The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC joins the Nigerian Working People and other socially conscious persons in mourning the exit of veteran Labour leader and courageous fighter for justice, Comrade Frank Ovie Kokori who departed this Thursday, December 7, 2023, the same day he clocked 80.
Kokori who was the former General Secretary of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG was a giant in the Trade Union Movement and his strides will be difficult to march.
He trod the path of great unionists like Michael Athokhamien Imoudu, Wahab Omorilewa Goodluck, Haroon Popoola Adebola, Samuel Udoh Bassey, Gogo Chu Nzeribe, Lasisi Osunde and others whose names will never be forgotten.
Kokori in leading the strikes against the Abacha dictatorship, taught workers and other Nigerians courage and what it is to be courageous.
He taught youths patriotism and that whenever it is necessary, every generation must rise up to defend the motherland, the weak and the defenceless.
Kokori had the choice to become one of the richest Nigerians just by agreeing to support military dictatorship. Rather, he put his life on line for the de-annulment of the 1993 June 12 Presidential Elections and enthronement of democracy in the country.
Despite terrible prison conditions, the TUC is happy that Kokori lived to see the back of the Abacha military regime and the enthronement of Civil Rule. But we are saddened that he was let down by those who benefitted from the struggles he waged for change in the country.
It is a sad tale that even when the political party that he helped to win the presidential elections, came to power, his announced appointment as the Board Chairman of a workers agency, was eventually denied him.
The TUC commiserates with his family, comrades in the Trade Union Movement especially in NUPENG and PENGASSAN, and the entirety of the Nigerian people who have lost such a conscientious and committed fighter.
The best tribute we can pay Comrade Frank Ovie Kokori is to continue in his path to struggle for the emancipation of all oppressed peoples not just in Nigeria, but also across the world.
To serve the people as Kokori has done, is never to die in their hearts. The struggle for a better country, definitely continues.
Comrade (Engr.) Festus Osifo
7th December, 2023