…As Children, Friends Lay Red Carpet
Abraka Town in Ethiope Local Government Area of Delta State is famous in many respects and for many reasons. But one thing that stood her out amongst other towns in the state is that she is home to one of the most fledging tertiary institutions in the country, the Delta State University (DSU), reputed to have produced some of the nation's high flyers in various fields of endeavour.
But the history of Abraka Town cannot be told without the mention of Retired Major Beauty Oki (nee Umunadi) who etched her name in gold as Abraka's first woman to be decorated a Major in the Nigerian Army.
A dutiful Amazon, Madam Beauty Oki was born on the 25th day of March, 1940. The retired Major clocked 80 on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, amid a red carpet birthday bash put together by her children, friends and relatives.
The epochal even began with a prayer session by women on Saturday followed immediately with a visit to the Motherless Babies Home. It was later capped with a Thanksgiving Cerebration in the church and was followed by a lavish reception party at her country home with the cream of society in attendance.
As a seasoned healthcare professional with over four decades of experience, her children describe her as a pace-setting role model who deserved to be celebrated on the podium of success.
Born on the 25th of March, 1940 at Ugonu-Abraka, she attended Standard School, Abraka where she obtained Standard Six Certificate in 1954. Her quest for knowledge propelled her to gain admission at Modern Secondary School, Obiaruku where she obtained Modern Three Certificate in 1957.
In 1963, at the tender age of eighteen, she proceeded to the Federal School of Nursing, Lagos and obtained Nigeria Registered Nursing certificate followed by the Registered Certificate of Midwifery in 1965.
She worked briefly in Lagos Island Maternity from where she was subsequently enlisted into the Nigerian Army Medical Corp on the 2nd September, 1968 and was commissioned into the Nigerian Army with the Rank of Lieutenant in 2nd September, 1972. She was promoted to the rank of Major in 1979 and she proceeded to the NDA for re-training.
What were your achievements in the military, National Network asked the octogenarian.
“In the Army, we were trained to reason objectively. At the Military Hospital in Benin, I was in charge of surgical ward activities. The way I carried out my duties, so impressed my commanding officer who happened to be a surgeon in charge of that ward that they recommended me for an administrative course which I rejected at that time to care for my family”.
As a soldier, did you ever go to the war front?
“We were at Benin where we received the wounded and the dead soldiers. We separate the living from the dead and send them to the mortuary while we treat the wounded. We were meant to work 24hours for Benin was a war zone. The wounded and the living were brought to the war zone”.
Serving in the military, was there any regret?
“Haven served in the military, no regret because of the honour, privilege and respect at any time. Any where I mentioned my rank, I am attended to; if there is any other world, I will still like to be an Army”.
Are any of your children going the same line?
What's your family like?
“I am married to elder D.S. Oki who is still alive and I have six biological children and they are all settled in their various families and so many grandchildren with three great grandchildren”.
Some names you worked with: Lieutenant Colonel Farari, who recommended me for re-training. Major General Paul Omoh, Lieutenant Colonel who took care of me when I was in Badagry and my friend Major Osahon who is still my friend till date.
What are the secrets of your longevity?
“Serve God with all your heart and He will take care of you. I currently serve God at Christ Chosen Church of God. For the past 30 years, I have been there as the senior deaconess of the branch at Evbotubo”.
Last line, what advise will you give to the young ones?
“Don't run after things of this world, God will make a way for you. Whatever we do in life, there is always a positive result”.
Did you ever meet a peculiar situation?
“I suffered oppression. I remained in the rank of Major for several years. In 1984, I was posted to Military Hospital in Port Harcourt to hold the hospital as a Matron. I was transferred back to Benin where I was retired on 30th of November, 1999”.
At 80, are you fulfilled in life?
“I am happy that my Maker has given me the grace to celebrate 80 years with my children and grandchildren. I feel very much fulfilled and I have no regrets”.