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By Emma Okereh

Prominent Nigerians from all walks of life, Friday, thronged the National Christian Centre, Abuja, venue of service of songs for the late Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife (OKWADIKE Igboukwu). The service of songs which started at 5pm at the expansive and prestigious Ecumenical centre, marked the beginning of rites of passage for the Harvard trained Economist and a strong voice of the oppressed. The late Ezeife who was a former governor of Anambra state and a former permanent secretary consistently advocated for equity, fairness and equality of all citizens and regions in the scheme of things in the country. At the service of songs put together by the Ezeife National Burial Committee led by former governor of Enugu state, Okwesilieze Nwodo and coordinated by the salvation army church where the late icon worshipped, galaxy of Nigerians gathered to pay their last respect to the fearless Igbo leader. All across Nigeria recorded a huge turnout out friends, well wishers, associates, mentees, the clergy. From the Onaiyekans, to the Ibrus, Simon Okeke, former ministers and lawmakers and indeed, people from different backgrounds. Delivering a brief remark at the service of songs, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Arch Bishop emeritus of the Abuja Catholic archdiocese, implored the people to be upright and prepare for the final day. He enjoined the congregation to always remember that there is life after death and what one did with his life on earth determines what happens to him in life after now. He noted that Okwadike ran a good race when he was alive. At the event, a brief history of Dr Ezeife was read by her first daughter. Two Bible readings were taken by his children. There were superlative display of timbrel by the Salvation army choir, brass band display. There were also display of musical prowess by other visiting choirs including the CAN choir. Speeches were also delivered by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), chairman, Ezeife National Burial Committee, HE Dr Okwesilieze Nwodo who thanked Nigerians for honoring the late Ezeife and for the financial support and other logistics extended to the committee. The ceremony was beamed life and as the secretary of the committee, Dr Ifedi Okwenna explained, it was a free life broadcast by AIT and Arise TV in appreciation of the man, Okwadike. As this great icon begins final journey to mother earth from April 12, there are two more national event in his honour in Abuja before his remains be flown home on Thursday next week.

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