By JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU, Abuja
THE late one time governor of Rivers State, Chief Melford Okilo might have died as a fulfilled man following the revelation that his agitation for a Nigerian president of South-South extraction paved the way for the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The daughter of the late former Governor of Rivers State and United States-based Attorney, Dr. Eluana Okilo who disclosed this yesterday in Abuja said that her father was a bridge-builder whose efforts in uniting the country was instrumental to the emergence of President Jonathan from the minority part of the country.
Describing her father as a great nationalist, Dr. Okilo said the former Rivers State Chief executive died a happy man because even on his sick bed, he was fulfilled that his dreams for a minority President was fulfilled with Jonathan’s Presidency.
The US-based Attorney who is a member of the Steering Committee of Melford Okilo Foundation in a press briefing to herald the public presentation of a book entitled – “Okilo: Biography of a Bridge Builder” written by a civil rights activist, Mr. Marshall Okon and a fund raising for Chief Melford Okilo Centre called on Nigerians to support the President in his transformation agenda.
According to her, with the emergence of President Jonathan, the gap had been filled as the South-South was no longer marginalized.
She said, “On a very personal note, when my father was sick and ailing, he was reminiscing on Nigeria’s history. With his old sentiments, I believe that the gap for which my father had been yearning has been filled with the Presidency of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan because he was specifically thrilled with joy that the Niger Delta has in fact produced somebody that has now ended up in Aso Rock.
“So, for my father that gap was filled, even though our environmental and economic issues in the Niger Delta have continued to be a source of concern. In keeping with my father’s joy that the gap for which he has been clamoring has been filled with Jonathan’s Presidency, there can be more bridge to be laid.
“If we want to honour the contribution of my father, all Nigerians need unification and support for Jonathan. Although toes may be stepped on, right now is the time to support our South-South President because it is in keeping with bridge building to unite our nation which was his absolute legacy.”
“Once upon a time, the great Melford Okilo was just a man with no name and just a young fisherman. He made some very difficult decisions and choices. He had no father and money but just the name. He made the tough choices, went for unity, representation and transparency. These are the ways through which he became Okilo.”