By Christian ABURIME

Life is a cyclical phenomenon, and death is part of its revolving reality.

The recent burial of Pa Simeon Nwankwo Soludo, (Akukananwa I), father of Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR, marked a revolution and a pivotal change in burial ceremonies!

Aside insisting on a simple, dignified ceremony in accordance with Anambra State’s burial law, Governor Soludo challenged societal norms that pressure bereaved families into lavish and wasteful displays of wealth in the name of ‘befitting burials’. In doing so, the governor set an example for leaders and citizens alike to reconsider what truly honours the dead and supports the living.

On that peaceful Saturday 23, December 2023, just before Christmas, a gathering of distinguished guests from across Nigeria came not for a spectacle, but to witness a humble departure. They had joined the Soludo family and the people of Isuofia to bid farewell to Pa Simeon Soludo, father of Anambra State Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo.

Some high profile dignitaries, including the Nigerian Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima graced the solemn occasion. There was no expensive ‘Aso Ebi’ dress code, no glossy printed programme, no glittering decorations, no exotic menu, imported champagne or lavish catering, and no ‘spraying’ of money on celebrants dancing to a live band.

The food and drinks served at the reception were all locally sourced rather than imported as usually the case with VIP social events in Nigeria. Indeed, the prevailing mood was not one of gaudy fanfare and pageantry, but solemn dignity.

In his stoic yet hopeful remarks, Governor Soludo affirmed the wisdom in forgoing any extravagance and upholding Anambra’s burial law that prescribes modesty and affordability.

His thoughts could be heard as if echoing, “We are gathered here to give our father and grandfather a decent burial, not to indulge in ‘owambe’ party”. His stance was that the living deserves support more than the dead require wasteful fanfare, especially in these austere times when most ordinary Nigerians are going through a lot of economic challenges.

Vice President Shettima later echoed this sentiment, commending Soludo for his principled stand against the pressure to use his father’s burial as a platform for vain displays of wealth and power. The VP advised others to emulate Soludo in this examplary conduct

In this conduct, Soludo affirmed his commitment both to prudent governance, and to the values of community, hard work and humility.

For this profound act of leadership by example and integrity, the governor drew more applause as well as solemn nods. His decision gave many guests cause to ponder the excess and ostentatious appearances that pervade Nigerian society, from elite funerals to other social events involving unrestrained waste of funds in obscenities and vanities

If a leader constrained by grief could make such choices to reject extravagance, could not others do the same in easier times? In the quiet air as the Soludo family laid dusty red earth upon Pa Soludo’s casket, there seemed to hang unspoken questions. If a rich feast cannot improve death’s bitterness or honour a well-lived life, what can?

What gives our days meaning amid suffering, beyond status and wealth? And if a leader can choose a common path, as Governor Soludo did, might citizens also walk it together in mutual support?

For those grasping answers, Pa Soludo’s simple burial marked not an end, but a new beginning. And it is worthy of emulation.

May his great soul rest on in peace. Amen!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here