By Ifeanyi Olannye
The remains of Pa Arthur Okowa, father of Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, have been laid to rest in his hometown, Owa-Alero, Ika North East Local Government Area of the state.
Pa Okowa died on Jan. 28 after a brief illness at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba, at the age of 88.
Gov. Okowa had earlier announced that the burial of his father would be private to the family members, due to the ravaging second wave of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He, however, said that there would be a celebration of life in honour of his late father sometime in August.
He said at the burial ceremony that his father was very passionate about the development of Owa-Alero and that he was glad the octogenarian saw all government did for the community.
The governor said that 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.
“As a teacher he 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,” he said.
The governor who thnked Nigerians for their show of love to him and the family, apologised to those who could not attend the funeral because of the restriction.
“We do not know when it is best to die but we thank God he took our father at a ripe age.
“To those who couldn’t come, I apologise. There is still a time to celebrate his life and times and that will be on Aug. 21, his birthday.
“We will all be there by the grace of God,” the governor added.
In a homily, the Bishop of Ika Diocese, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Godfrey Ekpenisi, said the octogenarian contributed immensely to the growth of the church and education in the area.
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.
Also in attendance were the Archbishop of Bendel Province, Anglican Communion, Cyril Odutemu; Delta Deputy Governor, Mr Kingsley Otuaro; and former Gov. James Ibori and his deputy, Benjamin Elue.
Others were Chief Jide Omokore, Sen. James Manager, Reps Ndudi Elumelu; the Chief Judge of Delta, Justice Marshall Umukoro; and Speaker, Delta House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori.