Bayelsa State Governor, The Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson has described the death of famous poet and novelist, Dr. Gabriel Imomotimi Okara as a great loss to the state and Nigeria.
Governor Dickson stated that as a mark of honour, his government has declared a 3 days mourning for the late Okara begining from Monday to Wednesday this week with all flags to fly at half mast.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson quoted the governor to have made the remark in a statement issued on Monday.
He said Okara who passed on at the age of 98 made a remarkable mark in the African literary industry, churning out great works that helped shaped the African society which include, The Call of the River Nun, the Fisherman’s Invocation, Piano and Drums, You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed and others.
Governor Dickson who said that Okara was held in high esteem as a pride to the Niger Delta and indeed the African contingent add that it was in appreciation of his exploits that the Government decided to name the State Cultural Centre in Yenagoa after him.
He noted that the late Okara will be greatly missed by all lovers of literature and intellectualism especially the young and upcoming writers.
The governor pointed out that Okara who is reported to be the first renowned English Lanaguage black African poet was very supportive of his administration’s educational policies and took time to attend some state events alongside other literary icons.
The governor assured that his government will support the deceased family to give the first African modernist writer who hails from the state a befitting burial.