ECHOES OF A BEFITTING FUNERAL…

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• The grand ascension of Tunde Bakare’s mother to the afterlife
Last week, Abeokuta literally stood still as the crème of Nigeria’s high society thronged its rustic neighbourhoods to attend the grand ascension of Pastor Tunde Bakare’s mother to the afterlife. Expectedly, it was a star-studded event. Some of the rich men and women in Nigeria trooped out to pay their last respects to Madam Abigail Efebudola Bakare. The people of Abeokuta woke up to witness the grand procession of Madam Bakare’s funeral.

But Mama did not. There is no gainsaying she was the queen of the Bakare clan and a doting mother to her children, a title no monarch could claim. Madam Efebudola loved her children very deeply and was prepared to sacrifice her happiness for theirs. The burial obsequies had started with a service of songs which took place at The cultural centre, kuto Abeokuta, Ogun State with notable dignitaries such as former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Governor of Kaduna State Nasir el-rufa, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Mr Wale Babalakin, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, Pastor and Mrs Chinedu Ezekwesili, Mr Dapo Adelegan, Otunba Gbenga Daniel among others in attendance.

The service of songs was followed the next day by the church service at the same venue, and was officiated by notable gospel preachers including Apostle Lawrence Achudume, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Rev Wilson Badejo and Rev Yomi Kasali. At the church service, which saw the General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel, Rev Wilson Badejo, praying wholeheartedly for the family of the deceased, the choir held the worshippers spellbound as they dished out songs to the dancing pleasure of all present. Abeokuta silently mourned as the nation’s dignitaries thronged its beautiful innards to pay tribute to the beloved mother of one of their own. The quiet amplified the sounds of the cortège as it set out to Mama’s final resting place: the rumble of wheels on tarmac, the click of shoe heels on concrete and the soft thud on mother earth tolled at listless intervals.

Her final ceremonial progression through the streets of Abeokuta, Ogun State, raised treasurable memories of her life among family, friends and even close neighbours. The recollections bespeak the misery of a watching world that fell in love with the beautiful daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Even her coffin captured this mixture of the traditional and the personal. It was draped with the royal standard; on top of that rested a spray of white lilies, Madam Bakare’s favorite flower. The deceased would definitely turn in her grave for the honour and unrivalled show of love that her beloved son attracted for her sake. It was like a state event; there were in attendance, a presidential delegation, members of the National Assembly, numerous state governors and prominent moguls of the business community. In attendance at the glamorous event were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ogun state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun and wife, Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola, Ogun state Chief of Staff, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, Mr. Segun Awolowo, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Mr. Tunde Ayeni and Chief Ayo Adebanjo.