Amidst pomp and style, Owerri, Imo State capital, last weekend went agog as it witnessed the colourful funeral of one of Nigeria’s accomplished elder statesmen and veteran journalist of international acclaim, Chief Nath Onyeukwu
Amidst a tumultuous crowd, eminent Nigerians from various walks of life thronged the Onyeukwu family ground to pay their last respect to the Ikemba Owere, who passed on May 29, this year at the age of 85 years.
Leading the pack of notable dignitaries at the occasion was the former Chief of General Staff, Lt Gen. Oladipo Diya (rtd) who was represented by his son, Tunde, a medical doctor. Of course, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology alongside his wife, Chinyere, long standing friends of the Onyeukwu’s, were in somber attendance with the APC National Vice Chairman, South East, Hon Emma Eneukwu and Chief Jonah Odo, Nigeria’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay.
Preceding the funeral service was a charming procession along major streets of Owerri with horses adorning the train which was led by the Late IKEMBA OWERE’s children with sympathizers and youths of the community on the trail. His metallic blue coloured casket was a spectacle to behold as pall bearers held sway with scintillating dance steps which drew ovation from onlookers. The legendary Ohafia War Dancers complimented the euphoria with their deft steps and charm.
At the interdenominational funeral, the presiding Bishop of the Praise Centre Church International, Bishop Stafford Nwaogu paid glowing tributes to the fallen media icon, whom he described as a man of many parts who despite his numerous achievements remained firm in his faith in God.
He urged Christians to live worthy lives of honour and integrity and urged them to take a cue from the exemplary life of the one- time Chief Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA.
In a brief remark, the eldest son of the deceased, Hon. Sunny Onyeukwu who spoke on behalf of the family described their late father as an “remarkable icon whose life transcended ethnic barriers” He thanked all those who identified with the family in their period of grief and urged them to continue to pray for the speedy healing of the wound inflicted on their late father’s demise.
The remains of the Former Special Adviser to Nigeria’s first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Late Dr. K.O Mbadiwe was later laid to rest beside his wife, Catherine, at the family Mausoleum.
Speaking shortly after the interment, Dr. Tunde Diya who represented his father at the event, expressed pain at the transition of the Owerri Chief and conveyed the sympathies of his family to the Onyeukwu’s and the people of Owere Nchi Ise. He described the late Ikemba Owere as a “rare breed”
Among other prominent personalities who graced the event were Chief I.D Nwoga, former Minister of Establishment and Management Services, Majority Leader, Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Lugard Osuji, Former Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Imo State, Ken Njemanze (SAN), Deputy Chief of Staff to the Abia State Governor, Elder John Nwagbaraogwu, as well as the Director General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof Jidere Bala and several others.