Valedictory Session: Senators Pay Last Respects To Ewherido
...His Death Was Traumatic - Mark
ABUJA, July 17, (THEWILL) – Pain and anguish enveloped the hallowed chambers of the Senate on Wednesday as Senators, in a valedictory session, mournfully bid their fallen colleague, Senator Pius Akpor Ewherido, bye as the late Senator was laid in state in the front foyers of the Senate chamber.
It was a very solemn moment that waxed the lawmakers’ souls. All decked in either black or white, they took turns to eulogise the late Akpor Pius Ewherido, who was born on May 4, 1963 and died on June 30.
President of the Senate, David Mark, waxed poetic in his tribute, saying: "The greatest pain is not the one that we receive when we are physically hurt. Neither is it the one we receive when we are down and out. It is the one you receive when someone so dear and so close is taken away from us. Death is painful and it comes with grief and sorrow. It is in this grief and melancholy that we mourn one of us today."
Mark, whose husky voice betrayed his emotion, opened the floodgate of tributes by the 95 Senators present at the special session which was also attended by the Delta State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe.
Ewherido's wife, Doye, also attended the valedictory session with her children and relatives.
The emotion laden senators paid glowing tributes to the late Senator, describing him as an intelligent, courageous and patriotic Nigerian who was passionate about the country.
Senator Zainab Kure (Niger/PDP) who, is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine and Transport in which the late Ewherido was the vice chairman, described him as an intelligent person and recalled their conversation some few days before he died in which he promised to dissect the constitution review report clause by clause and give his points.
Senator Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta/ PDP) , in his tribute , said he knew Senator Ewherido from their time in Delta State when he was a commissioner and the late Senator was in the Delta State House of Assembly. Okowa described Ewherido as "one of the finest politicians of our time."
The Senate President described Ewherido as a friend, brother, boss and colleague. "The Senate has lost a rare gem", Mark declared at the valedictory session.
According to Mark: "It is safe to say that he is not dead because his legacy lives on. Although he was a man of exceptional achievements, he never boasted about his achievement and contributions to his community and society at large. He was a silent achiever who was referred to by his people as the Uloho (Iroko)."
After a minute silence in honour of Ewherido, Mark led a procession through the casket bearing Ewherido's remains.
The Man Ewherido
He was elected Senator for Delta Central in the April 2011 general elections, running on the Democratic People's Party (DPP) platform.
Born in Ughelli, Ewherido is Urhobo in origin. He attended Notre Dame College, Ozoro and Urhobo College, Effurun, Delta State. He went on to the University of Ife where he studied Philosophy. After his National Youth Service, Ewherido became a businessman in Warri. He also studied Law at the University of Benin, and was later called to the Bar.
Ewherido joined the United Nigerian Congress Party (UNCP) during the Nigerian Third Republic. After the transition to democracy was aborted by Sani Abacha, he left politics and returned to business. In 1998, he joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and in April 1999, he was elected to represent the Ughelli South constituency election in the Delta State House of Assembly. He was appointed Deputy Speaker of the Assembly when it convened in June 1999. From May 15, 2000 to March 20, 2001, he was the leader of the Assembly. Ewherido was re-elected in April 2003, and was Deputy Speaker of the Assembly from May 2003 to May 2007. In the 2006 PDP primaries, he was a contender for the Governornorship of Delta State in the April 2007 election, but was unsuccessful in the primaries.
Ewherido left the PDP in order to compete for the Delta Central Senate seat on the DPP platform . At the DPP primary, he was elected the candidate by a narrow margin, winning 125 votes to his opponent's 108 . In the April 2011 election, he won 102,313 votes, ahead of Amori Ighoyota of the PDP who gained 85,365 votes.