Emeka Offor, one of Nigeria’s most controversial government contractors, has eventually decided on the date for the burial of his father who died since February 11. Mr. Benneth Offor, also known as Nnakaibeya among his kinfolk, will be buried on November 18 in his compound at Irefi Oraifite in Ekwusigo local government area of Anambra State. However, the ceremonies are scheduled to commence on November 16 with a wake and end on November 19 with a thanksgiving service to be conducted by the local Anglican Church.
The funeral is coming more than eight months after the man’s death because his controversial first child, Emeka, has been in very poor financial shape since Muhammadu Buhari became president on May 29, 2015. The president has told close aides like Abba Kyari, the chief of staff, that Offor is “nothing other than an Aso Rock contractor,” and has consequently issued an order preventing the flamboyant businessman, a close ally of erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, from being allowed into the seat of government in Abuja.
SaharaReporters has disclosed that business has been so rough for Offor that he has not paid staff salaries since 2015, leading to the closure of his offices in Abuja and the mass exit of even longstanding staff members like Val Orji, his classmate at Abbot Boys High School, Ihiala in Anambra State. Mr. Orji was in charge of Offor’s communications team.
“Sir E,” as Offor is fondly called by his friends and associates, “has been able to mobilize some money from a committee of friends led by former Senate President Ken Nnamani to support him to give Nnakaibeya a befitting burial,” according to a close family source.
Buoyed by the financial assistance, Offor attended a service at All Saints Anglican Church at Irefi, Oraifite, where he did his best to discredit media reports that he is afflicted by financial and health crisis.
At the service, he described himself as one of the richest men in Africa, if not the world. He then announced a donation of 500, 000 naira to the choir and youths of the local church. The ovation accompanying the statement had hardly died down when he announced that he would donate N4m to five youths from the parish to start businesses. Even some hangers-on from different towns who followed Offor to attend the service began to make pledges of between N200,000 and N300, 000.
Apparently carried away by the applause from the villagers, Mr. Offor demanded a list of 13 bishops from their parish priest, Reverend Canon C. C. Igwenazor, who, he claimed, would officiate at the funeral service. As Reverend Igwenazor was clapping excitedly and praying feverishly for him, the contractor announced that the leader of the Anglican Communion worldwide, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, who is also the Archbishop of Canterbury, would come all the way from England to lead the ceremony.
“We are embarrassed that the Reverend Igwenazor who should know better,” complained a former choirmaster to our correspondent, “should join in the charade by praising Offor to the high heavens and showing uncontrollable excitement at fabrications and announcements meant to deceive poor village folks.” The ex-choirmaster noted that Offor, who has been struck out of the register of Anglican Knights by the authorities of the Anglican Diocese of Nnewi for marrying three women, has not reconstructed the All Saints Primary School at Irefi, which he pledged since 2010 to rebuild and modernize.
One of the staffers of Blaze FM radio station owned by Offor barely controlled his anger at what he called a deceitful drama enacted by the contractor with the local priest “right at the altar of God. Everyone in this town knows that Offor has not paid the staff of this broadcasting facility in over one year because the funds are not there, thus compelling us to do all manner of stuff, including begging for money and owing traders of foodstuff. Yet, the very person who has reduced us to destitutes in this town where we live and work is talking of flying Archbishop Welby from the United Kingdom to join 13 Nigerian bishops to participate in a burial service, to say nothing about donating millions of naira.”
Though Offor spoke passionately about being in sound health, he was ironically assisted to walk down the steps of the church building because of his failing sight. SaharaReporters has reported authoritatively that Offor has been suffering diabetes and glaucoma, and has traveled several times to Germany for treatment. He is actually the person who called a lot of relatives and schoolmates to break the news of his rapidly declining vision, asking them to pray for him. Said a cousin, “Frankly, Orakwue has no reason to lie about his health because the condition was not caused by him but nature.” Orakwue is Offor’s real name, though he was baptized as Wilson when he was an infant. All his family members, relatives, and classmates still call him Orakwue.