Shock, Disbelief at Stella's Hometown
Mrs. Stella Obasanjo.
At Iruekpen, Ekpoma, the administrative headquarters of Esan West Local Government Area of Edo State the sadness was infectious as the people were apparently shocked at the news of the death of their illustious daughter and First Lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo.
There was visible melancholy around Abia Quaters where the the white-washed single storey buildings that make up the home of Chief Christopher Abebe, Stella's father and family patriarch stood in silent majesty behind high walls and black gates.
THISDAY was later told by some of the relations of the First Lady, who had gathered and sat quietly in front of the house, that Abebe had travelled out of town for about three weeks, before the shocking news filtered into town yesterday morning.
Even the two armed policemen on sentry at the front of the house were one with the men and women and who sat on long wooden benches, eyes red and swollen with crying.
Mr. Thomas O. Abebe, who identified himself as the younger brother of Mrs. Obasanjo's father, said they had called Chief Abebe earlier in the morning when they "heard the news in a rather strange way", saying they were not sure when the family patriach would return home or, indeed, whether he was in Lagos or Abuja at that point in time.
When THISDAY visited the country home of Senator Oserhiemen Osunbor at 1, Idumebo Street, Iruekpen, about 800 metres away from the Abebe's, it was learnt that he left for Abuja Saturday. The First Lady was believed to be the motivating factor behind Osunbor's political venture, including his current campaign for the Edo governorship race in 2007.
The Onogie of Ekpoma, HRH Abumere, the traditional ruler of the area was also said to have travelled for a function in Lagos when our reporter visited his palace at Eguare Quarters, Ekpoma, whilea an aide of the Chairman of the Esan West Local Government Area, Mr. Monday Abulu, said that his boss was not at home when THISDAY visited his Ihumudumu residence for comments.
Stella appears to be well loved by his people, particularly in Iruekpen, where her influence is believed to have attracted a transmitting station of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).