Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Finally, the funeral services of Chief Oyibo Chukwu, an erstwhile Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) chairman in Enugu State who was assassinated last February 22 while campaigning to become the Enugu East senator on the Labour Party (LP) ticket, will be held on December 8 and 9.
Though the family has not publicly spoken on the funeral arrangements, authoritative sources have confirmed to our correspondent that the burial will be held for two days in his hometown of Amuri in Nkanu West Local Government Area in Enugu State.
Chief Chukwu, who served as the national auditor of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the Third Republic of 1992-93 and later became the Enugu State secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with the dawn of the Fourth Republic from 1999, was returning from a family meeting in his hometown when he was gunned down in Amechi Awkunanaw in Enugu South LGA three days to the nationwide senatorial election.
“He was not just assassinated”, declared his younger brother, Arthur Chukwu, a professor at the Nigerian Law School in Yola, Adamawa State, “but also cremated by the barbarians, alongside his faithful personal assistant, in their Sienna vehicle”.
The victims had no security with them because, according to Professor Chukwu, his brother played no politics with bitterness and consequently thought that he would not be a target of violent attacks by opponents.
Chief Chukwu was bound to win the vote with a wide margin because of his immense personal popularity and that of the Labour Party in the Southeast geopolitical zone, noted another younger brother, Chief Lucky Chukwu, a lawyer and former commissioner in Enugu State who had earlier served as a State House of Assembly member.
The killings provoked national outrage, with then-President Muhamadu Buhari not just condemning the murders and arson but also directing the police and other security agencies to fish out the perpetrators immediately.
“It is regrettable that the cowards who murdered Chief Oyibo and his PA have not been unmasked”, stated The Honourable Paul Nnamchi, an LP member of the House of Representatives who was an engineering professor at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Considering the closeness of the date of the assassinations and that of the senatorial election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shifted the Enugu East senatorial election to March 11 to hold alongside the governorship and House of Assembly elections.
The Labour Party elected Chief Chukwu’s younger brother, Sir Kelvin Chukwu, an entrepreneur who studied Mass Communication and later Law, as its flagbearer in the senatorial vote.
Sir Kelvin won the election by getting 69,136 votes while a former Enugu State two-term governor, Dr Chimaraoke Nnamani of the PDP who was also a sitting senator, received 48,701 votes.
“Given the national attention which Chief Chukwu’s callous murder has generated and the subsequent rescheduled Enugu East senatorial election which his younger won easily and by a wide margin”, observed Chijioke Ogbodo, a popular Enugu-based broadcaster and media consultant, “the funeral holding early next month will be a national event.
“The family has, as a result, decided to conduct the funeral, including an interdenominational service, in the biggest public school in Amuri.
“That’s a fitting way to say goodbye to this exceedingly popular politician noted for eloquence and glamour as well as commitment to the public good”.