The twin virtues of meekness and humility of heart (Mathew 11:29) are rare attributes of human beings generally known to be self-assertive and protective of their interests while dealing with others. This is hardly surprising because for many, these twin virtues are only aspirational in nature. Yet our Lord Jesus Christ (most authentic embodiment of these virtues) enjoins us to possess them when he invites us saying ‘come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart…’ (Mathew 11: 28 & 29).
Without any equivocation Mrs. Florence Assisi Asobie (nee Eruba) as a true follower of Christ reflected these qualities during her life time. She was not only an embodiment of meekness and humility but she was more importantly, a beautiful virtuous wife to her husband Prof. Humphrey Assisi Asobie former National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as well as former Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
Although a virtuous wife is hard to find (Proverbs 31:10), Prof. Humphrey Assisi Asobie was extra-ordinarily blessed to find one many decades ago in her most beloved wife Mrs. Florence Asobie. Mrs. Asobie, was indeed a capable and good wife who spoke ‘with a gentle wisdom’ (31: 26), and was always supportive of her husband (31:23). She lived quietly with the sacrifices which that support brought, even during the most turbulent years of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) under the regime of General Sani Abacha when her husband became an influential and well known President of the union. During her life time (and even more so now), Mrs. Asobie genuinely earned the praise of her husband (31:28) and many others also. This is an eloquent testimony of a couple that was closely knit together in LOVE. Following this therefore, we can join the Book of Proverbs to say: many women are good wives, but Mrs. Florence Asobie was one of the best of them all (31:29).
We were privileged to know (as postgraduate students) the family of Prof. & Mrs. H. A. Asobie while at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in the 80s. The couple’s influence on us (expressly unknown to them though) attracted us (the more) to them both at their Nsukka residence, and at their Abuja home. The family’s chosen and unpretentious (modest) way of life made a deep impression on us as younger couple for over three decades now.
We had hoped that a sickness that started following the missing of steps and its subsequent falling while walking and exercising to help age gracefully, would soon be over. But we were wrong. The death of our dear senior friend therefore came to us as a rude shock. By her death, we have lost one of our highly respected senior friends who served for us as a role model in many ramifications of life particularly in the demonstration of, or amply exemplifying the virtues of selfless and sacrificial family love and living. We have indeed lost an irreplaceable soft-spoken and gentle senior friend.
In our present world where the marriage institution (and entire family life) is under serious assault and threat from all sides particularly by the negative forces of civilization driven by the allures and illusions of modernization (via globalization), the young and budding couples would find in the Asobie’s the virtues of a quintessential couple that would help them sustain their cherished family values. We have no choice but to sustain the marriage institution which is a divine creation.
We will truly miss our dear senior friend but we rejoice that the Angels in Heaven would surely give her a resounding and rousing welcome. Adieu our noble, gentle and an outstandingly exemplary woman, with whom her husband is well pleased. What a consolation for a husband that his cherished wife was sacrificially committed to his modest life of an accomplished scholar.
A Service of Songs and Night of Tributes would hold at St. James Anglican Church Asokoro, near AYA on Tuesday February 15, 2022 at 4:30pm. Funeral Service is on Friday, February 25, 2022 at The Cathedral Church of Christ, Akwuete, in Ukwa East, LGA, Abia State, while the Internment follows immediately at the Asobies’ country home, Akwuete.
Prof. & Prof. (Mrs.) OBASI are both lecturers at the University of Abuja, FCT Nigeria