FUNERAL ORATION BY AZIKE DYNASTY AT THE GRAVE SIDE OF LATE VERY REV. FATHER MICHAEL NDUKUBA UMENZEKWE AZIKE THIS DAY 3RD JULY, 2024

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We the members of Azike Dynasty say sincerely that it is not easy to bid good bye to someone who has positively impacted families, friends, and society in so many ways because when such a person dies, all things soft and beautiful and bright would be buried with him,
 
Death is such a mystery that no one knows when it would come. Just on 21st April, 2024 the people of Achina Community, Anambrians, Nigerians and indeed Catholics all over the world gathered to rejoice and celebrate with our dear Very Reverend Father Michael Ndukuba Umenzekwe Azike on his Golden Jubilee Priestly Ordination alas! No one knew that today we would gather here again, but this time, to bid him farewell as he goes back to his maker, God almighty.
 
Today grief sits like a weight upon our souls, our souls weep with grief and the world is a darker place today because a part of us has departed.
Father Mike was such a quiet man, unassuming, honest, straightforward, loving and caring Reverend Father, very dedicated to his responsibility as a priest, his word was his bond, and a disciplinarian too. Who were you to distract Father Mike when his eyes were set on a particular goal? A goal-getter he was. He believed in the Rosary as a source of intercession and miracles for the Catholic faith.
 
We will not bore you with so much of narrations about his childhood because these are what majority of you know already, and as such we would not take much of your time.
 
Rev. Fr. Michael Ndukuba Umenzekwe Azike came into the world about 94years ago to the family of Nze Umenzekwe Azike and Lolo Uduozo Azike of Azike Dynasty, from Umuezehido kindred in Umueziyi Village, Achina, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. He was the fourth and the third male child out of the seven children of his parents.
 
Rev. Fr. Michael Azike started his early education at St Charles Catholic Mission Achina, where he obtained his Standard Six Certificate in 1948.He lived with Rev. Fr. C O’Neill, the first Parish Priest of St Charles Catholic Church Achina for two years. Later he had a brief stay with his elder brother, the Late Nze Godwin Umenzekwe Azike for one year in Onitsha. ln search of higher Education, Fr. Mike entered Zik’s Institute of Commerce Onitsha, where his  first cousin, Chief James Azike was the Principal. He later moved to Metropolitan College Onitsha, where he graduated in 1958 and obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC).
 
Fr. Michael left for Lagos in January, 1959 in search of paid employment and worked in Post and Telecommunication popularly known as P&T for seven solid years before opting to serve in the Lord’s vineyard in 1965.
 
In the same 1965, he passed Advanced Level (GCE) in three subjects at a sitting. In 1967, he did a Latin Course at All Hallows Seminary. He entered the Bigard Memorial Seminary in 1968 and in 1974 he was ordained a priest by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze, the then Archbishop of Onitsha in the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Onitsha.
In 1983, he studied Integral and Social Development in Kenema, Sierra Leone, at the National Development Centre and obtained a certificate. Father Michael Azike served as a Parish Priest from 1974 to 1989 in many parishes; a Spiritual Director at St Pius X Seminary Akwukwu, 1989-1993, and as a Parish Vicar he served at St Joseph’s Aguleri from 1993 to 1995.
Some of the parishes where he served and left his huge footprints are St. Mary’s Catholic Church Osumoghu; St. Mary’s Catholic Church Nnokwa, St. Teresa Catholic Church Obosi; St. Pius X Seminary Akwukwu; St. Joseph Catholic Church Aguleri; St Mary’s Catholic Church Ukpor Centre Nnewi; St John the Cross Egbo Nnewi; among others.
Fr. Mike retired at St John Cross Catholic Church Egbo, Nnewi and was resident at Blessed Iwene Tansi Priest Centre. He died at Unizik Teaching Hospital, Nnewi on 7th June, 2024.
Today we have all assembled here because of this very good man, Rev. Fr. Michael Ndukuba Umenzekwe Azike, it is either he had touched your life, or you heard that he touched somebody else’s life, a man whom God used mightily and tremendously for the winning of souls.
Our grief know no sense of natural order, as it is we are disoriented and disorganised by his demise. We will always need our uncle, Father Azike and we will grieve his loss forever. However, we must recall that Rev. Fr. Mike until his death remained grateful to his siblings, Ejeagha, Godwin, Boniface, Nwanyineme, Jeremiah (all of the blessed memory and the only surviving one Beneth for crossing seven seas and seven rivers to make sure he (Fr. Mike) excelled in his chosen career. The unflinching support he enjoyed from the entire members of Azike Dynasty is ever on record and would always rear its head as the need arises.
Worthy to mention is the generosity extended to the Azike Dynasty by Most Rev. Charles N. Ezeude, the Prophet of ACHINA PRAYING PRACTICAL BAND who donated a brand new Volkswagen Beetle car to Fr. Mike during his first Mass celebration at St. Charles Catholic Church, Achina on 21st April, 1974 after his ordination. This car gift became very special due to the fact that Most Rev. Ezeude is not a Catholic by faith.
Fr. Mike’s death brings new experience to our life, that of a wound that will not heal, according to the words of Ernest Jinger, a German Officer.
Therefore we are here to honour him and pray for the repose of his soul so that on the last day all of us will meet again on the resurrection day. Indeed Rev. Fr. Mike lived a fulfilled life. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen

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We the members of Azike Dynasty therefore implore our family living Rev. Frs. Vitalis Azike and Valentine Azike to step into the big shoes left behind by our departed and loving brother Rev. Fr. Mike Azike.

Finally, our deep appreciation goes to the Diocesan Bishop, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye for the kindest love and care he extended to our brother till date. God will reward you our dear Bishop. The Emeritus Bishop Most Rev. Hilary Odili Okeke who happens to be Fr. Mike’s classmate in priesthood, we thank you so much. His Eminence Peter Cardinal Ebere Okpaleke Catholic Bishop of Ekwulobia Diocese we are eternally grateful to you. Monsignors Hypolite Adigwe and Pius Ilechukwu, we remain grateful to you as well as Rev. Frs. Patrick Unegbu, Paul Onwughalu and Peter Ezeani. Fr. Francis Nwokoye, your humility and the care you gave to Fr. Mike will ever remain green in our memories. The Diocesan Chancellor Fr. Ezeogu, and all the priests of Nnewi Diocese, the three Parish Priests of St. Charles, St. Mary, and St. Joseph Catholic Church Achina. God bless you all. The Achina Town Union, we thank you so much. The Azike Dynasty is indebted to you all.

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Thank you for your time.

Hon. Chief Modestus Umenzekwe
Onwa Achina
For Azike Dynasty, Achina

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