By Emma Amaize, Gab Ejuwa Festus Ahon, Perez Brisibe & Ochuko Akuopoha
ASABA—FORMER governors of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and Chief James Ibori, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central senatorial district, Chief Great Ogboru and other eminent Deltans, have described the death of Second Republic senator and South-South leader, Senator Francis Okpozo, on Monday, as painful.
Uduaghan, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Sunny Areh, said Okpozo’s death was a very painful exit of an iconic politician who loved telling the truth always.
He said: “He was a man of truth who hated oppression. He was a constant ally in our struggle for the greatness of the Niger Delta. I recall my several consultations with him as governor, where he always gave me undiluted and invaluable advice on peace and stability of the state.
“In times of crisis, political or otherwise, you would always want Senator Okpozo to be on your side. We will miss the great man of Ozoro Kingdom and his invaluable service. Delta State has just lost a great and influential voice at the national level. Nigeria will miss a fearless elder statesman who believed in service before self.”
On his part, Chief Ibori described the death of Senator Okpozo as a devastating blow to Delta State, the South-South, and the entire country.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr Tony Eluemunor, Ibori said that Senator Okpozo was an indefatigable fighter for the betterment of the Niger Delta.
“We can all recall that during the last national confab, Pa Okpozo’s voice was strident in calling for increased derivation per centage for the oil producing states, even as he warned of the consequences of the injuries that would be done to Nigeria if fiscal federalism was not made a reality in the country,” he said.
Senator Omo-Agege, on his part, said: “It is with profound sadness that I note the passing on of Senator Okpozo, one of the giants of Nigeria’s political life, a long time opposition leader in Delta State, a mentor and a father.
“Indeed, the Isoko nation, the All Proressives Congress, APC, family, Deltans and the nation at large lost a leading light. He was a great elder statesman, a committed public servant, and leader of the oppressed. His life was driven by a deep sense of compassion and a belief that the best, irrespective of race and gender, should be in position of leadership. He fought for justice and what he believed was right,” he stated.
Chief Ogboru, said: “Pa Okpozo’s death is a huge loss to Delta State. His quest for change and justice was exemplary and that kept him going strong at 82. His contributions to Delta State and the APC will remain indelible. He was a great man and a decent progressive leader and politician. A rare breed, we may not see his type again for a long time.”