HID Awolowo’s burial begins on Nov 15
• Buhari, 35 governors expected
• Sunny Ade, Obey, Ayuba to entertain guests
No fewer than 360 Christian priests, including 60 bishops as well as Pastors Adejare Adeboye and Tunde Bakare of the Redeemed Christian Church of God(RCCG) and Latter Rain Bible Church respectively, are to participate in the two-week burial programme of the late Chief Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo.
President Mohammadu Buhari is expected at the burial.
The ceremonies which will begin on Sunday, November 15 will climax on Wednesday, November 25, the day the deceased would have clocked 100 years on earth, with her burial at the Awolowo’s country home in Ikenne-Remo, Ogun State.
At a joint press briefing by the Secretary to the Ogun State Government (SSG), Mr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, and the Chairman, Central Planning Committee of the burial programme, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu, one of the daughters of the deceased, she said the burial activities will last for 11 days.
According to Adeoluwa, the state government has chosen Monday, November 23 to celebrate the late Awolowo. The grand event, he said, would be held at the Sagamu International Stadium, and that the government has invited all the 35 state governors and secretaries to state government to join in the special fanfare. “The day is an afternoon to celebrate Mama by all the people of Ogun State and also to pay our last tributes to her,” he said.
The SSG said the state executive council will deliberate on a proposal by Governor Ibikunle Amosun to immortalise the matriarch and probably approve same on Monday next week.
Highlighting the burial arrangements, Awolowo-Dosunmu, former Nigerian Ambassador to the Netherlands, said: “No fewer than 60 bishops, 300 priests and several men of God have declared their readiness to attend the burial ceremonies”.
According to her, Mama’s church, Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ikenne where the burial service will hold has 690 sitting capacity, therefore not all guests will have space inside the church during the service.
She read out the programme as follows: “On November 15, at 12 pm, there will be lying-in-state at Park Lane, Apapa, Lagos, followed by Christian interdenominational service. On Monday, November 16, her body would depart to Ibadan for lying-in-state at Oke Bola, Ibadan. November 17-24 will be for lying-in-state at Ikenne, home town of the Awolowos. Interment and reception will hold on November 25, also at Ikenne home of the family .”Awolowo-Dosunmu said large television screens will be provided within the periphery of the church and Awolowo Square which has 5000 seats for people outside the church to watch the burial service and other activities.
“Just before Mama died, she told us: ‘My death is not for you (children) alone, but for the entire world,’” she recalled.
The organising committee said there won’t be vehicular movement in and out of Ikenne on the burial day. It disclosed that many musicians, including King Sunny Ade, Chief Ebenezer Obey and Adewale Ayuba will entertain the guests at the ceremony.
Managing Director of Nigerian Tribune, Edward Dickson, said accreditation of journalists will commence on Wednesday next week.