By Samuel Oyadongha, Festus Ahon & Gbenga Oke
ASABA—Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, his Bayelsa State counterpart, Mr Seriake Dickson, and Director- General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside have paid glowing tributes to the late legal icon and retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Niki Tobi, describing his death as a loss to Niger Delta and the entire nation.
Okowa in a statement by Charles Aniagwu, his Chief Press Secretary, said: “On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I commiserate with the Nikki Tobi family, the Ijaw nation and Nigerians on the demise of the erudite teacher and jurist, Justice Tobi.
“Justice Nikki Tobi was a man of many parts, who excelled wherever he found himself, leaving behind trails of credibility and integrity. Justice Tobi excelled in two difficult worlds.
“He was excellent in the academic world as a lecturer and became a reference point in the legal world. I am shocked and pained by this death. A man of humility, credibility and high integrity has passed on,” Okowa said.
On his part, Governor Dickson, describing Justice Tobi’s death as a personal loss to him, the government and people of Bayelsa State well as the entire Ijaw nation.
“In his demise, the Ijaw nation and indeed Nigeria have lost one of its very best and he will be painfully missed by all,” he said.
The governor in a condolence message to the family of the deceased, the Government and people of Delta State, said Justice Tobi was “a thoroughbred, highly principled, upright and intelligent personality, whose contributions to the legal profession and nation building would remain indelible in the history of Nigeria.”
Dickson said he received the news of Justice Tobi’s death with shock, sadness and a great sense of loss.
Also, Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, described the death of Justice Tobi as a huge loss, not only to the law profession but also to the entire nation.
Peterside in a statement, said: “Nigeria has lost a great son. For us in the Niger Delta, this is an irreparable loss because the great Justice Tobi served humanity diligently and selflessly.
“We will always remember him for his invaluable interventions and wise counsel. Nigerians will also miss his wide knowledge of legal principles, both as a teacher and a judge.
“Our consolation, however, comes from the fact that he lived a good and worthy life. He will never die. Surely, he will live forever particularly in the minds of those who encountered him in classrooms and temples of justice where he bestrode for many decades.”
Tobi, who died on June 17 at the National Hospital, Abuja, nearly one month to his 76th birthday, was born July 14, 1940, in Esanma in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
Tobi retired on July 14, 2010 as a Justice of the Supreme Court.