By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—After 10 days of burial activities in honour of Mrs. HID Awolowo, the late matriarch of the Awolowo family, she was interred yesterday, around 1:45 pm beside her husband, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
The interment which was attended by only family members and some invited bishops, was done in a mausoleum built within the premises of the Awolowo country home in Ikenne.
Apart from the two surviving children, Rev. Omotola Oyediran and her husband, and Ambassador Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu and her husband, almost all the grandchildren and great-grand children were at the graveside where the remains of their mother were lowered.
Newsmen were barred from covering the interment but were allowed to cover other activities within the premises.
The interment which lasted almost 30 minutes ended around 1:56 pm when the bishops came out of the mausoleum and were later followed by the children and grandchildren of the diseased.
Some of the 16 governors and other dignitaries including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and Head of Interim National Government, Chief Earnest Shonekan, among others, neither waited for the interment nor the reception that held at the premises.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who arrived Ikenne at 2:15pm shortly after the internment, headed straight for the Efunyela Hall and held a closed door discussion with the Awolowo family for about 30 minutes
The President, accompanied by Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, later visited the mausoleum, spent about two minutes there before leaving.
Meanwhile, the city of Ikenne in Ikenne Local Government Area of the state was agog following the influx of people across the country into the area in honour of the late matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty.
Earlier, the final funeral rites were held at Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Ikenne, with heavy presence of security personnel from the state and the Presidency.
The open space in front of Model School, Ikenne, which the governor named after the deceased, was cleared for President Buhari’s helicopter to land.
Federal Government delegation comprising ministers was led by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who was accompanied by his wife, a grand-daughter of the matriarch.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, arrived at about 10:16 a.m with some senators and members of the House of Representatives.
Former presidents and heads of state such as Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Yakubu Gowon, Ernest Shonekan, Oladipo Diya also attended the church service presided over by Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh.
Those who attended the church service were serving and past governors, including national leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu. Also at the event were Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, former governors of Ogun State Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
Also present were governors of Ondo, Cross River, Imo, Osun, Oyo, Kaduna and Sokoto states; Olusegun Mimiko, Ben Ayade, Rochas Okorocha, Rauf Aregbesola, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Nasir El Rufai and Aminu Tambuwwal, respectively.
In his sermon, Most Revd Nicholas Okoh who spoke on “God’s promised rest” said the nature of rest promised by Jesus is deeper than revealed from every physical exhaustion.
Okoh, who used Mathew 11 verse 28-30 said: “ It is spiritual rest here and now; peace of conscience, mind, tranquillity of soul through an application of fattening grace of God.
“Mama is now at rest from her labours due to her faith in Christ. She has fought the good fight and has finished the race so gloriously. To God Almighty be the glory.”