Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, and Charly Boy (real name Charles Emeka Oputa), first son of late Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, are having issues over the burial of the late iconic jurist.
Okorocha’s spokesman, Sam Onwuemeodo, said in a statement issued today in Owerri that Justice Oputa’s burial programme signed by Charly Boy and published in some national dailies “did not go down well with the Imo State
Government because the government had shown enough interest right from when the man was sick up to the time he died, and the State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, had told the world that the government would stop at nothing to give the late Socrates of the bench a somewhat state burial, befitting of his stature.”
Continuing, Onwuemeodo said in the statement, a copy of which was made available to News Express: “The government had expected that the family would liaise with it to come up with a burial arrangement or programme that would suit what the late Justice represented in Nigeria and Imo State in particular. Reducing the burial arrangement of the late statesman totally to Oputa family affair was unacceptable to the Imo State Government.
“Late Justice Oputa represented something remarkable and exemplary in Nigeria as a nation and in the Judiciary as an important arm of government, and the Imo State Government had had at the back of its mind that a man of Justice Chukwudifu Oputa standard would be accorded a heroic burial because he conquered his world in all spheres, but it is regrettable that the Oputa family does not seem to appreciate what their son or father represented in the Nigeria context.
“Already the state government has given N20 million to the family for preliminary arrangements, waiting to meet with the family to come up with a comprehensive burial programme that would demonstrate what the hero of the bench had stood for, but surprisingly the family drew a programme of events for the burial and to us, that was not what Nigerians expected from us.
“The governor of the state was at the residence of the late Oputa at Oguta twenty four hours after the death became public and the governor, while talking to the media on that visit said, the government would meet with the family to plan for a befitting burial for the great Jurist, but the family had gone ahead to personalise the burial plan either because they didn’t know the value of the man in question perhaps, because he was their own or they had decided to ignore the fact their son or father had become part of the Nigerian history and in the positive for that matter.
“The Imo State Government wishes therefore to advise the family of the late Justice Oputa not to politicise the burial of the exemplary Jurist because he was not a politician, and advised too that they should not reduce the burial of a man like Justice Oputa, to Oputa family affair. That would be most uncharitable to such a great man.”
Source News Express