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Sunny Ofili Did Not Deserve To Die-Governor Uduaghan Wails
Governor Emmanual Uduaghan at the funeral service

Sunny Ofili Did Not Deserve To Die-Governor Uduaghan Wails

Governor Emmanual Uduaghan at the funeral service

Governor Emmanual Uduaghan at the funeral service


Delta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has expressed his anger and frustration at the untimely death of Mr. Sunny Ofili, his Special Advider on ICT, declaring that the 46 year-old did not deserve to die.

20140905_122837 Fighting back tears as he spoke at an emotional funeral service at the Dominion Christian Centre, he noted that he was angry because Sunny’s death was not only a loss to Delta State but was a loss to him personally.
Speaking extempore, Governor Uduaghan stated ” Over the years, I have learnt to control my anger but on the day he died, I was very angry over the circumstances of Sunny’s death. Why did sunny enter that car? His car was there, his security was there.  He was advised not to go on that movement. Why did he have to do it? I was very that Sunny should be involved in that kind of death. He shouldn’t have entered that car at all.
“I wish you thank you very much Bishop for your sermon. But I want to add that when you wake up in the morning to pray, amongst the things you must pray for is to please pray not to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, pray not to be associated with the wrong people at the wrong time. Pray not to be dragged by the wrong people at the wrong time. Because it could be fatal. That was the day of the primaries.
“When the incident happened, I now had the challenge of managing the wife who was in America. Of course how do you break that kind of news. I had to say Madam, how are you, She said, I heard Sunny has been injured, I said yes. That I have sent some people to find out the extend of injury.
You know in our medical professional one of the things we are trained on is to know how to manage crises like speaking to a relation in the event of death. I am sorry I am in church Bishop, but it is at such times that you need to lie. I knew that he was dead but I told her he was in the hospital and will get the details from those whom we have sent there.
I called her again after a few minutes. I asked her, I hope you are not the only person in the house, she said my elder sister is here and some neighbours. I told her please let me talk to your sister. The elder sister was very direct, she asked, has it been confirmed that he is dead? That was a chance for me to say yes, and I told her Yes, please manage your sister. And they took up from there.
“it was very difficult, it was very tough. I am not a Bishop and I am not a Pastor. I ask Bishops and Pastors to review that part of the Bible that says, in all things Thank God. I am sorry. Or don’t question God. We still need to ask God why? It is difficult to say God, thank you for taking Sunny’s life. But if the Bible says, We should say it, I will say it, but at times like this it is very difficult.
“I got to know Sunny through his online Publication, Times Of Nigeria. Several years ago, I was not the Governor then, I was the Secretary To The State Government (SSG). He had written a few things about the state and I asked my Governor, did you see this, and he said yes and I said do you know him. He said Yes, he is one guy in the US. Sunny was one of the pioneers of online publications now we have thousands and thousands of them that are busy doing all kinds of things.
“Somehow I got to meet him and eventually, he got involved in my election 2007/2008. After the election, he said he he would rather be a Consultant to the State, because by then I had an SSA in ICT.
He was very passionate about the ICT Park. Again the run-off election came and the main election, he was also part of us. After that, I said this Consultancy idea cannot work, come as a Diasporean, I know we have some other Diasporean in our team, let us see how we can lift our state especially the ICT aspect.
In one of my trips to the US, I went to Maryland and met his wife and kids. Sunny was doing his  job as an ICT expert, I can tell you at certain situations, he was very frustrated. So when I read his wife’s tribute, I could understand. As the Governor, I have to mange people, I have to manage situations and I have to mange intrigues. There are a lot intrigues, interests and all sort of things.
As time went on, in recent months, there were improvements, and he was making good progress. In fact there was a World Bank trip that he went and when he came back, he knew very strongly that he had made a breakthrough because the ICT Park should have been running by now but like I said earlier there were intrigues.
Working in conjunction with the National Communications Commission (NCC), they were able to get the Digital Training Institute to the park. He came to see me in Warri two weeks before he passed, and we had a session, where he was discussing details of his work. He even gave details of what he was planning to do for me as a person post-2015. That is why  his death is not only a loss as Governor, it is a personal loss. Of course, the last time he came to the Exco, he presented some memos and I was the one who started calling him Chairman.
“On the political side, he was still very much a neophyte. He was just learning the ropes of politics but he was always ready to learn, always ready to be guided. When we had the various party Congresses he had issues in his ward with another elder politician. I called both of them and we resolved it. He did not hold it against me, Sunny was loyal. He has his aspirations but whether his aspiration was right or wrong, we are not to judge. But one thing is that whatever aspirations you have, it is God that decides.
There are very many wicked persons, who will put stud on the way for you to truncate your aspiration. This was a great loss. Madam, this was not what we bargained for when we discussed in your basement in Maryland. There is a story of a man who lost his wife and all his children in an accident and when he got to the scene of the accident, all he could say was to say was to sing,” it is well with my soul”. All we can say to you is, it is well with your soul.
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Sunny is gone, but we are here. Nature abhors vacuum so we will be here for you and your children. There is a limit to what we can do but I want to assure you again as state that we will support you, to make the pain of Sunny’s death easier to bear. God will comfort us all”.
There were very few dry eyes in the room after the Governor spoke especially as the Bishop of the Church, Bishop Ken Ebolum had urged all to be strong and not allow the triumph in this moment of grief.
Bishop Ebolum had asked  Christians to be prayerful and always put their trust in God and pray against untimely death in Delta State.
In his opinion, Delta State had lost a gem, and he advised the Governor to ensure that the dreams of Ofili which included the ICT park must not die.
He urged the deceased wife, Mrs. Lilian Ndokwa Ofili to be strong bevause she had three angels who are now counting on her to stabilize their lives after the traumatic loss of their father.
Earlier that day, there was a special Valedictory session at th Government House by the Delta State Executive Council where the late Ofili was praised for his astute contributions and hard work.
State Commissioner of Information, Chike Ogeah who was with the family all through said that Sunny was a friend and true brother.
According to him” When we met at the Headquarters of the Uduaghan Campaign Organisation, we were two new people in the midst of older politicians. But with his intelligence, attention to details and calm disposition, Sunny quickly established himself in the organisation with his lucid ideas.
A day before, Governor Uduaghan, members of the Exco and former Speaker of Delta State, Hon. Victor Ochei were in Isselu-Azzagba to attend a solemn service of songs.
The Late Ofili who had stint in the Guardian Newspapers in Nigeria as Business Reporter before travelling to the United States where he embraced the world technology was interred in his home in the heart of Asaba.
his final resting place

his final resting place

 At his graveside

At his graveside

Sunny Ofili ' s uncle, Mr. Nkem Osu with veteran journalist, Bosah Iwuoha

Sunny Ofili ‘ s uncle, Mr. Nkem Osu with veteran journalist, Bosah Iwuoha

Bishop praying at the grave side

Bishop praying at the grave side

pallbearers from MIC

pallbearers from MIC

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