Stella’s final journey
By UCHE USIM
The remains of the first lady Chief Mrs Stella Obasanjo arrived the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos, Thursday aboard a Dornier aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force at about 11.20a.m.
Prior to the arrival of the corpse, hundreds of top politicians and some state governors were already on ground to receive it. Among those present was the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ibrahim Mantu and Olabode George.
Governors on ground were Bukola Saraki, Bola Tinubu, Dr Peter Odili, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso and former Deputy Governor of Lagos, Bucknor Akerele.
Also, Engr. Funso Kupolokun, NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Mrs Cecilia Ibru, Managing Director, Oceanic Bank, Olorogun Michael Ibru, Chairman, Oceanic Bank, Transport Minister, Dr Abiye Sekibo, Dr Dora Akunyili, among others.
Wrapped in Nigeria's flag, Stella's corpse was carried by men of the Nigerian Army amidst loud ovation and was later transferred into a Lincoln Limousine ambulance belonging to Ebony Caskets.
Eventually, President Olusegun Obasanjo arrived Lagos around 12.20p.m in a Gulf Stream Jet and headed straight to Lisa village where a memorial service was conducted for the victims of the Bellview plane crash.
Describing Stella as a true mother of Nigeria, Governor Bola Tinubu said her life was a fulfilled one. He said: "We'll miss her greatly. She was a courageous and humble woman. She stood strongly beside President Obasanjo during his days in detention. She believed in the struggle for a better Nigeria. We were together in the United Kingdom and the US. She really cared for the less privileged prompting her to set up the Child Care Trust Foundation.
"I must say that she really supported her husband, even when the going was very rough. She was selfless, friendly and kind."
Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State described Stella as the live wire of Aso Rock for her simplicity and humility.
"She was really so care free. You didn't need to wait endlessly to see her. She was very friendly. Her position was not intoxicating her. She made me feel at home. She was very close to my wife and likewise many wives of governors. We all will really miss her. I'm here to pay my last respect."
For James Ibori, Stella was one of the pillars of the country. He said her demise will be felt in all the nooks and crannies of the land.
Deputy Senate President, Alhaji Ibrahim Mantu said the vacuum created by the passage of Stella will be hard to fill.