Nigeria: Amaechi expresses shock over death of King Frank Eke, Rosebary Briggs
Iyalla Adaye, Nigeria – Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has described as shocking the recent deaths of elder statesmen in the state, Late King Dr. Frank Eke, Eze Gbaka Gbaka of Ikwerre land and Rt. Hon. Rosebary Briggs. The former was aged 83 and served as Deputy Governor of the state, while the latter was 88 and was a former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly from 1979 -1983.
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Governor Amaechi spoke when he paid condolence visits to both families on Monday. He described Late King Dr. Eke, who served as deputy governor of the state from 1979 to 1983, as an astute leader who contributed to the state’s development. He also said the late politician and monarch showed exemplary leadership qualities during his lifetime and was reliable and trustworthy.
Amaechi recalled that the deceased stood by the state and his government at all times.
“When I heard of his death, I was in Abuja and I was taken aback. I heard of him when he was a deputy governor. I heard of him (King Dr. Frank Eke) when he was working in the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) as a medical doctor. My dad was then working in RSUST as a dispensing pharmacist.
“I met him in politics. I think then he had retired from politics and had become the king of Evo kingdom and I saw in him a man of great qualities, a wonderful character, a character that very few persons actually have in the country, a character that you see that is full of honesty. You know him as a man that when he tells you ‘I’m with you’, he’s with you”, Amaechi said.
He recalled that the late politician and monarch fought against oppression and injustice and was the voice of the state.
He also recalled the roles the late King Dr. Eke played in the Ogbakor Ikwerre, a socio-cultural organization for all Ikwerre people, stressing that his roles were worthy of emulation.
“He fights for his rights. He abhors oppression and injustice. When he became the Eze Gbaka Gbaka, the role he played in Ogbakor Ikwerre Kingdom is worthy of emulation by all of us and his children. He was the voice of the Ikwerre man and he was also the voice of the Rivers man. I don’t know how he managed to be able to speak for Ikwerre and speak for the state”, he said.
Amaechi further recalled the political contributions made by the deceased towards the enthronement of Goodluck Jonathan as the country’s President in the 2011 election.
“He was in the team of the traditional rulers that travelled round the country soliciting for support for President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 and today President Goodluck Jonathan won that election. He went to the north despite the fear of Boko Haram. He went to the South-East and he went to the South-West. I’m sure that if you check his archives, you will see numerous photographs of very important Nigerians that he had met”.
The Governor said the late King Dr. Eke lived a fulfilled life and promised that his administration would contribute to give the deceased a befitting burial.
Responding, the son of the deceased, Dr. Leslie Eke thanked Governor Amaechi for coming and said they were strengthened in their bereavement by the governor’s presence.
Also, Governor Amaechi paid another condolence visit to the family of the late former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Rosebary Briggs who served from 1979 to 1983.
Amaechi said the late former speaker offered good leadership to the state, and lived a very honest life, and pledged that the state would take part in his burial activities.
“You and I, and I’m sure the country will be surprised to know that your husband didn’t die a rich man (addressing the widow). Very few persons go through public office and die poor. It showed you the kind of person that he was, not like now when everybody is putting his hand in the till and carting away money and going. He came out clean and the prayer I have is that God should introduce more of that kind of leadership for us so that the country will grow, not what we are practising now”.
Responding, Barr. Rosebary Briggs Jnr. thanked the governor for coming to sympathize with them in their moment of grief despite his tight schedule.
Our guest is an independent journalist from the Niger Delta region in Nigeria. He attended the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) in Lagos and the Empire Journalism Centre in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and has worked with several local and national newspapers. He is a member of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria Rivers State Council, FTAN, Tourism Reporters, and Niger Delta Universal Periodic review and Nigeria Media Network on Human Rights. He plans to practice journalism to its fullest.
Please read his other Niger Delta News articles.