By Omon-Julius Onabu
The remains of Sir Arthur Okorie Okowa, father of Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, were yesterday laid to rest at Owa-Alero, Ika North-East Local Government Area of the state.
A renowned educationist and community leader, Okowa died at 88 on January 28, 2021, after a brief illness.
His remains were amidst encomiums interred at a private funeral in deference to the wishes of the family.
Beside family members, the ceremony was witnessed by a handful of dignitaries, including the Archbishop of Bendel Province, Anglican Communion, Archbishop Cyril Odutemu; Deputy Governor of Delta State, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro; former governor of the state, Chief James Ibori; and a former deputy governor of the state, Mr. Benjamin Elue.
Others included Chief Jide Omokore; Senator James Manager; House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu; Chief Judge of Delta, Justice Marshall Umukoro and Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori.
In his speech during the funeral service, Okowa thanked Nigerians for their show of love, saying that because he had announced that the ceremony would be private for the family, “Those who came are truly family members.”
He said as a teacher, his late father fought for the ordinary man and suffered victimisation for daring to stand for the truth.
Okowa said: “He had 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, especially as a teacher and suffered consequences for standing by the truth and in 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.”
Okowa stated that his late father did not compromise his faith even as an Okpara-Uku of his quarter, adding that his children can attest to this claim.
“For those who couldn’t come, I apologise, there is still a time to celebrate his life and times and that will be August 21, his birthday, and we will all be there by the grace of God.”
In a homily, Bishop of Ika Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev. Godfrey Ekpenisi, said the late Okowa contributed to the growth of the church and education in Ika nation.
With biblical references, the bishop urged Christians to fear God and keep His commandments, saying: “This is the whole duty of man.”
He added that the deceased served God and humanity while alive.