Indications have emerged that unless the Presidency intervenes, the planned burial date of late soccer icon, Stephen Okechukwu Chinedu Keshi may not hold as scheduled due to lack of funds.
The burial has been fixed by the Federal Government for July 27, 28 and 29, with a committee headed by the Permanent Secretary in the Youth and Sports Ministry already put in place for the purpose. It has now come to light that the committee has not been able to function because there are no funds for their meetings let alone burial proper.
Sports Minister, Barr. Solomon Dalung, who is battling to get funds for the Rio Olympics for Team Nigeria to travel later this week is said to be at a loss over how to ask the Presidency for the Keshi burial fund, which is in the region of N30million. Sources within the committee say the Minister is worried, especially as Nigerians will not take it lightly if Keshi is not given a befitting burial. “But, this is an extra-budgetary matter and we have to be patient with the Presidency”, a source hinted.
“Having captained the national team for nearly 15years, winning the Nations Cup as captain and coach, Keshi deserves a hero’s burial and the Federal Government will do it but funds have been hindering us”, another committee member hinted. Keshi was also an Ambassador of Sports for Nigeria before his sudden passage. In setting up the burial committee, Dalung had said government want to accord Keshi a heroic burial so as to send a message home to today’s youths that if they serve Nigeria well in any endeavour the nation will never forget them and will reward them bountifully even in death.