…Tributes As He Was Laid To Rest In Benin Private Cemetery
...Sanwo-Olu, Bagudu, Dapo Abiodun, Others Storm Benin
Befitting end was given to the remains of Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, a.k.a Hosa Okunbo, the chairman of Ocean Marine Security (OMS) Limited, who has been laid to rest in Benin City on Friday the 8th of October, 2021, Kwame Sarfo reporting for Thecitypulsenews from Benin City Edo State.
The late Benin billionaire was buried yesterday at a private cemetery in Benin City by the family.
The burial ceremonies, which began with nights of tributes on Tuesday and Wednesday and followed by a service of songs on Thursday, culminated in a funeral service that took place at Nigerian Airforce Base by Prestige Hotel on Airport Road on Friday, October 8, 2021.
The funeral service, which was characterised by eulogies, saw emotions largely muted.
Pastor Ituah Ighodalo offered the opening prayers while Pastor Goodheart Ekwueme preached the sermon at the funeral service, which was attended by Nigeria’s high society comprising incumbent and former public officers, industry titans, first-class monarchs, academic giants, aviation giants, entertainers, service chiefs, among others, were in attendance. But, best of all, the people, the ordinary people who he had supported, inspired, and given hope, were there en masse to bid him a tearful goodbye.
Nigeria’s First Family was represented by Aisha Buhari’s daughters, Halima and her husband and Zahra.
Governors Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), and Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu attended the funeral service.
Former Governors James Ibori (Delta), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo) Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe), Modu Ali-Sherrif (Borno) and Publisher of THISDAY/ Chairman of Arise TV, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, among many more others, were on hand to pay their last respects to Captain ‘Hosa.
There were delegations of chiefs from the Palace of the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II and the Palace of the Ogiame Atunwase III, the Olu of Warri (son-in-law to the late Capt. ‘Hosa).
The entire service was powerful from the beginning to the end. After the opening prayers by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, BJ SAX led the audience in a session of praise and worship.
Pastor Ekwueme’s sermon centered on the mystery of life, for which many, he said had sought meaning unsuccessfully.
According to him: “Life is and largely remains a mystery of sorts. Many have sought for the meaning of life. Yet, the meaning of life has eluded many people in a shifting goal post.
“The search has been fruitless and an exercise in futility. Many people are existing and not living because they do not know the meaning of life.
“Solomon in all his majesty could not find the meaning of life until the end of his life when he declared that vanity upon vanity, all was vanity.”
He said that “no matter how powerful you are, you cannot take a pin out of this world.”
He said God taught him a wisdom when his father, former Vice-president Alex Ekwueme died and was brought into Abuja in a box aboard a British Airways flight, adding God said to him that “this is the way of all men.”
“Everyone has birthday and deathday,” pointing out that “anybody who is alive is indebted to God because life is a gift from God.”
“We must render account of our journeys in life to God.”
Pastor Ekwueme thanked God for the life of the late Captain ‘Hosa which he dedicated to God three years at his 60th birthday where he was privileged to deliver a birthday sermon.
He pointed out that the late business mogul reconciled with his Creator and related with Him every day throughout the period he was battling cancer in London.
Before Pastor Ekwueme’s sermon, Olori Atunwase III who gave an eulogy on behalf of the Okunbo family held the audience spellbound with her rendition.
She spoke about the intentional of Capt. ‘Hosa’s goodness, kindness and generosity.
She commended his life of service, saying that was the greatest virtue of her father: service to humanity and God.
She said everything he was, he challenged the children to be, adding “daddy’s love was a safe haven. He loved us all so genuinely, so intentionally. He kept tabs on us as we grew up. He was a great father.”
She stated that Capt. ‘Hosa was like a coat of many colours and those colours were represented by the children.
She promised that the children would strengthen his vision and legacies.
“We will uphold his essence. Our work is to keep his memory alive, to tell the world of the genuineness and uniqueness of his character.
“My dad lives on through the lives he touched. Whatever or however he impacted you, whether directly or indirectly, carry it on, emulate that. Truly, he never dies,” she said.
She said that her father thanked God for a second chance, even when he knew he had cancer.
Olori Atunwase III addressed the remains of her father in a white casket that was beautifully decorated with bouquets of flowers: “Daddy, you gave us a good name and solid foundation. You are a father like no other. We will keep your memory alive until we meet to part no more.”
Former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu rendered a poetic eulogy that drew thunderous appaluse from the audience.
Kachikwu constructed a literary address by Captain ‘Hosa to the audience which, paraphrased, read in part: Godiya, my time has come. I feel your pain; I feel your anguish; I watch your tears; I sense the emptiness in your space; I stare into spaces all over … I miss you all, but God said my time has come.
I fought the needles, scans, consultations and chamber of fright, all through the hospital staff members, fear all over them until that morning that he appeared; he stood there; His hands outstretched, in a voice like a whisper, He said your time has come….”
Governor Obaseki who spoke on behalf of all government officials was full of praises for Captain ‘Hosa’s industry.
He described him as a breaker of glass ceilings, a philanthropist par excellence, and a business mogul of global reputation.
He said Captain ‘Hosa pushed himself to the limits to build his business empire.
He said he gave lavishly of his resources, adding he would be remembered for his undying love for our State.
He commiserated with the Okunbo family, associates and admirers of Capt. ‘Hosa. “Rest in peace Captain,” he declared.
In a vote of thanks shortly before the family took away his body for private interment, his eldest son, Osahon Okunbo, said his late father found it easy to forgive those who offended because of the virtues of love and mercy that God imbued him with.
Osahon said his siblings would emulate their father and called on his father’s friends, business partners, those in government to also emulate his virtue of love and mercy.
Photos from the event: