The remains of the late Col. Joseph Achuzia, “a.k.a ‘Hannibal”, Nigerian civil war veteran, will be buried at midnight according to Asaba tradition on Saturday in his family compound at No. 2 Idumojei Quarters, Asaba.
Mr Onyeka Achuzia, the son of the deceased, said his father was Ikemba of Asaba and would be buried according to the tradition of Asaba.
The funeral ceremonies began on Thursday with a Day of Tributes.*Joe Achuzia
The ceremonies continued on Friday with a funeral service conducted by the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star at Achuzia’s residence.
The preacher at the service, Chukwuma Dike, cautioned against material acquisition, which he described as vanity.
“Everything is vanity in this life. Your children cannot use your PhD to earn income when you are gone.
“They cannot access your bank accounts unless they follow the processes to change the signatory,” he said.
Dike described the name, ‘Achuzia’, as a key that could open doors because of the legacies he left behind.
He urged his children to remain united to sustain the values Achuzia represented.
At a reception held at St. Patrick’s College, Asaba, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa was represented by his Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr Fidelis Tilije.
The family received condolences from the governors of the five South-Eastern states, while the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, led executives of the socio-cultural organisation to the ceremonies.
Achuzia was a secretary-general of Ohaneze Ndigbo, where he further propagated the ideas of Igbo nation which he stood for till his death.
In a condolence message published in the burial brochure, Okowa, in a statement signed by Mr Ovie Agas, the Secretary to the State Government, described Achuzia as an epitome of virtues.
“A veteran of the Nigeria civil war, a leader of thought, inspirational community leader, bridge builder, elder statesman and above all, selfless leader whose life time achievements transcended community and national boundary.
“I recall that despite being a Deltan, Col. Achuzia rose to become the secretary-general of the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, a platform from where he fought relentlessly for the advancement of his people,” Okowa said.
Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo Governor, in a message, said Achuzia was a combatant and seasoned soldier whose precision in the discharge of his military duties was second to none.
“His contributions toward a united and indivisible post-war Nigeria was unrivalled. This was evident in his pontifications on poignant contemporary political issues.
“His rare sense of diligence, organisational prowess, indefatigable and intrepidness during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war earned him the name, ‘Hannibal’, from his friends and foes.
“In his capacity as a commander on the Biafran side, Hannibal displayed his administrative ingenuity and laid foundation for the prosecution of the 30 months war.
“However, he surrendered and joined hands in the building of one Nigeria.
“He was indeed a great patriot and worthy statesman,” Okorocha said.
Achuzia, aged 90, died on Monday, Feb. 26, about 8.a.m. at Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba.