By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives on Tuesday held a valedictory session for its fallen member, late Hon. Ossy Chinedu Prestige died in February 2021.
Until his death, Prestige represented Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency of Abia State in the House.
Paying their respects to the deceased at the valedictory session, the speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiala described Prestige as a fine gentleman, who “left his footprint in the sand of time”.
Recalling he was denied access to a lawmaker’s sickbed at a London hospital due to administrative reasons, Gbajabiamila however said he was shocked to see Prestige coming down even with a drip on his hand to see him on his way out.
“We talked, we laughed and we prayed. I’ll try to speak with a smiling face. I’ll smile, even though we grieve, but I know that our colleague, friend and brother always wore a smiling face. I still have some fond memories of him.
“This is a great loss to the people of Aba, the people of Abia, the people of the Southeast and the people of Nigeria.
“A couple of days ago, I came across a motion that he did. You could see the depth of his knowledge in that motion.
“He was a powerful member of this House. He was the leader of the House of Commons House. If you come with a motion or Bill and you don’t contact them, you’re on your own. These are some of the things I want to remember and smile any time I think of him. He was as committed as he was passionate. He had a consuming personality. He had a life larger-than-life itself. As we grieve, let’s continue to smile and laugh.
“There’s a hollowness in this hallowed chamber since the demise of Hon. Prestige. There’s a void in this chamber. He was a man of great character. I will miss him, the House will miss him, the people of Aba and Nigeria will miss him.
“We pray for the family, the wife and children that God will continue to stand by you, to be with you”.
In his tribute, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu said the presence of a cross-section of the people in the chamber was a testimony of who Ossy Prestige was.
He also recalled going to London to see him but never knew it will be the last meeting between them.
“The presence of all present here is a testament of who Ossy Prestige is. This is one death, too many. This reminds us of our mortality on earth. I eulogize Prestige”, he said.
Similarly, the minority leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu said late Prestige found leadership and service as education and made the most of his God-given talent to impact others while he worked hard for the good of his people, within the confines of the laws.
“He was a loyal minority caucus member. He tried to survive the illness to be able to fulfil his promises to his family and his constituents,” Elumelu added.
The Deputy Whip of the House, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha said late Prestige was a decent man who was diligent about his job and passionate about his people with a burning desire to improve their lives.
In his tribute, the member representing Ohafia/Arochukwu federal constituency of Abia State, Nkole Ndukwe said the deceased lawmaker was a perfect gentleman whose love between him and his constituents was very obvious.
“He was dedicated to his duties, and he has impacted in one way or the other on all of us. I pray that the Almighty God will rest his soul. I sympathize with his family,” he said.
Also speaking, the member representing Isialangwa South/Isialangwa North federal constituency, Darlington Nwokocha said: “The death of Hon. Ossy was a painful one. He was very phenomenal in life. He was a gentleman with a good heart. He left a very big shoe. He won his election in Aba not by party but by personality. I sympathize with the House, his family and his people. May God rest his soul”.
The Chairman, Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson in his tribute said the demise of the late lawmaker has been a sad moment for the House of Representatives, adding, “Ossy Prestige was a man of many parts, who left his footprints in the sand of time. He was a lawmaker per excellence. I pray that his soul continues to rest in perfect peace. I pray that the good people of Abia and his family shall have the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss”.
On his own part, the Senate Minority Leader who represents Abia South District, Enyinnaya Abaribe in a rare privilege extended to him to speak on the floor said he worked closely with the deceased despite their party affiliations.
“I know that this a rare privilege you have given me. I thank you, Mr Speaker. Ossy happened to be with me in the sense that I am the Senator representing his senatorial zone. Aba is one of the constituencies in my senatorial zones.
“You will never know that we were from different political parties but we were always working together. Death is something that reveals a lot of things. So many people depended on Ossy. So many people will be grieving in their hearts. But death doesn’t know anybody’s father. We are asking death not to come to us again. We’re with the family. While we mourn, we also celebrate the man. For us, we’re both mourning and celebrating Hon. Ossy Prestige. May his soul rest in peace”, Abaribe said.