By Festus Ahon, UGHELLI
URHOBO nation was Saturday, thrown into mourning as the cold hands of death snatched the President General of the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, General Patrick Aziza (rtd) away. He died at the age of 67.
Aziza who has been sick of cancer, reportedly died in Abuja about 3:45am . The news of his death took the urhobos and Deltans aback as people were seen in groups discussing the sudden death of the onetime minister of Communication under the military government of late General Sani Abacha.
His kinsmen at Adagbrasa who could not control their emotions were seen wailing and crying; “our iroko has fallen.” Reacting to his death, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Steve Oru, described Aziza’s demise as very sad. “The Urhobo nation has lost a true son, a General indeed who had served the nation in the armed forces so successfully and at a point, he was even a minister in charge of communication in our nation and he performed creditably well.
“He emerged as the President General of UPU and he has been steering the ship of state of the Urhobo nation quite creditably. He has succeeded in promoting peace and unity amongst the Urhobo people. We will all surely miss him, but there is a time to come and a time to go as the saying goes. ‘There is a time when one is born and a time when one dies’.
“If it was possible, we would have prayed God to postpone his death. We all love him, but God loves him more and we wish him a peaceful rest in the bosom of the lord. He will be remembered for his astute management of the UPU and his performance as a very sound member of the Nigerian Army who served our nation creditably.
“He will surely be remembered for being a man that stood for the Urhobo course and promoted the emergence of an Urhobo minister because I can remember, during his first tenure he led a delegation to MR. President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to advocate for the appointment of an Urhobo son and today I am one of those that benefitted at the national level, so my missing him is even more.”
On his advice to the Urhobo people, he said “I will tell them to mourn but also accept the will of God as the omnipotent and omnipresent that knows it all. Let them also take solace in the fact that those the lord calls early are the ones he loves most. They should take solace in that and pray for the soul of the reposed in the bosom of the lord.”
On his past, Senator representing Delta Central at the National Assembly, Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo described Aziza’s death as tragic and sad.
He said: “It is so sad that we don’t even know what to think. We have talked to some of our leaders and everybody is still in shock. In fact there is nothing to say now except to say that we are sad, we mourn his passage and we pray that for the repose of his soul that God should accept his soul. Meanwhile we await what the family will say and what UPU will say so that we can all have a meeting on what to do next.
“He stood strongly for the unity of the Urhobo nation and he was a fine soldier, he served Nigeria very well. After all that, he came home to serve his people. He was a true servant of the people.”