A determined woman can achieve educational goals obstructed by marriage, childbearing –Mrs Florence Uche, Methodist Prelate emeritus’ wife

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By Vera Wisdom-Bassey

Mrs Florence Nnenna Uche, wife of the Emeritus Prelate Chukwuemeka Uche of the Methodist Church Nigeria is a woman of substance and great determination. 

Her story is very inspiring. Despite having had four children, she resolved in her spirit, soul and body to return to school, to obtain the West African School Certificate, and ultimately crowned that effort with her first degree, by which time she had given birth to her fifth and sixth children.


 Please give us a snapshot of yourself?

I was born in Minna, Niger State, My father was a staff of the Public Works Department (PWD, and that made him to traverse many  northern cities such as Kotangora and Kaduna up to 1966 when civil war broke out.I am a native of  Ohube in Ihube town in present-day Okigwe Local Government Area, Imo State. My education was put on hold when I got married. It was after my fourth child that I completed my secondary school and later got my first degree in Environmental Social Studies (Education) after my sixth child. I have attended several courses in my calling. I was introduced to church at age six, been married to a minster of God for over 40 years.

I worked at Federal Polytechnic, Nekede and later at Yaba College of Technology where I rose to the position of Principal Assistant Registrar, before retiring to go into take up ministerial responsibilities as the wife of the Prelate, to lead the women’s work in the Methodist Church of Nigeria.


What does it feel like to be the wife of the Methodist Church Prelate?

Well,  it is not just to answer but it takes a lot of time to define the role of a mother in the house and my role to my husband. This is 42 years we have been married, and within these years we have seen it all white and black, tall and short, thin and fat, good and bad. We married when he was 27 years and I was just 19 years. It wasn’t an easy road because the experience of a child was there, there was youthful exuberance, and basically we were at the same level in terms of experience. Before I got married, I had given my life to Jesus Christ. Both of us were born-again Christians. This enabled us manage the issues in life such as misunderstanding, pressures or the external interference that do occur in marriage. If you don’t understand the word of God, you will not like it. In Proverb 31:1, the Bible describes describes the virtuous woman.

If there is any woman in this world that has been described as a virtuous wife, let me be the one.  A virtuous woman who can find.  She wakes up early while others are sleeping, she makes her food and presents to the household and clothes her children with righteousness.    

She respects her husband and finds a field and ventures into it, that is a resourceful woman, that is a woman who does not depend on her husband alone, but makes money on her own. If the husband of the woman is coming in from their gate, people around will know him, because of the character of the wife. This means that the type of woman that will marry a man of God is one that will help him grow in his ministry, because if your husband should be known at the gate it shouldn’t be on the negative but on the positive side so that your husband and you will affect lives. When I came and saw that my husband wanted to affect lives (he socialises) I said to myself that I will help him.

By God’s grace my parents gave me good upbringing. I happened to be the first born among six siblings. By the time we were growing up, about 18 people were feeding in our house from the same pot because my mother was a bishop’s wife. She received visitors, whether from the husband’s side or her side. So, when I saw the same tendency after I married, what I saw my mother do helped me a lot. My husband is known at the gate for the support I give him at home.  


What have been your memorable moments?

One of the moments is easily the day I got married, February 22nd, 1981. All of a sudden I saw myself getting married, I wasn’t prepared for it; I was still a student. Suitors started coming when I was 14 years. In those days that was what was obtainable. He was our Sunday school teacher, and when he was teaching us I never thought of it, nor had it in my imagination.  

I didn’t know he was looking for a wife. I had always known him as Brother Emeka, who is now my husband. He became a young priest who preached on both Sunday 24 and Monday 25 December. He had resolved after his prayers that any of the girls whom he had been considering that would defy the Christmas celebrations and attend both services would be his wife.


After the service on Christmas Day, he called on me; greeted me very well, held my hand and said, ‘Are you going home?’ I said ‘yes.’ Suddenly, he said, ‘You are my wife.’ It sounded very awkward to me. He said, ‘Are you lost? Go and tell your mother that I will invite you to come and see my family.’


Did it feel like his proposal came like a command?

I listened to him because a few days before his proposal, I had a dream where I saw a bed in a room, a white cassock hung on the wall, six-spring bed and a pillow. On that cassock were cobwebs and I used a broom to remove the cobwebs. In that dream, a man walked in and asked, ‘Nne, are you removing the cobwebs?’ I said yes and woke up.

My interpretation was that maybe God was saying we should not wear dirty robes and sing during this festive period. I quickly went to church and washed two robes for my friend and I. It was when I finally visited him after three days of his proposal that my vision was confirmed. My mother asked me, ‘Nne, this one that you are telling me, maybe you like him because you have been driving other suitors away. But I know that if you marry him, he does not have anything now, in future, you will have all that you need and more and will enjoy your marriage.’ One thing led to the other, we got wedded and family life set in immediately, education was put on hold.

The best other moment was when I gave birth to my first child, Chinwe and others came in quick succession. The other memorable moment was when my husband was made a Prelate. I was so glad that my dream had come to be.  A Prelate must have peaceful home, impeccable character, be a degree holder; and above 60 years.


What were you challenging moments?

When my husband finally became the prelate, it was two years again on air as my services were transferred from Owerri to Yaba College of Technology, Lagos where I worked for another two years. I would have been promoted to Principal Assistant Registrar before God asked me to leave.

If I had continued, I would have gotten other promotions that would have tied me down the more. And that was when my services were needed most in the Church as the wife of the Prelate. I needed to take my ministerial programmes to the whole federation and focus more on God’s work.


What has been  your staying power?

My staying power is prayer, commitment, and dedication, passion for the work, love for my husband, children, and people within and around us, sharing. Another strong weapon is revelation, creativity and initiating original programmes.


We are eager to know the secret of your looks.

It is the grace of God. We are celebrating God’s gracious favour in the life of His daughter Florence Nnenna Uche. I consider myself as a lady who has special love from God Almighty. Looking young is a surprising thing to me because I pass through a lot of stress in the daytime as a mother, grandmother, head of various women groups, sister and wife of the Prelate of the Methodist Church. I am popularly known as ‘Mama Yard.’