BusinessDay

No ‘shishi’ to Delta tanker fire hero

...Okowa, others offer mere words to Ejiro ...Ejiro says: ‘I chose to die alone instead of…’

So far, no kobo has been extended to the hero of tanker fire. To most Nigerians, especially the leaders and public servants, when it is time to “chop,” they prefer to “chop” alone instead of spreading the wealth round. That is why Nigeria has the largest concentration of poor people in a land full of milk and honey.

Yet, when a citizen made such an emergency decision for humanity, leaders only pay lip praises. Nobody has yet put a hand into his pocket to appreciate such heroism. And this is the way we want citizens to choose patriotism and heroism over fraud and corruption?

For our brother, Ejiro Otarigho, when it was time to die with many, no, he chose to die alone. His tanker was aflame and was about to explode and spread fire to the community. He weighed the situation and chose to take the part of heroism and martyrdom. He chose to die alone and save the masses and their property. Such is rare in our clime. One person said it looked like a Western movie.

The Delta-born heroic driver drove a burning oil tanker to a safe place. He told newsmen in his hometown on Sunday that he decided to die alone rather than being linked to a disaster that claimed lives and destroyed properties soon after the massacre of churchgoers same week.

Read also: Military destroys 40 illegal oil refineries in N/Delta region

Otarigho, an indigene of Agbarho in Ugheli North Local Council Area of Delta State, said: “I decided to take the risk because as a native of this community, I did not want to be linked with a disaster that claimed lives and destroyed properties.

“I decided to die alone. When the hour came, I told my motor boy to jump out of the burning vehicle,” he revealed on Sunday, during a Thanksgiving service at the Living Faith Church, Agbarho, to appreciate God for the deliverance.

It would be recalled that on Friday June 10, 2022, the oil tanker had caught fire in a densely populated area in Agbarho.

Not minding the danger, the driver drove the burning oil tanker to a long distance bushy area for safety before jumping out of the ill-fated vehicle.

Meanwhile, Igho Odiphiri, the president-general of Agbarho Urhobo Improvement Development Union, had called for honour and appreciation for Otarigho. He led his members to escort Ejiro to the thanksgiving service.

Odiphiri noted that the sheer act of bravery of the driver of the oil tanker saved several lives and properties worth several billions of naira.

Ifeanyi Okowa, the Delta State governor, is among those who have paid lip praises to Ejiro, when many felt he should have set up a Foundation for the hero and open it with handsome amount. Instead, Okowa said: “In a country plagued by challenges of varying dimensions, such acts of bravery are commendable and worthy of emulation.

“As a government, we thank Mr. Otarigho for this great act of putting the lives of others first before his and we thank God for saving him from the inferno.”

Whatever the case, Ejiro has joined many others to prove that there is hope for Nigeria and that the day the ordinary Nigerians wake up and take over their country, many Ejiros would lead the way. Life would become good, again.

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