‘Seven reasons I stopped GOV. OKOROCHA from speaking at my father’s burial’


SOCIAL crusader, controversial singer and former national president, Performing Musicians and Employers Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Charles Oputa (Charly Boy) has explained why he stopped Imo State Governor, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha from making a speech at the burial of his father, Justice Chukwudifu Akunne Oputa (the retired justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria).
In a no-holds-barred telephone interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Thursday, July 3, 2014, Charly Boy denied ever creating a scene at Justice Oputa’s requiem mass.  In fact, he told us that the Governor was nowhere near the microphone let alone snatching it from him.  He went on to list Governor Okorocha’s unpardonable sins. 
They include:
(1) The fact they were all tired and needed to just bury their dad.
(2) He also alleged that Okorocha didn’t show enough respect to the retired Supreme Court judge while he was alive.
(3) Charly Boy again said the Governor neglected his Oguta community.
(4) He wasn’t also happy with Okorocha’s men for turning his father’s tribute day to a political rally.
(5) Charly Boy was also not happy with Governor Rochas Okorocha’s aides who made public the financial support the state government gave to them.
(6) The controversial singer equally told us he is not the type that loves to romance politicians.
(7) He also expected the Governor at the Valedictory session conveyed in honour of the late Supreme Court judge.
Charly Boy then shared with us the bond that held him and his dad who passed on months back.
Why did you disgrace Imo State Governor, Owelle Anayo Rochas Okorocha at your father’s burial?
Was he disgraced?  People are just misinterpreting what happened.  First, I didn’t snatch any microphone from the governor.  There was nothing like that.  Rochas was not anywhere near the mic.  What happened was that when Bishop Matthew Kukah was about to round off the mass, he asked if there was any other person to speak and I said nobody is talking again.  There was no issue with that as the governor just left the church.  It was his people who got mad at us.  But it’s my father’s burial and the family said no more ‘talk-talk’.  You know I don’t go to church.  The service had been on for about three hours, we were already tired.  All I needed was to go and bury my Papa.  Nothing else mattered at that time.  So, after the representative of the President of the Republic spoke, we left the church to bury my dad.  And that was just that. It was Okorocha’s men who sensationalized it.  Did you know that Okorocha’s men turned the tribute day organized for my father to politics?  When we got there everybody was singing the governor’s praise.  It was all about sycophancy.  Okorocha this, Okorocha that, speaker after speaker.  I wasn’t happy with that.  So, at a point, I carry my Papa go.  I didn’t come for Imo politics.
You also had issue with the governor’s absence at the valedictory session?
Governor was nowhere to be found. No room for politics and praise singing there. But I knew he would come for the burial.
What about the controversy that trailed the N20 million the Imo State government gave to your family?
They said it was N50 million.  Do you know the implication of that announcement?  They put my life on the line.  Villagers thought government has brought money, na so all of them open mouth.  Why making public any amount given to us for the burial?  N20 million or N50 million wasn’t all we spent for my father’s burial.  As I talk with you, I don enter gbese (debt).  From fireworks to stage and shows, you know we really spent money.  The burial of my father was second to none in Oguta.  It was carnival like.  There were jumbo posters of my dad scattered around our town.  We gave him a befitting burial.  My father will not die twice.
Many still reason he should have been given the honour of addressing dignitaries who came to pay their last respects to Justice Oputa?
Okay.  The same village where we begged him to restore power for the sake of people and guests and nothing was done.  They have been without electricity for years.
Could it be you don’t really like politicians?
Yes, I don’t like their ways.  Rochas is not different from them. His case is something else.  He doesn’t listen to anybody.  And like every politician, you can’t really trust them. I also didn’t like the way Okorocha treated my father while he was alive.
For those who say your conduct at Oputa’s burial was below expectations, what is your reaction to their opinion?
I have respect for Governor Rochas Okorocha.  I didn’t fight Okorocha.  I didn’t snatch the microphone from him. I can’t fight my governor. I’m not a garage boy, I went to school.  Yes, I’m mad, but my madness is constructive and scientific.  I know my limit.
How would you describe your late dad?
I lost my best friend.  We became very close when he got older.  We were practically working together.  Not as if I was paying him salary but he didn’t want to be idle.  So, he was my companion and confidant.  My Papa dey jump enter my bike.
What would you miss most about him?
That should be our conversation. When it comes to the issue of religion na war!  Everybody respects everybody.
How is your aged mother taking it all?
She’s doing okay.  Mama is happy that her husband (Papa) was given a befitting burial.  We set a record in Oguta. I pray that at my death, I receive this kind of burial and tributes from the world.  My father was not a rich man, in fact, he didn’t leave sisi (kobo) for us.  But he was rich in many other ways.  He had a name and reputation.  You know it took us time to bury him, so, we were not waiting for anybody.  My mom was there for us. She stood strong.  She can’t stop talking about the burial.
There was also a level of co-operation among you, your siblings and the Oputas?
My immediate family knows there is nothing my father left to be shared.  So, we stood as one.  My papa no leave one kobo, but it’s gratifying that people recognized his goodness.  He was a good man.  I pray I would be remembered this way, not in terms of my wealth.
How many are you?
I have a younger brother, George.
How much did you exactly spend to bury your dad?
You know I can’t do that.  But I dey for gbese now (laughs).
What’s your word to many Nigerians and the world at large who condoled with your family on the demise of Justice Oputa?
The outpour of love made me jealous of my dad.  We appreciate all the calls, special tributes and words of comfort from all Nigerians and the world at large.  The love has been much.

‘With CHARLY BOY, anything can happen’
–  DR. T. O. E. EKECHI, Imo Commissioner for Information and Strategy



IMO State Government has formally reacted to Charly Boy’s treatment of Governor Anayo Rochas Okorocha in Oguta.  In an exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, on Saturday, July 5, 2014, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dr. T. O. E. Ekechi said his (Charly Boy’s) intention was not good because there was no reason a governor, being a host should not have welcomed guests to the state at Justice Chukwudifu Oputa’s burial.
ENCOMIUM Weekly was also told that the Imo State Government would not bandy words with Charles Oputa since the burial was his family issue.  “We bear no grudge against him or the Oputa family.  We know that with Charly Boy anything can happen.”
Asked how much the state actually released to the Oputas, the commissioner who is also Aha Eji Agamba Ngor Okpala said it was immaterial.
Dr. Ekechi assured that the Okorocha administration would continue to recognize and immortalize Imo citizens like the late Justice Oputa who had contributed to national development.
On Charly Boy’s allegation that Okorocha didn’t show his dad enough respect, the commissioner said that was almost impossible because the governor held him in high esteem.
Dr. Ekechi also accused the one-time PMAN boss of “playing the card of his paymasters in Abuja.”

–               UCHE OLEHI



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