Amby Uneze in Owerri
The burial celebration of one hundred year-old Lady Martha Chioma Achonu, mother of Senator Athan Achonu turned to be a historic two-day extravaganza that attracted Nigeria’s political heavyweight to Umunumo community in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.
“Today, Umunumo is Nigeria’s capital because the whole of Nigeria is here today for the celebration of Ezinne Martha Achonu”
Those were the words of one of the many priests in attendance at the requiem high mass presided over by Most Rev. Dr. Solomon Amatu, Bishop of Okigwe Catholic Diocese along with the Parish Priest and Dean of Ehime Deanry, Monsignor J.U. Ofoegbu, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Ekejiuba, Rev. Fr. Valentine Anyanwu and others who came from Okigwe Diocese and beyond.
The burial ceremony which featured top musicians started with a vigil mass at Saint Charles Catholic Church, Umunumo on Friday 25th, November graced by presidential candidate of Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi, Imo State Coordinator of Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council, Chief Martin Agbaso among others.
The dramatic grand finale on Saturday 26th November started with seemingly endless convoys that escorted the hearse conveying the coffin from high society funeral experts, APAMS Funeral Services Nigeria Limited all the way from the mortuary in the state capital, Owerri.
The human and vehicular traffic was unprecedented in the community.
By 11:05am, the APAMS hearse got the coffin revolving on display in front of the church before it was carried into the church and welcomed by melodious songs by a one hundred-member choir.
Achonu who represented Imo North Senatorial zone in the National Assembly arrived at the Church with the
Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma and former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Former governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha arrived alongside famed football star, Kanu Nwankwo. They were heralded in the Church amidst thunderous shouts from their supporters.
The highlight of the day was when presiding Bishop Amatu who extolled the virtues of the deceased, handed over the microphone to former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, shortly after the Mass.
Without mincing words, Obasanjo commended Achonu, saying he would not have honoured the invitation if Achonu is not a good man.
In a dramatic twist, Obasanjo who was commended for recent peace mission in Ethiopia by the moderator of the service, advised Governor Hope Uzodimma to forget his political differences with other leaders in the state for peace to reign.
He then called out former governor Ikedi Ohakim who sat far from Uzodimma in the church, led him to the governor and ordered the duo to embrace themselves and they obediently obeyed the command of the former Nigerian president.
Obasanjo had earlier on the lighter side, told Uzodimma he “must pay a fine for wasting one hour of my time, waiting for you”
On his part, Uzodimma who, during his speech, said he was not at the event to play politics, but to pay tribute to a great matriarch, somehow mentioned names of personalities present, expressing appreciation for their presence without that of former governor Emeka Ihedioha.
Among other personalities present were Uzodimma’s deputy Prof. Placid Njoku, Speaker, Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emeka Nduka, Secretary to Imo State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, Minister of State for Solid Minerals, Uche Ogah, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, Sen. Mao Ohuabunwa, Chief Tony Chukwu, member of Peter Obi Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), ace broadcaster, Hon. Chimamkpam Anyamkpa.