Delta State Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, has expressed deep sadness on the demise of elder statesman and erstwhile General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria, (NUPENG), Chief Frank Ovie Kokori.
Kokori, a renowned Labour Leader, who hailed from Ovu in Ethiope East Local Government Area of the state, died in the early hours of Thursday, coincidentally on his 80th birth anniversary.
As a pro-democracy activist, he headlined and epitomised the national struggle for the revalidation of the historic June 12 1993 presidential election under the Abacha regime.
A month ago, Kokori was reported to have fallen ill and was immediately visited at hospital by Governor Oborevwori.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Festus Ahon, in Asaba, Governor Oborevwori commiserated with the family, the people of Ovu community in particular and the Urhobo nation over the passing of the fiery labour leader and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
He described Kokori’s passing as a “monumental loss” not just to NUPENG, Deltans and Nigerians, but to the entire world, adding that he fought gallantly for the people.
According to him, the deceased was a well respected elder statesman, an illustrious Deltan and recalled his visit to him on his sick bed in Warri.
Governor Oborevwori, said: “I have just received with shock, news of the passing of one of Nigeria’s greatest statesmen, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori, a Deltan of unparalleled patriotism.
“I am saddened that at a time like this when his patriotic zeal is needed in our dear nation, Nigeria, death came calling. I will forever cherish our last moments together when l visited him in the hospital. He was ebullient and was in very high spirit despite his ailment. He fought a good fight.
“I send my heartfelt condolences to the family, the Urhobo nation, NUPENG, APC, Deltans and Ovu community in particular over the passing of the renowned elder statesman and labour icon.
“As a bastion of inspiration, labour icon and a man of great political depth and insight as well as a leader of leaders, he contributed immensely to the development of our state and country throughout his lifetime.
“As a government, we were committed to ensuring that the now late elder statesman got back to his feet but, unfortunately, against the grain of our expectation, he couldn’t make it back from the hospital.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Delta State, I mourn the exit of a great elder statesman, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori, whose contributions to the June 12 struggle and Nigeria’s democracy remain an inspiration to many.
“As the nation mourns him, I enjoin the Kokori family, friends and associates to honour his memory by continually upholding the values and principles which he lived for and never stopped fighting for till his death”.
“My government will be fully active in giving this patriot a befitting funeral. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this critical time. May his gentle soul rest in peace”.