It was reminiscent of the late Mohammed Abubakar Rimi of Kano State and other Muslim leaders showing up and prominently partaking in the church wedding of Chief Jim Nwobodo, the civilian governor of the old Anambra State in the Second Republic. This time, it was not a church wedding but a Christian burial but at which the stakeholders fell into different identities but beautifully congregated to play each’s role without conflict.
There were the labour leaders and activists who were there to solidarise with Comrade John Odah whose father-in law was being buried. Odah was, until a few years ago, the General Secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC). There were Christian leaders who had come as Christians and in solidarity with the family and there were the Knights whose show it turned out to be as theirs was the cadre status of the person being buried. There were Muslims among the activists who were there either as labour leaders, activists or members of the tribe of judicial, business, political and community leaders at one level or another. Above all, there the age mates and school mates of the deceased. Everyone joined in the processes in a beautiful harmony that went beyond all walks of life as well as every corner of Nigeria.
This happened at Ajide-Ekeh in Okpokwu LGA of Benue State last Friday where Sir Augustine Ola Abah was buried. Apart from being a large family, the late Abah had communal significance in being among the early set of persons who got university education from Edemoga, the largest of the 22 districts in the old Idoma Native Authority in colonial and immediate post colonial Nigeria. Additionally, he embodied the story of self-making in terms of social mobility for those from that part of the country. A 48 page brochure left no details out of the story and the message of the Augustine Abah’s of Nigeria, both in those more peaceful days gone by and in the current age! He must be travelling back to his maker a very happy person that his burial brought together tongues, tribes and faith without any signs of acrimony.