Mrs Ibariere Thompson (1938-2024)

Mrs. Ibariere Thompson was a paragon of virtue, leading an exemplary life that glorified God and positively impacted those around her. As a successful Ijaw woman, she made significant contributions to the business landscape of Port Harcourt and the old Rivers State. A devout Christian, Mrs. Thompson steadfastly maintained her faith in Christ Jesus, embodying the principles of her faith in every aspect of her life. Her legacy is one of unwavering dedication to her community, her faith, and her professional endeavors.

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Late Mrs. Ibariere Thompson (Nee Andakurai) was born into the loving family of Mr. and Mrs. Andakurai Owumokiri of the Ikatibiri compound in Kaiama, located within the Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, around 1938. Her mother, Kalama Zukiya, hailed from the Woditeyo compound, also in Kaiama. As the second of two surviving daughters, she was aptly named “Ibariere,” meaning “Good Mind” in the Kolokuma dialect—a testament to her gentle and kind-hearted nature.

Despite the humble means of her parents, they provided a nurturing environment that instilled in her values of hard work, respect, and obedience. Tragically, she lost both parents at a formative age. Following this loss, she was lovingly raised by her aunt, late Adomo Zukiya, who showered her with maternal affection and later by another of her mother’s siblings, late Okoboere Zukiya, in Igbedi town. It was during these years that Ibariere learned the rudiments of farming and various rural occupations, embracing the philosophy that “hard work won’t kill you but make you stronger.”

Educational opportunities were scarce for young girls in her time, and Ibariere, yearning for knowledge, would often watch through the windows of local schools where her cousins and brothers studied. Despite societal barriers, her informal education in farming and trading proved invaluable, laying the foundation for her future endeavors.

Life’s journey eventually took Ibariere to Lagos, then the capital city of Nigeria, at the behest of her nephew, late Major Francis Gbapamo Berezi, who was serving in the Nigerian Military. It was here that she met and married the love of her life, late Daubiri Thompson, a fellow member of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Together, they built a happy family, with Daubiri’s military postings taking them across Nigeria—from Zaria to Kano, and Imo State. During these years, Ibariere’s adaptability shone through as she became fluent in Hausa and Igbo, enhancing her business acumen.

The Nigerian Civil War of 1967-1969 brought an abrupt end to her marital bliss when her beloved husband died in the conflict. Thrust into the role of breadwinner, Ibariere moved to Port Harcourt in the 1970s, where she ventured into the catering business and provision sales. Her enterprise at No. 12 Bori Street, Borokiri, became a well-known spot for delicious fried yam, plantain, and fish, serving the local community until the mid-1990s.

Expanding her business horizons, Mama, as she was affectionately known, traded extensively in the hinterlands of the Niger Delta, sourcing goods from markets in Imbiama, Zarama, and Peremabiri to sell in Port Harcourt. Her ventures flourished, making her a prominent figure in meeting the food needs of the Borokiri and Town areas. She involved her children in her business, teaching them the values of hard work and entrepreneurship. Despite her own lack of formal education, she ensured her children attended some of the best schools in Port Harcourt, determined to give them the opportunities she never had.

When Bayelsa State was created in 1996, Mama relocated to Kaiama, where she continued her successful business ventures.

Mama was a devoted Christian throughout her life. Embracing the Pentecostal faith with unwavering dedication, she fully submitted her soul to the lordship of Jesus Christ. From the 1980s until her return to her hometown of Kaiama, she was a regular and committed member of the Greater Evangelism World Crusade. She worshiped diligently at the Rex Lawson Street Branch in Borokiri, Port Harcourt.

After relocating to Kaiama in 1996, Mama became an ardent member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), continuing her deep spiritual journey until her passing. Her love for Jesus Christ was profound and all-encompassing. She delighted in the Word of God and eagerly shared the gospel with everyone she encountered. Known for her generosity, Mama was always quick to share her resources with those in need. Indeed, she kept the faith as the Apostle did, living a life of devotion, kindness, and unwavering belief.

Mrs. Ibariere Thompson passed away peacefully in her sleep on the early morning of Palm Sunday, March 24, 2024, after suffering a stroke for over eight years. Her life was a testament to resilience, faith, and the enduring power of a “Good Mind.” She left behind a legacy of love, hard work, and devotion that continues to inspire all who knew her. She was 86 years old.

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"Timeless Persons" is a personal blog project created by me with the aim of sharing the biographies of remarkable individuals from the Niger Delta region and beyond. The blog serves as a platform to captivate and stimulate your thoughts, encouraging reflection on the past, fostering a positive mindset in the present, and inspiring hope for a better future.