By Ozioruva Aliu
BENIN CITY – TRIBUTES have continued to pour the way of late member of the defunct Bendel State House of Assembly in the 2nd Republic, Alhaji Aliu Omokide who died last Friday and was buried the following day Saturday according to Islamic rites. He died after a brief illness.
He represented Akoko-Edo South Constituency in the assembly from 1979 to 1983.
A statement by his son, Kamilu Omokide while announcing his demise said he was 87 years old.
He said“In his time, Papa was a teacher, politician, a community and Islamic leader. A man of many parts, he lived serving his people, spreading literacy, fighting for infrastructural development and promoting his faith. He lived a happy and fulfilled life.
“He is survived by wives, children, in-laws and grandchildren.” The current member representing the constituency in the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Emmanuel Agbaje in a condolence to Kamilu Omokide said “As humans, we mourn the loss of this great icon but we must be consoled by the fact that he lived and led exemplary life, characterised by modesty, humility and service to mankind. His exploits at the then Bendel State House of Assembly while representing Akoko-Edo South Constituency will remain indelible and inspirational.
“As we pray for the repose of his kind soul, it is my prayer also that God almighty grants you the fortitude to bear this loss and the strength to carry and build on his legacies”
On his part, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba described late Omokhide as “a pragmatic, seasoned, and thorough-bred lawmaker who contributed immensely to the overall development of his constituency and the then Bendel state as a whole through his various people-oriented bills and motions.
“Hon. Omokhide was a very committed and patriotic lawmaker and died when his services to the state and nation were still most needed.
“He gave his best throughout his life and times especially in public service to his people whom he loved so passionately, and championed their cause with unparalleled courage and selflessness.”
Former Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Kabiru Adjoto described Omokide as a worthy mentor.
He said: “As a member of the defunct Bendel State House of Assembly between 1979-1983, Late Omokhide displayed an uncommon penchant for the development of his constituency and constituents.
“My political career began in his living room around 2004, he personally introduced me to political heavyweights at the beginning of my political sojourn.
“He was a worthy mentor who would frequently reach out to me for priceless political guidance; he would be greatly missed”.
On his part, former Chief of Staff to Governor Godwin Obaseki, Taiwo Akerele in press statement on the demise of Omokide said “During my last meeting with him in August of 2020, we discussed a lot of issues around youth employment, infrastructure development for our community, security, investment opportunities and public service.
“This man believes in selfless service to humanity, not how much he can grab into his pocket. He is a role model and I am happy to be associated with his legacy and his personality. Indeed good name is better than so called riches and billions without sense of humanity.”
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Oladele Bankole-Balogun in his tributes said “Alhaji Omokide was a giant of a man in every sense of the word. He was a faithful, honest and caring politician.
“I came to know Alhaji many years ago as a young, fresh graduate of political science. He would come to our house in Benin and would engage my father Bankole for several hours discussing the plight and progress of Igarra and Akoko – Edo.
“He was then a member of the house of Assembly and my late father Bankole Balogun was GM Radio Bendel and Permanent Secretary Bendel State.
“When I got actively involved in the politics of Akoko-Edo, it was natural that I would gravitate towards this honest and selfless politician. He was one of my mentors in Akoko-Edo and father. Politicians young and old ought to learn from his simple yet exemplary life.”
In a telephone chat with Vanguard in April 2020 when the federal government granted late former governor of old Bendel State, Professor Ambrose Alli pardon, he said “Alli actually performed as governor of Bendel state and he had nothing from the government because I went to greet him when he was released from prison.
He was wearing an apron and working as a doctor in a house without windows, nothing was there. Alli had nothing from the government, I was very close to him, and he was a good man. I was one of those persons close to Alli, I was UPN to the core, I refused to be NPN. Alli was one hundred percent honest. He had nothing after he left government, I don’t know why he was jailed at all because he did not steal money but I knew he must be pardoned one day by the grace of God because he did not do anything wrong. Some of us wrote when he was in prison that he should be released, Alli was innocent, completely innocent.