By Nicholas Dechi
Makurdi, – Gov. Samuel Ortom has expressed deep pains over the death of an elder statesman Dr Paul Unongo saying “we have lost a pathfinder and leader of an inestimable value.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Unongo, a former Minister of Power and Steel in the Second Republic, died at 87 in Jos, Plateau.
This is contained in a statement signed by Ortom’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Nathaniel Ikyur on Wednesday in Makurdi.
He described him as a father figure who championed the emancipation of the ordinary citizens without ethnic or religious barriers.
“The leadership role Unongo played in the political evolution of Nigeria cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
“He was a mentor to many leaders of today who have great ideas for the socio-political and economic development of the country.
”Benue’s Iroko tree and one of the last icons of political leadership in Nigeria has fallen.
“His contributions to the politics of the country from post-independence till date cannot be quantified.
“Indeed the state has lost a leader and mentor. His death has created a vacuum that will be difficult to refill.
“We shall miss his intellect, great ideas, oratory prowess and immense capacity for mobilisation and organisation of the people.
“I am consoled that Unongo’s legacies of patriotism, pan Nigerian and philanthropy will endure.
“The state will do the needful to immortalise Unongo for his selfless services and contributions to the development of the state,”Ortom said.
He prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest and the immediate family the fortitude to bear the loss.
NAN reports that Unongo, a strong politician, he aspired to govern Benue in 1983 but lost to Aper Aku of blessed memory.
In 2017, Unongo succeeded Maitama Sule as the chairman of the Northern Elders’ Forum.(NAN)