Former governor of Delta State James Ibori was one of several political figures present at Owa-Alero in Ika North-East, Delta State, on Tuesday for the private burial ceremony of late Pa Arthur Okorie Okowa, the father of the governor of the state, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa.
Also present were Okowa’s deputy, Kingsley Otuaro, the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, Senator James Manager representing Delta South, and Ndudi Elumelu representing Aniocha/Oshimili federal constituency.
Others were Archbishop of Bendel Province, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Cyril Odutemu, Chief Jide Omokore, Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshall Umukoro, and former deputy governor of the state Chief Benjamin Elue.
Governor Okowa had announced the decision of the family to give his late father who died at the age of 88 on January 28 a private burial, adding that there would a bigger event in August to celebrate the octogenarian’s life and times.
Speaking at the funeral service, the governor thanked Nigerians for their show of love, saying that ‘those who came are truly family members’.
He said as a teacher, his late father fought for the ordinary man and suffered victimisation for daring to stand for the truth.
‘He has been a strong pillar in my life and, obviously, we wished he had lived longer, but it pleased God to call him at this time.
‘Our father was a good man who fought for the church, the children and the ordinary man, especially as a teacher and suffered consequences for standing by the truth and at the end, God vindicated him.
‘We thank God that he played his role in the community. He was very passionate about the development of Owa-Alero and I am glad that he saw all we did for the community.
‘He did not compromise his faith even as an Okpara-Uku of his quarter and that, we can attest to as his children,’ the governor said.
The governor apologised to those who couldn’t attend the funeral because he had declared it a family burial.
‘We do not know when it is best to die but we thank God he took our father at a ripe age.
‘For those who couldn’t come, I apologise, there is still a time to celebrate his life and times and that will be August 21, his birthday, and we will all be there by the grace of God,’ he said.
In a homily, Bishop of Ika Diocese, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Godfrey Ekpenisi, said late Pa Okowa contributed immensely to the growth of the church and education in Ika nation.
Quoting from the Bible, the Bishop urged Christians to fear God and keep his commandments, saying ‘this is the whole duty of man’.
He called on Christians to remember their Creator in the days of their youth, recalling that Pa Okowa served God and humanity while alive. The Sun