Jonathan, Ijaw Nation mourn Oronto Douglas

Posted by Arodiegwu Eziukwu, Yenagoa | 10 April 2015 | 3,545 times

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President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed deep sadness over the death, yesterday morning, of his Special Adviser on Research, Documentation and Strategy, Mr. Oronto Douglas.

“President Jonathan extends his heartfelt condolences to the Douglas family and the government and people of Bayelsa State on the death of one of their most distinguished sons who served his country, state and the Niger Delta region, passionately and diligently, during his very impactful years on earth,” Presidential Spokesman Reuben Abati said in a statement in Abuja.

Douglas, who passed away after a protracted battle with cancer, hailed from Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa. He was President Jonathan’s personal aide for close to a decade.  “The President will always remember him for his passion for work, excellence, inspiring creativity and outstanding commitment to his duties,” Abati said. 

“The President remains thankful to God Almighty for the brilliance and resourcefulness that Oronto brought to bear on every assignment as a loyal and dutiful aide during his tenure as Governor of Bayelsa State and as Vice President, Acting President and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“President Jonathan believes that Oronto will remain a shining and worthy example for every young Nigerian who seeks a life of service and achievement.”

In Yenagoa, the Ijaw Youths Council in a statement issued by its spokesman Eric Omare expressed sorrow over the demise of Douglas.

“The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and indeed the Ijaw Nation is in shock over the news of the demise of Oronto Natei Douglas, who until his death was the Special Adviser to the President Jonathan on Research and Documentation.

“His death is shocking and a big blow to the Ijaw Nation, the Niger-Delta and Nigeria in general.

“As a founding member of the IYC and member of the collegiate leadership, Oronto was central to the conceptualisation of the historic Kaiama Declaration and formation of the IYC in 1998.

“As an environmentalist, Oronto’s efforts together with other Niger-Delta Delta activists brought the deplorable condition and degradation of the Niger-Delta environment to the attention of the international community.

“Oronto died at this critical time when the Ijaw nation needed his services most. This is truly a very testing time for the Ijaw people. We commiserate with the Oronto family, the Government and people of Bayelsa State and President Jonathan on the demise of Oronto. Indeed, we are in pains!” the IYC stated

Also, Mr Benson Ekio, Special Assistant to Bayelsa Governor on Radio Communications said Oronto’s demise was a great loss to the state. He described him as a reliable friend and patriotic Bayelsa and Niger Delta indigene.

“I have known him for over a decade and he takes the affairs of Bayelsa very seriously, even during his health challenges, he will be greatly missed by many.

“He was a very diligent person and brought that to bear on his job as the former Commissioner of Information, he had wonderful relationship with media practicioners in the state till his death,” Ekio said

Mr Nathan Egba, a former Commissioner for Information in Bayelsa described Oronto as a man of impeccable integrity.

“Ohhh Oronto was a man of many parts, he succeeded me as Commissioner for Information and he did that job to the best of his ability, he will be remembered for his commitment and the many spheres of life.

“He is an intellectual with a difference and he left memories in the state before he joined the Presidency, in the legal field he was also outstanding, he was also an activist of note, his death is a big loss to us and the world at large because he also operated at the international level as an activist,” Egba said

Dr Godwin Ojo, Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) described Oronto as a committed and selfless activist.

“The demise of Oronto is shocking to me as a co-founder of ERA in 1993 along with Nnimmo Bassey and myself, he was very hardworking, dedicated and selfless, the human rights community, the government and Nigerians will miss him,” Ojo said

Douglas is survived by a wife and children and family members.

According to the family source, arrangements were underway to bring the remains of Douglas home to Bayelsa.

•Photo shows President Jonathan condoling with Mrs. Oronto Douglas . . . yesterday in Abuja.

Source: News Express

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