BY VINCENT UJUMADU, Awka
THE six members of the Anyene family – Onyeka (44), his wife Maimuna (33) and four children namely Kamsiyonna, (3) Kainetochi, (2) Kaimarachi (2) and Kobichimee, (five months), who died in the Dana Airline crash last month in Lagos, were yesterday buried at their home town, Ndiowu in Orumba North local government area of Anambra State amidst wailings and tribute by thousands of mourners who gathered for the emotion –laden ceremony.
Two ambulances carrying the six caskets arrived at Ndiowu at 10 am, but only the coffin bearing the body of the head of the family, Onyeka, was taken into the magnificent house he built few years ago for people to file past, after which they were taken to St. Lawrence Anglican Church for the funeral service.
Many people sobbed uncontrollably on sighting the coffins and wondered why such calamity should befall the young Onyeka’s family who many testified as being a great philanthropist and kind person.
Five Bishops – Maxwell Anikwenwa,rtd, Sam Ezeofor of Ogbaru, Henry Oke ke of Mbamili, Christian Efobi of Aguata and Ephraim Ikeakor of Amichi -and 82 priests conducted the funeral service that lasted for about two hours, after which the bodies were interred in six graves prepared beside Onyeka’s house.
Bishop of Amichi Anglican Diocese, Rt Rev Ephraim Ikeakor, who delivered the sermon said there were no adequate words to use in comforting the Anyene family, but noted that the only consolation was that God who created everything, knew why the family of six had to depart the world one day.
The Bishop said: “Some of the questions that should be agitating people’s minds are, why should all members of the family die one day?; why should they even board the same aircraft? Only God knows why this had to happen because He knows everything.
“Life is a mystery because Onyeka, with all his magnanimity and philanthropies, had to end up this way. Onyeka came, he saw and he conquered because for him to achieve all that he achieved at the age of 44, was an indication that the hand of God was in his life.
“This was a young man who took people’s problems as his. He made many poor people have a sense of belonging by awarding them scholarships to study in the universities without publicizing it.
“It appeared that from the day he was born, he had a premonition and his death gave somebody like me food for thought. He had fought the fight, finished the race and had gone home.”
According to Bishop Ikeakor, even the names of Onyeka’s children showed the belief he had in God because all the names had to do with praising God, looking up to Him and asking him to do His wish. God, the Bishop said, knows the purpose for allowing this to happen and urged those living not to weep because the family prepared itself for the eternal journey, having worshipped at the Church in Abuja in the morning of the incident before traveling to Lagos later that day.
He reminded the audience that everybody lives at the mercy of God and urged the people to always be conscious of how they respond to the mercy of God, noting that those who cursed the airline operators when they missed the flight, did not know that they were living at the mercy of God.
Governor Peter Obi, who arrived at the ceremony late due to flight delays in Abuja, called on Nigerians to pray that such calamities do not happen in the country to enable those in authority concentrate in their service to the fatherland.While praying for God to accept the souls of the Anyenes, he urged the people not to question God because He created everything.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, who was a very close friend of the late Onyeka Anyene said it was unfortunate that he had to visit his friend’s house for his burial when two of them had been planning to visit his village for a long time, adding that man proposes and God disposes.
According to him, the only consolation was that Onyeka Anyene lived an eventful life, describing him as a great man who many people would want to associate with.
He said: “Onyeka was a brilliant, industrious and forthright fellow who exuded confidence and drive ceaselessly in all things that he put his hands on. An incurable optimist and goal getter, compulsive workaholic, Collins would not go to sleep while his task remained unaccomplished. Indeed, he was a bundle of talent.”
Among those that attended the burial ceremony included Senator Andy Uba representing Anambra South in the senate, Senator Joy Emodi who is the presidential adviser on national assembly matters, former vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme who is an in-law to the Anyenes, members of the national and state assemblies, as well as traditional rulers from Anambra State.
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