Queen Elizabeth, British greatest Monarch, died on March 24th, 1603. Her funeral was a magnificent state occasion that gave her people one last chance to experience the power of Elizabeth’s image. The historian John Stow, writing shortly afterward recorded, “ they beheld her state and picture lying upon the coffin set forth in royal robes and there was such a general sighing and groaning and weeping, and the like hath not been seen or known in the memory of man.”
On Friday September 9, 1983, I was appointed Acting Sunday Editor, Satellite Newspaper. The Editor of that provincial, influential tabloid, Professor Innocent Okoye now of the Federal University, Ilorin, had been whisked off by plain clothes men who swooped the Satellite Village on the orders of the Nigerian Security Organization (NSO)
As the “Last man on the stone”, my decision to lead my first Sunday production with the earthquake Screamer: NIGERIA MOURNS JUSTICE IDIGBE was not challenged by the other desk Editors. The story was personally written by me. None of my Editorial colleagues could dissent my ruling for the front page lead for all Nigerians had followed the last journey of the distinguished Jurist from his death bed in London, to Lagos before arriving at the border between the West and the former Midwest on the only National NTA Channel. I had written; The Former Chief Judge Bendel State and Judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Chike Idigbe was buried in Asaba Bendel State yesterday. At Oluku junction the border town between the Yoruba West and Edo Kingdom, mourning Bendelites shrieked in sorrow as the hearse bearing his corpse was ushered in by a 51 gun salute”.
From the historic City of Benin down to the ancient town of Agbor, unto his home town of Asaba, Justice Idigbe’s hearse drew thousands of mourners.
Like Elizabeth the glorious exit and the funeral rites of the former Justice of the Supreme Court has remained the most enthralling resplendent burial event unmatchable in these parts since the creation of the Midwest in 1963.
All the same, in my Tribute to Sonny Iwedike Odogwu ….. (the End of an Era, still trending all over the Social Media), had promised that “Emma Okocha is going to join others to give Ide Ahaba, the greatest funeral the like, nobody has ever seen or known on the Niger. Already, the family and friends last week brought down the city of Lagos as they gathered in poignant, majestic celebrations of the times and life of Africa’s last Bohemian Epicurean.
From tomorrow at 3pm at Asaba, inside the Paradise on the Niger, come and witness the beginning of the last journey of this eclectic sojourner who did not allow his feelings and desires to obscure his destiny. Ide Ahaba’s final funeral rites I may overshadow the funeral events of the renowned historic blue bloods and like we prophesied, on this his last journey to the Heavenly paradise; Nigeria may not see a funeral of this kind again.
All you installed in me will leave!
Sonny Dike Odogwu, you will never be gone for what you did, installing love. My heart did transcend into this universe with great appreciation from great leaders of my family as Chief Dennis Osadebay, the Ojiba of Asaba, Obi Okiddo Onwuka. The captivating smile with visions of new discoveries during my stay to learn my father’s language, tradition and culture did structure all to my being thanks to you with the vision.
This man I came to love, showed me light, showed me love without hate nor greed. His vision saw what no one made me aware of, potential, with great knowledge I have did set this friendship, sharing views, knowledge with great ideas.
The wave light from you reached me in the early hours after mid-night, all I did in getting my vehicle to drive after wash did not work. I figured this was beyond me, silent night with chills must be some wave of life, came later that evening I was alerted with the shock of my life, beyond my senses, all was gone as I tried regaining self asking God why Sonny? Sonny’s journey was all for his people “engaged in doing his best for everyone” was what I gathered from his words building the Grand Hotel, Asaba.
I thanked him for doing what he did best, and for all it took.
How grateful I am is the experience how detail you’re with work, countless of hours is how busy you get. Now rest as you must. All you installed in me will forever leave.
DETERMINE and I, will always see the light beyond.
To his family, I thank you for having and sharing you father with the universe.
God, your son is home, please guide and protect him, and give him a comforting rest. Amen.