Delta Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Friday, said Nigeria was still in crisis and urged citizens to have a recourse to God to help the nation.
He stated this at the funeral of late former Speaker of Delta House of Assembly and former Acting Governor of the state, Mr Sam Obi, at Ute-Okpu, Ika North East Local Government Area.
The Governor said that the unabating challenges in the country had made it imperative for Nigerians to seek God wholly for solution.
He expressed deep sadness at the death of the former speaker of the state assembly, describing him as a focused and courageous man who contributed immensely to development of the state.
He said that late Obi was a very bold person and had good relationships with men, and that his demise came when his wise counsellings were most needed.
He, however, expressed joy that the deceased left enviable records coupled with the fact that he died in Christ.
The governor condoled with the wife, children and family members on the demise of the former Acting Governor of the state, and advised them to put their trust in God and avoid anything capable of causing division.
While chronicling his relationship with Late Sam Obi way back as council chairman and councillor in Ika North-East Local Government, he affirmed that they had intimate relationship till he passed on.
The governor told the bereaved family to uphold the deceased’s legacies as one of the ways to immortalise him.
“He has impacted positively on a lot of souls both physically and also spiritually because he became a pastor at a later point in life.
“But despite all these, at 59, he was too young to die and we have gathered to mourn him but we give thanks to God for the good life that he lived.
“I truly met Sam for the first time in the year 1991, about 30 years ago. Then, l had just joined politics, probably less than a year old in politics and one Gilbert Mordi brought him to my clinic along Convent Street in Boji-Boji Owa and that day, l liked him and from that day, we became very good friends.
“And as l ran for the Council Chairman in that year, he ran for the councilorship of the Ute-Okpu ward and to God be the glory, we both succeeded.
“Ever since then, we became political associates and friends. Sam was later in life to run for the Council Chairman and became elected as Council Chairman in Ika North-East in 1997.
“We were that close that in my house at Agbor, because there was no house for the Council Chairman as at then, l had to vacate my room for Sam to stay and l stayed with my wife for a period of three months. And our friendship actually went on through the political terrain.
“He was a very focused person and courageous. Everybody could not have liked him because he has his ways but he was a very good man.
“He was a very bold person and had the power of oratory; he had the power of good relationship with men; of course with the grace of God, those qualities made him to excel.
“Eventually, he was in the House of Assembly and later became Speaker of the House. Our political journey together is a long story.
“And l thank God because, through his time in politics, he listened to the wise counselling that l had to give and l thank God that he eventually became Speaker and Acting Governor and eventually returned to the House after the re-election of Uduaghan, as Speaker of the House.
“We thank God that he later found himself strongly with God and established his church. That is the best aspect of whatever life he lived. The life in service of God is the best anyone can have and we thank God for that”, he said.
Earlier in an exhortation at the open-air funeral service, Revd. Dr. Paul Anyasi ,said death was a necessary end for all mortals, pointing out that what was paramount was impact one made while on earth.
Reverend Anyasi said that death was a reminder of the fact that life was time-bound, that there was no certainty for tomorrow ,and that every opportunity must be maximised before death occurs.
He added that the 59 years of the Late Sam Obi may be seen as brief in the eyes of man, pointing out that the ultimate was the lives that he positively impacted on and his relationship with God.
While saying that nobody can run away from death, the cleric advised Nigerians to have eternity in view in their daily lives, emphasising that there was no repentance in the grave.
Reverend Anyasi used the forum to call on those in authority to use their positions of trust to better the society as nothing was permanent on earth.
There was police parade at the graveside and the firing of 21 gunshots salute in honour of the departed former Acting Governor where the parade commander handed over the Nigerian flag to Governor Okowa who subsequently handed it (Nigerian flag) over to the eldest son of the deceased, Mr. Roy Sam Obi.
The ceremony was attended by the wife of the Governor, Dame Edith; his deputy, Deacon Kingsley Otuaro; the Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA), Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori; members of the state Executive Council , and members of the DTHA among other dignitaries.