By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar
It was celebration and tribute galore in Ibil community, in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State as Speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Governors Ben Ayayde, Nyesom Wike and Route Diri of Cross River, Riversand Bayelsa states respectively, among others, showered encomiums on the father of the member representing Ogoja/Gala federal constituency of Cross River State, Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, late Leonard Agom Jarigbe.
In a tribute to the late Jarigbe, the governors described him as Aman who served selflessly and tirelessly towards the development of his fatherland.
Others who extolled the virtues of late Pa Jarigbe include: the senator representing Cross River Central senatorial district, Senator Sandy Onor; some members of the House of Representatives and community leaders.
In his condolence message read at the ceremony, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gbajabiamila, stated that it takes God’s grace to bear the loss of a dear and loved one.
Represented by Hon Agbo, from Ebonyi State, at the funeral mass organized by the Ogoja Catholic Church, in honour of late Pa Jarigbe, Gbajabiamila urged other political leaders to emulate the virtues of the decreased, who lived all his life for humanity.
He said, “It is never easy to lose a loved one, especially a parent, who has been there from the start. One whose hands have raised you and whose words have charted the course of your life in ways both obvious and subtle.
“It takes the grace and mercy of God Almighty to bear such a loss and carry on.”
In his remarks, Cross River State Governor Ayade described the deceased as “respectable gentleman, fine administrator and community leader,” who preformed tremendously throughout the period that he served his fatherland as a civil servant.
Similarly, River State Governor Wike, as well as his Bayelsa State counterpart, Diri, among numerous others, extolled the virtues of late Pa Jarigbe, stressing that the deceased made the best out of his days when he was in active service as he used that privilege to better the lots of the people.
Also speaking, the Chief mourner and son to the deceased, who is representing Ogoja/Yala federal constituency at the lower chamber of the national Assembly, Agom Jarigbe, pledged not to depart from the good works taught him by his late father.
Jarigbe said, “My late father taught me how to render service to my community and humanity and fatherland; I promised not to depart from what I learnt from him. I promised not to disappoint him in death.”
Also speaking, a community leader, Chief Francis Bullem, described the deceased as one man who made a lot of impact in the community, saying its the reason why many turned out to show their last respect.
He said, “From the crowd made up by the creme de la creme here today, it shows that Pa Jarigbe was a community leader and a devout Christain, whose legacy speaks volume.
“We therefore enjoin everybody who came here to bid Papa farewell to always remember what he did that kept him on till the age of 90.”
In his homily, a cleric with the Catholic Church Ogoja, Rev Fr Francis Eworo, prayed for the soul of the deceased and appealed to to every one who attended the funeral mass to emulate the exemplary lifestyle of Pa Jarigbe, who dedicated all his life to the service of the Catholic Church.
Eworo called on all leaders to always seek the face of God in all their dealings, saying that any nation that abandons God’s injunction shall not progress.
Late Jarigbe died at the age of 90 and is survived by his wife, Dorathy Moku Jarigbe, eleven children and a host of other relatives.
The funeral mass for the bereaved was conducted at the St. Michael Catholic Church, Ating-Ibil, Ogoja and attracted thousands of well wishers from the community, business and political class.
The funeral service was rounded off with a launch for the building of a Catholic Church at Ibil, his community, in honour of the deceased.