By Kodilinye Obiagwu
FORMER President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, foremost obstetrician and gynecologist, and chieftain of the Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra (IPOB), the late Dr. Dozie Ikedife, finally got his wish. He was buried without fanfare.
On Wednesday, about 24 hours after his death on Tuesday, Ikedife was laid to rest in his home town, Otolo Nnewi, Nnewi North Council of Anambra State.
He had said, “For me, a befitting burial is when you are sure I am dead, dig six-feet, wrap me in a mat, put me in the ground and cover it.”
According to him: “I will not be celebrated when I die. I don’t want a funeral. Once I am dead, put me in the grave and go away. Don’t come on condolence visit. Don’t come for funeral ceremony. I don’t want it; is it of any use to me, a dead person? You are just wasting your time and giving yourself trouble.
“If you invite the whole Nigeria it doesn’t mean anything to me. If you invite 10 people it doesn’t mean anything to me. If you fire 100 gunshots, it means nothing to me. People waste energy and sometimes money; sometimes they borrow or sell things to give somebody what they call a befitting burial. I don’t need it.”
He continued: “You may publish in the newspapers that ‘Dr. Dozie Ikedife has died and has been buried. By his direction and request, no condolence visits; no funeral ceremony.’ ”
And if his children were to ignore his wishes? He said: “I hope they don’t because I have told them several times, including my wife. If they do, well, I have a caveat: there will be consequences.”
In spite of his wish, thousands of sympathizers from across the country and professions, gathered to pay their last respect.
Elder statesman and First Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amechi described his death as a big loss to Ndigbo and Nigeria. He said: “Dozie excelled in his medical practice, saving the lives of countless number of mothers. As a nationalist he believed in one strong Nigeria, where Ndigbo must be on equal status with the rest of other ethnic groups.
“This is why he believed in the struggle of the youths agitating for the restoration of Biafra. He never believed in violence. He believed that in this struggle, it behoves on the Federal Government to listen to the people and find out what they want.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, described the late surgeon as a “patriot and tested leader, who was deeply committed to fatherland. As President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, he not only advanced the Igbo cause, but also championed the struggle for a just and equitable society where no man or woman is oppressed. He was a fine gentleman and firebrand in one. He fought a good fight and history will be kind to him.”
Mr Dozie Ikedife (Jnr) described his late father as a lucky man. He said: “At 88 years, it should be a celebration of life. He actually dictated what should be done for him when he died. We his children and family are trying to do things according to his wishes. We will preserve and maintain his legacies, that is his desire.
President Emeritus of Ika Ikenga, Chief Gordy Uwazuruike, said: “Ikedife lived a purpose-built life. He was a respected figure in Igboland and beyond. A medical practitioner for more than 55 years, he delivered most business titans at birth.”
In his funeral sermon, Rev. Fr. Udemba, described Ikedife as “detribalized, a man whose life was transparent and built on truth. He shunned protocol and could not be persuaded to compromise his principles. You could not buy him with anything. He could work the street without fear of kidnap. Our prayer is that God will give us someone like Dozie.”