Cross River State Loses Two Eminent Politicians


The death has been reported of two prominent political figures in Cross River State, Chief Mathew Mbu and Senator (Dr ) Paul Ukpo.

Chief Mathew Mbu, Nigeria’s first Ambassador to Great Britain, passed on in a London hospital on Sunday 5 February 2012 of heart failure while Senator Paul Ukpo died in a South African Hospital on Monday 6 February, 2012 of cancer related ailment

Senator Liyel Imoke, the former Cross River State governor described the two deaths as a great loss to the state. He described the death of Mbu as the eclipse of a golden light that illuminated the Nigerian political system for decades.

A statement made available to the media by Imoke’s aide on media,Mr Omini Oden says the late Mbu was one of the last of a golden generation of politicians in Nigeria’s socio-political history who help shaped the destiny of Nigeria and defined the course of her post-independence era.

Imoke said Mbu was a detribalised leader who dedicated his talent and learning to the quest for independence and nation building at a youthful age and for making substantial contributions to the formulation of Nigeria’s foreign policy in the heady years following independence.

Describing him as the doyen of Nigeria’s diplomatic establishment, Imoke revealed that the years Mbu served as Nigeria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom were the most remarkable in Nigeria’s international relations.

He said as an Elder Statesman from the southern minority, Mbu was passionate in promoting the economic and political interest of the Southsouth culminating in the election of President Goodluck Jonathan as the first President of Nigeria from the Southsouth.

Imoke said further that Mbu was a right minded and detribalized leader who never compromised the unity of Nigeria.

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He said Mbu led a simple life and was averse to ostentatious display of wealth and corruption.

Imoke advised the present generation of politicians to emulate the late Mbu’s integrity in public life and selfless service to state and country.

He praised Mbu for making outstanding contributions to the development of Cross River State,revealing that he worked assiduously alongside other of his peers for the creation of the then South Eastern State and later Cross River State.

While campaigning for reelection in Okpoma, Yala Local Government Area of the state hometown of Senator Ukpo, Imoke observed a one minute silence in honuor of the departed politician and said that though his stay in the senate was brief during the General Ibrahim Babangida transition period, he made his mark as a man of honour and commitment to the development of the country.

“He was my colleague at the Senate during the General Ibraham Babangida transition period and he distinguished himself as a man of honour and commitment, he staehd.”

Ukpo was an ANPP standard bearer for the post of governor of Cross River State. He was the appellant in the Court of Appeal whose ruling sacked Imoke in 2008.

He was the elder brother to General Anthony Ukpo, Minister of Information and Military Governor of Rivers State during the Babangida era.

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