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My past has been wiped out, laments Tony Okoroji, ex-PMAN president

Posted by By AZOMA CHIKWE and IME OLA on 2005/01/28 | Views: 640 |

My past has been wiped out, laments Tony Okoroji, ex-PMAN president

Former PMAN president, Chief Tony Okoroji says that the fire that ravaged his house Thursday last week, not only made him incur tremendous loss of property and documents, but has burnt his past and history.

Former PMAN president, Chief Tony Okoroji says that the fire that ravaged his house Thursday last week, not only made him incur tremendous loss of property and documents, but has burnt his past and history.

Okoroji, who spoke with Daily Sun from a temporary accommodation provided by a relative at Egbeda, said that all he owned now is just the shirt he had on when he escaped from the house.

Nevertheless, he stated that Nigerians have shown tremendous love to him since the unfortunate incident. Sympathisers have donated and are still donating clothes, toiletries and food to him and his family. He expressed amazement that such love and goodwill exist in Nigeria.
The musician, who had a sprain on one of his legs during the inferno, received free treatment from a volunteer doctor, who since then has been visiting him to check the leg.

Describing the incident, Okoroji said: “In some way, I can say it is devastating, I know my life has changed significantly, in some other ways, I can say it calls for celebration because it could have been worse. No life was lost, we celebrate that and we give thanks to God.”

Recounting the losses incurred by him, his family and his immediate neighbours, the ex-PMAN boss could hardly find enough words to state the enormity of it all. “Many valuable things were lost, and a great part of our history was lost. Those who know me know that I value intellectual property in forms of books, materials and so on. I lost all my books, all my lecture notes, passport, receipts, property, papers, wedding photographs, all photographs, computers, practically everything.

“I don’t mind about the furniture. If I had lost only furniture that wouldn’t bother me, because with time you can replace furniture. You can over time replace the clothes, the jewellery and all that. But there are things I have been working on for years, projects, either contained on paper on in the computer. I even lost my back-up diskette for the materials.

“So, right now, I don’t have an ID card, I don’t have a passport to go anywhere, I don’t have a record where I have been to, the same for my wife and my kids. We don’t have birth certificates, marriage certificates anymore, we don’t have any land papers or any receipts for anything, almost like your history wiped out.

“When we came out, I was wearing a pair of shorts, that is practically all I own and a T-shirt. I don’t own any pair of slippers, any pair of sandals or shoes anywhere in the world right now. But all that will be okay.”

Okoroji applauds the great love showed to him by neighbours and sympathizers, stating that some volunteer rescue workers sustained burns from trying to put out the fire. At a point, he said, he pleaded with the sympathisers to leave the fire that it was too late, yet to no avail.
“One thing that is amazing is the love that exists in Nigeria, we are a great country. People came from far and near, young, old, Christians, Muslims, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw, and so on, they came and it was like the fire was burning their house. And people risked their lives to put it out. I am grateful to all of them. And my neighbours were absolutely magnificent. It was like it was everyone’s property. And I realised the incredible love that exists in this country.

“The people in my estate are extremely nice. It’s a few days now, particularly all the food we’ve eaten have come from people. I’ve got a few shirts, a pair of trousers from sympathisers and neighbours, I haven’t got any shoes yet. My wife and kids have got some clothes too from people, we’ve got some toiletries and all that, but beyond that we have got great prayers.

“I have got text massages from around the country, around the world, I didn’t know people cared so much. The phone was ringing from near and far, mine and my wife’s. Thank God I had my phone in my pocket, she had hers too, I wonder what we would have done because we would not have been able to contact anybody nor anybody contact us. I think the fire has come to take out the old, and bring in the new.

“I am confident that the good Lord has planned for us, I am confident that tomorrow will be better than yesterday. All the people who have sent messages and prayed for us, I want to thank them. This is not our end, this is the beginning of great things.”
Okoroji, who said he just finished playing a game of table tennis with his son before the fire started, revealed that at the beginning there was no attempt to remove property because they were confident that the fire will be put out. “But it was harmattan and the fire was in a rage, nothing could stop it and within few minutes, we saw the fire lift through the roof, the roof was caving in, the fire was everywhere and at that time the sensible thing to do was to run for our dear lives.”

Continuing, he said: “I regret any losses anybody would have suffered. I pray for our neighbours, because the house is a two-wing duplex. And the fire started from our side and spread to their side.
“Again that’s one incredible thing. Despite the fact I don’t know what I did wrong, I am not NEPA, but rather than complain, my neighbours in the other duplex came to console me and my family, they kept on consoling us, they came to commiserate with us, they have been absolutely wonderful. I didn’t expect that, not in Nigeria.”

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.