Funeral of Father Okoro – Opinion – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

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The town of Nsukka

A relentless July rain got everyone talking inside the spacious villa named Basket House because of the resemblance of its visible dome to the capital housing our National Assembly.

The rain started from dusk which hit the top of the zinc, but trickled until dawn the next day. It would be the third resignation for the old man. There were the same statements and intermittent anecdotes with every interruption and the same weary, white and blue ambulance with a red cross that took him to Bishop Shanahan Hospital – an appendix to the imposing St. Therese Cathedral in the heart of the town of Nsukka – which every time he brought him back to life, leaving the inhabitants of his village of Alor bewildered, sad and disappointed.

This time his breathing had grown heavier, slower, and equidistant with the increasing twist of pain between his left shoulder and neck, finally exhaling not from a deep breath, but from a moaning stop with the rain. descending. I opened and closed the massive, massive mahogany doors that screamed at me and walked out, to think over the dim light, my landlord’s text messages without a seat, on what to do with the rent. accumulated under my care of his domains scattered in the various armpits. of the nation and its fermenting university surroundings, relieved of the crowded living room and torrential rains, far from the dead, and happy to embrace the morning breeze.

Outside, the freed ambulance looked three times its normal size, dragged by the muddy lines of its Michelin tires and parked among the fleet of black Jeeps along with other smaller cars rusted with disuse. The pigeons’ mating cry emanated from the still dark branches and damp leaves of the ubiquitous oil beans surrounding the distant dilapidated houses on the outskirts of Alor. Above us, a lost hawk, abandoned from the normal seasonal migration, soared through the shifting clouds as its loud whistle distracted the attention of a aimless hen, whose chicks instantly fled. behind the damp shrubs and overgrown hibiscus hedges, bordering the vast complex. A special compartment had been demarcated and barbed for the magnificent electric generator that Okoro had quickly acquired when he was chairing the university as chairman of the accreditation committee of the National University Commission when most universities were accredited to operate with their flush-less toilets, their trash, overcrowded trash cans, mosquito-infested hostels fed by broken sewer lines, and quickly decorated labs with inadequate power and infrastructure, manned by hired charlatans, all of them. approved by the appropriate regulations.

Inside Basket House, the long, painful moans of the old man’s first wife resounded and were heard for the first time around the village of Alor, followed by the plagiarism, pretentious and less impressive charter of others. voice. Obviously absent, from Brussels Okoro has sent several text messages to his friends and supporters who have invested so much energy in their well-being. Wasn’t the time right for him to reap what he had sown? He had been their godfather, philanthropist, magnanimous internal and external examiner, editor of three promotional journals, first African enzymologist and supervisor of many others, head of department, dean, compassionate vice-chancellor and inventor of the first car. Nigerian-made, Special Assistant to the nation’s many untouchables, employer and owner, catalyzing the futile cycle between ignorance, consumption, waste and accumulation, with the ensuing national paralysis. As chairman of the University Education Fund, Okoro has literally framed many henchmen with their research quibbles and fallacy as proposals by giving them direct checks in cash from the fund or by pouring millions of naira into their bank accounts. to ensure their lasting loyalty and submission.

In the spiritual realm, he had not only prepared a place with his many gifts for the funeral but invested himself to become a humble churchwarden, an excellent evangelist, knight, pastor, founder of the Warriors of Jerusalem and also prophet of Saint-Cucumber. . Finally, as his holy disposition forbade him to hold chiefdom titles, he focused his attention on the civic duties of being elected president general in the politics of his ethnic state and national constituencies, whether at university, in Alor or at any gathering of his people.

Among the first to respond to his texts, the clergy immediately delegated three bishops to conduct the funeral pending the Pope’s approval for the cardinal’s presence. There was no need to request the presence of the state governor or national vice president, a member of the clergy who, hearing the Vatican’s notification, had pleaded to be invited to the funeral. From his text message which I read several times, I took into account the least of his burdens. Buying time, as Okoro hinted, with the proceeds of the house’s rents was tantamount to paying for a lasting embalming of the deceased with his expected return from Brussels, with the new golden hand-encrusted coffin now in vogue at Ndi Eze. It also included the liquidation of the accumulated bills of several years for the air-conditioned ward of the modernized Bishop Shanahan Hospital for his father, with its integrated television, robots and other accessories manipulated by the old man from his wheelchair, via his cell phones. . However, it did not include the ambulance and its boiling crew who for ten years had been in the service of his father, and made the occasional trips from the village of Alor on its rough and uneven roads to the town of Nsukka, the vehicle being part of the student union properties auctioned when Okoro was dean of students.

Among those who received texts and remembered their Redeemer was also Professor (Mrs.) Egoyibo, also known as Ada-di-ora-nma. Sitting on the red earth in her father’s house with her cell phone wearily held on her head, after having articulated the text message, she wondered aloud, where she would be today without Okoro. A huge figure, she managed to stand tall, carrying the damp red stain on her butt from the rain that had accumulated to a corner of the compound where she telephoned her subordinate boss to double the printed copies and the price of the Journal of Plant, Animal Extracts and Nanotechnology, commissioning each of the five thousand students of the Faculty to purchase a copy, and with the proceeds sent twelve adult bulls and thirty-six bearded Igbo goats to the village of Alor, a few days before return from Okoro.

Even Professor Babanyaro reacted to the text message from faraway Jamaica where he had just been appointed Nigerian ambassador. Among the many opportunities he got from Okoro, he said, being appointed as an examining officer was of the utmost importance as it allowed him to build his first two-story mansion. With this magnanimity tickling his heart, Babanyaro responded to the sad news by single-handedly changing the funeral site from the Okoro family compound to the vast abandoned and dilapidated premises of Saint-Paul’s secondary school in Alor. From Jamaica he had ordered the order for twenty-five cement trailers with rods, planks and other building materials to be delivered from Jos for the rebuilding of the school as a new place for the funeral. He also remembered in his order to include a hundred tents for the unpredictable rainy season. To truly show their appreciation and enthusiasm for this benevolent Muslim, the bishops have declared Vespers as the mode of conduct for the funeral mass.

In college, Okoro always seized the opportunity to conquer and incubate his precious minions and quantified every business, not in cash but in its real estate counterpart. Before its inception, he had planned the management of his department as an enterprise of agricultural colonization. By the end of this tenure, he had acquired several hectares of farmland in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state with thirty laborers and was being ventilated to cool off from the heat of Abakaliki in his recliner by one of his men, in the center of his rice paddy. . When he dubbed Dean’s Crown to the applause of his admirers, he declared it as a car buying company that brought him four Jeeps – two Cherokees, a Navigator, and a Highlander, in return for the organization of two real conferences and three virtual conferences while creating four research journals for the Faculty.

But of all his adventures, the most difficult was his arrival as president-elect of the academic staff of Nigerian universities, which he proclaimed ab-initio as a hotel construction company. While his servants and postgraduates taught his classes and ran his mundane affairs, which included his countless properties, serving his sick father in the hospital and also in Alor with his suspicious and indifferent people, Okoro kept the administration of the university as a partner and its head of security. Agent against the agitated workers who elected him. As president, he shamelessly undermined their agitations for their rights and the demand for equal opportunities, with the privileged class. Keeping a close eye on his targeted business, he was quickly invited by the Administration to manage the many branches of the University’s hotels. From the accumulated recycling capital, Okoro added his own two-star cosmopolitan hotel in the Abakpa Nike section of Enugu city.

Father Okoro’s funeral was a huge and immeasurable success. With the swarming August guests, the bishops who read a short Vatican response note on the deceased, the governor striving to be recognized, the lords both spiritual and temporal, and of course the vice-chancellor of the ‘University, they all stormed a once obscure village of Alor, to bury one of their own. But at the end of the day, they left their rubbish – cigarette butts and empty packets, myriads of empty water bags, thousands of empty plastic bottles, frozen brown blood from hundreds of slaughtered animals; hundreds of uprooted trees, which were houses of pigeons and hawks, which also protected the people and their dilapidated houses from rain and sun; started erosions and gullies, blockages of rivers and their tributaries by waste with the onset of drought and famine. They also dumped hundreds of empty kegs and bottles of foreign palm wine, beer, brandy and whiskeys, rolls of toilet paper, empty shotgun cartridges, and even used and unused condoms – all of it. to be cleaned up by the benign and indifferent inhabitants of Alor. , to clean up their land for themselves and future generations.

Onwubiko, PhD is professor and head of the biochemistry department
University of Nigeria, Nsukka.


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