By Emmanuel Elebeke
Abuja—The body of the first national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and first civilian governor of old Plateau State, Chief Solomon Lar, will arrive the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, by 6 pm today.
Briefing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, chairman of the burial committee, Professor Jerry Gana, said, the body would arrive from a US hospital, where he died last October.
According to Prof. Gana, the arrival of the body will be followed by a formal reception by some eminent Nigerians at the airport, followed by a commendation service on Saturday by 3pm at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
Prof. Gana said this will be followed by a memorial lecture and tribute of honour at the Sheraton Hotel, Abuja by 4pm.
He said a special session of the House of Representatives in honour of the deceased would hold on Tuesday, December 10, adding that this was considered necessary because of his membership of the parliament in the FirstRepublic before he was appointed a minister.
Prof. Gana said the remains would depart Abuja for Lafia and Langtang, NasarawaState, before they are finally taken to Jos, the PlateauState capital, after service of songs and special tribute at Langtang township stadium on Thursday.
On Friday, December 13 there will be a state funeral service at Rwang Township Stadium, Jos by 10 am before the final burial and interment in his home town.
It will be recalled that federal government set up a burial committee to organise a national burial for Chief Lar in recognition of his role to the development of the nation and democracy.
He was said to have known his time was near and prepared well for his passage, as some described the elder statesman as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria.
Until his death, Chief Lar was said to have lived in a rented apartment and shared his wealth to people around and was not into accumulating property, which explained why he lived in a rented house as national chairman of PDP, even after such a position.
He was also said to have used his Certificate of Occupancies as collateral to collect money from banks, solve people’s problems and then pay later.
Chief Solomon Daushep Lar died on Wednesday October 9, 2013, in a US hospital of what family sources described as old-age related ailment. He was aged 80.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United States, Ade Adefuye, and his Canadian counterpart, Ambassador Ojo Maduekwe, had earlier thrown their weight behind the burial.
This was followed by a service of songs held at the premises of the Nigerian Embassy in US, with both of them in attendance.
Adefuye said the embassy would be actively involved in the burial arrangements and that the two embassy officials had already been positioned to liaise with all those involved in the burial arrangements in the US and at home.
According to him, it is the responsibility of the federal government to sponsor the return of Lar’s corpse back home because of the robust role he played in forming the United Middle-Belt Congress. He added that “taking care of the cost of the body’s transfer to Nigeria is the right thing for the government to do.”
On his part, the Nigerian ambassador to USA, Ojo Maduekwe, who described the late Lar as a great emancipator and peacemaker, made allusions to the civil war, which he said, could have been prevented if the late Lar’s advice was heeded.