Okowa, Otuaro, Ibori, Oborevwori Present as Ex-Delta Gov, Uduaghan Buries Father-in-law in Grand Style
Encomiums poured in as eminent personalities from all walks of life converged in Warri, Delta State to bid farewell to Brig-General Sunday Esijolomi Tuoyo (Rtd.), father-in-law of Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, the immediate-past governor of Delta State.
Brig-General Tuoyo journeyed to the great beyond on Saturday, December 17th, 2022 at the ripe age of 87.
For two consecutive days, Thursday January 19, 2023 and Friday, January 20, 2023, the lively city of Warri in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, was at its boisterous best, as the octogenarian was laid to rest. The funeral ceremony began with service of songs/night of tributes (Thursday) and funeral service (Friday) at First Baptist Church, Warri, Delta State.
The event had in attendance the high and mighty from all the strata of the nation’s economy – political, academia, administrative and business communities, including captains of industry, friends and associates of the Uduaghan and Tuoyo families who came in large numbers to bid the late octogenarian farewell.
Some of the personalities who graced the ceremony included: Her Excellency, Dame Edith Okowa, wife of the Delta State governor who represented her husband, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa; Deacon Kingsley Otuaro, deputy governor of Delta State; Chief James Ibori, former governor of Delta State; Mr. Sheriff Oborevwori, speaker of Delta State House of Assembly and Delta PDP 2023 gubernatorial candidate and his wife, Tobore; Senator James Manager, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi and members of the Delta State House of Assembly.
Others were Justice Roseline Bozino, former Chief Judge of Delta State; Brig-General Ike Nwachukwu and his wife, Chief Thomas Ereyitomi, member of the Federal House of Representatives; Mr. Chiedu Ebie, immediate-past secretary to the Delta State Government; Olorogun John Oguma, Engr. Omatsuli Tuoyo; Hon. Joel Thomas-Onowhakpo, APC Delta South 2023 Senatorial candidate; Mr. Bismarck Rewane; Hon. Chris Oghenechovwen and Chief Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Elema of Warri.
Also, on the roll call were: Comrade Macaulay Ovuozourie, former secretary to the Delta State Government; Hon. Daniel Reyenieju; Prince Nduka Obaigbena, founder of THISDAY Newspaper & ARISE Television and Dr. Alex Ideh, former Delta State commissioner for Health.
In his exhortation at the funeral service, Rev. (Dr.) A. Adeleke, the presiding minister of First Baptist Church, Ibadan, admonished the children of the deceased and the well-wishers on how to handle the issue of death. He reminded and charged the congregation not to fear death but to be prepared and steadfast with God as everyone would be called home someday.
At the burial ceremony, many described Brig.-General Tuoyo, as a compassionate and an epitome of love and discipline while others noted that his humility and selfless service to God and humanity were second to none.
In a tribute to his father-in-law, Dr. Uduaghan described the late army general as his mentor and father who contributed immensely to the growth, development and unity of Nigeria, most especially during the Civil War where he fought against the Biafran militants.
While calling on the Federal Government to honour gallant officers who sacrificed their all for the country, the former governor told the audience that Brig-General Tuoyo led the team that cut off supply for the Biafrans which led to their defeat in 1970.
According to him: “It’s been tough trying to put down a tribute. My relationship with daddy, Brig-Gen Sunny Tuoyo Rtd started about 35 years ago as father and son-in-law. It gradually grew to become more of a son-and-daddy relationship with less emphasis on the issue of in-law.
“He was a nation builder who sacrificed so much to the unity of Nigeria, though hardly heard of. It will amaze you to know that daddy was one those who made the defeat of Biafra possible.
“With his experience in the military, especially as an administrator in the old Ondo State, he advised me quite often on several issues that arose during my tenure as commissioner for Health, SSG and governor of Delta State. He contributed so much to restoring peace in the Niger Delta region during the militancy when I was the governor of Delta State.
“He had a good heart and many got to me for one favour or the other through him. Sadly, some of these people never acknowledged his role in getting such favours. I will miss him.”
On her part, Mrs. Roli Nere Uduaghan, the first daughter of the deceased and former first lady of Delta State said: “I’m super proud of having him as my father. He lived a life worthy of emulation. God will reward him abundantly for all his good deeds and forgive him of all his shortcomings. He would always call to pray for me and to bless me with all his heart. He was loved so dearly, and brought so much happiness to the many hearts he touched.
“He was always kind, caring and understanding towards people. He is a blessing and God’s gift to everyone who came across him and brought so much joy to many. He will be greatly missed.”
The late Brig-General Tuoyo was born on 24th February 1935 in Sapele, Delta State. He was enlisted into the Nigerian Army in 1962 as a platoon commander, from there grew to the rank of a brigadier-general where he retired. He is survived by his beloved wife, Mrs. Henrietta, six children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.