Anambra reps suspend sitting
Enugu declares holiday
THE torrent of tributes pouring in for the Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, continued yesterday in Aba, Abia State where the remains of the late Igbo leader laid in state at the Aba Sports Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Enugu State government has declared tomorrow a public holiday in honour of Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Funeral ceremonies for the deceased are scheduled to hold at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu.
A statement by Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sullivan Chime, Chukwudi Achife, disclosed that President Goodluck Goodluck would attend the event.
Also, members of the House of Representatives from Anambra State have embarked on legislative holiday for one week in honour of the late Odumegwu-Ojukwu.
The lawmakers wore a special burial attire to the House yesterday where they called on the Federal Government and the South-East governors to immediately immortalise the late Igbo leader.
The caucus led by Uche Ekwunife stated: “The entire week is devoted to Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu who is the former military governor of the south east. Members of the Anambra State Caucus decided to enter the House of Representatives today in a symbolic manner and as a kind of national recognition considering the calibre of person he was and his contribution to development of this nation.”
And, Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Jigawa State, Sardauna Elleman Yaro has eulogised Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the founder of the party, as a detribalised nationalist. Yaro spoke with The Guardian in Dutse.
Speakers at the Aba event harped on the deceased’s commitment to the people as a leader, stressing that he would live on in the memories of all Nigerians.
At the lying-in-state were the host Governor Theodore Orji and wife; his Anambra counterpart, Peter Obi and wife; and Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and wife.
Widow of the late Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Bianca and two of his children, Emeka and Mimi, also attended.
Odumegwu-Ojukwu’s remains were brought into the arena in a military helicopter at 11.50a.m. accompanied by Prof. Alphonsus Nwosu, Senator Uche Chukwumerije.
A short service was conducted at the event by the Catholic Bishop of Aba, Vincent Ezeonyia.
Stating that the late Odumegwu-Ojukwu inspired Igbo to joining the military, Governor Orji said: “Nigerians are mourning and celebrating this Igbo icon to demonstrate our love and compassion for him both in life and death. His love for Aba and Abia State informed his will that his body be brought to Aba.”
Elder Emma Adaelu who chaired the Aba occasion, said that late Odumegwu-Ojukwu stood for the ideals cum liberation of the Igbo, giving his life and resources to it.
He prayed God to provide Ndigbo a worthy successor.
Deputy Chairman of the national/central burial committee, Chukwumerije said God created the late Odumegwu-Ojukwu in order to use him to change Nigeria for good.
He stated that the greatest honour Igbo could do to the deceased was to unite in pursuit of the ethnic group’s interests in Nigeria.
Chairman of the Abia State Burial Committee Prof. Joshua Ogbonnaya thanked Nigerians for the honour done the late icon.
The remains of the late Igbo leader Odumegwu-Ojukwu left Aba for Abakaliki, Ebonyi State as part of the scheduled itinerary preceding his burial on Friday March 2, in his Nnewi home, Anambra State.