…As dignitaries throng late Itsekiri leader funeral
By Egufe Yafugborhi
THE remains of Pa J.O.S Ayomike were laid to rest yesterday in Warri, Delta state amidst glowing tributes from people who thronged the venue of the funeral to pay their last respect to the late historian and Itsekiri leader.
Present at the funeral were Vanguard Publisher, Sam Amuka, former Delta governors, James Ibori, his successor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and Acting Governor Kingsley Otuaro who condoled the Ayomike family on behalf of the state, praying God to grant the family the fortitude to “bear the irreparable loss.”
Also present at the funeral were NFF President and CAF Committee member, Amaju Pinnick, Deaconess Roli Uduaghan, Dr. Uduaghan’s wife and niece to Ayomike, Sen. James Manager, House of Representatives member, Daniel Reyenieju, Delta Assembly Speaker, Sheriff Oborevwori, newly installed Ologbotsere of Warri, Ayiri Emami, Great Ogboru, Papa Ayo Oritsejafor, Joseph Ayomike, younger brother to J.O.S and current head of the Ayomikes.
The funeral rites which began Thursday with a Service of Songs graced by Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, was followed by a requiem service on Friday at the First Baptist Church, Warri, Delta state before Ayomike’s remains were laid to rest in his residence.
Delivering a sermon at the requiem service, Ayodele Gbode on the theme, “No Condition is Permanent, highlighted how the late Ayomike achieved so much for defunct Bendel state as Health Commissioner when he wasn’t doctor or any other professional health official.
He said, “Health commissioners today must be medical doctors but they can’t even build hospitals. Papa also served as Information Commissioner and left indelible marks every where he served.
“Pa Ayomike was no less outstanding and kept faith with being a man of integrity and achievements as an Information Commissioner. He returned back to work in the corporate world because the company knew he kept his dignity in public service and had immense value to offer. Some today’s commissioners for Information are thoroughly bread to tell lies.”
On the lessons the living could learn from the exemplary life of Pa Ayomike, Goode cautioned the Ayomikes and guests at the occasion to realize that “No condition is permanent. Only a few have the value to live a good life, prepare for the time to die and join their maker as Papa had done.
“No one has the power to elude death. No cult, no power can elude death. When you die, life goes on after you, no matter how valuable you are. Naked we came, naked we shall return.
“Only your relationship with God can determine where you go after death. After death, no one can return to make amends. Pa Ayomike fought the good fight indeed. He knew it five hours to his death, he was still praying, breath his last not owing anyone, angry with no one.
“Don’t get to death before you know there is judgement after death.
Death is not the end of things in life. It cannot end the consequences of your actions while you lived. The consequences will be laid in the grave with you till you meet judgement with the Lord.”
The funeral service progressed to the nearby residence of Pa Ayomike where he was interred before guests proceeded for entertainment at the Atuwatse II Model Primary School, Warri.
Earlier on Thursday, Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki and Dr. Uduaghan joined the Service of Songs just as a large contingent of Chiefs representing the Olu of Warri, HM Ogiame Ikenwoli, including newly installed Ologbotsere of Warri, Chief Ayiri, were also present at the Service of Songs held at the First Baptist Church, Warri.
Tributes on the occasion included presentation from Chief Edward Ekpoko, Chairman, Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILoT, Chief Brown Mene and others with Prof. Francis Omatseye summarizing the consensus of opinion on the late Ayomike to the effect that “he was a man of truth, courageous and credible.”
Governor Obaseki in a letter to Bawo, his childhood friend and first son of Pa Ayomike, stated, “I recall his fatherly comportment and care while we grew up as kids. I attended same secondary school with Bawo. We commend his selfless contribution throughout our communities”
“Pa Ayomike would be remembered as a worthy son who served the state and the nation with utmost integrity while serving as civil commissioner at the time. On behalf of the people of Edo state, I pray God to grant you and the entire family the fortitude to bear the irreparable lost”, Obaseki wrote to Bawo.
The funeral rites end on Sunday with Thanksgiving at the First Baptist Church Warri.