Delta Governor, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, has expressed sadness at the passing of renowned lawyer and politician, Chief Patrick Okpakpor.

The deceased popularly known as A.P.J Okpakpor, died on Friday night after a protracted illness. He was 78.

Okpakpor hails from Otor-Iyede in Isoko North Local Government Area of the state. He was Commissioner for Finance in the defunct Bendel State, and first Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Delta State from 1991 to1992.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Sunday in Asaba, Okowa commiserated with Okpakpor family, the people of Isoko, Iyede Kingdom and the Nigeria Bar Association over the demise of the eminent lawyer and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain.

He noted that the departed Okpakpor was an elder statesman, grassroots politician and administrator, who excelled as a two-time commissioner in his illustrious political career.

The governor described the deceased as “thoroughbred politician’’ recalling that he was a founding member of NCNC, NPN, NRC, NCPN – all defunct political parties, and the PDP where he contributed immensely to its successes in the Isoko area.

“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I mourn the passing of an elder Statesman, grassroots-politician, renowned lawyer and pioneer Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Delta, Chief A.P.J. Okpakpor, who passed on Friday after a protracted illness.

“The news of his death was saddening. A prominent lawyer, Okpakpor had a blissful legal career spanning over 40 years during which he contributed to the socio-economic development of Delta and Isokoland.

“He was a gentleman, who distinguished himself in the service of his people, especially as commissioner in the defunct Bendel State and Delta.

“In the formative years of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), he was a founding member and contributed immensely to the party’s invincibility in Isoko North,’’ he said.

Okowa prayed that God would give the family, friends and associates the grace to bear the loss of the great son of Isoko.