The Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom, Wednesday expressed shock over the death of Wantaregh Paul Unongo who died Tuesday, at the age of 87.
Ortom stated that the foremost nationalist was a father figure who championed the emancipation of ordinary citizens without ethnic or religious barrier.
He said, “We have lost a pathfinder and leader of an inestimable value.”
The governor in a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, noted the leadership role of Unongo in the political evolution of Nigeria, pointing out that he was a mentor to many present day leaders who had great ideas for the socio-political and economic development of the country.
“In Unongo, our Iroko tree has fallen. He is one of the last icons of political leadership in Nigeria whose contributions to the politics of the country from post independence till date cannot be quantified.
“Benue state has lost a leader and mentor. His death has created a vacuum that would be difficult to fill.
“We shall miss his intellect, great ideas, oratory prowess and immense capacity for mobilisation and organisation of the people,” he said.
He however expressed consolation that Unongo’s legacies of patriotism, pan Nigerian and philanthropy will endure.
He promised that Benue state will do the needful to immortalise Unongo for his selfless services and contributions to the development of the state.