President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari has sent a sympathy message to President Goodluck Jonathan over the death of his Special Adviser on Strategy and Documentation as well as personal friend, Mr. Oronto Douglas.
In a condolence message to the President and made available to the media by Garba Shehu, the Director of Media and Publicity for the APC Presidential Campaign in Abuja, General Buhari said: “I received the news of the death of your long-standing and key Aide, Oronto Douglas with sadness.
“I appreciate how close he had worked with you and considers him (Oronto), a young and dynamic individual who still has a lot to offer our country as we build on our democracy.
“I urge you, Mr. President, to take heart and to convey my condolences to his immediate family as we pray for the repose of his humble soul.”
Meanwhile, President Jonathan personally visited the Abuja residence of late Oronto Douglas today to commiserate with his immediate family.
During the visit, described the death of his long-standing aide as quite a sad.
He narrated that he and Douglas are from the same local government in Bayelsa state and that he knew him first when he was doing his Ph. D research work at the time Oronto was environmental activist.
“I was doing some aspects of the ecology of the Niger Delta and my supervisor then was one Canadian, Professor Powell who introduced me to him and we met in his house.
“But when I came into politics as a Deputy Governor, he was the commissioner for information then and we were very close. He came with me as my adviser as vice president on research, documentation and strategy, a post he held until this morning.
“He was a very dedicated young man: very committed. I was here last Saturday even though he knew, because the doctors told him in America that he was going to die in three weeks but he was still very passionate about his work. I have never seen such a person with such a strong will. “Oronto was a good man. He left us too early but God knows the best. I only pray that God should provide for the family and pray that his soul should rest in peace.”
Also Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo who accompanied the President to his residence said today is a very sad day for the government, adding: “we have lost a very good friend, a brother and a patriotic Nigerian.
“He is a person of integrity, a patriot and we pray to Almighty God that his soul shall rest in perfect peace. We pray that the family he left behind will have the fortitude to bear this great loss. “Nigeria has lost a very good man, a person that has contributed positively to the development of this country.”
Some of the early callers at Douglas’ house were former Bayelsa State governor, Dipreye Alamieyesigha, who described him as someone who never slacked in any assignments he was given.
“We have been praying and trusting God for miracle. There are a lot of things we did behind the scenes together to strengthen this government, he never slacked on any assignment given him. When he served as Commissioner for Information during my government, he was always meticulous and turned in his assignments on time.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, said Douglas was a great thinker, adding: “he was a great man whom we will miss. He was very celebral and respected in the entire international community. He was a great thinker a environmental rights activist.
Others who were at his residence were the Managing Director News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Ima Niboro, and prolific writer, Ike Okonta: Senator Nenadi Usman, Executive Secretary National Christian Pilgrims Board, Kennedy Opara.
His younger brother, Otonye Douglas, said the family will meet in Bayelsa as tradition demands to draw up the burial programmes.
In a statement, the Douglas family of Okoroba, Nembe Local Government of Bayelsa State, said he is survived by a wife, two sons, family and friends.