By Festus Ahon & Ochuko Akuopha
GOVERNOR Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, has described the departed erstwhile President of the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, Brig.-Gen. Dominic Oneya, (retd) as an accomplished soldier, administrator and statesman, who would long be remembered for redefining the place of service and patriotism in Nigeria’s development.
Okowa, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, noted that Oneya though a soldier, distinguished himself as an administrator, excelling as Military Administrator of Kano and Benue States between 1996 and 1999, and later at NFF.
According to the governor, the deceased was a thoroughbred military officer and administrator, and contributed immensely to the development of the states he served as military administrator and in sports, especially football.
“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta, I mourn with the Oneya family, the people of Agbarho and the entire Urhobo nation on the passing of Brig.Gen. Dominic Obukadata Oneya (retd), a distinguished son of Urhoboland and Delta.
“The demise of Gen. Oneya is obviously a big blow to the family and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta. Oneya was one of the elders of the PDP in our state, and contributed immensely to the growth of the party.
Also, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori described Oneya’s death as painful.
The Speaker, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Dennis Otu, said the Urhobo nation has lost an illustrious son.
Oborevwori said: “I received the news of the former Military Administrator of Kano State and Benue State,Retired Brigadier General Dominic Oniya with a deep shock. We have lost a complete gentle man of Urhobo nation and a great Deltan. His death is a big blow and we are going to miss him greatly”.
“My heart goes out to his family and others he left behind and may God grant his gentle soul eternal rest.”
Meanwhile, the Urhobo Progress Union, UPU, has described Oneya’s death as a rude shock and collosal loss to the Urhobo nation.
The apex socio-cultural organization of the Urhobo, in a statement by it’s National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Abel Oshevire said Onoya’s demise “has come to the President-General of Urhobo Process Union (UPU), worldwide, Olorogun Dr. Moses O. Taiga, and the entire members of the Executive Council, as a rude shock. This loss is too colossal and monumental
“General Oneya was said to have been quite healthy, and even attended a meeting in the Community the previous evening, before the sudden and painful transition.
“By his death, the Urhobo Nation has lost another of her distinguished and eminent sons who spent the better part of his life promoting and advancing the course of the Urhobo Nation.
“He was a bright star; a great patriot, whose commitment to the interest of the Urhobo Nation and her people was unparalleled. He displayed uncommon love for his people and went out of his way, even at his own detriment, to serve their interest, whenever the occasion arose.”
Simllarly, former Secretary to the Delta State Government, SSG, Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay has described Oneya as a calm and gentle giant.
Macaulay, in a condolence message, said: “This is a painful loss of a man who bestrode the national landscape as an accomplished soldier, a military Governor, a sports administrator and a community leader.
“General Oneya will surely be missed particularly now that our nation, Nigeria is in dire need of experienced counsel on how to overcome the numerous challenges facing us.”