By BODE GBADEBO, Abuja
The Senate on Tuesday paid glowing tributes to Late Senator Rose Okoji Oko, who was a member of the 8th and 9th sessions of the Senate before her demise on Monday, March 23, 2020 at a London hospital.
This is even as the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, pointed out that Oko, who according to him lived a very impactful life while alive, was one of the eight female members of the 9th Senate, who are capable and competent to lead Nigeria.
At a special valedictory session in honour of the late Senator Oko, who represented Cross River North senatorial district of Cross River State between 2015 and 2020, Senators took turns to pay tributes to their deceased colleague.
The Senate President noted that Oko was one of the four Senators, who died in the current 9th session of the Senate, adding that she brought well-researched Motions to the floor of the Senate, which were all welcomed.
“Today, this is another solemn moment for us all. Our colleague lived for 63 years but it was a well lived and impactful life. We have seven female Senators now. We had eight before her death.
“All the seven female Senators that are here in this Senate are capable, competent, committed, very vibrant, very deep and in fact they are not only very good and brilliant Senators, they can even lead Nigeria. We still have a great representation of women in this Senate and we respect you all,” Lawan said.
The Senate President while paying tribute to the deceased, described Oko as a “very deeply committed and disciplined person.”
“That impression I’m sure, is what characterized her life. Anybody who interacted with her, would testify to that.
“Like all of our colleagues who contributed to the tribute said, death is indeed an inevitable end. It is what we do with our lives that eventually matter,” Lawan said.
Earlier, the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, had moved a Motion for the suspension of Order 17 of the Senate Stamding Rules in order to admit family members and friends of the Late Oko into the Red Chamber for the valedictory session. The motion was seconded by the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinaya Abaribe.
“She was a dependable ally in our quest for worthy causes both at plenary and in Committees. Goodbye Rose, we miss you dearly until we meet to part no more,” the Senate Leader said.
LEADERSHIP reports that the Late Senator Rose Oko was born on September 27, 1956. She served her native Cross River State before her election into the House of Representatives and later Senate.
The session was witnessed by personalities including a former Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, former Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River, former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State, and Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen.
For his part, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC – Niger North) who recalled her role in the establishment of the National Diaspora Commission, advocated for the headquarters to be named after the deceased lawmaker.
He said, “The National Diaspora Commission, which is now an Act, was passed in the last Assembly under her Chairmanship.
“She spearheaded meetings with International Diaspora bodies all over the world; she had an agreement with them on how the Commission would be, and how Nigerians in Diaspora can contribute to national development.”
“I think we should consider naming the Headquarters of the National Diaspora Commission after her,” Abdullahi added.
Gershom Bassey (PDP – Cross River South), described the death of the deceased as “shocking.”
According to him, Senator Oko was an intelligent parliamentarian and “smooth political operator” who had a keen understanding of events in the country.
Another lawmaker, Sandy Onor (PDP – Cross River Central) said, “when the news of her passing filtered to us, I personally felt devastated. I knew we had lost a rare gem, I knew we had lost an icon.”
“I’m overjoyed because, regardless of her passing, when we didn’t expect it to happen, Rose Oko, will continue to be a beacon of light and inspiration; a great amazon not only for women in Cross River, but for women in Nigeria,” Onor added.
Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi (PDP – Osun East) said the contributions of the deceased Senator to nation building remains a legacy which she would for long be remembered.
On his part, George Thompson Sekibo (PDP – Rivers East) said the deceased “believed in the unity and progress of this country, and she fought for it.”
“She fought against corruption, looking at the motions she brought forward. She fought for good governance as a Senator, which is one of our priorities as lawmakers.
“Above all, she believed that in her lifetime, poverty will be reduced in Nigeria. Rose brought in motions and bills, to fight these things and shape Nigeria into what it should be,” Sekibo added.