By Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha
OLEH—THE Ovie of Ozoro Kingdom, Isoko North Local Government Area, Delta State, HRM Anthony Ogbogbo, Ibuka I, has declared a three-day mourning period for the departed Second Republic senator and South South leader, Senator Francis Okpozo.
This came as former member of the House of Representatives and All Progressives Congress, APC, chieftain, Temi Harriman, described the late Senator Okpozo as one who left a shinning political legacy that all his associates would be proud of.
Similarly, immediate past Secretary to Delta State Government, SSG, Ovuozourie Macaulay, described the death of Senator Okpozo as a big loss to the Isoko nation.
Making the declaration while inaugurating a 30-man burial planning committee with Chief Fred Obe as chairman, the monarch said the mourning period would take effect from January 5 to January 7.
He emphasized that every indigene of Ozoro Kingdom would, during the period, “appear in black attires, either hat in black, top in black, or you appear with a black armband, but something black must be worn. Aside from that, traditionally, we have four days for burial rites, but in the case of Okpozo, the Ovie-in-Council will review that for him alone as an honour. There is the likelihood that the Ovie-in-Council will extend that for him because there are activities that will be embarked upon.
Describing Okpozo as an enigma who affected almost every life in Ozoro Kingdom and impacted positively on the local government, the state and the country in general, he said: “The name, Senator Okpozo is entitled to be attached to something in the town so that the name will live forever. On the burial date, I will unveil it. We are still in shock and I am still troubled by the trauma because it is a big loss that has befallen Ozoro Kingdom and we are also at a loss on how to fill the vacuum.”
Meanwhile, noting Okpozo’s leading role in the formation of APC in Delta State, Harriman said the late senator was one with great experience from whom many were able to learn from.
Okpozo, who represented Delta South senatorial district in the Senate between October 1983 and December 1983, died at the age of 84 last Monday.
“He was the leader of the party in the state and we shall certainly miss him. His passing is certainly a great loss to his family and political associates. The Okpozo family can take solace and pride in his long, accomplished and eventful life, as he remained active politically until the very end. There was much to learn from him, his patience and experience,” she said.
Also, while expressing shock over his demise, Macauley in a statement said the late Senator Okpozo was a brave leader whose political dynasty would continue to live on.
He commiserated with the entire Okpozo family, and the Minority Leader and member representing Isoko Federal Constituency, Mr. Leo Ogor; Ovie of Ozoro Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Anthony Uvietobore Ogbogbo and the people of Ozoro for the loss of their illustrious son.
According to him, Okpozo remained a father and a great leader of the Isoko people and South-South geo-political zone at large despite his recent political party difference.
He said; “As Deputy Speaker of Bendel State House of Assembly in 1979, with the good relationship he had with the then governor, Prof. Ambrose Ali, Okpozo influenced the establishment of Bendel State Polytechnic, Ozoro, which was later removed but formed the foundation upon which Chief James Ibori, former governor of Delta State built the Delta State Polytechnic Ozoro.
In the same vein, running mate to the APC governorship candidate in the 2015 election, Chief Vanderpuya Abanum, said; “Delta State and the APC family in particular have lost a leader par excellence, a political colosus, a man of principle and truth. Senator Okpozo will be missed by lovers of peace. He exited at a time we needed him most.”
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