Beko buried amid eulogies

  • Tuesday, March 07, 2006 - By SEGUN AJIBOYE, EMEKA ENYINNAYA and ASHAMU ADEGBOLA
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•Remains of late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti being interred...yesterday
 •Remains of late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti being interred...yesterday
 
Thousands of Nigerians from all walks of life, yesterday trooped out to pay their last respect to late physician cum activist, Dr. Bekololari Ransome-Kuti whose remains were interred at the Ikoyi Cemetry, Lagos.

Among the thousands were Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu, Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, three former governors - Aremo Olusegun Osoba (Ogun), Lam Adesina (Oyo) and Otunba Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti) and Adams Oshiomhole, President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
Beko died on February 10 at the age of 65 after a protracted battle with lungs cancer.

Though the burial rites were billed to commence by 12pm, prominent Nigerians, civil society groups, students and other mourners began arriving the cemetary as early as 8 O’clock in the morning.

By 10 am, the entire stretch of the road leading from Obalende to the old federal secretarait had been taken over by mourners whose sheer number made vehicular traffic impossible.
The MIC Hearse bearing the remains of Beko drove into the cemetry at exactly 1:05 pm.
Speaking at the grave side, Soyinka, in a rendition that brought tears to the eyes of many, praised the gallantry of the late Beko.

The Nobel Laureate said the death of Beko came with the inescapable reality that the clan of activists is "thinning."
He lamented the death of activists like Alao Aka-Bashorun, Chima Ubani.
Award-winning journalist, Dele Olojede who spoke before Soyinka was all praise for the courage of the deceased.

In the same vein, Adams Oshiomole traced the family line of the late activist, concluding that Beko was of a noble lineage.
According to the NLC President, Beko "Was the last, but not the least of the titans. A formidable fighter for social justice. A man with heart of a lion. A man with solid commitment for popular struggle and a defender of the oppressed and the enemy of dictator."
The widow, Bose Ransome Kuti and other mourners could not contain her grief when the casket was lowered into the grave. She was, however, led away by Governor Tinubu and his wife, Oluremi.
In an interview with Sunday Sun, former Oyo State governor, Lam Adesina said Beko even in death, Beko has remained on the side of the people.

Adesina regretted what has become of democracy in the country which Beko and other activists fought the government of late General Sani Abacha to enthrone.
He said: "Beko died on the side of the people. He fought in the dark days of Abacha’s administration to enthrone democracy which political challatans and sycophants have taken over."

Former NUPENG boss, Frank Kokori described Beko as belonging to the class of a few reliable Nigerians, adding, "There are few Nigerians that you can rely on. In other words, people who are principled are no more in the land." Kokori said it was painful that Beko died without achieving the vision which he, alongside other activists fought for, which is that government must come back to the people.
Journalist and author, Kunle Ajibade, said Beko’s death has created a big vaccum that would be hard to fill because he was a marvelous strategist and one of the most civilised freedom fighters in this part of the world.

Ajibade, however, advised Nigerians not to cry or mourn the death of the late activist, preferring instead they mourn the mnostrous hypocricy going on in the country.
In line with what has become a tradition with the Kuti’s, Beko’s interrment was without graveside prayers. No clergyman or imam was invited.

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