Breaking News

Wigwe built private tomb before death struck

…Where, how he will be laid to rest

•Isiokpo kingdom, RCCG Parish Plan big for burial
•Church members are to wear Ankara for burial, and white for Thanksgiving
•He built our church; We’ll celebrate him, not mourn for he was a good man —Pastor
•Every turn from PH Airport to Isiokpo being touched
•Isiokpo youths demand the cause of death from FG, USA
•Plan a Protest at the US Embassy, Villa, to block major roads

By Daniel Abia in Isiokpo, P/Harcourt

It is ten kilometres from the Port Harcourt International Airport to Wigwe International University in Isiokpo. From the airport junction deep into the hinterland, every turn wears a new look in anticipation of receiving an “august visitor”.

Preparations for the final burial of the billionaire business mogul, Dr Herbert Wigwe on hypersonic speed. Roads are being cleared and available potholes are fixed. Contractors handling the University project are on their toes. The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and Isiokpo parish are wearing a befitting look.

Several hectares of land have either been donated by well-wishers or acquired by families as car parks to ease both human and vehicular traffic on the day of the burial.

In all, Isiokpo kingdom looks set to receive its illustrious son back home. Yes, he is coming home to rest for eternity on Saturday, March 9, 2024. But on his arrival at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, the late Wigwe will not adorn his usual trademark smiles. There will be no handshakes. No hugging. No form of pleasantries. He will be stiff and cold. Call it rigor mortis. He will be lying face up signifying the end of all mortals. That is because death, a necessary end comes when it will come.

Private Cemetery

As if he had a premonition of his tomorrow, Dr. Herbert Wigwe had already built a befitting private tomb for himself. Located within the massive expanse of the University environment, the mausoleum is a sight worthy of a billionaire.

“Do not grief, for the joy of the Lord is your strength”, is an inscription embossed on the top corner of the composing mausoleum. The sight of the transparent private cemetery is a clear testament to the fact that Dr. Herbert Wigwe was not just rich while alive, he appears even richer in death.

With thousands of foreign guests expected to pay their last respects to this rare gem, what will be the cynosure of all eyes is the expansive landmass of the Wigwe International University. The construction of the university has 60% of its local content in terms of labour deployed from Rivers State, 20% from Isiokpo and the remaining 20% from the rest of Nigeria. A touch of a detribalized man, one would say.

“He built this private cemetery before he started the university. His house here has been designed to have a special gate and walls separated from the university. I can tell you that he had a big vision. Very good vision and he was making efforts to ensure that those visions came to a reality. But what I cannot tell you right now is whether those visions will still be achieved”, a credible source decried.

Going spiritual, the source said, “it is only the owner of the vision that can implement his visions to the letter. I cannot say if those visions including the university will be accomplished in line with the dreams of the owner of the vision”.

Virtually all the buildings within the university environment are receiving an accelerated touch. Every completed building wears the same colour of pure white and some black corrugated roofs. The internal road construction is ongoing with the speed of light. Every staff knows his brief.

RCCG Parish Isiokpo Wears New Face

Myriads of activities were seen going on within the premises of the 48-acre “Lion of Judah” Parish of RCCG, Isiokpo. Lands were being sand-filled for car parking in anticipation of the heavy crowd that would attend the funeral next Saturday.

The 1000-seater auditorium with 12 standing split air conditioning units built by the late billionaire was being renovated to depict the status of the man who came, saw and blessed anyone who crossed his path while alive. Residents who live close to the church have donated their farmlands to be sand-filled for car parks while the church itself has expanded deep into the interior to create more space for the expected guests.

“Our brother Wigwe built the main church before he died. It was commissioned by the General Overseer (Pastor Enoch Adeboye). He lived a good life. We will celebrate him not to mourn because he lived a very good life worthy of emulation”.

Pastor Olaniyan said the entire church will appear in Ankara material on Saturday for the burial while all members of the church will be on white for the Thanksgiving service on Sunday. “That is the way we want to celebrate him. We will forever remember him and his good works while he was alive”.

The parish pastor recollected that Dr. Wigwe was in the church premises a few days before he travelled and promised to ensure that the electricity project he embarked upon in the community would be realized. “That was the last time we saw him. Some communities had started enjoying the light before his death”.

Not minding the pains of their son’s death, the Wigwe family still went ahead to provide the Ankara material that would be used by the church members in Isiokpo. To reciprocate the gesture, Pastor Olaniyan said there would be a deliberate move to ensure that the presence of RCCG is felt on the University campus to drive the legacies and vision of the late Wigwe.

We’ve Lost A Rare Gem

Dr. Chukwudi Dimgba, a front-line politician in Isiokpo could not hold back his emotions when he narrated the beautiful memories of late Herbert Wigwe. “He was the light of Isiokpo kingdom. He put this kingdom on the global map through his numerous legacy projects and empowerment programs”.

Dr. Dimgba revealed that Isiokpo council of chiefs and indeed the entire Isiokpo people will work in unison to give the deceased, his wife and son befitting burials. “He will be accorded a full burial rite as a true son of the kingdom. Remember that two weeks ago, the King declared a 7-day mourning period in honour of his death. He deserves all the best because he was our light”.

USA govt, FG On Trial

Preparations for the burial of the Wigwes may be in top gear but the youths of the community seem to have a joker off their sleeves. They are demanding for immediate explanation from the governments of the United States where the helicopter crashed and the Nigerian government over “its silence” on the root cause of the death.

The Chief security officer, CSO, of Isiokpo kingdom, Wobodo Amadi jnr said the government of the United States must come out clean and explain to the world and indeed, the people of Isiokpo what killed Wigwe, his wife and son. Amadi refused to be convinced about the recent report of weather conditions that must have led to the Copter crash, killing the three Wigwes and three other occupants.

“The US government should come and explain to us what killed our son. We will stage a peaceful protest at the American embassy, and the Villa (Nigeria’s Seat of power) in Abuja and occupy major roads for two weeks if we are not presented with a convincing reason for what led to his death. If they say the weather was bad, who then authorized the pilot to fly the helicopter?

“During the covid-19 pandemic, Wigwe donated N2billion to the federal government of Nigeria to cushion the effect of the widespread virus. Why then is the Nigerian government keeping silent in his death? What does anybody know that we don’t know? The death of our son was not natural. We demand an explanation”, he said.
On their preparations for the burial, an emotional Amadi noted that the youths of the community were fully prepared for the event. He said all the youths would spot black on the burial day and would be at the Port Harcourt International Airport to receive the bodies and provide security for the visitors.

“Everywhere including the hotels will be adequately secured. The youths will collaborate with other security agencies like the department of Security Services, DSS, Police and the Army to ensure that nothing untoward happens before, during and after the burial next week. There will also be a candle night in his honour”.

He regretted that Dr. Herbert Wigwe would be greatly missed in several ways. “Every year, he used to give us N100million for our annual carnival. He employed and empowered our youths. Our late brother contributed 80% to the peace we are enjoying in Isiokpo today.

“He made a promise that if any indigene got a first-class degree, such a person would be given automatic employment. He has been doing exactly that. If you go to Wigwe University, many of our youths are working there and earning good salaries. We are bitter about losing a good son like that”.

Nonetheless, the youths have raised a serious allegation that the cause of the helicopter crash might not have been due to weather problems. This will spark a debate soon after the final burial on Saturday, March 9. If the death of the Wigwes was predetermined, where then would the pendulum of blame swing?

Wigwe was a business tycoon who was associated with the big and mighty in the business world. He was a friend to state governors, a confidant to presidents and a trusted ally to global business partners. Not just that, he stepped down from his high horse to dine and wine with the commoners in his home town. He was a source of hope for many indigent homes. So, where are the fingers of the youths pointing to? Wigwe was a good man and his people in Isiokpo will ensure he rests in peace with his wife and son.

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