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Stella couldn’t have had a better burial

Posted by Dotun Oladipo, Tunde Odesola, Casmir Igbokwe and Niyi Odebode on 2005/10/30 | Views: 1408 |

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Stella couldn’t have had a better burial


President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday,said that his late wife and First Lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, could not have had a more befitting burial than the one accorded her.

President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday,said that his late wife and First Lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, could not have had a more befitting burial than the one accorded her.

Obasanjo, who spoke when he received a delegation of traditional rulers from Ogun State in his Ita-Eko, Abeokuta home, thanked Nigerians, especially the Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel for the impressive funeral ceremony for Mrs. Obasanjo.

Obasanjo told the delegation that also included former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation in the Second Republic, Chief Richard Akinjide, that he had been reflecting on the death of the First Lady and had come to the conclusion that the best thing for him to do at this period was to keep praising God.

He said that worse things could have happened to him but for the grace of God.

He said that he had thought he was in the worst condition following his incarceration in Yola Prison by the administration of the Late General Sani Abacha for trumped up coup charges in 1995.

“I thank God that Stella’s case was not like that. Stella was a bridge builder. Her death and those of the 117 in the aircrash is a lesson for the nation.”

He told his visitors that he spoke with the First Lady two days before her death with a promise to call her back the following day but could not due to pressure of work until the news of her death was broken to him. But he said that though he was shocked by the sudden death he was not in a sorrowful state, adding, “We are not sorrowing like people who have no hope. We are in fact not sorrowing. We are celebrating the life of a woman who did her own part. Whatever happens, we pray that God will forgive all her imperfections.”

The Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, who led the delegation, told the President that he should learn to give thanks to God in everything. Adetona, who began his speech with a song, said that the entire people of Ogun State were commiserating with Obasanjo over the death of the First Lady and the families of those that died in the Bellview crash.

He paid tributes to Mrs. Obasanjo for her initiative in the area of child care through her foundation, the Child Care Trust and prayed that the nation would not have cause for such mourning again. The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, who led another delegation from Osun, Ekiti and Anambra State, told Obasanjo the First Lady was not dead but translated into glory.

Sijuwade said that Obasanjo should not be distracted from his decision to reform the country, adding that God would grant him and the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

Igwe Alex Nwokedi, who led the delegation from Anambra State, said that he was particularly pained by the death of Mrs. Obasanjo becuase he was close to her, especially when he worked with the President. Nwokedi said the time to pray ceaselessly for the President was now that he is going through pains.

General Adeyinka Adebayo, who spoke on behalf of the Sotuh-West Council of Traditional rulers, said that he was adopting the position of Sijuwade as that of the council. Others who visited the President very early in the day included a delegation from the Libyan leader, Mouamar Ghadaffi, and another from Bayelsa State led by the state’s Deputy Governor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Former Governor of old Rivers State, Diete Alfred Spiff, was also on the team from Bayelsa State.

Meanwhile, Obasanjo; the Awujale of Ijebuland; Oba Sikiru Adetona; and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, on Saturday commended Daniel, for the roles he played.

Obasanjo, who spoke when he received various delegations that paid him condolence visits at his Ita-Eko, Abeokuta home on Saturday, said that Daniel coordinated the burial activities as his (Obasanjo’s) son that he is.

Obasanjo said that he appreciated the sacrifice Daniel, the Ogun State Executive Council and the entire people of the state made to make the funeral ceremony a success. He said that he would remain ever grateful for the gesture of Daniel, the people of the state and the country at large.

Adetona, who described Daniel as Obasanjo’s son, said that the governor should continue with the good works he did during the funeral by remaining close to the President in his moment of grief.

He said that what Daniel did during the funeral demonstrated his loyalty and commitment to the cause of the President, praying that it would be well with him. Sijuwade also eulogised the governor for the role he played in giving the First Lady a befitting burial. Daniel was with the President throughout Saturday while the delegations visited.

Sunday PUNCH, October 30, 2005

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