By Nnamdi Ojiego
Tributes have continued to pour in for the late Federal Minister for States and Local Governments, Pastor Emily Okheren Aig-Imoukhede.
The former National President of National Council of Women Societies, NCWS, died in Surrey, England, on July 8, and would be buried on Friday, July 16.
She was the mother of former Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc., Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.
Late Mrs. Aig-Imoukhede served Nigeria in various capacities such as Honourable Secretary (Federal Minister) for States and Local Governments in 1993, President of NCWS and Curator of the National Museum, amongst many others.
President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former military president, Ibrahim Babangida; Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, were among dignitaries that have condoled with the family.
The leaders described late Aig-Imoukhede, as a patriot whose services to the country would be solely missed.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Femi Adeshina, Buhari described Emily as a kind, graceful and caring mother.
According to the president, the deceased spent her entire life serving God and humanity, especially, the vulnerable and the underprivileged through her various charity programmes, and urged the family to preserve her memory by keeping aglow the fire she lit for the inspiration of all those who knew her.
In his condolence message, Prof. Osinbajo stated that Emily’s ‘’philanthropy and commitment to improve the lives of the vulnerable and less privileged is a distinct legacy she most certainly passed on to her children as demonstrated by the ongoing philanthropic efforts of the family’’.
Also, Babangida, who expressed sadness over the demise of the Aig-Imoukhede matriarch, said he was actually looking forward to Emily’s 80th birthday on October 27, to ‘’formally thank her once again for being such a dependable ally, a family friend and one whose sense of loyalty to friendship remains profoundly exemplary’.
‘’Pastor Emily occupied a special place in our hearts as a family. Aside from being an embodiment of talents, skills and ideas, she was one imbued with subliminal humility. She exuded warmth, radiance, beauty, comportment, brilliance, good nature and a deep sense of patriotism’’, IBB wrote.
In the same vein, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, described the death of Mrs. Aig-Imoukhede, as a painful one, as she passed at a time her wise counsel was highly needed.
Gbajabiamila said, “We cannot question God. He gives and takes life at the time He desires. However, we find solace that Emily’s life was well spent in the worship of the Lord and service to humanity”
The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, also sympathised with the Aig-Imoukhede’s family over the death of their matriarch.
In a condolence message he personally signed, the governor said the loss occasioned by Mrs. Aig-Imoukhede’s death transcended her family, and immediate community.
“The nation has lost a patriot who served in different capacities with dedication and commitment. A torchbearer and symbol of womanhood at it’s finest has taken a bow. The generation of mother’s who are vessels of life, purveyors of societal values, and great home builders has been further diminished”, Abiodun mourned.