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Friday, 4 October 2013

17YEARS AFTER NNAMDI AZIKIWE’S STATE BURIAL, UNDERTAKER, YET TO BE PAID...’ YES,THEY ARE STILL OWING ME MILLIONS’......EBONY CASKETS BOSS, DEHINDE HARRISON



Like American Scientist and philosopher, Benjamin Franklin rightly said, ’creditors have better memories, than debtors’. If half of what we are hearing is anything to go by, surprisingly,17years after the superlative state burial, given to Late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first Nigerian President, undertaker, Ebony Caskets, is still being owed several millions.
Reports indicates that the funeral held in November 1996, following nearly two weeks of National monumental ceremonies, managed by popular funeral director, Dehinde Harrison is yet to be completely paid for. If you recall the Great Zik of Africa, who was a politician, scholar, poet and journalist of note,died on May 13,1996 at age 91years
.He was buried in a stately manner in November of that year, after his body was taken on a ‘national tour’ to various cities including Lagos, Ibadan, his birthplace of Zungeru in the North, then to Abuja,and Enugu,in reminisce of his gallant efforts,to free Nigeria from the claws of colonialism.Amidst pomp,he was finally buried,inside his Onitsha home.

When sought the amiable undertaker,over the tale,’It’s true, they are still owing me several millions.I have pursued it for many years without result.I really don't want to talk about it, so people will not think, I’m denegrading the memory of Late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, who is one Africa's greatest leaders,that ever lived. You know General Sani Abacha,was the President,when Zik died and I was engaged for the job.The government, was still owing me several millions,after that burial.Unfortunately, General Abacha died,afterwards,and we couldn’t get the money back.I wrote to the Minister of Special Duties,on several occasions,but no to avail, I had to give up,but it was so painful’. he retorted. Azikiwe became Nigeria's first president in 1963 when it became a Republic after independence from Britain in 1960.He remained until the first coup d'etat in 1966, which led to civil war in June 1967 when Igbo’s seceded to set up, the State of Biafra,under then Colonel Emeka Ojukwu. During the civil war Azikiwe saw the hopelessness of the war, he hastened its end by returning to the Federal side.Until his death,he was a very respected Nigerian leader.

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