Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State and by extension the Ijaw nation was thrown into mourning on Wednesday when news filtered in over the death of a People’s Democratic Party(PDP) chieftain, philanthropist, and billionaire businessman, Keniebi Okoko die in a Lagos hospital.
Okoko, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of KDI Oil and Gas Company, was the son of elder statesman and former President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) Prof Kimse Okoko.
Okoko aged 43 was a formidable governorship aspirant in the 2019 PDP governorship primaries and was the second runner with 142 votes.
The deceased from Obunagha in Gbarain clan, Yenagoa Local Government Area was already been pressurised to run for the vacant Bayelsa Central Senatorial seat previously occupied by Governor Douye Diri.
Okoko , a pastor at Salvation Ministries was said to have died during a liposuction surgery procedure at an hospital(name withheld) around Lekki in Lagos.
Initially news of death was mired in confusion as counter information came in that he has been resuscitated and moved into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). However further investigations revealed that he has been declared dead.
Former director-general of NIMASA, Mr Dakuku Peterside who said he was one of the people that saw his lifeless body disclosed that well wishers that thronged the hospital are demanding for an investigation on the circumstances surrounding the professional handling of his situation.
“I got to the hospital about 8-8:30pm and friends of his from across the country (high , mighty, ordinary folks ) have taken over the hospital and were ready to go to “war” for most loved Kenebi. It simply restored my faith in brotherhood and humanity. Too many persons in the midst of wailing were willing to help to ensure that a loving soul like Kenebi is not put to shame.
The second observation is that all and sundry were not happy with the professional handling of the medical attention he got leading to his death and are demanding that we must get to the root of the matter so persons whose professional negligence led to this avoidable death must be held to account for it . “
Former governor Henry Seriake Dickson in statement to condole with the family, Bayelsa State and Ijaw nation described Okoko’s death as sad and painful noting that it was a heavy blow to Bayelsa State and the Ijaw nation.
“Keniebi was somebody we all had a lot of hope in; he proved to be an open minded, accommodating, large hearted, understanding political leader that I encouraged to be under my wing henceforth for political grooming and support. My family and I are pained and I have made a lot of calls to our leaders. Everybody is pained and we should take it as bad as it is as what God has done. Nobody can question Him.”
He said this COVID-19 period is bad for Bayelsa considering the recent death of politician, Chief George Fente, loss of wife of Senator Ben Murray Bruce to cancer in the US and now the painful death of Okoko.