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All These Fanfare That Make Burial Very Expensive, Run Contrary To The Anambra Burial Law- Gov Soludo

GOVERNOR SOLUDO’S EXTEMPORÉ SPEECH AT THE BURIAL OF THE FIRST CIVILIAN GOVERNOR OF ANAMBRA STATE, CHIEF DR. CHUKWUEMEKA PIUS EZEIFE ON SATURDAY, 20 MARCH, 2024 AT HIS COUNTRY HOME IN IGBOUKWU

Greetings to all!

Just two or three talking points to address you on.

The first is to join those who have spoken in welcoming all of you to this funeral service. Thank you for coming.

Thanking you for coming to honour my brother, my mentor. And thank you for coming to honour one of the finest that Anambra has given to the world; our late brother, Chief Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife.

I want to thank particularly, members of the Salvation Army, for leading us through this service. It’s been wonderful. And I want to thank the Lt. Col. who gave the sermon. That was very apt because you learn three things that our late brother stood for- a life of purpose, a life of service that matters and very importantly, a life in Christ. Thank you immensely for that message because for me that typifies the “Okwadike” that I knew.

To ndị banyị and to Nigerians, we had the Commendation service in his honour at the International Convention Centre just yesterday. Tributes poured in, we watched a documentary about his life and times; you could see a colossus and end of an era.

We are only praying God to bless Anambra, bless Igboukwu and bless Nigeria with thousands more of Chukwuemeka Ezeife. He seems quite irreplaceable but we pray that He might bless us with many people who are able to carry the torchlight going.

As the sermon rightly said, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife lived a life of purpose. He lived a life of service and very importantly I want to add to that, for him, there is a saying that says; “be the change that you want to see”. That was what Okwadike represented!

All the time that I knew Dr. Ezeife as a brother, as a friend and as a mentor. Dr. Ezeife lived out the true meaning of not just what he said, but what he did.

The reason why Nigerian took him seriously is because he lived out what he preached. From when he served as permanent secretary par excellence and when he served as Governor of Anambra. Infact, that was when he earned the credit to speak about fairness, to speak about equity, to speak about justice for all. He earned it while in the brief period that he was Governor.

As Governor of Anambra, Dr. Ezeife did not care how you worshipped, which denomination you came from, whether you are from Anambra or not. He was a Governor for all. It was when he was Governor that two people from Abịa and Osun states respectively, were
employed into the civil service of Anambra state without minding their state of origin.

Today, as we carry the banner and baton of Ezeife forward under our own government, we’ve appointed those two persons from Abịa and Osun states as Permanent Secretaries in Anambra civil service; just living out the true essence of what Okwadike stood for.

So, when he spoke about equity, justice, fairness in Nigeria, when he spoke about excellence and merit being the basis for appointments, recruitments and so on, he lived it out. And so, when he spoke about these matters, we could believe him because he led by example. That’s what matters.

All we can say to him as we pay our final tribute is that we are carrying the banner forward. Yes! In Anambra state, we recruited five thousand teachers within my first nine months in office and these teachers happen to come from eighteen states of Nigeria. We did not ask people which state they came from or where they worship, because the interest of the Anambra child is to be taught by the best teacher in the world , not to be taught by the teacher in his village. That is what Okwadike stood for and that is the banner that we are carrying forward.

This is what we have come to celebrate as we bid him farewell. In all his life, he showed fairness, he exuded equity, transparency, justice for all, especially for the down-trodden.

We can’t miss the message that Okwadike was the change that he preached. He lived out the change that he preached. He just didn’t talk about them to get public applause, he lived it out because by their fruits, you shall know them.

In religious circle, he was not a religious bigot by any stretch. He lived for all and he ensured that there was inclusiveness of all denominations in his government. We are carrying that banner. I have appointees from various states of the federation, because for us it is about merit or what you can offer, not where you worship, not where you come from or whether you are from my village. As we make contributions for restructuring Nigeria, we kept emphasising meritocracy.

For the government of Anambra, we are carrying the banners, the message, the foundation that Okwadike, my own brother left behind. And that is a government and governance based on merit. When you do that, the result show because there is no “Anglican, Catholic, Pentecostal or Salvation Army’s way of tarring a road or teaching mathematics.

That is why we are building a state where everyone will be included. Just show us what you can do and we will deploy you to do that for the service of Anambra. That’s what Ezeife lived for, and that is why we have come here to say goodbye to him.

For those of you who have travelled far and near, the good Lord will lead you back to where you came from.

And I make this final point- the Okwadike that I knew was a stickler for process, for the law and that’s why he held Nigeria accountable to observe the principles of the federal character in everything because he believed in the law.

So all these fanfare that make burial very expensive, run contrary to the Anambra burial law which was passed three years before I became governor. I didn’t pass it. It has been there. It is the law. Those things that play no role should be avoided. All that is required is for us to respect the dead. We have given Okwadike for God to grant him eternal rest as we lay him to rest in accordance with Anambra burial law.

That law also says that all burial funerals, condolences must be for one day. You don’t have a waiver for laws, you can only waive for rules. You either obey the law or amend it. Once it remains the law, it is to be obeyed. And that’s not the society that Okwadike dreamt of. The foundation we are working on, is the one he left for us.

On behalf of myself, my family, ndị Aguata, ndị OAU, the government and great people of Anambra State, we say a big farewell to this rare soul and colossus that went through like a firmament all around Africa.

Okwadike Igbo!

Okwadike Aguata na Orumba!

Okwadike Anambra!

Okwadike Ndị Igbo!

Okwadike Nigeria!

Okwadike Africa!

Goodbye and Goodnight!

Thank you all, once more.!!!

Extracted by Christian Aburime

Harcore News

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