The Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Research, Documentation and Strategy, Mr Oronto Douglas, is dead. A statement by the presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, said Douglas died on Thursday morning after a protracted battle with cancer.
Abati said the president was deeply saddened by the death of Douglas who had been his (Jonathan’s) personal aide for close to a decade. He said Jonathan condoled Douglas' family as well as the government and people of Bayelsa State on the death of "one of their most distinguished sons who served his country, state and the Niger Delta region, passionately and diligently, during his very impactful years on earth". According to him, Jonathan believes that Douglas will remain a shining and worthy example for every young Nigerian who seeks a life of service and achievement. Abati said the formal funeral arrangements would be announced by the family of the deceased. Meanwhile, Jonathan on Thursday paid a condolence visit to Douglas' residence in Abuja where he said his late aide knew he would not survive the ailment. The president said doctors had told Douglas in the United States of America that he would die within three weeks. He said: "I was here last Saturday. Even though he knew because doctors told him in America that he was going to die in three weeks, he was still very passionate about his work. I've never seen such a person with such a strong will. Oronto was a good man, he left us too early, but God knows the best. I only pray that God provide for the family and that his soul rest in peace. "Myself and Douglas are from the same local government in Bayelsa. I knew him first when I was doing my PhD research work when he was environmental activist. I was doing some aspects of the ecology of the Niger Delta and my supervisor then, one Canadian Prof. Powell, knew him and we met in his house. But when I came into politics as a deputy governor, he was the commissioner for information then and we were very close. He came with me as my adviser as vice president on research, documentation and strategy; a post he held until this morning.” Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo said with Douglas' death, Nigeria had lost a very good man who had contributed positively to national development. The deceased's younger brother, Otonye Douglas, said the family would meet in Bayelsa, "as tradition demands" to draw burial programmes. The deceased is survived by his wife and two sons.
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