Former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has described the late monarch of his community, Obanema of Otuoke, King Lot Justin as a great leader who inspired him to commit to community service as a young man.
The ex-President stated this at the weekend in his tribute to the late King just before his internment on Saturday, 25 November, 2017.
The former President described King Justin as an extraordinary man who was selfless in his commitment to community development.
According to him, the late Obanema was an exemplary leader who was well respected and loved by his people.
He said: “On a personal note, long before he was made the Obanema ofOtuoke, LJ as he was known then, encouraged me to commit to community service as a young man. He was an inspiration to a lot of us in Otuoke and beyond.
“The late Obanema was a leader par excellence. In most societies, people mostly give only what they can afford but in his case he went to great lengths to solve community problems. He was indeed a rare breed. As a youth, I worked with him on the issues that related to the
advancement of our community and the relationship continued even after
I graduated from the University.”
The ex-President further described the late Obanema of Otuoke as a man of peace who ensured that the community enjoyed relative peace under his reign “as no major community conflict or issues were brought to my notice as the then President of the country.”
Recalling how he, as a young man, collaborated with King Justin to fight the cause of his people, Jonathan wrote: “Another incident that remained indelible in my memory was when our elders, about twelve women and five men were charged to the High Court over a major land dispute between the Otuoke community and a neighbouring village. Back then, in the old Rivers State, Ogbia was under the Degema Judicial
Division and so all High Court cases would go to Degema. Since there
were no access roads, getting to Degema meant all the seventeen defendants had to travel to PH and then board a boat from the Abonema waterside to Degema.
“The late Obanema, working in Port Harcourt then as a civil servant saw how tedious and traumatic this journey was for these elderly men and women from Otuoke, so he suggested that the two of us be joined as co-defendants in the case since it was a civil case. By this action, the two of us would represent the elders and save them the ordeal of travelling the long distance from Otuoke to Degema on court days. That was the kind of service and sacrifice he gave that greatly inspired me.”
The former President further encouraged the immediate family members to “be comforted by the fact that he left behind an undying legacy of selfless service to humanity and care for the less privileged.”