Nigeria will only be great if the present crop of political leaders imbibe the virtues and selflessness Dr Michael Okpara, Premier of the defunct Eastern Region”, the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Grace, Dr Samuel Kalu Uche, has said.
The Reverend gentleman spoke today Saturday, December 18, 2021, as encomiums and eulogies poured in on the sterling leadership of the former Eastern Nigeria leader as the remains of his spouse, Lady Adanma Okpara, was laid to rest beside her husband’s tomb in Okpara Museulom in their country home, Umuegwu Okpuala in Ohuhu Clan of Umuahia North LGA of Abia State.
The Methodist Church leader in his sermon titled “A Good Name Is Better Than Everything’, said Okpara’s name is sweet on earth and tasteful in Heaven, pointing out that “he and Adanma lived for the people and died for their country”.
“Good name is better than gold and that is why we make good names like M.I. did rather than devote time on the acquisition of ill-gotten wealth”, he charged, adding, “life should be lived in the service of God and humanity, Michael and Adanma Okpara worked assiduously to make life better for others”.
Funeral service conducted by the Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN) at the Williams Memorial Grammar School, Afugiri founded by Michael Okpara was attended by the crème de la crème of the society as well as others.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State who spoke at the event, described the service as a moment of sober reflection and that it marked the end of a glorious era of Dr M. I. Okpara as Premier of Eastern region and his wife Adanma.
He recalled that in the days of Dr. Michael Okpara as the Premier, Eastern Nigeria was adjudged the fastest growing economy in the world and lamented the absence of South East Governors at the event.
Ikpeazu also wondered why the federal government did not send an official representation to honour the late spouse of the great sage who he said brought honour and glory to the country during his days as Premier.
He thanked God for giving Abia a man like Dr Okpara, who recorded great achievements and stressed that the final exit of his spouse, Adanma, should be used “to reawaken our strength, resilience and entrepreneurial spirit as a people”, even as he described the deceased as a humble, honest and upright woman.
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Dr Uche Ogah, described Lady Adanma Okpara as “one of our best”, who supported her late husband to bring Eastern Nigeria to limelight.
Formers governor of Abia State, Senator Ta Orji and Enugu State, Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo, noted that late Michael Okpra’s spouse was a woman of virtue, discipline, and good companion not only to her husband and family, but entire Eastern Region.
In a funeral oration, the first daughter of the deceased, Mrs Chinyere Eccles-James, stated that their mother was a great source of inspiration to many, stressing that she lived a life of continuous goodwill and service to God and her fellow human beings.
Aged 99, late Lady Adanma Okpara, a Knight of John Wesley of the Methodist Church, is survived by five children, grandchildren and great-grand children, among whom is former Chairman of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State, Chief Uzodinma Okpara.
The burial ceremony was attended by eminent personalities including the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Rt Hon Ude Oko Chukwu, Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt Hon Engr Chinedum Orji.
Others were the former Senate President, Senator Adolphus Wabara, the former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, former PDP National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu, former Minister of State, Defence, Ambassador Aguiyi Ironsi, Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Okey Emuchay amongst others.
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