Grace Okotie: The earthly sojourn of a priceless mother

When Grace Oliregbiwanye Okotie of Nana-Olomu Family of Koko in present day Warri North Local Government Area and Omagbe Okidi of

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Grace Okotie: The earthly sojourn of a priceless mother

When Grace Oliregbiwanye Okotie of Nana-Olomu Family of Koko in present day Warri North Local Government Area and Omagbe Okidi of Inorin, Warri South Local Government Area, both in Delta State, was born on 26th November, 1934, only God knew the kind of woman, mother, sister and  personality she would become.

“Miss” (meaning female teacher), as she was fondly called by many, had great passion for education growing up. She attended the Native Authority School in Koko and passed out in the late 1940s.

Her burning desire for Education amid all odds, propelled her to work like a Trojan to personally sponsor her educational pursuit in the early 1950s at the Provincial Teacher’s Training College (PTTC) Warri. The now defunct PTTC was in the premises of the present day Nana Model College and Primary School, Warri. The Provincial Teacher’s Training College (PTTC) was a prime tower of Teachers’ Training Certification, where she obtained grade 3 Teaching Certification. Mama’s quest for educational development made her re-enrol and upgraded herself in the same institution in 1968/1969 to a grade II Certified Teacher.

Mama Grace Okotie was compassionate about her family. As an educationist, she ensured that a lot of her relations lived with her to enable them pursue and achieve their educational prowess. Her uncle, Abuge Omagbe Okidi (late), brother, Smart Kuyomah, nephew, Mode Awala are a few examples. In her early days, her children called her “Sisi” because that was the name they learnt from their relatives growing up.

“Mama Koko” as she was also fondly called by her admirers, ventured into several self-help efforts, including the weaving of locally made mats and different genuine industrious trade to finance her educational pursuits as well as her welfare. Interestingly, as she worked tirelessly to pursue her career, the young Grace Okotie assisted all who came her way despite her lean resources. She didn't see that as excuse to abandon her goal of becoming a teacher cum educationist, with couple of "Firsts" to her credit.   

Upon completion of her education, at PTTC in 1951, the energetic Grace employed by Western Region Teaching Service in 1952, worked as a resourceful class teacher, who by design or destiny, specialized in the technique of teaching pupils how to read and write, this reminds us of her fine telegraphic hand writing.

Her famous teaching career spans over three decades , which saw her teaching in many schools, mostly in the riverine areas, including working as an Headmistress at the then Native Administration School, Ogbe-Ijoh, African School (now Omatsola Primary School), Warri and later became pioneer Headmistress of Agbeje Primary School, Ugbuwangue, Warri before retiring after thirty five years of meritorious services .

Mama Grace Okotie raised the quality of teaching, learning as well as attendance of pupils in Agbeje Primary School, Warri like she did in other schools she taught.

In-fact, her promotion letter of July 1, 1983 to Headmistress 3 (Grade level 07) states, inter-alia, “reward for competence, hard-work and dedication to duty".

She retired from service Friday August 1, 1986 as Headmistress, Agbeje Primary School, Ugbuwangue and established an extra moral class at Ode-kporo Quarters, Okere for pupils residing within and outside Okere Community, with the intent of brushing up the pupils' learning skills.

It must be emphasized that she worked tirelessly to train her children to tertiary school level and made uncommon sacrifice in attaining that goal.

Interestingly, almost all her seven children at one time or the other, had stints in the teaching profession. That is one of several knowledge -driven virtues she unconsciously instilled in her children.

Apart from her culture of Economic independence, sacrifice for others and genuine love which she passed on to her children, late Grace Okotie left behind the virtues of integrity, hard-work, creativity and the fear of God to all who had taste of her mentorship /hospitality.

Deaconess Grace Okotie was a devout Christian and a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, a church she worshipped regularly before her transition to eternal Glory.

She was one of the first Deaconesses of RCCG when Pastor Umukoro established Delta State first Parish of RCCG at Ogun-Obite Quarters, Okere, Warri.

Mama “Koko” is survived by seven children: Mr. Julius E. Otiri, Mr. Bernard Otiri, Mr. Odafe-Tobore Amiteyekpa, Mrs. Emuobosan Favour Tsegbeyeri, Mrs. Toju O. Aziz, Mr. Metsese Anthony Ebule and Mrs. Oritsema K. Akpe.

She's equally blessed with 18 grand children, one great grandchild and several loving relations.

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