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Published On: Tue, Jul 8th, 2014

Oputa’s Burial, Charlie Boy and Okorocha

Charlie Boy (L) exchanging pleasantry with Okorocha

LAGOS JULY 9TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Our amiable governor, Rochas Okorocha, is under growing fire. His opponents are not toning down their attack on him. The scale and intensity of the not-so friendly fire have been more than he counted on. He has lost an enormous amount of respect. His opponents believe that he has emerged as a foremost belligerent power because when he talks no niceties is observed.
They also believe that he has become an expert in making promises with no intention of keeping them. Okorocha is a man that is in love with talking. This man can make Switzerland sound like Transylvania and turn love into another kind of four letter words. To tell it like it is, our governor is an expert in rhetorical overkill. To be heard above the noise of his critics, he has made promises that he does not intend to keep. As a politician, everything is politics for Okorocha. I pray he doesn’t go into a clouded decline from which he will never emerge.

The death and burial of Justice Chukwudifu Oputa afforded him another opportunity to play politics. This has added to an astonishing array of indiscretions on the Governor’s part.
The late Oputa was apolitical. He lived a quiet life and wanted to be buried quietly. He exuded a hearty simplicity of nature. Esteem and affection characterized his relationship with people. Oputa was a man whose life was marked by a happy mixture of amiability and courage.
Trying to make a political capital out of his death is wrong in every material particular. Uche Ezechukwu, a columnist with the Sun newspaper, accused Okorocha of the same sin. “The event at Oguta last week ought to provide a watershed and redefine the role and behavior of the high and mighty. It has become almost an epidemic that infests political leaders and makes them see it
as a right to hijack funerals with high visibility. It happened during Ojukwu’s burial, when governors who had promised to bring down the cloud for Ojukwu but had ended up contributing nothing that could make the memories of the man and his time enduring. With all the noisy carnival that the likes of Governor Okorocha organized for Ojukwu in Owerri, he reportedly contributed nothing to produce materials that would immortalize the
man. I was in Ojukwu’s burial committee. So I know.”
This time around Okorocha met his match in a man that has an alloy in his composition. This man is Charly Boy. He is the son of the late Justice Oputa and the paterfamilias of radicalism in Nigeria. Okorocha is a show man. Charly Boy is a show man. The Area Father understands the game. He knows what he blows and smells like. There was bound to be confrontation because
Charly boy has a reputation of an unblushing hard-liner. Ezechukwu disclosed that those who know the Oputa family well said the late jurist and his non-conformist son were very close and so must have respected each other’s wishes and preferences. “So, it was to be expected that Charles Oputa knew how his father wished to be buried and remembered. He knew if the man wanted a politically vibrant funeral such that would have resulted in his body being ferried from pillar to post across the country, or if the man wanted to be buried respectably as a fervent Catholic and a good lawyer and judge. The way it finally played out to the public looked as if Charly Boy was playing a script which conformed to an instruction that his father had left which was that he should not be buried like a politician,
which he was not.”
In the night of tribute put together by the Imo state government in honour of the late Justice Oputa, Charly Boy got so incensed that he stormed out of the venue. According to him, the tribute night turned into a political rally of sort. “You cannot organize events about my father and disregard my family. We were not carried along. That was why I refused to bring my father’s corpse to the night of tribute. It was all about politics. People were just praising Rochas. It looked like they were trying to do politics as the Governor had invited top members of
APC to the night of tribute. I felt offended.”
Charly Boy is of the view that his father’s burial should not be turned into a political rally just because the state government gave the family N25 million. According to him, money and acquisitiveness are not just what motivates him. He is mindful of his father’s place in history.
“He lived an impactful life and should remain an icon in our house of memory.”
Another grouse he has with Okorocha is the governor’s penchant for not honouring his words. He said Okorocha made a lot of promises which he never fulfilled. Promises like providing power supply (because Oguta has been in darkness for many years),
reconstructing the road and pipe borne water. Moreover, what gets his goat was that the governor never honoured his father while he was alive. He disclosed that all efforts the father made to see him proved abortive.
But the Imo state government has accused Charly Boy of playing out a script drafted in Abuja with some Imo politicians who are cowed by the overwhelming popularity of governor
“The Imo state governor had worked together with Charly Boy both when the late Justice was sick, until the time he died and the preparation for the burial which also encouraged the state governor to make substantial financial
input and also organized a special day of tribute for the late Justice at the expense of state government with Charly Boy also present. This is why the sudden change of character of Charly Boy at the church service in which he insisted that the governor would not talk as protocol demanded could not be understood, except that he was acting out the script handed over to him by some of the gubernatorial aspirants from the state who might have been rattled by the thunderous ovation that greeted the governor.” Meanwhile Charly Boy has stated that he was not influenced by any politician. Rather, he acted to protect the loving memory of his father.

Ikechukwu Orji wrote in from Lagos.
He is a Media consultant and Journalist.

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