Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, alongside a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, on Saturday, paid glowing tributes to the pioneer Commissioner for Finance in Bayelsa State, late Dr. Frederick Wariebi, and his wife, Amanda.
Elder Wariebi from Adule-Ama in Amassima Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state was appointed by the first Military Administrator of Bayelsa, the late Navy Capt. Philip Ayeni, as Commissioner for Finance, Economic Planning and Budget in 1996 when the state was created.
Speaking at their funeral at the Amassoma Secondary School field, Governor Diri said it was rare to find a husband and wife laid to rest same day and time, describing it as unique.
Diri said although the late Wariebi was wealthy, he had a humble background, stating that it was very rare to find a billionaire of Ijaw extraction decades ago.
The governor noted that the deceased exemplified selflessness when he had the opportunity of becoming the first civilian governor of Bayelsa but declined and gave his support to the late Chief Diepriye Alamieyeseigha.
He said the singular act was a strong message to many that when they preach love, the late Wariebi expressed it.
His words: “We join the Wariebi families to mourn and, more importantly, to celebrate the passage of their patriarch and matriarch. It is very rare to find a husband and wife lying-in-state the same time and the same day.
“To the children, you are blessed because you had a father and mother from a very rich but yet humble background.
“We all know the story of a billionaire of Ijaw extraction from Amassoma. In those good old days, it was rare to find a billionaire of Ijaw extraction. Yet we had a Jones Wariebi that was a billionaire in faraway Liberia and his children were so humble that when they came back home, they served their state and country. Today we have one of them as a serving Commissioner for Water Resources.
“You heard from our leader and father, the former National Chairman of the PDP who Elder Wariebi was, a man that was tested and overcame. It is very rare to find any of us today having that kind of test and opportunity to become governor of a state with a serving military government behind you and yet you will say give it to my brother, Alamieyeseigha.
“That is a massage to all of us that we must at all times be our brother’s keeper. When we preach love, Fred Wariebi has shown love. It is not enough that you preach, it is enough that you practice it.”
The governor said henceforth, anyone who served in the state executive council as commissioner will be honoured with a valedictory session in the Executive Chambers.
While commiserating with the children of the deceased, Senator Diri urged them to live by their parents’ examples and contribute more to the development of their family, community, state and country.
Speaking earlier, Prince Uche Secondus described the late Wariebi as a very straight-forward and upright politician, who was instrumental to the emergence of late Chief Alamieyeseigha as the first civilian governor of the state.
Secondus promised to continue the legacies of the deceased whom he said he worked closely with in the old Rivers State.
In a sermon, Pastor of the Amazing Grace Model Parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Port Harcourt, Gilbert Lysias, said death is by divine decree and that no matter the power one wields, no man can stop it.
Pastor Lysias said life continues after death but noted that there was no second chance after death.
He advised the living to give their lives to Christ as there is no opportunity for repentance after death.
In his remarks, the eldest son of the deceased and the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Water Resources, Mr. Kemebradikumo Wariebi, thanked Governor Diri for honouring the memories of their parents with the full presence of the state government.
Mr. Wariebi described his father and mother as shining examples not only to himself and his siblings but the society at large.
He promised to live by their principles in his relationship with others.
The late Wariebi died at the age of 77 while his wife, Amanda, passed on at the age of 72 a few months after her husband’s demise.