NEDU MARK, Yenagoa
As Nigerians converged on Okoroba, in Bayelsa State, to pay their last respects to late Dr. Oronto Natei Douglas, the wife of President Goodluck Jonathan, Dame Patience Jonathan was conspicuously absent at the burial of her husband’s aide.
Late Oronto Douglas until his death was the Special Adviser on Research, Documentation and Strategy to her husband and hailed from Ogbia community.
Among dignitaries present at Oronto Douglas burial include; Minister of FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed, Chief of Staff to the President, the National Security Adviser, Chief of Army Staff, Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,.
Others include; Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, senators as well as members of the Nollywood industry,
This publication reports that this is the second time the out-going First Lady has shunned a major event which the president attended in Bayelsa since they lost the presidential election.
The first was the House of Assembly elections which took place on April 11. The First Lady was conspicuously absent as only her husband and his mother, Eunice were accredited and cast their votes at Otuoke.
Speaking at the commendation Church service at St. Peter’s Deanery (Anglican communion) in Yenagoa, President Jonathan acknowledged the pivotal role played by the late environmental and
human rights activist in the sustenance of the Niger Delta struggle for resource control and environmental restoration.
Jonathan said, late Oronto Douglas introduced intellectual activism to the Niger Delta struggle for economic inclusiveness, noting that, he was articulate, an academic icon, idealist, proactive, strategic, courageous, exclusively humanitarian and never retracts, once committed to a cause he believes in.
Eulogizing the late rights advocate, Jonathan described him as a unique personality, who was worth more than silver and gold, stressing that, Oronto Douglas was leaving at a time when his wise and useful counsel were most needed.
He remarked that, Douglas impacted positively in so many ways on the people of Bayelsa State, the Niger Delta and the entire country, within his short, but eventful life on earth and would continue to be remembered by all who knew him.
“By his contributions, he is worth more than silver and gold and he is leaving at a time he is most needed as he has impacted positively on the people of the state, the Niger Delta and the entire country within the short period of his life on earth,” he said
In his remarks, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson announced the award of scholarships to the two children of late Oronto Douglas to university level, in appreciation of his selfless contributions to the development of humanity and the Niger Delta environment.
Dickson also directed the immediate employment of all the teachers of the Chief Edwin Clark Preparatory school in Okoroba, founded by the late human rights lawyer as well as support for his foundation and other legal projects initiated by the icon.
“The State government will give every necessary support to the children to have their education to university level, the government will support all his dreams and what he lived for”, Dickson said.
In his sermon, the Anglican Bishop of the Niger Delta –West Diocese, the Right Reverend Emmanuel Oko-Jaja, who also officiated at the service, described death as the last enemy of mankind that will be defeated on the last day by Jesus Christ.
The clergy admonished everyone to fear God, in whichever position they find themselves and always eschew evil, as God will only receive the righteous into his kingdom, where there will be no sorrow, pain, hunger or death for those who die in Christ.
Pupils of the Chief Edwin Clark Preparatory School, Okoroba, founded by late Oronto Douglas, also ministered in songs, with special renditions, in tribute to the late rights activist.