Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has explained why, contrary to the expectations of many, he did not give his elder sister, Lady Bibiana Adani, an ostentatious burial. Lady Bibiana Adani, who died recently, was buried on Friday in her husband’s place, Adani, Ukana, Enugu State.
Responding to criticisms for not ensuring that his sister was buried like people of his status would ordinarily do, Obi, while answering questions from journalists after the requiem mass, advised those not happy with the development to respect what the family has chosen to do.
Asked what informed the decision, Obi said that he would not speak for Adani or Obi’s family, but that he was personally pleased with what people call ordinary burial that was accorded his sister. The former governor said it had always been his belief that money should be spent on the living and those in need of help rather than on those that were already dead.
He said, “Sometimes I shudder on what people do for the dead as if they are marketing commodity. All the dead needs from the living is decent burial after they must have taken care of him or her while living. As a Catholic, what I owe her now are prayers and booking of masses for the happy repose of her soul and not an opportunity to display wealth that should rather be used to add value to humanity.”
Obi lamented that Igbos are unnecessarily spending money in burials and other celebrations, saying that what Igbos usually spend in a week on burials or other social events can rehabilitate over a hundred schools and at least can be used to build a factory.
Commending some bishops who have started to look into the cost of burial, Obi said he personally shunned advertisements and other gifts from people in support of the burial of his sister and that he rather asked anybody that wanted to buy anything for him to give him the cash. He disclosed that he would add to the money he collected and rehabilitate a school as well as build a brand new Health Centre in honour of late Bibiana at Adani, Ukana, where she was married. “I think she will be happier that his death has brought succour to the people rather than in the number of cows killed for her, which may end up causing health issues to some people,” he said.
Speaking on the issue of brochure for burial, Obi said that brochures should be simple to reflect the mood of the time rather than showcasing the deceased’s life. “Even from the angle of creating unnecessary burden to ourselves, have you asked yourself the stress involved in countless calls and emails to people for condolence messages that would be published in a brochure? I mean, all these things are unnecessary burdens,” Obi said.
Preaching at the requiem mass held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Ukana, Enugu State, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu, Most Rev (Dr) Callistus C. Onaga, had commended Obi for his edifying philosophies of life and appealed to other Nigerians to emulate him. Bishop Onaga said his idea of making burials modest and using the money that would have gone into it to add value to humanity was a lesson worth learning.