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Onicha-Ugbo, a calm, agrarian town in Delta State, witnessed an extraordinary spectacle on the 26th of December, 2023, when it played host to captains of industries and Nigeria’s stakeholders as the remains of its illustrious and highly respected son, Diokpa Gabriel Okeleke Izegbu, was received for interment.

The city resonated with a symphony of jubilant activities as the stately abode of the distinguished statesman, astute politician, magnate of commerce, and philanthropic luminary, Laurence Izegbu, transformed into a haven for the elite echelons of the state, national stakeholders and captains of industries.

Within the vicinity of Issele-Uku, accommodations around the Local Government headquarters and the precincts of Onicha-Ugbo were all fully booked by esteemed guests who had traversed considerable distances to honour a man of profound influence within the state.

Finest liquor, cows, goats, cash and other opulent gifts were received in excess as Chukwudi, the firstborn of Deceased was engulfed by an admirable solidarity from an assembly of well-wishers, business confidantes, custodians of tradition, and fellow statesmen.

The dawn of Tuesday witnessed the emergence of Onicha-Ugbo kingdom into a vibrant panorama, boasting an unprecedented influx of guests, vehicular traffic, and the resonant wail of sirens, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the grandeur of a triumphant general.

In an ostentatious procession, sleek automobiles and the most contemporary of wheels graced the town, prompting residents to wonder at how their town was appearing like Las Vegas within the heart of Delta State.

The venerable Pa Izegbu, laid beautifully within an expensive, meticulously crafted Apams casket, embarked on his final journey on December 26, 2023

This was preceded by the observance of traditional rites that bespoke a timeless cultural heritage.

A well-attended service of songs held the town spellbound on Monday, December 25, 2023, at his Agba Ohaeze Royal family house. Thereafter, the body departed from God’s Time Resting Home in Issele Mkpitime, Aniocha North Local Council, Delta State, on Tuesday, December 26, at 9.00 a.m.

A solemn lying-in-state procession was observed at his residence at 11.00 a.m. as family members and friends fought back the fountain of tears welling around every eye lid.

The reception and entertainment of esteemed guests assumed the proportions of a jubilant carnival.

The arrangement was aligned according to the various spheres, as politicians, circles of business magnates, and keepers of tradition, each had their exclusive corners in this memorable event.

In attendance were top military brass, political stalwarts, titans of the oil and gas sector, and venerable traditional rulers, collectively contributing to the regality of the occasion.

The affluent and influential, recognizing the impeccable organization of the funeral, showered upon Chukwudi Izegbu, his wife, and children, a shower of hard currencies in appreciation of the meticulousness with which his father’s final rites were conducted.

Beyond his role as a grassroots politician and enterprising entrepreneur, Chukwudi Izegbu, through a magnanimous history of philanthropy, earned the surprising cascade of gifts from a network of friends and associates who held him in high esteem.

In responding to inquiries from the press, the erudite first son, Hon Laurence Chukwudi Izegbu, articulated that the triumphant outcome of the burial ceremony was a testament to the bedrock principles of peace, unity, and collaborative synergy that define the Izegbu family.

His eloquent discourse highlighted the activities that marked the commemoration, from the distribution of free clothes (asoebi).

The absence of hierarchical distinctions in the family arrangement was also commendable as it was not possible to distinguish biological children from other members of the Izegbu family. The unity demonstrated is rare.

Instructions were given by the most senior member of the family, Tony Mudalue Izegbu, an American based who flew in for the event one month before time.

From the inception of free-flowing meals on December 20, presented in an extravagant buffet style allowing guests to serve themselves, to the unconventional and unprecedented rituals observed during family gatherings, wherein the Izegbu clan ceremoniously slaughtered cows, bush pork, and goats for merriment — this burial stood as a paragon of distinction.

Noteworthy is the return of every member of the Izegbu family residing abroad, a further testament to the unity that transcended geographical distances.

The meticulous documentation of events from the 24th by Unity TV, broadcasted across diverse social media platforms, served as a chronicle of the Izegbu family’s embodiment of sophistication and organizational prowess.

In the annals of Onicha-Ugbo, this monumental event, commemorating the life and legacy of the respected Diokpa Gabriel Okeleke Izegbu, will undoubtedly endure as a poignant and unforgettable chapter.

The demise of this patriarch at the age of 93 marks the conclusion of a chapter, but the echoes of his legacy resonate through the splendor of this transcendent occasion.


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