WARRI – Mrs.Esther Kokori, wife of foremost labour leader, and Pro Democracy activist, Chief Frank Ovie Kokori, has been laid to rest in her hometown, Ohrerhe-Agbarho, Ughelli North Local government area of Delta State.
The funeral service which held at St.James Anglican Church, Oviore-Ovu, Ethiope East Local Government Area, was attended by family, friends and associates of the Kokoris.
The labour leader while giving his vote of thanks after the funeral service, appreciated all those present but however expressed displeasure over what he termed, “rustic Urhobo traditional practice”, where it is compulsory that women are taken to their ancestral homes for burial rather than allowing their husbands and children to decide where they( deceased women) should be buried.
According to Chief Kokori,
“All over the world, in Europe, America, even in Isreal, the graves of husbands and wives lay side by side.
“Look at our closest neighbor here, the Isokos, when a woman dies, she is buried in her husband place.
According to the labour leader, as times are changing, some traditional beliefs that are not in sync with present day reality should be jettisoned.
Chief Frank Kokori, while eulologising his wife of 53 years, in his tribute, described her as a” pillar of Democracy, a virtuous wife, a wonderful mother who spread love to all and sundry.
“You sustained the great resistance against the most brutal dictator of our Nation when your husband was locked up in a desert prison for four years at Bama in Borno Statein North East Nigeria during the bleeding years of the history of our nation.
“You stood like the rock of Gibraltar behind your husband during his struggles to rescue a dying Nation.
“Your service to God and humanity I’ll forever remain a blessing to all of us you left behind.”
In his sermon, Venerable S.A.B Ikpesa , who admonished the congregation to emulate the sterling qualities of Mama Esther Kokori, described her as a good and courageous woman who lived her life supporting her husband during his days as a freedom fighter while also efficiently and effectively keeping the home front.
National Chairman of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers , NUPENG, Comrade Williams Akporheha who was one of the dignitaries that graced the funeral service with his general secretary, Comrade Wale Afolabi, while speaking at the Ovu country home of Chief Kokori, described late Mrs Kokori as an epitome of womanhood and struggle for democracy, said,
“She was somebody I didn’t have the opportunity to meet in person but I remember as a young man growing up, I watched her on the TV during her struggle for democracy while her husband was incarcerated.
“My impression about her then, was that she was an epitome of womanhood and democracy. She provided leadership for her generation.
“As young people, we saw her as a role model. She was a brave and courageous woman that even under military regime, she was not afraid to challenge the junta.
“Unlike now when everybody is running under the bed when there’s an oppression by the government. We’ll miss her greatly. May God give her family the fortitude to bear the loss,”
The five children of late Mrs. Kokori in their various tributes in her honor, extolled the exemplary qualities of their mother describing her as a loving, courageous and God fearing, who instilled in them Godly principles.
Mrs. Esther Kokori died in Lagos on 20th of November, 2020 at the age of 73 years.