Chief Lionel Jonathan-Omo, Deputy Campaign Director of the Sylva-Igiri Campaign Organization during the 2016 governorship election, has died.
The former Commissioner for Environment was said to have slumped and fallen from a balcony in his country home in Ogbolomabiri, Nembe Local Government Area of the state.
Reacting to the tragedy in a statement by Doifie Buokoribo, the state Publicity Secretary, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the loss is “indescribable”, particularly coming at a time when his “experience and wisdom” are most needed.
It described Omo as a forthright politician, and an illustrious son of Bayelsa State and the Ijaw nation who partook in popular activities to better the lives of his people.
“We do this tribute with great sadness over the indescribable loss of our leader, political mentor, and friend, Chief Lionel Jonathan-Omo,” read the statement.
“Jonathan-Omo broke his limbs in a fall and fought bravely for his life at a private hospital in Port Harcourt to recover from the injuries he sustained. He never survived them.
“The chief died Thursday after an unsuccessful operation. All of us had hoped that Jonathan-Omo would recover from his injuries and get on with his life, particularly at this time of intense political activities in our state and country when his experience and wisdom are seriously needed.
“Lionel Jonthan-Omo, who is from Nembe, trained as a lawyer and taught law at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology for several years. A former Commissioner in Bayelsa State, he was also a delegate representing the state at the 2005 National Political Reform Conference (NPRC).
“Until his death, he was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). During the 2015-2016 Gubernatorial Elections, he was the Deputy Director-General of the Sylva/Igiri Campaign Organisation. He earned his living as founder of Achievers Farm in Igbogene-Yenagoa.
“Jonathan-Omo was a wonderful party man, a great Bayelsan, and an illustrious Ijaw son. He was at the forefront of every popular activity — politically, economically, and socially — to better the lives of people in his state and nation. He believed in truth and fought for it with every resource and avenue at his disposal.
“A democrat to the core, he always believed in dialogue and was always ready to listen to others. Lionel-Jonathan never judged or forced his opinion on anyone. He characteristically gave room for the ventilation of opinions, even from his fiercest opponents. His valuable and truthful counsels are some of the things we will surely miss.
“Jonathan-Omo was focused and intelligent, a man of magically brilliant political ideas. The remarkable thing about his ideas is that they were always meant to help and better society. He was sacrificial, but strong and hated being vulnerable. He was an incurable optimist and a huge encouragement to his political allies. He offered comfort and motivation to those around him.”
The late Omu was running mate to Chief Francis Doukpola during the 1999 governorship election on the platform of the All Peoples Party(APP).
He was also a lecturer at the River State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), a writer and a frontline advocate for the return of the country to commercial agriculture.