RIVERS RERUN: Slain NYSC Member Laid To Rest Amidst Tears

By Kenneth Orusi, TheNigerianVoice

The atmosphere was tensed, wailing was the order of the day as the body of the late Samuel Chukwudumebi Okonta, the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) member who was gruesomely killed during the recent re-run elections in Rivers State was on Friday laid to mother earth in his country home.

The deceased was buried in his father’s compound at Ogbe-Orji Quarters in Illah, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State amidst weeping and lamentation by family members, friends and well-wishers who gathered to give their last respect to a man they described as a hero.

Chukwudumebi, who was fondly called "Pastor", was honoured with a novelty football match by the Illah Footballers Association (IFA) which as a member, played active role and won best player award twice.

At the Holy Family Catholic Church, Ajaji, Illah, Rev. Fr. Henry Ogonwa, said he was a dedicated Christian aspiring to live a good life and build a future for himself.

Ogonwa in his homily, at the funeral service, said Dumebi was a victim of the vicious political leaders who do not have respect for life, “We need to immortalize this young man to give encouragement to the youths because the future belongs to them. We need to give them guidance, we need to respect human life and freedom of all”.

“Politicians must not become desperate and no political position worth the blood of anyone, we elected them to serve us and if they are not ready, they should leave the stage”, the priest admonished.

On his part, Director-General (DG), NYSC, Brig. Gen. Johnson Oluwumi, represented by Mrs. Rhoda Kwaki, Director, Corps Welfare and Inspectorate, said Chukwudumebi obeyed the clarion call to serve his father’s land.

“We are indeed grieved over his death, but Dumebi believes in Nigeria, served and died for Nigeria. And for the Okonta family, we pray that God will strengthen you and strengthen all of us in NYSC and the entire Nigerians for the loss”, Olawumi said.

Mr. Nelson Okonma, Chairman, Illah Footballers Association, described the decease as a talented footballer, adding that 20 minutes novelty match in his honour was in recognition of his commitment.

“Dumebi won the prestigious Stephen Keshi Football Best Player Award for 2006 and 2007. We will miss him greatly, but our consolation is in the Lord and we pray for his soul to rest in peace”, he prayed.

Mr Ifeachukwude Okonta, deceased elder brother, who described the death a big blow to the family, said Dumebi was a rear gem whose position could not be replaced.

Hear him, “But all this is over now, as it is said in everything, we give thanks to God. We want to thank the Federal Government, Delta and Rivers government, the NYSC, INEC, and all those who stood by us through this painful time”, he said.

The INEC Chairman was represented by Mr Baritor Kpagih, Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Delta.

Others were Delta NYSC Coordinator, Mrs. Olive Etukudo and Rivers State Coordinator, Mrs. Ngozi Awataragi, represented by Mrs Juliet Obianaka among other officials were at the burial.