The Bayelsa State capital literally stood still as General Andrew Owoye Azazi was given the funeral befitting a hero as he was laid to rest on Saturday. The Heroes Park where the late National Security Adviser was laid in state was filled to the brim. President Goodluck Jonathan led other dignitaries to the venue to honour the departed General.
Apart from President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson and his wife were in attendance. Governor Rotimi Amaechi and his wife, Judith too were at the funeral. General Azazi’s successor, Colonel Sabo Dasuki too was in attendance while the former Governor of Bayelsa, Dipreye Alamieyesegha and his Cross River State colleague, Donald Duke too were there. General Azazi’s colleagues in the military too turned out in large numbers, in the gathering were people like the former Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Alexander Ogomudia (rtd) and Rear Admiral John Kpokpogiri.
President Jonathan’s Ministers like Diezani Alison-Madueke of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Godsday Orubebe, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs and Princess Stella Oduah all came to pay their last respect to General Azazi.
It was evident that even in death, Azazi was a man of honour, the casket that bore his remains was carried by Major Generals and equivalent in the Air Force and Navy.
While speaking, President Jonathan described General Azazi as a patriotic Nigerian. He disclosed that he met the late General when he became the Director of Military Intelligence in 2004. “He was made Chief of Defence Staff in 2007 when I was Vice President to the late President Umaru Musa Yar’dua. I also made him the NSA when I became president. I saw him as somebody who meant well for this country. Sometimes, people wonder why good people die, it is quite touching”, President Jonathan said. He urged Nigerians to be patriotic like General Azazi, stating that if 50% of Nigeria’s population could be like him, the country would be better off.
As a mark of honour, the Governor of Rivers State announced that a street in Port Harcourt would be named after the late General.