Many prominent Nigerians from different spheres of life, including the Senate President, David Mark, on Friday gathered at Isuochi in Abia to pay their last respect to the late Sen. Uche Chukwumerije.
Chukwumerije was buried in his home town, Ngodo Isuochi, after a funeral service at Wesley Methodist Church, Isuochi, in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia.
In his brief speech, Mark paid glowing tribute to Chukwumerije, describing him as an honest, transparent and excellent parliamentarian.
He further described him as courageous, eloquent and frank on national issues, saying that it would be difficult to find a replacement for him.
The senate president said that it was difficult for him to believe that Chukwumerije was dead.
He added that the senators found it hard to believe that Chukwumerije would no longer be seated on the floor of the Senate.
‘’To me, I do not think that Chukwumerije is dead. I think he has gone to sleep and will rise to sleep no more,’’ Mark said.
He said that the senators would eternally miss him, saying that no fewer than 85 senators, who attended Wednesday’s sitting devoted to him, wanted to speak in his honour.
In his sermon, drawn from Hebrews Chapter 9, verse 27 to 28 and tagged ‘’Judgment,’’ the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Sam Uche, urged the people to realise that ‘’there will be judgment at the end of man’s sojourn on earth’’.
‘’Life on earth is ephemeral, it is transient,’’ he said, urging Nigerians to understand that ‘’every office we occupy has a terminal date’’.
‘’There will be judgment and we shall all stand before the judgement throne of God, to give account of all we have done on earth,’’ Uche said.
The cleric added that, ‘’before God, there is no plea bargain and no appeal’’.
He also urged Nigerians to prepare for the day of their death by mending their way ‘’because it is appointed unto man once to die and after death comes judgment’’.
He said that although educated and close to the rich and wealthy, Chukwumerije identified himself more with the poor and the oppressed in the society.
Uche said that Chukwumerije, who built the Cathedral for the Church at Isuochi, prepared his way and ‘’mended fences with estranged members of his family before his death’’.
‘’He will make heaven, he is not going to hell because of the last thing he did, reconciling with members of his family before his death.
‘’Life on earth is not about duration but about donation,’’ adding that Chukwumerije made significant contribution to the development of his environment and humanity.
The prelate, who expressed concern that corruption had become a way of life in Nigeria, said, “it is a monster and we must kill it’’.
He advised the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to “take the bull by the horn’’ in his poise to fight corruption.
‘’Nigerians want a change and voted for change. Nobody wants to take excuses because any administration that fails the people will be voted out during the election,’’ he said.
He described Chukwumerije as ‘’a gentleman, amiable, accessible and a team player,’’ adding that he was ‘’honest and incorruptible’’.
Other dignitaries at the service include; former Vice-President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, Governors Rochas Okorocha of Imo and Willie Obiano of Anambra, respectively, and the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Senators who attended the service included; Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, Senate Leader Ndoma Egba, Enyinnaya
Abaribe, Nkechi Nworgu and Chris Ngige.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, also attended the service.
Others are: The National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh, and the governorship candidate of APGA in Abia, Dr Alex Otti.
The President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Garri Enwo-Ighariwe, led other chieftains of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group to the funeral.