Posted by By Simon Ebegbulem on
THE elders of Iruepken community in Esan West local government Council of Edo State and the immediate family members to the late first lady of the nation, Chief (Mrs) Stella Obasanjo, yesterday, disagreed with the decision of their in-law, president Olusegun Obasanjo to bury the deceased first lady in Ogun State.
BENIN CITY ó THE elders of Iruepken community in Esan West local government Council of Edo State and the immediate family members to the late first lady of the nation, Chief (Mrs) Stella Obasanjo, yesterday, disagreed with the decision of their in-law, president Olusegun Obasanjo to bury the deceased first lady in Ogun State. They said it is a taboo for any of their daugthers to be buried outside their ancestral homes, threatening to boycott the burial in order to avert any repercusion from the gods.
When Vanguard visited the community yesterday, the home of the deceased was deserted, which Vanguard later gathered was as a result of the presidentís decision, therefore members of the family who were staying in the house whom Vanguard further learnt that they felt neglected on decisions concerning how the first lady will be buried, vacated the place in annoyance. The family members said they were further angered, that the president sent the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih and the member respresenting Esan Central in the senate, Professor Osahiehmen Osunbor, to convey the message to them, instead of sending their in-laws whom they recognise.
Speaking to Vanguard on the issue, the Odionwere (traditional head) of the community, Pa Jonah Oziegbe who spoke through an interpreter complained that "we heard from the news yesterday that the president said he will be burying our daugther in Ogun State, we are not happy at all over that decision. It is against our custom. If you go around the community now, you will find out that our people are very sad. He is the one ruling Nigeria, we cannot go and fight him, but we are saying that our custom is being toyed with".
Speaking further, Pa Oziegbe who is 115 year-old said that "they brought a message yesterday, telling us that she will be buried in Ogun state,we told them it is not possible.We disagreed with the people they sent that we are not part of that arrangement, but they told us that they have already decided on that.We know that we cannot do the president anything but we want to tell them that we are not happy and may not be part of that burial if the issue is not resolved properly. It is a taboo to bury our dauther outside our ancestral home" he asserted.
Speaking also, a cousin to the deceased, Mr Ehikioya Ezekiel, on behalf of the Abebe family, expressed their disappointments towards plans for the burial, asserting that "when we heard on the news that she will be buried in Ogun State,we were shocked because we were not even consulted so that we will make inputs on how our daugther will be buried. So we had to send people to find out why, because they do not tell us anything".
"So we immediately summoned a family meeting, to discuss how such a decision could be reached without our input. It was at that meeting, through our Odion were that we learnt that the president sent a delegation led by Chief Tony Anenih, to come and inform us that the president asked them to come and tell us that she will be buried in Ogun State.So the elders at that meeting said no. In our native law it is a taboo,we do not do it and doing it means we are inviting the wrath of our ancestors".
"The worst part of it is that they do not even tell us any thing. Our brother, Chief Abebe (the first ladyís father), has been in Abuja with the wife. Each time we call his number ,he does not pick and we are worried. He is supposed to be telling us about the arrangement but we do not hear from him. Each time we call, some body else picks up the phone and the person will always tell us that he is sleeping. So we are confused, and he knows our culture so we do not know why he is keeping quiet.
We do not want the gods to punish us and that is why we are not making any arrangement to attend the burial because we do not want to be punished" he lamented.