The remains of the late former President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof. Kimse Okoko, were on Saturday interred amidst glowing tributes in his Obunagha country home in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Okoko, who was an Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the University of Port Harcourt and president of Conference of Ethnic Nationalities in Niger Delta, passed away at 80 on September 13.
People from all walks of life thronged the primary school field venue of the funeral to pay their last respects to the deceased former scholar of repute.
In his tribute, the state governor, Douye Diri, said Okoko was a rights activist who never amassed wealth despite his class in society.
He also said the late Ijaw leader’s exemplary lifestyle had taught Bayelsans that material wealth always ended in vanity.
Diri eulogised the sterling qualities of Okoko, saying the late scholar paid his dues as an administrator and activist that led the Ijaw struggle successfully.
He said, “Professor Okoko was a socialist; he belonged to the left. He had nothing to do with material wealth and that is why back home, you can hardly find vestiges of capitalism around him.
“On behalf of the government and people of Bayelsa State, I stand here to honour our great son, who has proven to us that material wealth is all about vanity of all vanities.”
Okoko’s first son, Deniye, described their late father as “a teacher, philanthropist, disciplinarian, principled and humorous father who loved his wife and family.”
The national president of National Political Science Association, Prof. Michael Okolie, described the former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of University of Uyo as “a man of honour and dignity, who was firm and steadfast in building a new Nigeria.”
He also recalled how the late Okoko spearheaded efforts at rebuilding the NPSA, saying the association would seek the understanding of the Okoko family to institute an annual public lecture in his hounour.