Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
Emotions ran wild on Friday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, as the remains of the late Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli, was buried.
Ikoli died in April this year, in a controversial circumstance at his official residence at No. 8B Roycroft Street, Apapa GRA, Lagos, just seven months after he was promoted from the rank of a Navy commodore to that of a rear admiral.
The death of the officer born on October 2, 1965, remains controversial as many believed he was murdered. Although a report released by the police revealed that he might have shot himself.
Before his remains were taken by officers to the VIP Section of the Bayelsa State Cemetery in Yenagoa for interment, a funeral service was held in his honour at the Chief Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
At the funeral service, government officials, friends, colleagues and many sympathisers were in attendance to pay their tributes to the fallen senior military officer.
The Bayelsa State Government, family, and friends of the deceased took turns to eulogise him, describing the late senior naval officer as a man of “strong character” who would always insist on doing the right thing no matter the pressure.
Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd), who represented Governor Seriake Dickson during the event, described Ikoli’s death as “tragic and a surprise”.
Jonah recalled working with the late naval officer, noting that he was a man with so much potential.
The deputy governor stated, “I had many opportunities of serving with him aboard the same ship like some officers here.
I recall that he was posted here to Central Naval Command (in Bayelsa). I think he spent just one week.
“We had that tradition to point out officers with potential and follow them through. I knew his father in the service and I followed his career when he joined. The impression we had of him has also been attested to here today.
“He was an uncle to one of my daughters. My daughter was the second person that called me after a naval source informed me of his death. His death was tragic and a surprise. We talked a lot. Then this happened. It’s painful to the family and his coursemates here.”
From Left: Mrs. O. Ikoli, Widow of the Late Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli; Rear Admiral John Jonah(rtd), Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State; Vice Admiral Victor Ombu(rtd), former Chief of The Naval Staff and Rear Admiral A Sam-Sele, a retired senior naval officer, during the funeral service in honour of the Late Rear Admiral Ikoli at the D. S. P. Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall, Yenagoa.
Jonah urged the naval authorities to uphold the tradition of taking care of families left behind by officers, stressing that it was one thing that must be maintained.
He added, “We have lost a dedicated and intelligent officer. He was both. To his course mates, let us continue with ‘onward together’, don’t turn your back on the family.
“It’s a tradition. It’s what we grew up to meet. The navy remains my traditional family. I pray you continuously have the family in mind. Make them grow to what their father would have wanted.”