It was a carnival atmosphere weekend in the rustic Onicha Olona community, in Aniocha North of Delta State as the late reggae maestro Augustine Oseloka Onwubuaya a.k.a Ras Kimono was interred.
The inclement weather did little to dampen the mood of a large crowd of well-wishers, fans and musicians who thronged the burial ceremony of Ras Kimono.
Soul stirring music blared from loud speakers placed at strategic position at Ugbah Primary School, Onicha Olona community, the primary school attended by the late musical icon.
Several reggae artistes mounted the podium during the reception to thrill the crowd. The Rasta Fraternity led by Ras Dickson, National Grand Patron for Nigeria added colour to the occasion.
The remains of the famous artiste which arrived his ancestral home Ogbeogo quarters in a green, gold and red multi-coloured casket were lowered at exactly 3.20pm amidst wailings, hisses, and tears from relatives, friends, associates and fans.
Ven. Dr. Ogom Josiah of the Asaba Diocese of the Anglican Communion gave the graveside prayers while the chairman of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), Tony Okoroji delivered the oration.
Okoroji said Kimono was “unbeatable, unpiratable and wonderful. He was a Nigerian like no other. We don’t mourn him, we celebrate him. Kimono never drank, never smoked and never ate meat yet he was great in his chosen field.
“As we say goodbye to this lion, let us remember that he had no father, no mother, no brother and no sister but see the way the world has honoured him. We should unite to support the daughters he left behind.”
Some of the artistes who were present at the final burial rite were Orits Wiliki, Daddy Showkey, Buchi, Yellow Man, Righteous Man, Candy Sea and Bright Chimezie.
But at the reception ground, the state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa was represented by his Commissioner for Youth Development, Karo Ilolo. Others present include Mrs. Ameachi Mrakpor of the House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Nwaobi of the State House of Assembly, and Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Bazim Chinye who is also a native of Onicha-Olona, among others.
The film industry was also present with veteran Nollywood producer, Opa Williams in attendance.
The journey to the final resting place of the late Nigerian reggae legend, Ras Kimono began on Friday in Asaba, Delta State capital with a street procession by members of the Rasta fraternity and the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON).
Although, the burial activities started in Lagos earlier in the week, Friday’s home coming took Asaba by storm as lovers of his genre of music defied intermittent rains, and marched along with the Rastafarians and COSON members across major roads into the Cenotaph where the deceased was briefly laid in state.
In an emotion-laden tribute, Chief Executive Officer of COSON, Tony Okoroji described Kimono as an incredibly talented and detribalised Nigerian who stood for peace in his entire lifetime.
Okoroji said Kimono was not just a member of COSON but an activist of the society who “struggled with us. Our prayer is that the incredible spirit he left behind will continue to bind us together. There will never be another Kimono.
“But I know that Kimono lives. As we drove from Lagos yesterday (Thursday), ordinary people at every stop were singing Kimono’s songs and dancing to his beats.”
Okoroji seized the opportunity to appeal to Nigerian politicians to deliver good governance to every citizen “so that we will no longer be singing a song like ‘Under Pressure’”.
National grand patron for Rastas, Nigeria and African representative, Ras Edu Dickson who led the procession also gave brief tribute.
Kimono’s daughter, Oge said her father was selfless, compassionate, loving, patient, describing him as her best friend.
She said her father “came, saw and conquered,” adding that through him, the world experienced the meaning of true love.