The serene community of Ikot Abia Idem in Ikot Ekpene local Government of Akwa Ibom State was Friday ignited as dignitaries from all walks of life gathered to bid farewell to the departed paramount ruler of the area, Okuku, Engr. Augustus Assiak, who passed on at 85.
Governor Udom Emmanuel and wife, Martha, were among dignitaries and stakeholders who assembled at the Methodist Primary School, Ikot Abia Idem for the funeral rites.
Mr Emmanuel described the Late Engr. Assiak as a peaceful patriot who committed his life to meritorious service to his people, the state and country.
Engr Assiak, he maintained was a consummate telecommunications and media practitioner and paramount ruler of international recognition, lamenting that his loss has left several Akwa Ibom people in a sad mode.
“He was indeed a colossus who would be missed dearly, and I implore all of us to honour his memory by following the path of peace.”
“you needed to see this man in the traditional rulers’ chambers with other paramount rulers when they wanted to flare, he will always be the one to calm situations down, we will miss him greatly,” the Governor said.
Mr Emmanuel however said the state was consoled by the distinctions Engr. Assiak made in public service, which stood him out as “a great repository of knowledge, compassion, profound sense of wisdom and inspiration to all of us.”
Others who spoke included the immediate past Governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio who described Engr. Assiak as a man of justice who believed strongly in justice and equity in the Akwa Ibom polity.
Akpabio said the deceased rallied with other royal fathers to advocate the doctrines of power shifts, so that all the three senatorial districts could be equal participants in the Akwa Ibom project.
Said Akpabio, “he was one of those in the forefront of that struggle and that was the reason we had the opportunity to be the Governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2007 ; Assiak was a great transformer in every sense of word and assisted us to bring uncommon transformation of this state that we witnessed between 2007 – 2015.
“When Udom Emmanuel emerged in Akwa Ibom state as the candidate, the first among the paramount rulers in this state to embrace the candidate, was Okuku Assiak. he did not only embrace him, he prayed for him, he sang a song for him,” Akpabio recounted.
Furthermore, Akpabio recounted that the late octogenarian told him “my son, you have not disappointed me, you have assisted to shift it to Eket senatorial district, to the right man because Udom is right.”
“Udom is the man that can lead the state after 2015,, Udom is best equipped for a period of recession; Udom is best trained to bring unity to the state; Udom is the only one that can bring the past and present together,” Akpabio enthused.
Also speaking, another former Governor Obong Victor Attah described the late Patriarch as a noble man of integrity who will be best remembered for always standing on the side of truth and doing what was acknowledged right for his people.
In his funeral oration, the prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Samuel Uche, described the late monarch as a humble patriot in the mould of the biblical Nehemiah, who sought for the development and unity of the country.
Taking his scriptural sentence from II Corinthians 5:1-2, the prelate assured faithful of life after death, explaining that death was only a transition into eternal rest for Christians.
Born in 1931, the Late Assiak was a telecommunications engineer who had worked with the Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and the Cross River Broadcasting Corporation.
He is survived by a wife and 12 children.
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