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President Tinubu praises late Kokori at burial



President Bola Tinubu has described the former General Secretary, National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), late Chief Frank Kokori, as a foremost nationalist Nigeria has ever produced.

Tinubu made the declaration at the funeral service of the late octogenarian on Friday at St James’ Anglican Church, Oviorie-Ovu, Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta.

The president was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri.

President Tinubu said Kokori was a man of uncommon courage, who put the country as his utmost interest.

“Kokori is the most foremost nationalist Nigeria has ever produced and he is a man of uncommon courage.

“He is a selfless leader who put the interest of Nigeria above his own interest.

“He is also 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,” Tinubu said.

The president also noted that as indicated in the Holy Bible, there was a day to be born and also a day to die.

He added that since everybody would eventually die, the most important thing in life remained the legacies left behind.

“In life, it is not when you die those matters, it is what legacies you have left behind those matters.

“Kokori has left indelible marks in the history of this country and what is left is for the children to carry on with the baton.

“He has done his own for the children to leverage on the outstanding legacies of their father to continue to render services to humanity,” he said.

President Tinubu urged people to stop mourning and celebrate the exit of a nationalist who had gone to be with the Lord forever.

He also said that Kokori’s death was not the death that would be painful to only the people of Delta but the entire Nigerians.

“He was more of 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,” the president said.

Earlier, Bishop of Warri Diocese, Rt. Rev. Christian Ide, in his sermon titled: “Hope”, taken from 1 Thessalonians, 4:13-18, said that the passage of Kokori had created a vacuum that could hardly be filled.

He said that the presence of Gov. Sheriff Oborevwori, a PDP governor, side-by-side with Sen. Ede Dafinone (APC – Delta Central), was a message that politicians should be one in Christ.

“The death of Chief Kokori has created a vacuum that can hardly be filled in the family.

“He was an illustrious son of the state and you can see the presence of Gov. Oborevwori.

We cannot, but remember him for good,” he said.

The cleric urged Christians to have hope in God to overcome their life challenges.

Mr Joseph Akinlaja, who was Chief Kokori’s deputy as General Secretary of NUPENG, called on the President Tinubu to immortalise the late foremost unionist with national honours.

The Minister of State for Youths Development, Ayodele Olawande, Great Ogboru, several government functionaries and dignitaries from all walks of life attended the funeral service.

Kokori who died on Dec. 7, 2023 – the day he clocked 80 years – was survived by many children and grandchildren.

Edeki Igafe

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