By Daniel Gumm
WARRI — MEMBER representing Warri Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Daniel Reyenieju, has expressed disgust and pains over the non-inclusion of the names of Nigeria’s first post-independence Minister of Finance, late Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, and late Chief Alfred Rewane (a former chieftain of NADECO) among those recently announced to be given post-humous award by the Federal Government.
The lawmaker said the circumstances under which both individuals were murdered were such that should automatically confer on them the status of national heroes.
He noted that of all the federal public officers that were killed during the January 15, 1966 military putsch, it was only Chief Okotie-Eboh that the Federal Government has for whatever reason refused to honour.
He said both late Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello have had universities named after them to keep alive their respective memories. “This is besides the fact that Nigeria’s currency notes also carry their respective busts.”
On Rewane, Reyenieju said the circumstances under which he was gunned down remained fresh in our memories. “It is clear that Rewane’s involvement in the democratic struggle against the military junta led to his assassination by the agents of the regime.
It is the democracy he fought and died for that we are now enjoying.”
According to Reyenieju, “could it be that the non-recognition of these two heroes of our nation by the Federal Government is the result of their being ‘unfortunate’ to have come from Nigeria’s ethnic minority categorisation?
We appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan to right this historical wrong by including both Okotie-Eboh and Rewane among the awardees and thus wipe away this tears of alienation.”