Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has called on the people of the Ijaw ethnic nationality to imbibe and emulate the patriotic virtues to move the nation forward.
Diri made the call at a special valedictory convocation organised by Bayelsa Medical University in honour of a renowned medical expert, Prof Nimi Briggs, who until his death on April 10, 2023, was the pro-chancellor of the institution.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, at the Gabriel Okara Memorial Cultural Centre, Yenagoa, stressed that the Ijaw nation needed patriotic sons and daughters that could work selflessly in its overall interest.
Paying tribute to the late professor emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Diri described him as “a quintessential academic, astute administrator, human resource builder and a rare breed of the Ijaw extraction who was a gift to Nigeria and Africa”.
He said the state, as well as the Ijaw nation, was still in shock over Briggs’ death, which had created a huge vacuum that stretched far beyond his family, community, Rivers, and Bayelsa states to the entire sub-African region, especially in the medical profession.
Diri said, “Prof Nimi Briggs means different things to different people, depending on the perspective from which you look at him. If you look at intelligence, he was highly intelligent. He was a good administrator, a man of society, a religious man, and an activist.
“Prof Briggs has symbolised a lot of things for us, especially the Bayelsa State Government. He has shown us that patriotism is like the potato stem that does not have boundaries.
“Prof Briggs is not a Bayelsan. He is an Ijaw man but he offered to serve Bayelsa even after his retirement in the name of patriotism.
“I, therefore, challenge us all as leaders to be patriotic and devote ourselves to improving the Ijaw nation as was demonstrated by Prof Nimi Briggs.”