By Festus Ahon, ASABA
GOVERNOR Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Monday, visited his Delta State counterpart, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa to commiserate with him over the death of his father, Chief Arthur Okorie Uzoma Okowa, describing the Octogenarian as a man of great substance who left a marvellous legacy.
Wike who led a delegation from Rivers on the condolence visit to the Delta State Government House, Asaba, said he was in the State to commiserate with the Okowa family, the government and people of Delta over the loss of the patriarch of the Okowa family and the Majority Leader of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr Tim Owhefere.
Noting that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa remained a great friend and colleague he has the utmost respect for and as such, must identify with him on the loss of his dear father, he said; “on behalf of the government and people of Rivers State, we are here to condole with you on the death of your father and the Majority Leader of the Delta State House of Assembly.
“When I heard of the tragic incidents of the loss of your father and the Majority Leader, I was shocked. It’s most unfortunate; even if your father lived to a good old age, nobody would want to lose his father because as a father, the kind of advice and the things he will tell you, nobody will say it to you.
“And, as it is today you have lost that kind of fatherly advice you normally get from your late father. I know how painful it is and whatever affects you affects Delta State and also affects Rivers State.
“God gives and God takes; it doesn’t matter how we feel about it. It has happened, but one thing you must know is that wherever your father is, he must be very happy about the legacies he has left behind. We have come here to comfort you and tell you that we are with you in prayers throughout these trying times”.
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Governor Ifeanyi Okowa in his response, thanked Governor Nyesom Wike and his delegation for the visit, saying that his family was encouraged by the visit of several friends and well-wishers, including the Rivers Governor.
While saying that his father was a father to many, he said: “I must thank you for this visit because you are my first colleague to come. I do not take this visit for granted because I know our relationship is beyond that of governors.
“My father lived a glorious life and we thank God for calling him at this time. He was actually a very active man in his teaching days. He was quite a disciplinarian and that helped to shape some of us in the course of our life. He was full of life but in a few days, he was just gone. We give God the glory for his life having lived the number of years that he has lived”.
“As for the Majority Leader, his death is very painful. Before he was moved to the intensive care unit, he asked me to pray for him and I did pray for him. He was full of life and quite a very dependable person. We give God praise and we thank Him for everything that has happened”.
Also, the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and wife, Roli, visited Governor Ifeanyi Okowa at the Government House, Asaba, saying the late Pa Okowa was a father to him and many people for many years.
Urging the Okowa’s family to see the passing of their father as one tough time that must pass by, Uduaghan said: “I am here first as Uduaghan family and as the immediate past Governor, to pay our condolence on the death of Pa Okowa.
“Pa Okowa was not just a father of PDP but was first a father of GDM for those of us who know his history far back. He had been our father for quite some time; age-wise, we wouldn’t say he didn’t live long enough. He lived for 88 years and that’s quite remarkable in these times where you talk to someone last week and this week he’s gone.
“No matter how old he was, his death is still painful and we cannot question God because God cannot keep him forever with us. We know that while he was alive, he contributed a lot in several areas. As a parent, it’s not easy to bring up somebody to become Governor of a state, especially a state like Delta.
“It’s part of your upbringing that gave you the leverage to hold various positions in government, especially becoming the governor of the state. So we first of all thank him as a parent, as a teacher and as a politician which he was until he died.
“We know you will miss his wise counsel; for us that he has left behind, it’s our prayer that God will keep us alive, grant us good health and keep us to the age he lived.
“I know these are tough times but I know both of you to be tough people and as the saying goes, tough times don’t last, tough people do. Please accept our condolences and sympathy on the death of papa”.
Governor Okowa also received on condolence visit the Service Commanders of Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigeria Air Force from their formations in Warri, Air Commodore Augustine Vunombagai, Commander 371 Nigerian Air Force Detachment, Warri; Commodore Semiu Adepegba, NNS DELTA and Colonel Sani Ahmed, Commander, Sector One, Operation Delta Safe.
Vunombagai, who spoke on behalf of the commanders, said they were in Asaba to condole with the governor and his family on the death of Pa Okowa.
The governor thanked them for the visit and also used the opportunity to appreciate them for their contribution to the peace and security of the state.
The Chief Judge of the state, Justice Marshall Umukoro, also led a delegation of judges in the state to condole with the governor and his family.
Umukoro said “we are here as your brothers, your friends but more importantly, as a body of judges constituting the third tier of government in the state.
“Your father has led a very distinguished life and the name Okowa is a great brand which must be protected. Owa has turned into an urban centre because of the development carried out there, courtesy of your father who gave birth to you. He was a man who stood his ground in spite of several entreaties to influence you as governor.”
The Deputy Governor, Mr Kingsley Otuaro and Senator James Manager were among top government functionaries on hand to receive the visitors.