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A short biography of Offiong Ebenge Okpo

Our mother Mrs Maffiong Okpo nee Archibong Amana, popularly known as madam Afi’s, was born in Ikot Andem, Itam in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on December 15th 1947 to the family of Chief Archibong Akpan Amana and Mrs Ekpe Ekpo-Akai Amana. She was second in a family of five siblings, all of whom are now deceased.

Maffiong attended Ikot Andem Primary School from 1952 – 1958. She then relocated to Lagos where she attended secondary school till 1963. Thereafter, she started a job at Kingsway on Marina as a stenographer where she met her husband, late Ambassador (CDRE RTD) E.T. Okpo and they both got married in 1964.

She gave birth to her first child Anietie Nte Abasi in 1965 and waited 8 years to have her second child Inigh Abasi in 1973. Their third child Idara obong was born shortly after in 1977.

In 1970 she travelled to India with her husband and daughter Anietie where her husband was posted on a course. In 1971 she went to England for a secretarial course till 1972. She worked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Lagos from 1972 – 1973. She then worked for the New Nigeria Salt Company in Apapa from 1975 – 1977 where she met her life-long friend Ms Florence Achonu aka Lady Martphil.

In 1979 she travelled to India to join her husband who was appointed Defense Attache to The Nigeria High Commission in New Delhi. It was while in India that she picked upon her interest in learning how to cook different cuisines. She leant to cook Indian, Chinese and Continental dishes, and also excelled with her bakery skills.

She started baking and supplying supermarkets in Surulere. This she did for several years till her dear friend Mrs Rachel Akpabio suggested to her to open up her own restaurant since she cooked so well. So, she sublet a space for her new restaurant at 96 Ogunlana Drive, Surulere which was called The Place. Her food was so good that soon the outlet was overflowing beyond capacity. She prospered and relocated the business to 5 Olufemi Street, still in Surulere where she did extremely well and opened a branch in Victoria Island.

Food at Afi’s was so delicious that her customer base grew exponentially and included people visiting from abroad. In fact, her food was quite addictive that it wasn’t unusual for people that arrived from outside the country to first come and eat at Afi’s before returning home to their families.