Chief Sir Chijioke Nwakodo 1961-2017
As the Vicar of St Michael’s Church in Chiswick, West London, I knew Chijioke for nearly five years.
He lived with his family a short walk from the Church and he regularly worshipped with us on Sunday mornings whenever he was in London.
I knew Chijioke as CJ and I came to know him as a true and faithful servant of God. More recently, when he became ill, he maintained his faith in God – that God was with him and would bring him healing. And we give thanks that CJ is now with his Lord and Saviour and is fully healed and at peace.
CJ was a prayerful man and I was privileged to pray with him on a number of occasions when I shared holy communion with him in his home.
This prayerfulness and faith provided the ground on which CJ built his own life and the lives of his family. A solid ground. A ground of trust, sacrifice and love. A ground that has been formative in making his wife and sons the people they are today.
CJ loved others and was deeply loved himself, particularly by his immediate family. This love is a reflection of the love that he so freely and generously gave and is why, despite their grief, Bisola, Okeaba and Zary stand today strong and united - both in their grief and in their hope for the future.
We at St Michael’s will also miss CJ. His warm smile, his positivity, his unstoppable instinct to be supportive – both in word and deed.
He contributed substantially to the financing of our new Church kitchen and I know he would be delighted to hear that we are now putting this new facility to use in hosting a course for enquirers into the Christian faith and also hosting many new community groups who will meet in the Church on Mondays to Saturdays. So that our Church is now alive and doing God’s work every day of the week and not just Sundays.
CJ was a highly gifted, intelligent man with a prestigious position in the political world in Nigeria, as Chief of Staff of the Umuahia state. But he retained in his personality a simplicity and humility that drew people to him, that made people trust him and love him.
We lost CJ at a young age, at a time when we all feel there was so much more he might have done and accomplished. But CJ’s ambition was always to make the world a better place – through love and hard work for his family and for his home state and country. And we can confidently say that this ambition was fulfilled.
CJ you truly did make our world a better place.
Thank you. And may you rest in peace and rise with the saints in glory. Amen.