Former Rivers State military administrator, Gen Anthony Ukpo (rtd), is dead. He died yesterday morning at Asi Ukpo Hospital in Calabar at the age of 74.
Family sources from his hometown, Okpma, in Yala local government area in Cross River State said Ukpo who was also a former minister of information passed on a few days after his sister, Madam Lydia Ukpo, died in the United States (US).
Ukpo served as military governor of present-day Rivers State. The deceased is a brother to Mark Ukpo, owner of 520 Hotels, and Archbishop Joseph Idrah Ukpo.
He was a military strategist, entrepreneur and owner of Asikpo Medical Laboratory, Calabar.
Born on July 16, 1947, the late Ukpo was appointed minister of Information in August 1985. In 1986, he was appointed the military governor of Rivers State (present-day Rivers and Bayelsa States).
In 1989, he moved to the presidency when he was appointed Principal Staff Officer (civilian equivalent of chief of staff) to former military president, Ibrahim Babangida. He retired meritoriously from the Nigerian Army in 1993.
Meanwhile, Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade yesterday expressed sadness over the death of the late Brigadier-General Anthony Ukpo (rtd).
A statement signed by his special adviser on media and publicity, Christian Ita, noted that the governor described the General’s transition as a tragic and monumental loss to Cross River in particular and Nigeria in general.
Ayade commiserated with the Ukpo family and the military, saying, “an illustrious son, a fine and gallant officer has left us.
“As a state, we are pained by the loss of this thorough bred officer, an illustrious son of Cross River.
“General Ukpo’s death has robbed our dear state of his wise counsel. He was forthright and a partner in building the Cross River of our dream.”
The Cross River State governor recalled that the late General Ukpo applied himself diligently and dutifully to all the national assignments entrusted to him to the applause of his superiors.
He continued: “As a military officer, General Ukpo had a distinguished career, as a Military Administrator he excelled beyond expectations and as a Minister he showed passion and professionalism. He left these offices without blemish. He was a rare gem.
“We are indeed hurt by his demise, we are pained that General Ukpo had to leave us at this time but as a people of faith, we cannot question God. We can only pray for the peaceful repose of his soul.
“On behalf of the people and government of Cross River state, I condole with General Ukpo’s family, his immediate community, Okpoma and the Nigerian Army.”