*As former acting Governor, Sam Obi, is laid to rest
By Tosan Edematie
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Nigerians to seek God for help in tackling the Nation’s challenges.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who was speaking at the funeral of late former Speaker of Delta House of Assembly and former Acting Governor of the state, Sam Obi, at Ute-Okpu, Ika North East Local Government Area, also said that the unabating challenges in the country had made it imperative for Nigerians to seek God wholly for solution.
Expressing deep sadness at the death of the former speaker of the state assembly, Governor Okowa described him as a focused and courageous man who contributed immensely to development of the state.
He said that late Obi was a very bold person and had good relationships with men, and that his demise came when his wise counsels were most needed.
He, however, said that the deceased left enviable record coupled with the fact that he died in Christ.
The governor condoled with the wife, children and family members on the demise of the former acting governor and advised them to put their trust in God and avoid anything capable of causing division among them.
He chronicled his relationship with late Obi which spanned about 30 years, especially in politics, and affirmed that the deceased was a good man.
Okowa told the bereaved family to uphold the Obi’s legacies as one of the ways to immortalise him.
“He has impacted positively on a lot of souls both physically and spiritually because he became a pastor at a later point in his life.
“But in spite of all these, at 59, he was too young to die and we have gathered to mourn him, but we give thanks to God for the good life that he lived.
“I met Sam for the first time in 1991, about 30 years ago. Then, l had just joined politics, probably less than a year old in politics and one Gilbert Mordi brought him to my clinic along Convent Street in Boji-Boji Owa and that day, l liked him and from that day, we became very good friends.
“And, as l ran for the Council Chairman in that year, he ran for councilorship of the Ute-Okpu ward and to God be the glory, we both succeeded.
“Since then, we became political associates and friends. Sam was a very focused person and courageous. Everybody could not have liked him because he has his ways but he was a very good man.
“He was a very bold person and had the power of oratory; he had the power of good relationship with men, of course, with the grace of God, those qualities made him to excel.
“Eventually, he was in the House of Assembly and later became Speaker of the House. Our political journey together is a long story.
“I thank God because, through his time in politics, he listened to the wise counselling that l had to give and l thank God that he eventually became Speaker and Acting Governor and eventually returned to the House as Speaker.
“We thank God that he later found himself strongly with God and established his church. That is the best aspect of whatever life he lived – life in service of God is the best anyone can have and we thank God for that,” he said.
Earlier in an exhortation at an open-air funeral service, Revd. Paul Anyasi, said death was a necessary end for all mortals, but that what was paramount was impact one made while on earth.
Anyasi said that death was a reminder of the fact that life was time- bound, that there was no certainty for tomorrow, and that every opportunity must be maximised before death occurred.
He added that the 59 years of the late Sam Obi may be brief in the eyes of man, pointing out that the ultimate was the lives that he positively impacted on and his relationship with God.
While saying that nobody could run away from death, the cleric advised Nigerians to have eternity in view in their daily lives, emphasising that there was no repentance in the grave.
He advised those in authority to use their positions to better the society as nothing was permanent on earth.
High points of the ceremony were a police parade at the graveside and the firing of 21 gunshots salute in honour of the departed former acting governor.
The ceremony was attended by the wife of the Governor, Edith; Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro; Speaker, Delta House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori; members of the assembly and the State Executive Council, among other dignitaries.