Many shed tears in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Tuesday as the remains of eight female politicians burnt to death on February 14, were buried at the Gloryland Cemetery in Azikoro Village. The female politicians, including wife of the Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, Elizabeth Oguru, were burnt to death in a multiple motor accident after visiting the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience. The accident at Ahoada in Rivers State involved a Toyota Sienna car, an SUV and a bus with the inscription, Peoples Democratic Party Women Initiative.
At the cemetery, family members, friends, colleagues, top government functionaries and well wishers broke down in tears as pall bearers brought the caskets bearing the remains. Bayelsa State Chairman of the Christians Association of Nigeria, Archbishop Ige Israel, who officiated at the burial, had herculean task calling for mourners’ attention.
Israel prayed for the repose of the souls of the departed and prayed God to grant their families the fortitude to bear the losses. The cleric, who said death was a necessary end, admonished the living to be close to God and live lives worthy of emulation. After praying for the souls of the deceased, the caskets bearing the remains (skulls and ashes) were lowered into the grave at about 4pm.
Before the burial of the female politicians, a memorial service was held at the Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre. Jonathan; his wife, Patience; Governor Seriake Dickson and many top officials of government attended the burial. Jonathan, in his tribute to the dead women, said their demise had thrown the state into deep mourning.
The President, who described the day of their death as “dark Saturday,” said it was painful that the deceased died as others were celebrating the Valentine’s Day.
“The death of the women is so painful that it can never be erased from our minds. I urge people to continue to pray for the repose of their souls. Some of them are people I have worked with one way or the other,” Jonathan said.
In her tributes, Patiece said the women’s death should bring about peace in Nigeria and Bayelsa State.
“The fact that they died the way they did indicates that death can come anytime. Bayelsans should see it as a sign for peace and unity in Bayelsa and Nigeria,” she said.
In his own tributes, Governor Dickson extolled the virtues of the women, saying they had contributed immensely to development of Bayelsa. He said the state would continue to mark February 14 every year as day of mourning for the women politicians.
May their souls rest in peace, AMEN!