Tears flowed freely in Port Harcourt and Bayelsa State on Thursday, as the news broke, of the death of a former commissioner of agriculture in Bayelsa, Chief Lionel Jonthan-Omo.
He was said to have died in a Port Harcourt hospital, where he was recovering after a surgery, following his fall from a storey-building in his Nembe home.
His political party, the APC, which confirmed the death described the lawyer as a great asset to the party. The statement by the party’s spokesman in the state, Mr Doifie Ola said his death was an “indescribable loss.”
The statement reads:
“We do this tribute with great sadness over the indescribable loss of our leader, political mentor, and friend, Chief Lionel Jonathan-Omo.
“Jonathan-Omo broke his limbs in a fall and fought bravely for his life at a private hospital in Port Harcourt to recover from the injuries he sustained. He never survived them. The chief died Thursday after an unsuccessful operation. All of us had hoped that Jonathan-Omo would recover from his injuries and get on with his life, particularly, at this time of intense political activities in our state and country when his experience and wisdom are seriously needed.
“Lionel Jonthan-Omo who is from Nembe trained as a lawyer, and taught law at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology for several years. A former Commissioner in Bayelsa State, he was also a delegate representing the state at the 2005 National Political Reform Conference (NPRC). Until his death, he was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). During the 2015-2016 Gubernatorial Elections, he was the Deputy Director-General of the Sylva/Igiri Campaign Organisation. He earned his living as founder of Achievers Farm in Igbogene-Yenagoa.
“Jonathan-Omo was a wonderful party man, a great Bayelsan, and an illustrious Ijaw son. He was at the forefront of every popular activity – politically, economically, and socially – to better the lives of people in his state and nation. He believed in truth and fought for it with every resource and avenue at his disposal.
“A democrat to the core, he always believed in dialogue and was always ready to listen to others. Lionel-Jonathan never judged or forced his opinion on anyone. He characteristically gave room for the ventilation of opinions, even from his fiercest opponents. His valuable and truthful counsels are some of the things we will surely miss.
“Jonthan-Omo was focused and intelligent, a man of magically brilliant political ideas. The remarkable thing about his ideas is that they were always meant to help and better society. He was sacrificial, but strong and hated being vulnerable. He was an incurable optimist and a huge encouragement to his political allies. He offered comfort and motivation to those around him.
“Jonthan-Omo was sincere, loving, and simple. He was a wonderful father to his children and a great breadwinner who laid a solid foundation for not only his family but also his community and friends far and near. Surely, his children and family will not lack people who will watch over them and ensure they continue to have a great life. Their father loved his people, lived with them, shared their pains and joys, and participated in activities to improve their political and economic wellbeing. He was a great man, brilliant and likeable.
“Our hope is that he rests in peace knowing he fought a good fight and the legacies of truth, peace, and positive hope he left with us will endure and grow.”