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BN Presents How My Parents Met: Almost Separated by the War, Nneoma’s Parents Found Each Other



How My Parents Met

Do you ever wonder how is it your parents met? It’s easy to forget that 20, 30, 40 years ago, all of the things that make communication much easier now were not in existence. The World Wide Web was only born in 1990. And how much longer before we began using it in Nigeria? FaceBook, mobile phones, smartphones which have become a staple in our life as humans, where were they back then?

It’s easy to take all of these for granted, forget that there was a time when meeting people to spend the rest of your life with was a more arduous task. Which is why we asked people, those who know, anyway, to send in stories about how their parents met. Arranged marriage, 2nd marriages, love at first sight – all the stories.

Today, Nneoma Anieto has offered to share the story of how her parents met. She is the last of seven children and the only daughter of her parents. A communications professional, Nneoma is the author of Wednesday’s Child (a self published book) and 2nd runner up in the Dusty Manuscript Contest.

The story of how Nneoma’s parents met is of sweet love that almost never was. They were truly destined to be together. 
Papa and Mama met about three different times before they started their march to the altar. Their third meeting was the back in the day version of a woman shooting her shot.

First meeting
Papa (Oraegbunam) taught Mama’s older brother in Primary School at Enugu in the then Anambra State. In those days, if you had the equivalent of a secondary school degree, you could teach Primary school, so Papa taught Uncle Uche, Mama’s brother. Papa was popularly called Teacher White and White then. Story had it that he was always immaculately dressed in white and the students admired him for it.

Uncle Uche was a particularly bright student so Papa took an interest in him and formed a relationship with him this relationship led to a relationship with his family. That was how he met Mama (Ifeoma Patience) for the first time. She was a young girl at the time.

After he became friends with Mama’s family, the war happened…

Second meeting
Everyone lost touch with everyone during the war years. Papa lost touch with Mama’s family as well and it seemed like the relationship was severed. On one bright Sunday morning after the war (about two years after, I am not sure) Mama went for service in an Anglican church in Enugu. She told us she didn’t normally go to that church because it was far from home; but on that day, she decided to go there. On her way back, she caught sight of Papa who had also come for service at the church. She was excited to see him. She said back in those days, it was great to see people after the war because no one knew who survived. Anyway, she ran up to him and reintroduced herself. He remembered her and remarked that she had grown. As he walked her home, he told her that he was not a teacher anymore that he secured admission to study law at the University of Nigeria shortly after the war. Then, the second meeting ended.

Third meeting, shots fired…
Mama’s family friend came to visit her a few months after her chance meeting with Papa; like Papa, he too had secured admission to study at the University of Nigeria and as a proud young undergraduate, he invited Mama to visit him at the University. Mama said she would not visit him and told him emphatically that if she ever came to the University for a visit, it would be to visit Papa (please note that she had only seen Papa once after the war o).

Said family friend went back to campus where he found Papa and teased him with what Mama had said. As a sharp guy, Papa saw a flashing neon green light and moved. He visited Mama’s family to “reconnect” with them and he was welcomed with open arms. Mama did indeed go to campus to visit him and their romance started and blossomed.

Shortly after that, Papa became a lawyer, the first from our town and Mama was there smiling at his reception organized by the town – an equivalent of the parties that new wigs have these days.

They had a traditional marriage in September 1974 and a white wedding on 10th May 1975.

Papa died 23rd March 2009, Mama to my greatest heartbreak died 25th May 2018. Papa was 72 at the time of his death, Mama was 65 at the time of hers.

You can send your parents’ love stories over to us to get a feature. Share their stories with us by sending a mail to features(at)bellanaija(dot)com. It doesn’t have to be anything long, only has to be enough to celebrate their love. We’ll keep you anonymous, if you want, but if you want to send us photos of your patents, we are happy to share.


  1. kuku premier

    November 12, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Gosh Nneoma!

    I knew your mum.

    She was my primary 4 teacher at All Saints Primary School ..Really Pretty and soft spoken.

    I also knew your brothers Tagbo and Chike and the third one (forgotten his name)

    Your mum was fantastic…I’m sorry she is gone…this is really sad for me!
    I was drawn to her as a child and would go on and on after school hours about Mrs.Anieto to my mum. I also remember Sunday school classes at All Saints cathedral with your brothers.

    May God comfort you and your siblings.

    Ndo nu umu Anieto! Anya mili akwa apugo m n’anya.

    RIP Mrs.Anieto

    • Nneoma

      November 12, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      This makes me so happy. Thank you.

  2. smashingM

    November 12, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    They were surely meant to be. God rest their souls. Amen.

  3. jennietobbie

    November 13, 2018 at 3:09 am

    Such a beautiful love story. May God comfort you, Nneoma

  4. Manny

    November 13, 2018 at 3:46 am

    What a lovely story. Love how your mama shot her shot. The heart knows what it wants.

  5. Mz Socially Awkward....

    November 13, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Oh Nneoma, this is such a lovely story of special coincidences…. and I’m sorry to read about your loss of them both. Thank God for their years of life together, I only hope that your own recollections will find more joy than pain to latch on to.

    Plus, I think I’ve seen your book title maybe on Amazon? Will look out for it again. xx

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