Diri renames Ijaw National Academy after revolution hero
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, at the weekend, renamed the Ijaw National Academy after the late Captain Samuel Timinipre Owonaro (rtd.) after recounting his last encounter with the Niger Delta hero, who died in June this year.
Owonaro is remembered for his role in the ‘12-day Revolution’ with the late Major Isaac Adaka Boro and Nottingham Dick when they declared the Niger Delta Republic on February 23, 1966.
Applauding the freedom fighter during his funeral at Kaiama, his hometown, Governor Diri narrated how Owonaro expressed joy when he (Diri) visited him after his inauguration, saying the deceased expressed profound joy that he lived to see the creation of Bayelsa as a homogenous Ijaw state.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah quoted the governor as saying that Owonaro was also happy that a Kolokuma/Opokuma son became governor in his lifetime and that his agitation with the late Boro was not in vain after all.
Diri described the deceased as one who led an impactful life and left the legacy of a role model for the younger generation, insisting that the best way to immortalise Owonaro was by naming a monument after him.
“As a young man, part of how the late Boro impacted me and most of us in the old Rivers State is the Adaka Boro Park named after the Ijaw hero. And so, I pronounce that the Ijaw National Academy be renamed Captain Sam Owonaro Academy.
“In the same vein, I direct the Commissioner for Works and other commissioners to look out for a street to be named after Nottingham Dick, one of the three heroes,” he said.
The governor stressed that Owonaro had impacted the lives of not only the Kolokuma people, but also the entire Ijaw nation and Nigeria over the years.
Also speaking, former Governor Seriake Dickson thanked God for raising young and fearless men like Boro and Owonaro at a time the country neglected the minority ethnic nationalities and ignored the cracks that were not fully resolved before Nigeria’s independence.
Speaking, former President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Chief Joshua Fumudoh, said the Ijaw would forever remember Owonaro, who was the last-man-standing’ among the heroes and for keeping the memories of other freedom fighters alive before his death.
Fumudoh urged the Ijaw youths to learn from the contributions of their senior compatriots and be determined to contribute their quota to the lifting of the Ijaw nation.
Son of the deceased, Lloyd Owonaro, applauded Governor Diri and the state government for immortalising his father and expressed the hope that the struggle his father lived for and his legacies would last forever.
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