The remains of a former lawmaker, who represented Enugu North senatorial district at the National Assembly, Fidelis Okoro, was on Friday, laid to rest in his hometown, Iheagu Nru, Nsukka local government area of Enugu state.
The late Senator who represented Enugu North Senatorial district at the start of the fourth republic from 1999 to 2007 until his death, was not in the good books of many residents and indigenes of Nsukka.
There was mild drama at the funeral mass which was attended by dignitaries following the emergence of the catechist who officiated the mass despite the presence of the Parish Priest of Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, Nru, Nsukka, Rev. Fr. Evaristus Isife.
The parish priest only made appearance after the mass and said,“State of the late Senator was enough homily for everyone.”
Okoro passed away on May 17, at a hospital in Abuja after a brief illness.
Some of the dignitaries at the funeral include the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; a former Senate President, Sen. Ken Nnamani; former governor of old Anambra State, Sen. Jim Nwobodo; a former Deputy Senate President and Senator representing Enugu West senatorial district, Ike Ekweremadu.
Others include the Senator representing Enugu North, Chukwuka Utazi; the member representing Nsukka/Igboeze-South in the House of Representatives, Pat Asadu; Speaker, Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Edward Ubosi; member representing Igbo-Eze North/Udenu Federal Constituency in the House of the Representatives, Simon Atigwe
Justice C.C. Nweze of the Supreme Court, traditional rulers in the state among others.
Senator Utazi, in his speech at the funeral, described Okoro as an honest grassroots politician who helped the district in various ways.
He said that it was a few people who did not benefit from him that labelled him bad.
He said, “During his time Okoro used his position to put many people from the district to positions of authority in the country .
“The death of Okoro has robbed the district of a grassroots and honest politician.
“It’s unfortunate that few people who did not benefit from him tried to label him as a bad politician.
“Okoro was not the type that will say yes in your absence and in your presence he will say no.
“Many dislike him because he was a man of integrity and honour, he disliked talking against you in your absence, he would tell you everything to your face.”
Speaking at the burial, Pat Asadu, said the late Okoro was the one that encouraged him to join politics. He described him as a good grassroots politician.
He said, “In 1999 he came to my clinic and encouraged me to join politics, and that was how I joined politics and today I am a ranking national legislator.
“Possibly, without that encouragement and advice from Okoro, I may still be in my clinic as a medical doctor.
“The way I benefited from him is how other people benefited from him,” he said.
On his part, Senator Jim Nwobodo, urged the people not to condemn the late Senator for his shortcomings, noting that only Jesus Christ can judge.
He described Okoro who served as one of his commissioners during his time as Governor of Old Anambra State as his son.
He said, “When I was the governor of the old Anambra State, my youngest commissioner who worked assiduously was Senator Fidelis Okoro. He was my son.
“When he contested the Senatorial election to represent Enugu North Senatorial District, he won the first time but faced opposition when he wanted to recontest for the second tenure. I waded in and ensured that he won; not just for the second term but three times. He was great statesman.”
The remains of the late Senator was received by the Council of Oha Nsukka at the Sam Maduka Onyishi Nsukka Civic Centre before the requiem mass and burial.
See pictures from the burial below.