(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – All roads led to Elibrada town in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State today as dignitaries from all walks of life, especially politicians across political divides in Rivers State went to pay their last respects to late Lady Nyewere Beke, wife of late Chief Francis Beke, notable politician and successful businessman in the 70’s, 80’s.
The late Lady Beke, patriarch of the Osimini Beke’s dynasty in Elibrada, was also the mother of Prince Charles Beke, former commissioner in Rivers State and Chief Emeka Beke, Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers State.
It was therefore not surprising that, the burial programme attracted notable politicians and other dignitaries from within and outside in Rivers State, including Rivers State Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike; Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, Nigeria’s Transportation Minister and former governor of Rivers State; Sir Celestine Omehia, Chief Ojuka Amachree of the APC, Chiefs Sergeant Awuse and Emeh Glory Emeh, among others.
The funeral service, which had thousands of people outside because of the limited capacity of the St. Philip’s Anglican Church, had Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi among those who arrived on time while the Rivers State governor came towards the end of the programmme but both of them sat at different locations in the church.
Meanwhile, as selected dignitaries were being recognized before the end of the service, the officiating minister, who had acknowledged the support of Amaechi to the Anglican church at Isiokpo when he was governor, asked the crowd to clap for the dignitaries as they were recognized. It was at this point that Rt. Hon. Ameachi joined others to clap for Wike when the governor was introduced, and he did it so freely, to the amazement of many observers in the church.
Some of those who spoke to Notable Outcome on the action of the former governor described it as a demonstration of political maturity, while others reasoned that he might have dome that because of the church environment, and that the clapping does not change anything.
Speaking at the funeral service, Prince Charles Beke, first son and chief mourner, recalled how his late father was also given a befitting last respects by friends and well wishers as well as political leaders at the time, and thanked God for the presence of very important personalities to honour his late mother. He thanked the church for their support; relations, friends and well wishers for identifying with the family of late Francis Beke.
Although Elibrada had been in the news in the past for the wrong reasons, the week long funeral programme that climaxed on Saturday with interment proceeded with out an incident. It would be recalled that, a Service of Songs was held on Wednesday, donations to widows on Thursday while novelty football match featured on Friday. A thanksgiving service at St. Philip’s Anglican Church comes up on Sunday.
All through the week long programme, the people of Elibrada proved to be very good hosts as their traditional hospitality was generously demonstrated, and visitors were entertained with music and dances.