HomeNewsGov Soludo Angry Over 'Unlawful' Expensive Burial For Predecessor Ezeife

Gov Soludo Angry Over ‘Unlawful’ Expensive Burial For Predecessor Ezeife

Saturday’s interment of former Anambra State’s Governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife has sparked some tension, with his Igboukwu community and family being charged with violations of the state’s burial laws.

Harvard-trained Economist and Anambra’s first Executive Governor Ezeife died December 14, 2023, at the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, at the age of 85.

He was Governor from January 2, 1992, to November 1993, with his Third Republic tenure aborted by the General Sani Abacha regime.

Ezeife was buried in Awka on Saturday after a funeral service attended by Soludo and other dignitaries.

However, Anambra State’s Governor Chukwuma Soludo openly expressed unhappiness that the burial flouted the existing law for burials in the state, signed by Governor Willie Obiano in 2019.

Speaking during the funeral, Soludo frowned at the flouting of the state’s burial law enacted in 2019 that banned the erection of billboards, posters, or banners of deceased people.

He said: “I will not leave here without mentioning this: when I stepped in, I saw  brochure being distributed. I don’t know who printed it, but that is the low point of the event because that’s a breach of the law.

“And I know the Okwadike [Ezeife] that we have come to celebrate would not have permitted it if his opinion was sought. Brochure, all this funfare, all these things that make burials and so on very expensive, the Anambra Burials Law that was passed three years before I became Governor [forbids it]. I didn’t pass it. It’s been there. It is the law.

“So all these fanfare that make burial very expensive, run contrary to the Anambra burial law which was passed three years before I became Governor. I didn’t pass it. It has been there. It is the law.

“Those things that play no role should be avoided. All that is required is for us to respect the dead. We have given Okwadike for God to grant him eternal rest as we lay him to rest in accordance with Anambra burial law.

“That law also says that all burial funerals, condolences must be for one day. You don’t have a waiver for laws, you can only waive for rules.

“Some people texted me asking to print some materials for the burial but I told them they don’t have waivers to do such because it is against the burial laws in Anambra state. Printing of any materials for burial in Anambra is meant to be for just one day. That is the law.

“We won’t enforce the law when a poor man dies and then overlook it when a rich man dies, no.

“You either obey the law or amend it. Once it remains the law, it is to be obeyed. And that’s not the society that Okwadike dreamt of. The foundation we are working on, is the one he left for us.”

Dignitaries at the burial service included Governor Soludo; and the Governor of Ebonyi State, Francis Nwifuru, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs. Patricia Obila, among many others.

The law bans the erection of any kind of billboard, banner or poster of a deceased person(s) in the state.

It only allowed the mounting of directional posts but should not be done seven days before the burial date and should be removed not later than seven days after the burial date.

The events included a service of songs at the Ecumenical Centre, Abuja (slated for April 12, at 5 pm); a celebration of life and times of ‘Okwadike’ at the Eagle Square, Abuja (slated for April 13, at 10. am); and the National Night of Tributes at Thisday Dome, Abuja, (slated for April 15, at 5. pm).

These were followed by state burial events, which included state commendation and thanksgiving service at the International Conference Centre, Awka (slated for Friday, April 19, at 10. am) with tributes immediately after the service.

A Service of Songs was held at his country home, Igboukwu in Aguata LGA, by the Salvation Army Church on Friday, April 19, at 5. pm.

A burial service held at the deceased’s residence, in Igboukwu, will be held on Saturday, April 20, at 10. am, with interment and condolence visits immediately after the service.

A thanksgiving service concluded the ceremonies at the Salvation Army Church, Igboukwu, on Sunday morning.

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