The Ijaw Elders’ Forum in Lagos State on Sunday, described late activist, Mr. Tony Uranta, as a nationalist who stood for justice, equity and an egalitarian society.
Pastor Efiye Bribena, Secretary of the group, who also spoke on behalf of Ijaw Professional Association and Ijaw Nation’s Forum, made the remarks during a condolence visit to the deceased family in Lagos.
Members of the groups stormed the Omole Phase I residence of the late activist who died at 67 on Wednesday, at the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
“We are here to see the family of Tony Uranta and to commiserate with them.
“We are here on behalf of not just Ijaw Elders’ Forum but a few other organisations like Ijaw Professional Association and Ijaw Nation’s Forums which Tony belonged to.
“He was one of the most respected sons of Ijaw nation. He stood for justice, equity, fairness, a united and restructured Nigeria,” Bribena said.
The secretary added that the groups were on the condolence visit to ensure that late Uranta got the respect he deserved.
He said the groups also came to reassure the widow of constant support as one of their daughters at this moment of grief.
Bribena said the late Uranta would be remembered for a lot of things not only in Ijaw nation but in the country.
“For the Ijaw nation, Tony was one of the greatest fighters for justice. The Ijaw nation and the Niger-Delta have suffered a lot of injustice in this country and Tony was in the fore front to fight this injustice.
“Also, Tony was more than a fighter for injustice in Ijaw nation, he was a nationalist.
“He had the interest of Nigeria and was ready to fight the injustice anywhere in Nigeria and to see that we have a more egalitarian society.
“He had a larger than life image, that is the kind of person he was because he represented different parts. There is a lot to remember Tony for,” he added.
According to him, Uranta is not dead because he had a lot of ideals that are still living, which the groups will continue to pursue.
He said that those ideals would live despite Uranta’s demise saying: “The things that he stood for are still there for us.”
The cleric advised the political class to embrace a change of heart and do what is right, which late Uranta advocated for till he his last breath.
“If the political leaders do not, we will all live to regret it because injustice cannot thrive for ever. there will come a time when there will be a backlash.
“Despite the fact that Uranta did not live to see a just, equitable and fair Nigeria, it is in the interest of those in the corridors of power, that Tony had been engaging with, to try and have a change of heart.
“They should follow what Tony lived and died for, so that we can save this nation,” he said.
Bribena, who noted that late Uranta pursued his activism through peaceful means, urged activists in Nigeria and youths in the Niger-Delta to shun violence in all their activisms.
“The results may be slow in coming, we know this is just the best way to go.
“Ultimately, truth will prevail. We should learnt from people like Tony who tried to engage with leadership.
“Violence begets violence, it does not resolve issues, it will only create more complications,” he said. (NAN)