Pere Ajunwa, the presidential candidate for the Liberal Democratic Party of Nigeria (LDPN) and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the 2003 and 2007 presidential elections, has died.
This was confirmed to reporters in Yenagoa on Monday in a statement issued by Danile Markson-Iworiso, the Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson.
He described Mr. Ajunwa’s death as an untimely, sad, shocking and a monumental loss to the Government and people of Bayelsa State.
In a condolence message to the family of Mr. Ajunwa, Governor Dickson also described the death of Chief Ajunwa as a great and painful loss to the Ijaw Nation and the political landscape of Nigeria.
He recalled Chief Ajunwa’s forays into politics, which saw him contest for the governorship of the old Rivers State and later for the presidency, making him one of the very few minorities of the Ijaw stock to run for the highest office in the land.
According to him, the efforts of Mr. Ajunwa, who was the Egbesu of Egbesubiri, greatly inspired the younger generation of Ijaw politicians and gave greater insight and meaning to why we should legitimately fight for what rightly belonged to us, without resorting to violence.
The governor also recalled how Chief Ajunwa supported every genuine effort of the Ijaw people to be properly recognized and be accorded their pride of place politically, economically, and in other areas of human endeavour by using his personal resources to fight for the political and economic emancipation of the minorities of the South-South, especially his tribesmen and women, who had suffered years of neglect and deprivation.
The Governor’s statement added that, even though Chief Ajunwa is dead, his worthy legacies and strides as an Ijaw patriot and a fighter for the rights of the minorities of this country would live long after him.
Governor Dickson prayed for the peaceful repose of his soul and for God Almighty to grant the family he has left behind, the strength, courage and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria’s opposition AD in 2007 picked Ajunwa as its new presidential candidate following the death of candidate Adebayo Adefarati at the age of 76.
Ajunwa was picked at a special convention of the party in Abuja, and his name forwarded to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 21 April presidential election.
Before his emergence on the platform of the AD, Chief Ajunwa had grudgingly stepped down alongside Bukar Abba Ibrahim for Nigeria’s current leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, to clinch the All Nigerian Peoples Party ticket for the 2007 presidential contest.