Nigeria’s wartime leader and former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon has said that “Nigerians are better off with the Igbos.”
He made the assertion while delivering a eulogy at the burial service of Late Chief Mrs. Chinyere Asika, wife of the former Sole Administrator of East Central State; just as Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano described the late First Lady as a woman who exemplified the virtue of patience, charity and humility.”
The former Head of State and Governor Obiano, spoke at the All Saints Anglican Cathedral, Onitsha Anambra State.
General Gowon’s declaration was borne out of a deep appreciation of the commitment and sacrifice of Late Ajie Ukpabi Asika and his wife to the survival of Nigeria as one entity.
The former Head of State recalled that when he proposed the post of Sole Administrator of East Central State, Asika told me,” I prefer to do this for the good of Igbo people”.
According to Gowon, “I was struggling to get an administrator for the newly created East Central State when the name of the late Ukpabi Asika came up. He was then a lecturer at Ibadan. When we met, I do not know which one of us was younger. But he exuded strength of character and understanding, and wanted to start work immediately. Though I cautioned him to think about it, I told him, you must consult your brothers, and your wife who was there to know if you would accept, I came away convinced that this is the man I needed”, Gowon stated.
“I did not know how to place his wife Chinyere, but when she arrived from Kenya, she plunged head-on to the idea. She was a courageous woman, caring and humble. I remember her efforts in “Otu Olu Obodo”- a public service initiative which she used as a tool of empowerment for her Igbo kinsmen and women”, he added.
In the same vein, Governor Obiano told the children and Asika family to imbibe the virtues of patience, charity and humility from the late Chief Mrs. Asika, whilst urging the congregation and Ndi Anambra to remember “her good deeds and pray for the repose of her soul.”
Earlier in his Sermon, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese on the Niger, Right Rev. Owen Nwokolo dwelt on the need for people to live a life of service.
He lauded the life of service led by late Chief Mrs. Asika and her noble contributions to humanity.
The Bishop further observed the quest for accumulation of wealth as a serious malaise in Nigeria.
As he put it, “desire to get rich by all means leads man into temptation. What does it take to satisfy a man? Just a little more,” stressing that money itself is not the problem, but the love of money.
“Money can’t buy happiness, we brought nothing, we go with nothing”, the Bishop stated.
The service was attended by many prominent personalities including former Minister of Defence, Gen T.Y. Danjuma who represented the President. Others are: Former Governors of Anambra State, Chief Peter Obi, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chief Achike Udenwa of Imo State, Senators and members of House of Representatives amongst others.
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