Orhumuru-Orogun, Delta State – October 27, 2023
In the serene setting of Orhumuru-Orogun, Ughelli North LGA of Delta State, Mr. Monday Osasah gathers family and friends to bid a heartfelt farewell to his beloved mother-in-law, Mrs. Alice Mukoro. This poignant occasion unfolds against the backdrop of a community characterized by its picturesque landscapes, rivulets, and sprawling developmental edifices. It’s a tribute that transcends convention, celebrating not just Mrs. Mukoro’s life but also the enduring Urhobo cultural heritage, where family bonds reign supreme.
The funeral service began with a Service of Songs on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, at Saint Philip’s Anglican Church in Abraka, Delta State. Family, friends, and well-wishers gathered to pay their last respects to the late Mrs. Alice Mukoro. Her legacy was celebrated through heartfelt songs and prayers, reflecting her role as a committed Christian in the community.
On Friday, October 27, 2023, the 90-year-old matriarch’s remains were transported from Ufuoma Hospital to Saint Philip’s Anglican Church in Abraka before continuing on to her hometown in Orhomuru – Orogun, Delta State, where she was laid to rest. The journey to her final resting place was marked by a procession of mourners and family members who joined in to honor her memory.
The end of the interment marked the tradition of “in-law greeting,” a significant aspect of Urhobo funerals, which is an exclusive preserve of men who paid the bride price of their wives, The family members and in-laws gathered at Orho-era Secondary School in Ugono Orogun, where the celebration continued. In this time-honored custom, family members provided the in-laws with a list of items for entertainment, and in return, the in-laws were expected to double the offering.
The in-law greeting rite, initiated by Mr. Monday Osasah, began with a powerful display of canon fireworks called ‘egbane’ in the Urhobo language. This was followed by lively singing and dancing, symbolizing the spirit of unity and celebration.
The climax of the rite was when Mr. Osasah, wiped tears from her lovely wife’s face, with wads of cash, and Mrs Lydia Osasah reciprocated by presenting a piece of wrapper to her husband as a symbol of respect and love. This gesture is in accordance with the custom that required her husband to symbolically “bury her mother” for her.
Prominent figures, among them Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Founding Executive Director of Centre LSD, Chief Edwin Achugbue, Librarian of Federal Polytechnic, Orogun, Chief Monday Ruona Itoghor, Executive Director of Envirumedic, Hon. Matthew Omonade, Member representing Ughelli North Constituency 1 at the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. and Mrs. Misan Ruppee, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, Executive Director, Value Rebirth and Empowerment Initiative, Mrs. Joy Tobele, Mr. Lucky Enegide, Mr. Monday Enudi, Mr. Edwin Idiode, and many more, came together to bid a final farewell to Mrs. Alice Mukoro. Dignitaries from diverse backgrounds, acknowledging her as a dedicated church worker, a successful trader, and a nurturing maternal figure to countless individuals beyond her own children, also joined in paying their respects at the ceremony.
The remarkable event showcased the unity, respect, and rich traditions of the Urhobo people, and Mrs. Alice Mukoro’s memory will undoubtedly continue to inspire and resonate within the hearts of those who knew her. May her soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.