by Zenith Oduah
It was a night to honour Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan’s aide who died battling cancer, Oronto Doughlas when the nation’s finance Minister gave a rare insight into the past physical challenge her life..
Addressing the audience, the coordinating minister of the economy and minister of finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala yesterday disclosed that she survived cancer 15 years ago affirming the scare is not the end of life.
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
She spoke at the service of songs for the late Oronto Douglas, special adviser to the president on research and documentation that held in Abuja last night.
The service was attended by a cross section of the society from civil society, government, the media, the clergy among others.
President Goodluck Jonathan was represented by Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, at the service which remarkably brought together his associates from both sides of the political divide including former Governor Kayode Fayemi, Pastor Tunde Bakare who brought greetings from General Muhammadu Buhari, ministers, former chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Senator-Elect Ben Murray Bruce, deputy managing director of Thisday, Mr. Kayode Komolafe among several others.
In her remarks at the occasion, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala said: “Oronto and I had two similarities in life, we both had cancer. I had my last surgery, 15 years ago and I shared my experience with him,” she said, narrating how she repeatedly sought to encourage him using her triumph over the disease.
Tributes from several speakers centered on how Oronto built bridges across political divides. Dr. Fayemi, Hon Uche Onyeogocha leading members of the All Progressives Congress, APC spoke in that direction and they were buttressed by Pastor Bakare.
Tributes also came from former Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State, Dr. Sam Amadi, chairman National Electricity Regulatory Commission, Rev. Nnimmo Bassey, Yinka Odumakin, Ken Saro Wiwa among others.