The funeral Mass for the late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa yesterday ended
in a fiasco as the son of the former Supreme Court Justice, Charles Oputa, a.k.a Charly Boy, prevented the state governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, from making a speech.
The Mass was held at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Oguta. Saturday Mirror observed that shortly after representative of President Goodluck Jonathan and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, delivered the President’s speech, Governor Okorocha walked towards the podium to give his own speech. At that point, Charly Boy dashed towards the governor and forcefully removed the microphone from him.
The scenario forced the governor to walk out of church hall. Okorocha, positioned to make his speech, but was stoutly resisted by Charles, insisting that he had told the governor not to politicise his father’s burial.
Not even the plea of from the presiding Bishop, Hassan Kukah, could save the situation as Charley Boy snatched the microphone from Okorocha, preventing him from addressing the congregation. Completely shocked by the development, Governor Okorocha busted into laughter in spite of the scuffle.
Similarly, Charly Boy had during the day of tribute held at the Imo International Conference Centre, Owerri, walked out on the governor, accusing the governor of politicising the burial processes of his father, having brought avalanche of top members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), led by their national chairman, Chief John Oyegun, to make speeches at the event.
However, in a swift reaction, the Imo State Government in a statement through the Senior Special Assistant to Okorocha on Media, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, described Charly Boy’s action as “regrettable”, blaming it on the activities of politicians.
The statement reads in parts, “The Imo State government wishes to take exception to the ugly scenario that played out at the funeral church service for the late Justice Chikwudifu Oputa, at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Oguta. It is highly regrettable that the son of the late Justice, Mr. Charles Emeka Oputa, aka, Charly Boy, threw caution to the wind and turned the church service into a political theater that saw him acting or playing out the script he drafted in Abuja with some Imo politicians who have remained cowed by the overwhelming popularity of Governor Rochas Okorocha.”
The statement read further, “The Imo State governor had worked together with Charly Boy when the late Justice was sick, until the time he died and the preparation for the burial which also encouraged the state governor to make substantial financial input and also organised a special day of tribute for the late Justice at the expense of state government with Charly Boy also present with other members of the family.
In his sermon, Rev. Kukah said the deceased was an accomplished personality in his legal profession, family setting and other endeavours. He said he learnt a lot from his legal dexterity as the chairman of the Oputa panel instituted in 2001 by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo on Human rights abuses.