Triumph)' a new book by J. Aka Maduakolam, aptly captures this. 

In the biography of Mrs. Agustina Maduakor (Adadioramma, Nne Abuoma) who passed recently as an octogenarian, the author, a lawyer, philosopher, a

mass communicator, and one of her three sons, presents an engaging narrative of her eventful life.

She was a single mother of five who, despite her actual lack of Western education, almost inexistent nuclear family support and growing up in abject want, turned out a woman of substance in society. The author, despite obvious restraints from sounding didactic, highlighted his mother's stellar personality; unshaken dedication to the Catholic faith; narrow focus on achieving the betterment of her children and enterprise in her very small business as the bastions of her eventual triumph.

Madam Maduakor's life actually ended on a good note despite the privation and vicissitude that marked the life.

"Mama knew tempest. Mama saw poverty. Mama lived in adversity. All these usually shaped her world," the author states on page 39.

All through the 40 chapters of the book, tales of how the challenges of living without enough made the woman and her children desire, and claw out of extreme poverty reign.

In the Preface, the book states thusly on page XV: "If stories matter, the story of a single mom who raised five kids (sic) within the support of any man by sheer dent of hardwork must matter."

Even in the first Foreword written by H.E. Peter Obi, it is stated that Ma. Maduakor's life, built on the "pillars" of "contentment, hard work, and unwavering faith" alongside" her legacy of cultivated contentment and inculcating Spartan resilience has groomed children and mentees with illustrious leadership qualities. 

Mr. Obi, a former Anambra State governor and 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, noted thus: Her virtues of integrity, discipline, and advocacy for honesty" which she used to shape "generations into future leaders" made her life very impactful.

As a mentor, Ma. Maduakor counseled youngsters and bodies of women, wives and umu ada (daughters) in her native Azia community in Ihiala local government area (LGA), Anambra State. Hence her receiving the honour, 'Adadioramma' (beloved daughter). She was also the matron and frontline member of the body of Psalmist (Abuoma) choristers in the local Catholic parish, an influence which extended to other parishes and even up to the zonal and diocesan level in Nnewi where some of her children live. Hence her being called 'Nne Abuoma' (Mother of Psalmists). A testament of her fanatical belief in the efficacy of the Psalms and her unwavering life of prayer is reported severally in the book. On Chapter 10, 'Mama and Her Grammar', the author reports thusly on page 50-51: " Mama wrote 'Psalm 23' (Chukwu na-edu m) on the wheel cover of... (her) bicycle, and the bicycle remained a sign of 'achievement' for Mama until the bicycle was spoilt."

She was, among others, "very adept in mediation" (page 67); and a very direct, straight-talking woman (page 55), very accountable (she was treasurer of almost every association she belonged to in her community) and equally proudly independent.

The author, a lawyer writes: "She never traveled without having a return fare."

Even her status never led her to accept money she was not sure of its source. When her first son, Chief Kenneth Muduakor, who could not progress beyond basic school because of lack of fund for the study left Azia for Kaduna for his apprenticeship in auto spare parts trading, she prayed deeply for him, and admonished that he must not steal or cheat his master. Some years later, the son, while still an apprentice, returned to Azia during a Christmas holiday with a loaf of bread for Ma. Maduakor and the younger ones at home. Instead of accepting the son's bread, the mother shouted at him to return it. She asked where he got the money to buy bread while still a servant under a master. The son's persistent explanation that it was his master that gave him money to buy the bread for the family, fell on deaf ears. "That bread was left to spoil," the author recounted. He said that even when his elder brother's master showed up in their home and explained that he actually bought the bread, Ma. Maduakor stood her ground against it. 

"It was of such a shock to Ichie that ever since that incident, even as he gained his freedom and became a very wealthy man, he never brought bread home any time he returned," said the author in a personal chat while presenting copy of the new book.

Aside all these, 'Mother Invictus...' is a rare tale of a very ordinary woman of an unusual character. The biography is also presented in an unusual format of 40 independent short stories and additional section for essays of tribute, only linked by the fact that they all dwell on same character. Somewhat episodically presented the package features non-chronological tales hence one could read what happened in early life of Ma. Maduakor in a later part of the book whereas what occurred in her old age featured in earlier chapters. What thrills most in the episodic presentation is that, with the book a drama or filmic documentary of 40 episodes can be produced on the subject.

Indeed, the subject's life is full of dramatic developments. Imagine how providence favoured the woman who paddled through very turbulent waves of harsh life to purchase her cherished bicycle reaping divine favour by finding her children become millionaires in their adulthood. Yet when her children offered to make her life comfortable to appreciate the sacrifices she made for them, she turned down such overtures. They offered to buy her a motorcycle, she refused. On several occasions, his first son, Chief Muduakor (regularly referred to as 'Ichie' in the biography) offered to buy her a car and get her a driver, she refused. Some elders of the community came into the matter, she stuck to her guns. She neither had a car nor a chauffeur until she died even whereas there were hundreds of auto vehicles in her home. 

She would rather urge her children to donate huge sums for their local church programs or encourage them to execute philanthropical projects such as building houses for indigent families instead of seeking their gratis.

Beyond her Spartan life and somewhat hermitic disposition to pleasure, the spiritual tendencies of the woman make good narratives on their own. In the three essays of tribute accompanying the 40 chapters, this part of Ma. Maduakor were expounded on. Rev. Fr. Franklin Enwelum, a former Parish Vicar of her local Catholic church, Mary the Queen Parish, Azia, states thusly: "Mama's interest was simply to be with God in heaven... She once told me that she was not interested in any amount of money that she could not count. She lived a very simple life and died a very simple and fulfilled death."

In the priest's tribute at chapter 41, 'Testimonials', he recalled how Ma Maduakor would rather walk barefoot to early morning mass than being keen on finding her footwears only to miss or attend the religious service late. According to the Vicar, he observed this happen severally.

Indeed, the biography, despite not being written in the conventional format makes a good reader. Arguably, it documents the life of a special person. It is very likely to be handy in future studies of parenting and single parenthood.

But more importantly, the book offers a good slice of history that may be receeding from public domain. In Chapter 32, 'Nne Abuoma' Follows Nna Anyi Arazu', the book, offers an incisive peep into the forming of the Abuoma Movement which evolved from the translation into Igbo songs of the Book of Psalms in the Bible by the Holy Ghost priest, the Rev. Fr. Arazu in 1974. A reading of pages 177 to 194 offers an insight into the origins of unique Psalmists' group founded by the late Rev. Fr. Arazu in St. Martin de Pores Catholic Church, Odoata, Ihiala from where it spread globally.

Apart from the several instances of poor proof reading the work is rich. There are too many instances of local Ihiala vernacular though there is a six-page glossary that explains some of the lingua.

'Mother Invictus...' presents a woman whose down-to-earth but exclusive lifestyle presents a poser and a reader for generations to come.

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