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While We Mourn, We Should Celebrate My Mum’s Life, Says Stella’s Son

Posted by From Josephine Lohor in Abuja on 2005/10/27 | Views: 1959 |

While We Mourn, We Should Celebrate My Mum’s Life, Says Stella’s Son

Olumuyiwa, the only child of the late First Lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, yesterday urged Nigerians not only to mourn his mother but to also celebrate her life.

Olumuyiwa, the only child of the late First Lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, yesterday urged Nigerians not only to mourn his mother but to also celebrate her life.

Stella died last Sunday after undergoing what is believed to be an aesthetic surgery in a Spanish hospital.

Olumuyiwa, a US based attorney, while addressing the Federal Executive Council as representative of the Obasanjo and Abebe families at the special session held in honour of Stella, said his mother lived a fulfilled life and wanted her burial to be a celebration.

"She wanted her death to be a celebration. Indeed, as you mourn her passing away, please also remember to celebrate her life. That is how she would like to be remembered. Please pray for all of us. Pray that her soul will rest in peace", he said in a speech which moved many of the ministers to tears.
Vice President Atiku Abubakar who presided over the session in his tribute said the First Lady performed her duties "with distinction."

He recalled the times they spent together championing the release of President Olusegun Obasanjo when he was arrested over alleged coup plot by the Sani Abacha administration, saying, she "had the strength of character to cope with the challenges of the period and to rally support for a good cause. She brought this trait to bear on politics during the electioneering campaign.

"Consequently when board appointments were being made in year 2000, she drew up a long list of women, none of whom was her relation, which she continued to update until the exercise was concluded".

Speaking on the Bellview plane crash, Atiku regretted that although "Nigeria was indeed ill-equipped to cope with national disasters despite the huge amounts spent on equipment for disaster prevention and management", what is most important "for us as a Government, is the lessons that matter and these include not just the availability of equipment but effective deployment, mobilization and co-ordination of all relevant agencies".

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Frank Nweke, in a tribute titled "The Full Circle", said "as we mourn our sister, friend, aunty and mother, may our hearts learn wisdom. We ought to remember that one generation plants the trees; another gets the shade. Chief (Mrs. Stella Obasanjo) planted trees of human kindness, in standing by her husband, her friends, orphans, abandoned women and children without hope. Be it in the Child Care Trust programme or in the office of the First Lady".

Head of Service, Yayale Ahmed, while describing Stella’s death as a "very subtle loss", said she cared for all civil servants. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Ufot Ekaette, said that although her death was unexpected, Stella loved her husband and was determined to stand by him.

Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, said the First Lady was "for us in Rivers State, the Crown Princess. During her visits, she never ceased to visit the children’s home, which brought to public knowledge the problems faced by children who were suffering from Down’s Syndrome and encouraged people to care for them in the most humane manner".

Also paying tribute on behalf of women in Nigeria, Minister of Women Affairs, Mariam Ciroma, said Stella was a pathfinder who impacted positively on many lives.

Meanwhile, Stella’s funeral arrangements yesterday entered its second day with the lying-in-state at the Banquet Hall of the State House during which people from all walks of life came to pay their last respects.

The lying-in-state which began a few minutes after 12 noon with the President and his son, Olumuyiwa, being the first to pay their respects to the late First lady who was dressed in a white wedding gown, ended at 3.30 pm when the doors to the hall were shut.

All roads leading to the Banquet Hall were filled with cars while movement of people became very difficult because of the large number of sympathisers who thron-ged the venue to see the body. The corpse is expected to be taken to Abeokuta early today for another lying-in-state and Christain wake-keep.

After the President and his son had paid their respects, the Vice President and his wife, Titi, followed. Then there was Senate President Ken Nnamani followed by Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Nasir Mantu, the President’s other children, the Abebe family, Kogi State Governor Ibrahim Idris and Alhaji Ahmed Joda.

Others who then took their turn were the Governors of Nasarawa, Rivers and Taraba States, Chief Tony Anenih, Chairman Board of Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ministers, Head of Service, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, former Minister of Women Affairs, Obong Rita Akpan, military top brass, Comptroller-General of Customs, Jacob Buba Gyang and Brig. General Buba Marwa, among others.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo had a full day receiving sympathisers which included members of the State House Press Corps during which he said it was alright for people to hold different points of view as long as they had unity of purpose.

Obasanjo said it was such a sense of purpose that kept him and his late wife together despite their disagreements. He said he believes that "if we run this country along that line, give mutual respect, disagree on principle, it will augur well for the future of this country".

"You can hold any point of view, but there must be unity and sense of purpose. I would say that unity of purpose is what instructed the relationship with my wife. We disagreed but we were united on what we stand for, either in the family or outside", he said.

Chairman of the State House Press Corps, Paul Odenyi, while expressing sympathy for the death of Stella and the tragedy of the Bellview plane crash that claimed 177 lives, said "as journalists covering the State House, we attest to the fact of Her Excellency’s sense of purpose, motherly care and more than anything, her support to you in the task of running a complex country as Nigeria".

The President had while receiving female friends and associates of his late wife led by the wife of the Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Yemisi Cole, said he thanked God that his wife lived a fulfilled life as those that know her very well know that she loved to have people around her.

Speaking earlier, Cole who said a lot of people called the late Stella 'mummy' said "yet she was firm and would not shy away from correcting you when we move out of line. She has been a blessing to us. She is appreciated".

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