Scores of prominent Nigerian leaders, on Saturday, bid farewell to Pa Abraham Joseph Michael (AJM) Diri, father of the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, at Sampou community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state.
The attendees included a cross-section of leaders, namely Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and his wife, Dolapo, former Presidents, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr Goodluck Jonathan alongside his wife, Dame Patience, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar and National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Iyorchia Ayu as well as the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi.
State governors and governors-elect at the funeral service were Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, (Governors of Delta), Senator Ademola Adeleke (Osun), Godwin Obaseki (Edo) and wife, Betty, Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Seyi Makinde (Oyo) and Darius Ishiaku (Taraba).
The governors-elect of Akwa Ibom, Plateau, Taraba and Niger states were also present.
Chief Obasanjo, in his goodwill message delivered by Vice President Osinbajo, described Pa Diri as an exemplary teacher, a Lay Reader,m and community leader, who gave his children proper upbringing.
According to him, “we are here to celebrate the life and times of Pa Diri. The array of personalities here is an indication that Pa Diri brought up and nurtured the aspirations of so many children.”
The former Nigerian leader noted that the late Diri’s reward as a teacher came not just through his son, Senator Diri, but attracted so many notable Nigerians to Sampou to celebrate a humble teacher.
“He could not have imagined that an array of personalities would come here to honour him. According to the book of Proverbs 14:23, “in all labour, there is profit.”
Former President Jonathan, in his remarks, said he was with the bereaved Diri family in appreciating Obasanjo, Osinbajo and all those who came to celebrate and honour the family and the people of the state.
He recalled that Pa Diri passed on a day that the present administration in the state was marking its third anniversary and prayed God to strengthen Diri and his family.
Also, former Vice President Atiku said: “There is a special relationship between me and the people of Bayelsa State. l am with you as a family and that is why l am physically here.”
The PDP presidential candidate noted that he attended the funeral ceremonies of former governor of the state, Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha in Amassoma, former Governor Seriake Dickson’s mother at Toru-Orua and that of Diri’s father.
Responding, Senator Diri said he and his family as well as the entire state were humbled by the large turnout of high profile dignitaries in his community to bid his father farewell.
“We are indeed overwhelmed. There can be no love more than that. I would not have thought even in the wildest of my imaginations that there would be a large number of high profile Nigerians here to celebrate my father.”
Diri, who described his father as a disciplinarian, noted that he impacted positively on all who crossed his path and they all shared his positive attributes.
Other dignitaries who graced the event were one-time Bayelsa military administrator, Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade (rtd), wife of former governor, Mrs Margaret Alamieyeseigha, Managing Director and Country Chair of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Mr Osagie Okunbor, Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Gen. Barry Ndiomu (retd), Senators Uche Ekwunife and Ben Murray-Bruce as well as the PDP governorship candidate in Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye.
The Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, his wife, Beatrice, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, other state and national lawmakers, the state Acting Chief Judge, Justice Matilda Ayemieye, president, Customary Court of Appeal, Justice Daniel Ayah, Justices of the state high court, commissioners and other top government functionaries, business mogul, High Chief Victor Egukawhore, captains of industry, traditional rulers as well as clerics among others.