NJOKU MACDONALD OBINNA
It was William Shakespeare who posited that “When beggars die there are no comets seen, but heavens themselves blaze forth the death of Princes”.
It is exactly one month today since the remains of late Elder Bright Francis Jerry-Batubo (JP), father of Chief Mrs. Pat Inaiba Ozigbu (OpuNeene), who is happily married to the Ozigbu family of Ogwuaga Abba Autonomous Community, Nwangele LGA, Imo State, were laid to rest at his Buguma Country Home in Asari -Toru LGA, Rivers State.
No doubt, the burial had come and gone, but would linger almost forever in the memories of the bereaved family, extended relations, friends, well wishers, in-laws, as well as those who attended the watershed event.
The one week-long burial ceremony started with visit to select orphanage homes including a medical outreach organised by Lupus Haven Foundation on Friday, May 14, 2021, while Celebration Day took place at the Port Harcourt residence of the deceased daughter, Chief Mrs. Pat Iniaba Ozigbu, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, culminating to the Service of Songs in honour of the late Sage, Elder Bright Francis Jerry-Batubo (JP) on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at The First Baptist Church Buguma, which had the following as Officiating Ministers: Rev’d. Suku Bibi Ngaiangia, Ph.D, Pastor Nimi Jackreece, Pastor Awajitelenyem Mark, Deaconess Idukoye M. Amachree and Engr. Tamunotonye Williamwest.
It was a night of Praise and Testimonies in celebration of the life and times of Elder Francis Jerry-Batubo (JP), popularly known as Kalabro among his kinsmen and peers; one of the rarest of gems in his generation, honest, humane, accommodating, kind-hearted, a good giver, a friend of Jesus and of the Church of God.
The above sterling and rare Christian virtues exhibited by the late sage during his pilgrim walk on earth are practically exemplified in a number of his children, especially in Chief Mrs. Pat Inaiba Ozigbu (Mummy Grapik), who uses her humanitarian Foundation, Lupus Haven, to touch as many lives as the Lord leads and directs her.
Graciously called to eternal glory on Sunday, February 21, 2021, at the ripe old age of 91 years, late Elder Bright Francis Batubo (JP) was born April 15, 1930, into the family of late Chief & Lolo Anikiebidama Jerry Batubo. The young Bright Francis Jerry-Batubo, in pursuit of his dreams for Western education attended the Baptist Day Primary School in Buguma City and got up to Standard Three, but in his honest quest to support his parents, particularly his mother, who was at the time battling with the health challenges of his only sister, later opted to be an apprentice in the dry fish lucrative trade under the tutelage of his loving mother, Madam Alexandra (Aleki) Francis Batubo, at Wangwa Kiri.
A jolly good fellow with some sense of humour, a man of peace, filled with both natural and divine wisdom; as his counsels represented honesty and need for charity, just as his words resonated truth and knowledge. A fervent faithful of The Baptist Church, the late Elder Bright Francis Jerry-Batubo (JP) had earlier poured out his life to the service of God, his immediate family and also for humanity.
To the deceased first son, Mr. Jemina B.F Jerry-Batubo, his late father was a rallying point for all and showed “unconditional love and care for humanity, sought to provide help without boundaries, loved the things of God and enjoyed His abounding presence in total devotion”.
To the grandson, Mr. Patrick Ikechukwu Ozigbu ll, the late Elder Bright Francis Jerry-Batubo (grandfather)’s love for the things of God and his eagerness to always do the work of God no matter the cost was not only endearing but also exemplary.
Although the deceased battled with sickness associated with old age, but he lived a very happy and fulfilled life which was evident during the Praise and Testimonies Night in his honour. A burial, which had well over 4,000 mourners, sympathizers, traditional rulers, religious organisations, different cultural dance groups, members of professional bodies, political leaders, the business class and deluge of National and Local media outfits, which covered the event, speak quite a volume about the man, who was celebrated and honoured by his children, grandchildren, relations and in-laws both in life and in death.
True to what he represents in modesty, buoyance and flamboyance, High Chief Johnbosco Ozigbu, Ph.D (Ogwuaga of Ogwuaga, Ngele of Nwangele), one of the proud sons-inlaw of the late Elder Bright Francis Jerry-Batubo (JP), was completely adorned in a distinctive -aesthetic glamour of characteristically British but Asari -Toru traditional attire of a flowing black done coated with eleven pieces of diamond stud with a bola hat worth thousands of dollars, which signified royalty and a respected Asari-Toru Chieftain apart from being a great son in-law.
In what appeared as the most heart-warming courtesy and solidarity to High Chief Johnbosco Ozigbu, in a form of condolence, Ogwuaga of Ogwuaga was highly elated to welcome to Buguma City his friends, political allies, supporters, brothers and sisters from far and near, especially those who came all the way from Imo State.
As a man who has touched lives very positively and given back to the society, High Chief Johnbosco Ozigbu Ph.D has continued to enjoy undiluted love, goodwill and support from the homestead; Nkwerre/Isu/Nwangele/Njaba Federal Constituency in Imo State.
A typical celebration of life, the burial ceremony turned carnival had in attendance oil magnets, captains of industry and top notch members of the business class, the traditional rulers, political leaders and other Government functionaries from Bayelsa State, Rivers State, Delta State and Imo State. Indeed, it was a burial of a man, whose children are blessed beyond measures.
According to his son, Sopakiriba Batubo, Esq: “Elder Bright Francis Jerry-Batubo (JP) was a man of modest means, who found joy and fulfilment in sharing the little he had with others; a good giver”.
The high point of the burial ceremony was at the Asari -Toru Council Secretariat for the grand reception of guests and dignitaries, who came from all walks of life to pay their last respect to the good man, who came, saw, conquered and left the chequered life to eternal rest.
People were greatly entertained and had more than enough to eat and drink, as well packaged souvenirs were freely distributed courtesy of the children.
At the colourful grand reception of the burial ceremony turned carnival, we saw the Revolution Musical Band Group and Yemi Sensational thrilling his audience with a variety of songs, the cultural dance group from Buguma City displayed their heritage, traditional artistry and stage craft as Chief Mrs. Pat Iniaba Ozigbu (OpuNeene), a proud daughter of the community and one of the deceased shinning stars, danced to the admiration of the guests and dignitaries, some of who left their seats to splash money on the Amazon of a woman.
The Abba Okonko Cultural Dance Group, at the instance of High Chief Johnbosco Ozigbu (Ogwuaga of Ogwuaga), came all the way from the East to participate in the burial ceremony because it was a big iroko tree that fell down according to tradition.
Meanwhile, the crème of leaders, business associates and political allies of Ngele of Nwangele, spotted out by the media lens of 4th Estate Reporters included but not limited to: Imo Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon.Amara Chyna Iwuanyanwu, Majority leader of the Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Chief Kanayo Onyemaechi -Dele, His Lordship, Bishop Peter Ozigbu, His Lordship, Justice K.K. Ojiako, High Chief Paul Ozigbu, Chief Victor Asams, Special Adviser to the Nigerian Senate President, Chief George Amagangna, Port Harcourt based Billionaire Oil magnet, Chief Engr. Kenneth Ebubeogu, Chief Emeka Bekee, Hon. Eze Ugochukwu, SA Public Enlightenment to the Imo State Governor, IMC Chairman of Nwangele LGA, Hon. Cosmas Iwuogo, High Chief Maurice Onwukwe, Chief Chris Anyiam, Hon Olivtan Tanana Biaduo (Former SA Water Resources), Nze Ebubeagu Ekenulo, Convener Save Imo Group, Mrs. Maureen Chimara, Mr. F.M. Dikeukwu, Chief of Ifeanyi Nwosu, Oil magnet and Philanthropist.
The traditional rulers were also not left out as His Royal Highness Eze B.I. Uzomah Onuenyi (Ekiti of Ekitiafor Abba), His Royal Highness Eze Ndubueze Maduabuchukwu (Uburu ll of Abba), HRH Eze Ndubueze Godwin Ejiogu (Kara of Umunakara), HRH Eze Nelson Obasi and HRH Eze Kennedy Chidi Onukwuri (Uzo of Isiala Umuozu) alongside their Ugoezes were honoured by their Chief Host, High Chief Johnbosco Ozigbu (Ogwuaga of Ogwuaga).
Indeed, “the life beyond is eternal and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon and horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight”.
Elder Bright Francis Jerry-Batubo (JP), 91 years, is survived by many children, grandchildren as well as relations. He was so dearly loved and would be so greatly missed.
Keep resting in the bosom of the Lord who has called you to eternal glory!
– Njoku Macdonald Obinna,
Publisher,4th Estate Reporters.