The burial of a former Minister of Transport, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, at his hometown in Asaga, Ohafia local government area of Abia, on Saturday, was dominated by eulogies from those who knew him.
Those who extolled his virtues include governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu; Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on national assembly matters, Ita Enang; Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, and prelate of the Presbyterian Church, Mba Uka.
But it has now emerged that the burial provided the platform for two sworn enemies to meet again and exchanged pleasantries.
For much of Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential tenure, he was at loggerheads with Rotimi Amaechi, then governor of Rivers State and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum from 2011 to 2015. However, theirs was a secondary battle. It was clear the real quarrel was between Jonathan’s wife, Patience, and Amaechi, beginning from how the first lady tongue-lashed the governor for conceiving the demolition of houses in her native Okrika to make way for educational structures.
Patience’s grouse was that Amaechi looked certain to demolish and compensate the people without first seeking their consent.
Amaechi’s grouse, howeer, was about the manner in which the first lady addressed the matter in public without according him due respect as the man constitutionally saddled with the task of running the state.
The crisis led to bad blood between Amaechi and President Jonathan.
The former would later lead six other governors to break away from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and form the nucleus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which eventually toppled Jonathan at the presidential election.
Though older by only eight years, the then First Lady once referred to Amaechi as her “son”.
Patience has kept a low profile since her husband was kicked out of the presidency in 2015 but her appearance in Asaga on Saturday was warmly received by other dignitaries present including Amaechi who greeted her warmly and shook hands with his erstwhile sworn enemy.
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