Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, said he actually broke down when he received the news of the passing of his father, Pa Abraham Diri. The octogenarian died at 88 years on Sunday.
Speaking at his Sampou community home on Monday when received scores of visitors, including members of the state executive council, security commanders and the state executive of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Diri said he thought he was very strong until the night of Sunday when he could not hold back tears.
In an emotion-laden voice, the Bayelsa helmsman expressed gratitude to members of his cabinet for sharing in his family’s moment of pain and sadness.
He said his father died as his administration was commemorating three years in office and wished that he lived longer.
According to him, government had lined up a number of activities to mark the anniversary but because of the sad development, all official engagements had to be suspended.
He said: “Only yesterday (Sunday), we were at the Ecumenical Centre giving thanks to God for our third anniversary in office. Little did we know that our father will depart.
“These are very tough times for us. Death like rain falls on every rooftop. It affects both the rich and poor, high and low.
“On behalf of my family, immediate and extended as well as the Sampou community, we appreciate you for your thoughtfulness and for coming to commiserate with us at such a short time.
“When it happened on Sunday night, I thought l was strong and directed that all engagements should stand. But as an ordinary mortal, l broke down that night.
“I pictured my youthful days with my father when he wanted to be a councillor and l realized that l was not that strong. I recalled my father wanting to be a councillor and he could not. He failed in the election and we were all crying at home with him. But I promised him that I will become a councillor and the whole picture played back on my mind down to my university and my working days.
“We are indeed consoled by your visit and we thank God. For the scripture says in all situations we should give thanks to God.”
Speaking on behalf of the state executive council, the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, described the death of Chief Diri as symbolic and divine on the day it occurred.
Describing death as inevitable, he noted that Pa Diri died peacefully without any prolonged health crisis.
He urged the governor to take solace in the fact that almost all his father’s wishes had been fulfilled in him.
Ewhrudjakpo said the whole state had been thrown into mourning following the departure of the octogenarian and prayed God to grant the Diri family and Sampou community the fortitude to bear the loss.
The State Commandant, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Lucy Fakoya, also led members of the state security council to condole with the governor.
Fakoya said they heard about the sad incident and that heads of the various security services in the state decided to identify with the governor and his family in their moment of grief.
Also, the PDP state executive committee led by the chairman, Solomon Agwana, was at Sampou.
Agwana described the octogenarian as father of the party and a disciplinarian who helped to mould the character of young ones.
He said the loss was not only to the Diri family but also the entire members of the party and the whole state.
“Papa was a father to everyone. His death is a loss to all of us in the party and indeed the entire state,” he said.
The governor also received a delegation of the KOLGA Elders Council, KOLGA Caucus and Kolokuma Development Initiative led by chairman of the Elders Council, Chief Isaac Kumokou.