The embarrassing intrigues surrounding the funeral arraignments of the leader of the modern Igbo society and Nigerian strong man, Chief Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, Ezeigbo Gburugburu which had neatly been tucked away underneath a veil has begun to uncover itself into the public arena.
This is as 247ureports.com has gathered information through principal sources within the involved South East governors indicating reasons the south east governors [except Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi] changed their minds over the financial pledges made to the Ojukwu Burial Committee towards the funeral arraignments. The four South East governors, comprising of Gov Rochas Okorocha, Gov Sullivan Chime, Gov Theodore Orji and Gov Martin Eechi were reported to have backed away owing to financial distrust on the burial committee.
Available information indicates the five south east governors had earlier sat with the funeral planning committee and agreed to finance the entire burial cost. The preliminary budget was pegged at a little above N500million. To this, each governor made their pledges which covered the preliminary budget. This was in late December of 2011.
However the troubles began in early January of 2012 as the members of the burial committee began to jostle for the expected payout from the pledges. It began with the tussle over who to be named the Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Secretary of the committee. The Imo State Governor was given the slot to chose a Chairman, the Enugu State governor was given the slot to chose a deputy Chairman and the Anambra State governor given the slot of Secretary. The Imo Governor chose Emmanuel Iwuanyawu for the post of Chairman, Enugu Governor chose Jim Nwobodo for the post of deputy Chairman while Anambra Governor chose Sen Ben Obi for the post of Secretary.
Immediately following the selections for the three positions, one of the sons of the late Ezeigbo Gburugburu [Emeka Ojukwu Jnr.] in tandem with one of the committee members [Chief A. B. C. Nwosu] raised alarms against the persons selected for the position of Chairman and deputy Chairman. The alarms were followed by protests letters to several media houses – calling for the choices of Iwuanyawu and Nwobodo to be reversed.
The move by the junior Ojukwu and A.B.C. Nwosu caught the South East governor by surprise and they were not happy with the manner they exposed the matter to the media. Nonetheless, the Imo Governor changed his choice from Iwuanyawu to Chief Oputa and Gov Chime changed his from Nwobodo to Onoh.
And with the change of the Chairman and deputy chairman, the planning of the funeral took a new and sustained downturn for the worse. The governors of Imo and Enugu shruck away from their earlier pledges – and the governors of Abia and Ebonyi followed also shruck away from their pledges – leaving the governor of Anambra State who told the funeral committee to continue with the planning of the funeral arraignment – and to consider a downward revision of the budget from N500million to N150million. Some of the planned activities were cancelled as a result.
Independent inquiry by 247ureports.com indicates the committee found themselves forced to carry out a fined tuned audit of the planned expenses. This is because it was discovered that there appeared more reasons why the governors decided to pullout of the planned funeral arrangement. It was gathered that the committee members had engaged in practices that irked the governors into believing that the pledged funds will be looted. Chief A. B. C. Nwosu was reportedly cornering monies meant for the burial for private use. The nuclei family of Ezeigbo Gburugburu through Emeka Ojukwu submitted a bill for drinks and entertainment for N65million. The request was turned down. Other similar bills/requests for payment are abound.
Further inquiry uncovered a chilling aspect of the burial arrangement – revealing that no indigenes of Nnewi have contributed money towards the burial – neither have the Ojukwu’s contributed money towards the burial.
Rather, the Ojukwu’s were recently handed N10million cash courtesy of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Akpabio -who contributed N10million towards the burial – when the committee came to solicit for monetary contribution. The money [N10million] was handed over to the Ojukwu’s for “pocket money” – to be used for private matters and not for the burial. The State government of Anambra has on its part undertaken the responsibility of refurbishing the home of Ezeigbo Gburubguru in Nnewi for the estimated sum of N18million. This, according to sources close to the Anambra State government, will enable for the home to “look presentable” to the general public.
The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha who had pulled out of the committee arrangement has since proceeded to hold a separate burial arraignment in Imo State – which the Imo state government will fund.
In all, there appear a free for all attitude on the part of the burial committee members. It is feared that in the quest to divert the monies meant for the burial of Ezeigbo Gburugburu, the rightful honor due to the leader of the modern Igbo society will suffer an irreversible injustice. Perhaps as the day of the burial nears, a natural solution will emerge to help avert a pending embarrassment.