Williams Buried, Cleric Berates FG

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Williams Buried, Cleric Berates FG

Postby Richard Akindele » Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:47 pm

In 2001, Chief Bola Ige was killed in his bedroom - where were the orderlies?
On July 27, the day our brother was killed, where were the orderlies?

46 years after independence, we still don't have forensic experts.

It was tears all the way yesterday as the remains of Lagos State Peoples Demo-cratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial frontrunner, Chief Funso Williams, were interred in Lagos.

Overcome with grief, emotions rose as members of his family, friends and sympathisers resented the manner of his killing, restating the widespread call for the killers to be brought to justice.

Rev. (Fr.) Marvin Ubili who presided over the politician's funeral mass at Saint Dominic Catholic Church, Yaba had nothing but harsh words for the Federal Government as he held it responsible for the high level of insecurity in the country, which he said contributed largely to the murder of Williams.

He told the large congregation that came to pay its last respect to the slain politician that going by the poor state of security in the country today, Nigeria was not better than an animal kingdom.

Hear him: "People can be killed inside their abode. Nigeria is heading for disorderliness like the animal kingdom, where the lizard can eat the ant and snake can eat the rat. We are in the state of animal kingdom now."

However, the lying in state ceremony scheduled for Tafawa Balewa Square, which ought to precede the funeral service, was suddenly aborted because of a disagreement between the supporters of Williams, the Youth Vanguard, and the undertakers, MIC.

While the MIC said it was its responsibility to bring out the corpse from the hearse, the Youth Vanguard insisted that it should be its exclusive preserve.

The disagreement lasted for almost 30 minutes as the hearse was held hostage by thousands of his supporters, while hundreds of police deployed to the venue of the event watched helplessly.

Unable to resolve the disagreement, the MIC decided to shelve the Lying-in-state ceremony, and took the corpse to the church for the funeral service.

The remains accompanied by the widow, Hilda, her four children, Muyiwa, Kunle, Babatunde and Yemisi.

To say farewell to Williams yesterday were dignitaries across the country, including four governors from the South-west, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu (Lagos), Otunba Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Dr. Olusegun Agagu (Ondo) and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun).

Others were the PDP National Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, Deputy Chairman (South), Chief Olabode George, Vice Chairman, South-west, Senator Olayinka Omilani, former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe and Minister for Culture and Tourism, Chief Fani Kayode.

Delivering his sermon at the Catholic Church of Divine Mercy, Lekki Phase 1, Ubili regretted that 46 years after independence, Nigeria could not guarantee the security of its citizens.

The cleric who said the entire country was characterised by deceit, dishonesty and mischief lamented that 46 years after independence, Nigeria lacked forensic experts that it had to depend on Britain to find Williams' killers.

Recalling the killing of the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bola Ige, in 2001 and the brutal way Williams was killed, in his bedroom a fortnight ago, he highlighted three lessons to be drawn from the life and times of the late politician.

"There are three lessons to draw from the life and death of our brother, Chief Funso Williams. In 2001, Chief Bola Ige was killed in his bedroom and I said 'how manage, where were the orderlies?' But they said they went to eat. On July 27, the day our brother was killed, I learnt he came home at 2am. Where were those who killed him? Were they waiting for him in his bedroom? Where were the orderlies? Were they sleeping?

"The greatest part of our lives is characterised with deceit, dishonesty and mischief. From Bayelsa to Rivers, our lives are characterised with deceit, dishonesty and mischief. When we need to be our brothers' keepers, there is widespread insecurity of our lives. You can imagine how we depend on the mercy of God.

He said the second lesson was that Nigerians were helpless.

According to him, "The most current evidence is our asking the United Kingdom to come and help us. 46 years after independence, we still don't have forensic experts. Nigeria is an underdeveloped and backward country."

Showering encomiums on the late Williams, Ubili said the third lesson was that the late politician had proved to all and sundry that contrary to what most of us knew, politics is not for the hoodlums, but for fine people, gentle people like him.

"He has proved that politics is not for gangsters and hoodlums," he said, with the crowded auditorium of the church burst into a thunderous applause to acknowledge the remark.

He quoted the deceased: "Politics is not about being rude or violent, but an idea and the development of a city."

The cleric likened the search of the politician to become governor three times in vain to the experience of Jesus Christ who fell down three times while carrying his cross.

He added that as he was humiliated three times while seeking to be the governor of Lagos State, so also Jesus was humiliated on the cross, explaining that the humiliation of Christ eventually gave way to His ascension to glory.

He argued that like Jesus Christ, Funso's humiliation had given him greater glory, saying with his death, his glory had spread throughout the world.

Said the cleric: "If you make it in 2007, you would have only have Lagos State. But as you lay here, know that your name is ringing bells throughout the world on CNN, BBC. Our only pain is that you are not alive to fulfil your desire for us."

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Richard Akindele
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