Tears, Tributes At Azazi’s Funeral

Tears, Tributes At Azazi’s Funeral

Azazi was buried amidst tears and glowing tributes from family members and sympathisers including President Goodluck Jonathan.

Tears, Tributes At Azazi’s Funeral

He was buried at the newly created National Heroes Park, close to the Ijaw House, along the Sani Abacha Expressway, Yenagoa.

Northern and South-West governors were absent at the funeral while governors of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and his counterpart in Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, were the only ones in attendance.

Our correspondent observed that the Perentogbere community of the late Azazi boycotted the funeral.

The casket bearing Azazi’s remains was brought into the venue of the funeral at Peace Park, Yenagoa in a Nigerian Army ambulance marked NA459 EO1 at about 10am.

Jonathan arrived at the venue of the service in company with his wife, Patience, after the casket was laid in state but left after the service that lasted over five hours.

The President, in his remarks, said, “If Nigerians would change their attitude, you will realise that most of these issues being attributed to corruption are not caused by corruption. Recently, I met with officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps who told me that they had discovered that majority of the road accidents are recorded on good roads. So you can see it is not a matter of corruption, it is an issue of the people’s attitude.”

Jonathan, who was absent at the interment, described Azazi as a good Nigerian that served the country selflessly.

He said, “He was one good Nigerian. When I was to appoint my first set of service chiefs, I consulted Azazi who was not the NSA then. He did the analysis, believed in merit and competence. I had no regrets when I appointed them.

“If 50 per cent of Nigerians with privileged to have been certain offices would behave like General Azazi, this country will change.”

Also, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Mr. Ayo Oritsejafor, said the late Azazi would be remembered for his integrity.

He said, “A great man has gone but one thing stood out about him and that was integrity. Greatness is never about what you have, it is about what you do with what you have.”

The Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Allison Madueke, also said Azazi was a thorough strategic analyst.

Madueke who spoke on behalf of the Federal Execurite Council said, “A big tree has fallen in Ijaw land.”

In his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, said the late Azazi spearheaded the transformation of the Nigerian Army.

He said, as a colonel several years back, he and others adopted the deceased as a role model both in the service and in private life.

Those present at the funeral included the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika.

Meanwhile, the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, on Saturday named the Nkpogu Road which is undergoing dualisation in Port Harcourt, the state capital, after Azazi.

He said the state would sponsor an award, chair or prize dedicated to Azazi’s honour in a reputable institution in the country.

“On Monday I will erect a signboard that will change Nkpogu Road to Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi Road,” he said.

Dickson directed his deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah, to liaise with the leadership of the military to work out modalities of immortalising Azazi.

Dickson also said a befitting edifice and memorial lecture would be named after the late general.

He said he had already directed the Ijaw History Project to document the life and times of General Azazi alongside Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro, Harold Dappa Biriye and other Ijaw heroes, both living and dead.

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