It’s all over the internet. Indeed, it has gone viral. The Holy Father, Pope Francis of Asisi has sent a special commendation to the Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Godfrey Onah who instead of writing a letter to the President of Nigeria and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, Dr Goodluck Jonathan GCFR, chose to speak to him directly at the sermon/homily he delivered at the funeral of Mama Paulina Omadaya Eze, mother of Senator Ayogu Eze. The venue was St Theresa’s Catholic Church, Igbo-eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
In the audience was Mr President as well as the authentic President of the Senate, Senator David Mark and the Governor of Enugu State, Sullivan Chime who has made no secret of the fact that he owes his miraculous recovery from near fatal illness to divine intervention and the healing powers of prayers.
Proceedings were broadcast live on China news. Over a billion Chinese were mesmerized by the topic of Bishop Onah’s homily:
“THE FEAR OF DEATH”
The Chinese translator was clearly having trouble keeping up with the profound words of the cleric but he eventually got it right when he resorted to English sub-titles. Bishop Onah confidently declared that only those who live in sin (ying and yang) fear death. Then he delivered his judgement – the righteous, like Mama Obodo did not fear death because they knew they were heaven bound. He poured encomiums on the departed who was born into a traditional home but converted to Christianity.
“Her positive disposition to Almighty God and the Catholic Church endeared her to all and sundry; and inspired her to give her children, Senator Ayogu Eze; and Mrs Cecilia Ezeja good Christian upbringing. I enjoin all parents to emulate Mama Obodo and refrain from fetish practices. You cannot serve God and Satan at the same time.”
Before, the funeral was over the global media went into an orgy of frenzied jostling to capture live the homily and supplication of the President of Nigeria.
According to a report by Reuters, News Agency of Nigeria, CNN and BBC based on “The Nation” newspaper front page story of December 13, 2013,
“President Goodluck Jonathan was there. He led a powerful team from Abuja to the funeral of Mama Paulina Omadaya Eze, mother of Senator Ayogu Eze. It was an event attended by the high and mighty. The Senate virtually relocated to Umuida, the Eze’s hometown in Igbo-eze North Local Government Area of Enugu State, to commiserate with one of its own.
Umudia had never seen a thing like this before. Its bumpy and dusty roads spewed dust as one dignitary after the other arrived. The President landed in an helicopter in the community’s school field. He was accompanied by Governor Sullivan Chime. The mass was on when he and his entourage arrived at St Theresa’s Catholic Church.
He said “a moment like this when we are talking of somebody who has passed on during the burial, there is something that always encourages us – that is to be thankful for everything that has happened to us. Maybe some young men will ask why we should thank God when somebody has died. To me, I believe we are not thanking God because somebody has died but we are thanking God for bringing that person to have done what the person had done over the years.
Today, we are here to celebrate Mama Obodo. The scriptures say that we are to live for three scores plus ten. And looking at the programme, she was born in 1931, we are in 2013. That is a decade plus above what the scriptures prescribed for us. So, we have every reason to thank God.”
Senator Eze said: “I must confess that until the Bishop gave his sermon since my mother died on October 2, I cried every day, till today. I am not lying about it. But after the homily by Bishop Onah, I convinced myself that maybe crying could be one of the warning symptoms of fear because I have to desist from succumbing to that symptom.
Like the bishop said, my mum was a very exemplary person. She did not go to school. Her mother was about four months pregnant when her father died. She was born into a polygamous family. But she had a life of her own from day one. She was able to school herself and she started in a very pastoral way.
She wasn’t always a Christian. And it is important that I make that admission. She embraced Christianity at one point but she was losing her issues in quick succession. Every time she had a child, she lost it. So she began to question “this place I ran to for refuge, there is no refuge here.’ So she returned to the traditional way of worship. But something was waiting for her. On that day she had bought the fowl, yam etc and everything that was needed for sacrifice, it was in the night, and then a scorpion stung her.
She left the worship of the idol to run to a place where there was a church to save her from the sting of the scorpion. After that, the next Sunday, she was the first person to arrive in church. She said: ‘If this idol could not prevent the scorpion from stinging me on an auspicious day with all these provisions for it, then that idol is not worth worshipping.’
She ran back to the church and she never left the church. And we grew up under her footsteps because she must send you to farm, she must send you to market and all places. She will never pamper you. I thank God for the training she gave us.”
Also in attendance were members of the National Assembly, the Chief Justice of the Federation, Aloma Muktar, other top ranking members of the executive and judiciary, ministers, governors, mostly those of the southeast and diplomats.
At about the same time the funeral was going on in a remote part of Nigeria, unknown to most Nigerians a former President of the United States of America had quietly sneaked into Lagos, under very tight security.
By: J.K Randle