The recent funeral of Pa Simeon Nwankwo Soludo, father of Anambra’s Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, has turned a new page in the cultural practices of the Igbo people. Embracing the principles set forth by the Anambra State Burial law of 2019, the governor has set a profound example by conducting a funeral devoid of excessive fanfare, which stands in stark contrast to the ostentatious displays often associated with such events.
In a society where funerals have become an avenue for extravagant expenditure, the governor’s decision to adhere to a high ethical standard is a beacon of change, advocating for a cultural revolution that prioritizes substance over showmanship. Governor Soludo’s actions are not merely about compliance with a law that prohibits certain excesses but are indicative of a deeper commitment to redefining our culture and values.
This commitment was evident in the choice to focus on locally-made products, from food to drinks, championing a “Made in Nigeria” and “Made in Anambra” ethos. This not only supports local industries but also sends a message of pride in what our land and people can produce. It is a lesson in economic patriotism and a call to support and celebrate our own.
Governor Soludo’s approach to his father’s burial was an exercise in restraint and a call for behavioral change. The grandeur often associated with burials, particularly in the context of the Igbo tradition, where aso-ebi (often erroneously referred to as “ashoebi”, which is not an Igbo term) has become synonymous with social gatherings, was notably absent. Instead, the governor insisted on a more modest and meaningful commemoration, emphasizing the importance of celebrating life rather than showcasing wealth in death.
The governor’s stance is a reminder that a burial ceremony can be dignified without the need for a grandiose display, exemplified by the decision to forgo the printing of elaborate invitation cards. This act alone challenges the entrenched belief that a proper send-off requires a lavish outlay.
Moreover, Governor Soludo’s actions echo his advocacy for a ‘befitting living’ and a ‘decent burial’. It is a stance that recognizes the undue pressure ordinary people face when organizing funerals, often compelled to spend beyond their means to meet societal expectations. This reiterative push for a change in mindset extends beyond mere words; it is embodied in the dignified farewell given to Pa Soludo.
As we reflect on the burial of Pa Soludo, we must ask ourselves what truly matters in the way we honor those who have passed. Governor Soludo has shown that respect for the departed, and the celebration of their life, need not be measured in the scale of the event, but in the integrity and values it upholds. It is an opportune moment for Anambra, and indeed for Nigeria, to embrace this ethos and cement a cultural revolution that places higher value on the living, promotes ethical standards, and fosters a society that honors its dead not through extravagance but through genuine commemoration.
Chinedu Eri writes from Isuofia