Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri and his deputy Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo have expressed shock over the sudden death of elder statesman, Chief Francis Doukpola.
Doukpola, deputy national chairman of Pan Niger Delta Forum’s (PANDEF) and chairman Bayelsa Elders Council died at the age of 76 after a brief illness.
Governor Diri, in his condolence message, described the late Doukpola as a politician of conviction whose passing would create a vacuum not only in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family but also in the whole state.
He recalled the late foremost banker for providing exemplary leadership qualities in ensuring stability in the state as well as his unparalleled wise counsel, humility and candour.
He noted that as chairman of the Bayelsa Elders Advisory Council and leader of the Sagbama PDP Caucus, Doukpola exhibited leadership qualities that will be greatly missed.
“Chief Francis Amaebi Doukpola was an inspiration, a pillar of support and encouragement. He believed strongly in Ijaw solidarity and unity, upholding ideals that resonated well with the people across the state and the Niger Delta.
“His demise is as painful as it occurred at a time his services were still greatly needed in the state, the Niger Delta and the nation as a whole.”
Senator Ewhrudjakpo who mourned Doukpola and late Captain Owonaro in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Doubra Atasi lamented that their exit came at a time when their fatherly counsel was most needed by the Senator Douye Diri-led Administration.
Describing the duo as true patriots, he noted that Late Chief Doukpola and Captain Owonaro showed untainted commitment to the emancipation of the Ijaw man from the clutches of oppression right from their youthful days.
According to the deputy governor, it’s this passionate love for the Ijaw nation that inspired Captain Owonaro (Retd) to join forces with Late Major Isaac Boro to declare the Niger Delta Republic, which led to their arrest and condemnation to death.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo described the demise of Doukpola as a personal loss, noting that he would not forget the supportive role the deceased played in his Senatorial election and the 2019 Bayelsa governorship polls.
His words, “Just a few weeks ago, I had the privilege of presiding over his (Chief Doukpola’s) 76th birthday celebration in Yenagoa. At that event, I described him as an asset to his family, community, Bayelsa and Nigeria as a whole.
“Chief Doukpola was among the few patriotic leaders that worked tirelessly for the creation of Bayelsa State, and since then he never relented in giving support to the Government to ensure that the vision and aspirations of the founding fathers are actualized.