Mrs. Irene Nimibofa Edgar (nee Joel) was born on October 28, 1943, in Okpoama, Brass Local Government Area, Bayelsa State. Her parents were the late Mr. Joel Kanu Nwabuko, originally from Umecheoku-Elu-elu in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State, and Madam Deborah (nee Joseph) from Okpoama Town in Brass Local Government, Bayelsa State.
Mrs. Irene Edgar is her mother’s only child. She spent her early years under the care of her grandmother, Madam Janet Abaye (nee Ateki). Mrs. Irene N. Edgar comes from a lineage of strong women, including Aberenimi and Miekeamapiri. Her maternal grandmother was the first woman to be married in the Anglican Church in Okpoama. She single-handedly raised her three children and left a lasting legacy for the family. She is affectionately known as the matriarch, Ala Janet, and has a women’s group named after her, Janet Agba, at St. Paul’s Deanery in Okpoama, where all female family members are members.
She commenced her primary school education at St. Paul’s Primary School in Okpoama, earning her first school certificate in 1958. She briefly taught at St. Barnabas Primary School in Twon-Brass, where she met her husband, the late Chief Numoipre Godswill Edgar – Zachariah. They were married in 1961. After the civil war, she relocated to Port Harcourt and briefly worked at the Nigerian Ports Authority in the hospitality sector.
In pursuit of higher education, she enrolled at the Woman Teacher’s Training School in Isiokpo, River State, where she obtained a Teacher Grade II certificate (TCII) in 1976. Subsequently, she pursued her post-secondary education at Rivers State College of Education in Rumuolumeni, which is now known as Ignatius University. There, she obtained her Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) in 1982. Later, Mrs. Irene Nimibofa Edgar completed her Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Port Harcourt, Choba, in 1988.
She also fulfilled her National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC) at the Government Comprehensive Boys Secondary School in Borokiri, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Her Teaching Career
She continued working at the school and taught geography and English, mentoring numerous students who saw her as a strict disciplinarian yet filled with motherly love. She was widely recognized as an exceptional teacher, and her students attested to her proficiency in the teaching profession.
Later, she transferred her services to the Rivers State Primary School Board, which was under the Ministry of Education. She held the rank of Supervisor in this position. When Bayelsa State was created, her services were transferred to the Bayelsa State Universal Basic Education Board in Okolobiri, Yenagoa LGA, Bayelsa state. She gradually rose through the ranks and achieved the position of Director of School Services before her eventual retirement.
As the sole child of her father, she holds a central position in all family decisions and activities. Her insights and advice are highly valued in her paternal family, and her opinion is sought in all family matters. Within her immediate family, she currently holds the position of the eldest family member. She fulfills the essential role of a maternal figure for her siblings, cousins, and the extended family.
Life After Retirement
Throughout her life journey, Mrs. Irene N. Edgar has confronted significant traumatic challenges, including the loss of her mother at the age of 50 and the passing of her children. However, her faith in God has remained steadfast. After her retirement, Mrs. Edgar faced a health crisis that required a six-hour brain surgery in India. She experienced post-operative complications and fell into a coma for three weeks. Despite the bleak prognosis given by her doctors, she made a remarkable full recovery, a testament to God’s grace.
She serves as a patron of numerous social clubs, holds the position of an elder in the National Council of Women’s Societies, and was a member and former Vice President of ODU (Rivers/Yenagoa Branch). Mrs. Irene is a devout Christian and worships at the Royal House of Grace and Redeemed Church in Yenagoa. While at her home, she attended St. Paul’s Church in Okpoama.
Mrs. Irene Nimibofa Edgar is blessed with six children, although only two of them are still living. She has many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her life is a remarkable reflection of God’s mercy and favor.