Monday, 10 September 2012
How Cynthia's funeral service was held without interment
The burial rites of late Cynthia started in Jos, Plateau State last Wednesday where service of songs was held at St. Murumba's Catholic Church, Zaria Road, where her family home is.
However, the country home of her father, a retired army general, Frank Osokogu, along Owa Ekei road at Boji Boji Owa, Delta State, was somehow quiet in spite of the large turnout of people, with music common with obsequies gently pushing out from the loudspeakers. Soldiers were firm at the gate of the compound but nobody was molested as things went well.
The General himself showed his military strength by standing outside to receive sympathisers who came to console the family while the wife, Joy, sat inside their sitting room surrounded by women who know how it hurts when a beloved, resourceful and promising child is lost, most especially not through a natural cause but in the hands of deadly criminals.
From the family house to the church service, the story was not different because what would have elicited emotions or tears or made people roll over each other was missing, that is the corpse of Cynthia. Early that morning, the grave of Cynthia was being dug but suddenly it was suspended and only few callers knew about it.
At about 10 a.m., people, including journalists, began to ask questions about the where abouts of the remains of Cynthia, the 2009 runner up of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant.
“What is happening? Where is the coffin bearing the body? Will the requiem mass hold without the coffin?” Nobody could provide an answer to the questions. Not even her father who declined comments initially when journalists sought to know. However, immediately after the church service, the General, flanked by his traditional people, broke his silence and gave reasons while the burial ceremony of Cynthia, the only daughter in a family of four children, was held without the corpse. Therefore, there was no interment, which the dad explained would be conducted as soon as all the legal and medical processes surrounding the girl's death were concluded.
Explaining the circumstances, Gen. Osokogu said the interment could not take place following the advice the family received from the professional team of police and medical practitioners coupled with the fact that the case was still in court.
The information, according to him, was received that Friday morning after all arrangements had been made for the funeral.
“There is nothing we can do. The advice of the professionals came to us this morning and we have to obey. But because we have gone far in the arrangement inviting people from far and near, there is nothing we can do but to go ahead and conduct the funeral without the body. The body is in Lagos and as soon as the professionals are through, the body will be released to us and then the family will decide how to bury our daughter”.
Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Ambassador Chiejine Owa, Monarch Obi Emmanuel Efizomor and other dignitaries that visited, extolled the virtues of the late Cynthia and condemned the atrocious act of the fraudsters who snuffed life out of her.
Uduaghan, who was accompanied by his wife Roli, to console the family as early as 9 a.m., said the death of Cynthia in the hands of the deadly criminals was tragic and painful, even though what happened could as well have happened to anybody.
The governor, while appraising the usefulness of social media to advance the society, condemned in very strong terms, evil doers who have turned it to perpetrate all sorts of crimes.
While conveying the condolence of the government and people of the state to the family, the governor was touched to pray that that kind of thing would not happen to the family again, nor “any of us”.
“Why it is so painful is that a child you see growing up through primary, secondary and to the university and suddenly you can't find her anymore. It is children that are supposed to bury parents and not the other way round”.
Turning to Cynthia's mother, Uduaghan saw the pains in her and urged her to take heart while Mrs. Uduaghan prayed for the family.
Senator Okowa, an indigene of Owa used the occasion to advise the youth to be cautious of what they did with social media which, though is good for the exchange of ideas and development, has also turned evil as people use it to spread falsehood and malign personalities.
Obi Efeizomor of Owa kingdom said the action of those who killed Cynthia was a deliberate ploy to tarnish the image of Nigeria in the eyes of the outside world as well as a dent in the peace agenda of the Federal and state government. Prayers for the repose of Cynthia's soul was conducted at the St. Dominic Catholic Church, which was filled to full capacity by mourners especially from Owa, Plateau and Nasarawa states who had wanted to pay the last respect to their daughter, friend and colleague, though her remains were not in the church.
In his homily, Rev. Father Leonard Biachi, made it clear that life and death were real, admonishing Nigerians to live a life above sin by turning a new leaf, even as he added that what happened to Cynthia was an indication that the society was not okay. Extolling the quality of the girl, Rev. Fr. Biachi, said it was time to get rid of those bad elements in the society because they had no conscience just as he advocated the need to forgive one another.
Tributes, mainly from the family and other well wishers, were heart rendering. Some talked about decent living, care for others, her unassuming posture and her generosity among others.
The mother, Mrs. Joy Rita Nkem Osokogu, chronicled her feeling this way, “You were not just my daughter but my best friend, confidant and companion. My Angel, I don't have anything to say, my consolation is that the little time you spent with me was so wonderful.”
The father penciled down his feeling thus: “You were full of life, hardworking and achieving so much in so short time. You were blossoming but the wicked did not allow you to reach your peak”.
Flight Lieutenant Ken Osokogu, elder brother, wrote; “you were very beautiful, elegant, eloquent, cheerful, intelligent and a proactive lady, you were the closest to me of all my siblings before God called you to rest in His bosom.”
Prof. Dakum Shown, a neighbour, wrote; “it is unfortunate that we as elders will be saying good bye to our children. I know you were good, decent, polite and hardworking girl and you are resting in the Lord.”
Alhaji Sani Musa Mohammed wrote; “with what a deep and remorseful devotedness of woe we wept the absence of this Angel. Good night.”
Josiah Dimka wrote; “Cindy to me you were like a little sister with large heart, coming to grip with your death has been hard."
Ene Egwa, a friend, wrote; “Cynthia it is difficult writing a tribute to you because I find it hard to believe anyone will do such an evil to an Angel like you.”
From the online community poured in tributes: Babsola Kuti “I knew Cynthia only from the way Aisha Ella described her. Aisha can't stop talking about her good memories only. In fact, I recall when I saw her picture, I was like “who is this fine girl? Little did I know that the evil ones had taken her from us?”
Soni Akonji “The Cynthia I knew had a good upbringing and well mannered. She didn't disrespect people and she is not proud. People will say what they want because they don't know her… her character is appealing.”
Cynthia Valerie Udoka Osokogu was born on the 10 November, 1987 to the family of Major-General Frank Nwayor Osokogu (Rtd) and Chief Mrs. Joy-Rita Nkem Osokogu.
She hailed from Ika North-East LGA of Delta State. She attended Command Children School, Ilorin and Command Children School, Jos from 1989-1996 and Command Secondary School, Jos from 1997-2004 and she had her tertiary education at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, from 2005 2009.
She completed her NYSC in 2010 and began her postgraduate degree in Public Administration in 2012 shortly before her untimely death.
She started “Dress Code Boutique” in 2007 and successfully ran it in Keffi, Nasarawa, till she met her demise while pursuing what she assumed was a good business deal. She was a Jerusalem Pilgrim.
Cynthia was single and she loved listening to music, doing charity works, driving, reading, and singing.
She is survived by her parents, Major-General Frank Nwayor Osokogu (Rtd) and Chief Mrs. Joy-Rita Nkem Osokogu, her brothers: Flight Lieutenant Kenneth Uchechukwu Osokogu, Mr. Tony Azubuike Osokogu, and Assistant Superintendent of Customs II (ASC II) Williams Ehiedu Osokogu.