BEING THE FUNERAL ORATION BY HIS EXCELLENCY,MR. UDOM EMMANUEL, GOVERNOR, AKWA IBOM STATE AT THE FUNERAL OF THE LATE HON. UDO EKPENYONG, THE LATE CHAIRMAN OF THE RULING PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) AKWA IBOM STATE, AT IKOT OKU USUNG, UKANAFUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 2021
1. Let me start this very solemn event by quoting from Deuteronomy 32:43 “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.”
2. We are gathered here today in deep grief, pain and paradoxically in over-flowing love. Grief, if I may add, is an emotion that is rooted in love. We grief for those we love dearly and deeply. Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11, captured this sentiment so poignantly when she once said that “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
3. Fellow Akwaibomites, Party faithful and all other invited guests, the mood we feel or experience since January 19th, painful and sad as it is, however, is rooted in love; love for a man who was a walking vessel of loyalty, dependability, trust and faith in institutions of governance and its defining Symbols.
4. We are gathered here to mourn and bid farewell to a man who was grateful for what God and providence had thrown his way, and correspondingly did all he could to live his life in fulfilment of such grace and in appreciation and loyalty to the earthly agents of grace God had brought his way.
5. It was the author and Pentecostal Preacher, Max Lucado who once stated that “When words are most empty, tears are most apt” ladies and gentlemen; words have failed me, in my efforts to comprehend what we are gathered here to do.
6. How do I come to terms with the fact that one of my most trusted and loyal lieutenants, Honourable Obong Udo Ekpenyong, our able and dependable State Party Chairman is gone? How do you begin to describe in past tense a man who few days to his sad passing had shown great and comforting signs of recovery and was looking forward to returning to do what he knew how to do best: Gathering people to advance the continuous growth of our Party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its dominance in the political stratosphere of our State?
7. How do I begin to address in past tense the man who was rock-solid in his convictions, was unwavering in doing all that was proper, right and noble; a man who would not bend his beliefs on the fleeting passion of herd mentality or a follower of issues layered in conventional wisdom? A man whose force of character was furnaced and shaped on the steel of loyalty, discipline and character!
8. Ever since our paths crossed on our shared journey of selfless service to our people several years ago, I had come to see in Obong Udo Ekpenyong a formidable ally, a man whose words meant everything; a man of sterling principles and integrity, deep in faith and deep in convictions, a man who, once he was committed to standing with you, will remain unshaken or unmoved by the tempest or the undulating tidal waves of loyalty that sometimes characterize the human condition. In Udo Ekpenyong, I found a general you could depend upon to execute agreed strategies of victory and, who, will hold dear to his heart the underlying articles of faith without betrayal.
9. The late Honourable Udo Ekpenyong served my Administration admirably as the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and helped to translate our vision of mutual engagements with our Traditional Rulers in the task of ensuring that Government policies and programmes trickled down to the masses.
10. He was getting ready to continue with another assignment of huge responsibility as our Party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, a position he held for a few months when death took him away from us.
11. It was the ancient Roman orator, Marcus Tulilius Cicero who once said that “the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living,” Our Party Chair, Udo Ekpenyong may be physically gone, but the memories of his good deeds, his admirable character, convictions, integrity, loyalty, faith in God and in His unseen Hands to perfect that which was once thought impossible, all these great and ennobling memories will continue to be placed in us, whom he so sadly and painfully left behind. We will miss him dearly and deeply.
12. My dear Friend, Compatriot, and dependable ally, the late Hon. Udo Ekpenyong, esiereee! May your soul rest in the bosom of our Lord and Creator, Amen!