Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, has described the death of Oronto Douglas, the Special Adviser on Research, Documentation and Strategy to President Goodluck Jonathan, as “very shocking” and “a devastating personal loss”.
Reacting through Felix Ofou, his Press Secretary, few hours after the news of the death, Governor Uduaghan said he is terribly disturbed that such a brilliant mind and articulate strategist as Douglas could be struck down in his prime and at a time when the nation would have benefited most from his wealth of knowledge and uncommon wisdom.
“I can’t believe that Oronto – that’s what we all call him is gone. I refuse to use the word dead. I’m very disturbed that such a brilliant mind, articulate strategist and friend has been struck down. It is even more painful that this has happened when the nation would have benefited from his vast knowledge and depth of wisdom.”
The governor particularly noted the patriotic and heroic role of the Presidential Adviser in articulating a broad Niger Delta strategy as well as ensuring a continuous rapprochement between the states in the region and the President.
“I can tell you that he played a major role in ensuring that governors of the Niger Delta region maintained a cordial and close relationship with the Presidency. He was an unrelenting advocate of peace and justice. A bridge builder who wanted the progress of his boss at all times,” he added.
Uduaghan further said Douglas would be difficult to replace. “It is a sad day for Delta State, for the Niger Delta and Nigeria. It is a personal loss for me, my family and everyone that has had a close encounter with him. Oronto Douglas will be greatly missed.”
While expressing deep condolences with the government and people of Bayelsa State and President Jonathan for the unfortunate incident, the governor particularly prayed that God should grant his wife, two sons and other members of the family the fortitude to bear the loss.