SIR HYACINTH CHUKWUMA MOLOKWU: 1941-2017
By Anthony Awunor
Although Sir Hyacinth Chukwuma Molokwu may have died, his legacies will continue to live with the living.
Molokwu from Onicha Ugbo in Aniocha North LGA worked for over 30 years at St Anthony’s College, Ubulu-Uku where he taught French from form 1 to the highest class.
Ordinarily, most students hate French but Molokwu, in his wisdom made French popular because of his teaching approach. He adopted an interactive pattern that made even the dullest language student voice out basic French words involuntarily.
Once, he enters class, he starts speaking French immediately with the intention that every student must understand. Initially it was very very difficult but it started paying off when students began to realise that they can’t escape those little French usages such as: comment ca va; ca va bien; vien; vous appelez-vous; Je m’appelle and the others.
This Molokwu’s pragmatic approach worked to the extent that St Anthony’s College started topping the list of successful students in French Language nationwide. Even parents were convinced that their children would learn French rapidly when they come to Anthony’s College. For this, many started sending their children to the Ubulu-Uku school.
A testimony to Molokwu’s teaching acumen was a particular set that graduated from St Anthony’s College in 1987. This set made up of 11 boys were brought up from the scratch in French Language by Molokwu; and at the end of the day, they performed excellently in the West African School Certificate Exams. One of them, Mr Cletus Okafor from Anambra State scored distinction in French that year. Today Cletus is the head of French Language department in an international school in Enugu State. Another firebrand intellectual among the group is Mr Cyril Utomi who also got a credit pass in French that year. Today, Utomi is a successful pharmacist of repute in the FCT. We equally had, in that bright class, Mr Joseph Mordi, a bureaucrat who retired successfully from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Mordi, a minister of God by His Grace is currently living in the United Kingdom. Multiple awards winning journalist and the current Business Editor of Leadership newspaper, Mr Anthony Awunor was also one of the 11 students who made St Anthony’s College proud that year too. Another fellow was James Okocha, an accomplished civil servant from Udo Village who also learnt under the tutelage of Molokwu. We also had Victor Okafor, a renowned scholar who is doing very well in UK. There were also John Ikenwe and many others. This is not however, the only set Molokwu taught French but it is on record that they were particularly unique in terms of training and their outstanding performances in their Ordinary Level result.
Before 1987, successful personalities like Mr Paul Odiakaose, Ifechukwude Ezinwa, just to mention a few, trained under the watchful eyes of this monsieur. Today, they have made great achievements in their careers.
It came to a point that these particular 1987 set of students led by Molokwu went as far as Edo College in Benin City to compete with other big students at an International French Competition hosted then by French Embassy in Nigeria. It was on record also, that Molokwu bought fuel from his lean salary and carried the students in his Peugeot 504 to Benin City. Luckily, the boys won him a medal and they were received into the waiting hands of Mr I E Akaraiwe at the school premises.
Even though, the victorious students lapped each other, front and back, it was said that all the students sang French songs fluently inside the car, from Benin to Ubulu Uku. Late Molokwu also sang along with them at the driver’s seat.
Because of his swagger, haven studied French in Paris, it was said that Molokwu and another teacher, Mr Vibration were the only teachers that got the attention of the then Principal, Mr IE Akaraiwe. It was also rumored that this dead man lying helplessly in a cold coffin translated the National Anthem into French which did not get the approval of Akaraiwe then. On the other hand, Mr Vibration was then the most qualified college teacher as he had a Masters degree in Mathematics, a status bigger than that of the principal.
But Molokwu was not only good in the classroom.
He was equally a perfect gentleman at home. His gentility, humility and patience conquered worries when his wife could not bear him a child after, over 20 years of marriage. By God’s grace, he got a child at the appointed time to the glory of God.
The teacher is a Christian with big faith. In fact his faith was larger than that of a mustard seed. As a Grand Knight of Saint Mulumba in the Roman Catholic Church, he lived his life seeking the face of God in all he did. Even though he did not have a child early, his God Children at both Ubulu-Uku and Onicha Ugbo combined together are over 1000 in number. His school children are uncountable.
However, I am not worried that Molokwu died but only regretted three things because death is inevitable. First is that Molokwu did not go home to rest after many years of meritorious services to mankind. It is said that his family members have been on him to come back and relax at Onicha Ugbo. Although, the French teacher had that in mind before he got a juicy contract to beef up a school in Asaba. He was in the process of strengthening the school when death came knocking foolishly at his door. My second worry is whether his students will ever remember him or even the family he left behind and the third worry is that St Anthony’s College may not get a good French teacher as sound as Mr Molokwu, especially now that teachers only work for their money and not for mankind.
All said and done, he lived a good life after 76 years of struggling on earth.
Monsieur, Repose en Paix !
AWUNOR, A MULTIPLE AWARD WINNING JOURNALIST IS THE PUBLISHER OF UBULU EZEMU