Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Agbor, a prominent town in Delta State, saturday played host to 16 governors, top Federal Government officials, and captains of industry who converged on the town for the burial ceremony of Mrs Alice Emefiele, mother of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele.
It was a solemn funeral ceremony which was short on fanfare but heavy on pesonalities. During the reception, no alcohol was served but only soft drinks.
The ceremony, a gathering of who’s who in Nigeria, had in attendance former President Olusegun Obasanjo and a presidential delegation led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Babachir Lawal.
The list of state governors at the event include Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Adams Oshiomole (Edo), Ben Ayade (Cross River), Willy Obiano (Anambra), Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa), Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari (Zamfara), Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger) and deputy governor of Benue State, Benson Abounu.
Former governors of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba; Ekiti State, Niyi Adebayo; and Delta State, Emmanuel Uduaghan also graced the event.
On the list of business leaders, captains of industry and chief executive officers of banks who honoured Emefiele with their presence were Chairman and CEO of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Chairman of Forte Oil, Mr. Femi Otedola, Chairman of Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia, Chairman/CEO of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Isyaku Rabiu, Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Atedo Peterside and Chairman, Skye Bank, Tunde Ayeni. Others are CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr. Segun Agbaje; CEO of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe; and CEO of First City Monument Bank, Ladi Balogun.
Also in Agbor to honour the Emefieles were Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Wilfred Oyo-Ita; Minister of Budget, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma; Minister of Information, Mr. Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; and Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri.
President Buhari in his condolence message presented by Lawal, described the late Mrs Alice Emefiele as “a great mother, community leader and a peace maker.”
The President said she had in no small measure contributed to the growth and development of her own community.
He extended the condolence of his family and the federal government to the Emifiele, and prayed God to give the family the fortitude to bear the loss of their beloved mother.
He urged the family members to take solace in the fact that the deceased “lived a good life and left a legacy of love and humility”,
While enjoining Nigerians to emulate her virtues of love which he said would lead to enduring peace and unity in the country, President Buhari advised parents and mothers, in particular, to be hard working in order to train their children as such children in return would be pride to the family, the community and the nation at large.
Earlier in a sermon, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh, enjoined the congregation to make meaningful impact in the society despite the number of years spent on earth.
Drawing inspiration from Psalm 133:1; Romans 5:24 and 1st John 3:11- 16, Okoh said today’s world was increasingly filled with terror, wickedness, hatred and bitterness, but maintained that it was the responsibility of all to encourage our leaders to do everything possible to restore unity, political, economic, cultural and social values.
“We need unity and peace in this country to make progress, we also need justice and righteousness to achieve success in the struggle against corruption in this country,” he said.
The CBN Governor, Emefiele, in a brief speech expressed profound appreciation of all guests who joined his family to give their late mother a befitting burial, noting that his late mother brought them up in the way of God and taught them that hard-work pays in life.
Emiefiele said: “I enjoin mothers to bring up their children in the way of God, correct them when they are wrong and teach them to be hard working in life, they will turn out to be good citizens of the society.”