The much awaited and anticipated burial of the late Nigeria's former Vice-president Dr.Alex Ekwueme has finally come and gone,and everything has returned to status quo. It was an event that served as a major distraction to the quagmire our nation has been plunged into by this government, no wonder the dexterity with which the Federal Government handled the entire ceremony.
The news that The Federal Government had expended as much as one billion naira on the funeral of Ekwueme days before the internment,broken to us by our own Dr.Chris Ngige (who had usurped the duties of Alhaji Lai Mohammed), was obviously intended to massage the ego of ndigbo and make them believe the government meant well for them. Eventually, it ended up being a fall into a ditch as people snorted disapprovingly at the report. We all kept quiet while waiting to see what actually gulped the huge sum,that is,excluding the ones spent by the "jamboree-led" government of Willie Obiano plus families and well-wishers of the Ekwuemes. The federal Government commended itself for footing the bill of the air ambulance that ferried the late elder statesman's remains back to Nigeria. Thumbs up for the federal government.
Granted, a deserving state burial has been accorded the late icon, but the obvious political gain the Federal government intends to get through such will not and has not worked. The fact that a billion naira can be used to foot the burial of Ekwueme, but less than that amount cannot be used to fix some dangerous part of our federal roads,despite persistent budgetary allocation is laughable. That money can rescucitate the Onitsha Port, plus other strategic infrastructure in the East. Even if you spend the whole of 2017 budget to bury a man of Ekwueme's caliber, announcing such on national television was an act of deception and childishness.
The burial attracted men of timber and caliber, as well as brought many political enemies together, some for the first time since perhaps, after the funeral of the late Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu. We saw politicians from opposite camps exchange banters and behave as though they were never at dagger's dawn. A notable presence at the commendation service in Awka was that of a one-time governor of anambra state, Dr.Chinwoke Mbadinuju who many said looked haggard, spent and out of sorts, like a retired "hungry village headmaster." The story of his administration is well known and documented,and needs not stressed here.
What the Igbo people need are among other things quality infrastructure, enabling business environment, ease of doing business and not a "questionable" show of love. We have been shortchanged consistently in among other things, appointments into offices. Even those occupying all the juicy offices are not faring batter than the Igbo,despite the marginalization.
To be continued.