A former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr. Timi Alaibe, has described the death of Gabriel Omomotimi Okara as a loss to Nigeria.
According to Alaibe in a statement made available to THISDAY, Pa Okara was a father-figure friend, a forerunner in many aspects, and also a man with a fertile inspirational mind.
Alaibe stated, “My encounters with Okara were always humbling. His simple lifestyle contrasted with his broad view and global recognition. In many ways, he was an inspiration.
“He started his career as a printer and books binder, a job he did for almost 10 years. His rise from the dust of his career to the top where he rubbed shoulders with the best across the world can hardly be captured in words.
“It was in recognition of Pa Okara’s outstanding performance in the art and literary world that the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission during my time as Executive Director, Finance/Administration created the Association of Nigerian Authors NDDC Gabriel Okara Prize for Poetry.”
The statement added that Nigeria has lost one of its best. However, we must move from mourning to celebration because Pa Okara lived a fulfilled life, although his exit marks the end of a fruitful era, which must be reinvented and sustained.