Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Monday, described the late Pa Arthur Okowa, father of Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, as a man of great substance who left a marvellous legacy.
Wike stated this when he led a delegation from Rivers on a condolence visit to Gov. Okowa at the Government House, Asaba.
He said that he was in Delta to commiserate with the Okowa family, the government and people of Delta on the loss of the patriarch of the Okowa family and the late Majority Leader of the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr Tim Owhefere.
He stated that Gov. Okowa remained a great friend and colleague he had utmost respect for and, as such, must identify with him on the loss of his dear father.
“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,’’Wike said.
Also, the immediate past state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and his wife, Roli, also visited Gov. Okowa in Asaba
Uduaghan said that Pa Okowa had been a father to him and many people for many years and told the Okowas to see the death of their father as one tough time that must pass by.
“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,” he said.
Others who paid condolence visit included the Service Commanders of Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigeria Air force from their formations in Warri.
They were led by Air Commodore Augustine Vunombagai, Commander 371 Nigerian Air Force Detachment, Warri; Commodore Semiu Adepegba, NNS DELTA and Col. 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 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.
Responding, Gov. Okowa thanked Wike and all the visitors for their concern, saying that his family was encouraged by the visit of several friends and well wishers, including the Rivers governor, adding that his late father was a father to many.
“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.
“Obviously, we will miss him a lot; no matter how tough you are, the memory sometimes will just flash and it’s truly very painful.
“But with people like you and many others who have been coming, I believe that we are beginning to have the courage to pass through the difficult times.
“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,” Okowa said.
The Deputy Governor, Mr Kingsley Otuaro, and Sen. James Manager were among top government functionaries on hand to receive the visitors. (NAN)