Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
The sleepy town of Iperu Remo in Ikenne local government area of Ogun State on Thursday, came alive and agog as it played host to prominent Nigerians across the country as they came around to join the governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun to give his 89-year-old late father, Pa (Dr) Emmanuel Abiodun a befitting burial ceremony held at St James Anglican Church, Iperu Remo.
Leading the roll call of the distinguished Nigerians is the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the Secretary to the Federal Government, Boss Mustapha, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, his wife, Past Folu Adeboye as well as immediate past governor of Ogun State, Sen Ibikunle Amosun.
The dignitaries included Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and his Kebbi State counterpart, Gov. Abubakar Bagudu, Gov. AbdulRahamn Rasak of Kwara State, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa represented by his Deputy, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno represented by his Deputy, Dr Adesina Adewunmi and President, African Development Bank (AfDB).
Others are Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Comr. Adams Oshiomole, immediate past Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) Aliko Dangote, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, Minister of Mines and Steel, Arc. Olamilekan Adegbite, former governors of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Chief Olusegun Osoba, former governor of Oyo State, Chief Alao Akala, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole, former House of Representatives Speakers, Sen Gbenga Kaka, Prince Segun Adesegun, former Deputy governor of Ogun State among several others.
The funeral service also had in attendance over 120 clerics, captains of industry and top political functionaries.
In his sermon at the service, the Archbishop, Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos and Diocesan Bishop of Remo, the Most Rev. Dr. M. Olusina Fape, noted that death is a debt every mortal shall pay, urging people to prepare well to meet their Creator.
Pointing out that “Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people,” the cleric further urged the people to live a life in expectation of making the heaven.
“Nobody has ever escaped the cold hands of death. And nobody gets to heaven’s prepared place by chance, you must work to get there. We must prepare to meet our Creator. Inheriting the beautiful mansion is not automatic. If you don’t live and die in Christ, there is not peace for you after death.
“You should start thinking about your temporary existence on earth and start doing what will make you inherit heavenly mansions when you die,” Bishop Cape stated.
He described Pa Abiodun as a great teacher and committed Christian who dedicated his life to the service of God and humanity.
“Papa has worked and distinguished himself in his career and service to humanity. He also passed the torch of Christian faith to his children. He was a loving father and husband. He was an humble man. And because of this, God indeed honoured and rewarded Pa Abiodun’s humility and dedication to God’s way, with blessed children.
“As a Christian, Baba has done well and he never preoccupied himself with earthly possessions, but dedicated himself to the service of God and humanity. What will you be remembered for after leaving the office or position you hold on tightly to? If people are crying because you are a leader, God will judge you,” the cleric added.
While calling on the congregation to emulate the exemplary life of the deceased, Fape prayed the Lord should strengthen the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Victoria Abiodun, his children and other family members.
Speaking on behalf of past and serving governors, Governor Kayode Fayemi, said the service was to celebrate Pa Abiodun who he described as “an exemplar and a great teacher.”
While noting that the deceased lived a good life, Fayemi urged the congregation to reflect on the message by the cleric and prepare for very well in order to make heaven.
Delivering the message of President Muhammadu Buhari, VP Osinbajo, noted that Pa Abiodun enjoyed the grace of God, but did not take the grace for granted by giving back to his community via teaching profession and service to God.
In his remarks, Governor Dapo Abiodun described his late dad as his mentor, moral compass and teacher.
He added that he would continue to miss his father, who he further described as his cheer leader and hero.
While thanking dignitaries who attended the funeral service of his late dad, Abiodun submitted that he would continue to hold on tightly to the morals and values inculcated in him by his father while alive.
Pa Emmanuel Abiodun who died on August 2 after brief illness in far away London was later interred at a mausoleum built within the premises of St. James Church, Iperu Remo.