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Kokori Was My Comrade With Unusual Courage—Tinubu



Kokori Was My Comrade With Unusual Courage—Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu yesterday expressed a deep sense of loss over the passing of Chief Frank Ovie Kokori, former General Secretary of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, describing him as a comrade and labour leader with a rare courage.

Tinubu who was represented by his Minister of State for Petroleum Resources ( Oil) Senator Heneiken Lokpobiri spoke at the funeral service for the late labour leader at St James Anglican church , Oviorie-Ovu , Ethiope East local government , Delta state, saying he had wanted to be physically present but could not make it because of pressing state matters.

“Let me apologise for his inability to be here personally. He would have loved to be here by himself but because of other contending issues, he couldn’t and he directed me to be here instead. He told me that Kokori was his comrade when they were fighting for democracy and he would have loved to attend the burial and that is why I’m here”

He further described Kokori as a foremost nationalist who placed the good of the nation above personal interest, adding that his death was a huge loss to the entire nation.

“He ( President ) told me that Kokori is the most foremost nationalist Nigeria has ever produced and that he is a man of uncommon courage. He is a selfless leader who put the interest of Nigeria above his own interest.

“He also said Kokori is a man of proven integrity and a democrat who fought against the dreaded military regime for democracy to be restored in Nigeria. While some leaders were afraid and running away, Kokori stood there. He was the voice of the voiceless people, the voice of the less privileged people. These are words of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who has a close relationship with Chief Sir Kokori” The president consoled the family of the late labour leader and Delta state, urging them to take solace in the legacies Kokori left behind.

“Today as we have gathered here to mourn our departed icon, the president said I should call the governor, people of Delta and particularly the Kokori Family so that the legacies of your father cannot be suppressed.

“In life, it is not when you die that matters, it is what legacies you have left behind that matters. Kokori has left indelible marks in the history of this country and what is left with the children is to carry on with the baton. Kokori has done his own for the children to leverage on the outstanding legacies of your father to continue to render services to humanity.

“The Bible said a man will live for three scores and 10 which is 70 but Kokori died at 80; he has lived well. God so loved him that he added 10 more years to him; Kokori has died well.

“I want all of us to stop mourning and celebrate his exit to be with the Lord forever. Let me conclude by saying that Kokori’s death is not the death that will be painful to only Delta people. He was more Nigerian before Deltan. His death is painful to all of us in the country and whatever we can do to continue from where he stopped is what all of us will do. Having said that, your Excellency, let me once again condole you over the death of this icon and also to thank you for the good work you are doing in Delta State.”

Bishop of Warri Diocese of the Anglican communion, Bishop Christian Esezi in his homily urged Nigerians to build their hope in Christ Jesus, reading from 1st Thessalonians 4: 13 – 18 , he lauded the memories of Kokori..

Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, Minister of state for Development, Ayodele Olawande, were among personalities at the church service.

President of NUPENG, Prince William Akporeha who spoke at the reception in Kokori’s Ovu community , assured that the union would continue to sustain the beautiful legacies Kokori left behind in labour struggle.

“ The legacies Kokori left behind are what we are standing on today. Today people respect NUPENG because of his legacies. We will continue to work on this path he has laid for us, NUPENG will not die in our time.”

President of the Nigeria Labour congress, NLC Joe Ajaero , represented by the Chairman ,NLC, Delta state
Goodluck Ofobruku eulogized the memories of the late labour icon, saying his courage was exemplary.

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